Badly Botched Tile Job in Master Bathroom Remodel

Brandy Edwards
9 de Agosto de 2016
última modificación:9 de Agosto de 2016

Over the last 5 months, we've been working on our master bath renovation. As I explaned in [this post showing the completed bathroom[(, our original contractor that did the job botched the tile terribly! It looked like a bad DIY project, which is not what you want when hiring a supposed professional.

When our original contractor was working on the tile and was "finished", we thought it looked bad, but this was our first major renovation, so we wanted validation that the tile work was a mess. So, I came to Houzz and searched "botched tile job" and found a few posts asking whether their tile was botched or not.

I thought I'd do a post to show how our first contractor did such a terrible job on our tile install. We had to rip all his work out and start from the beginning. The second tile guy did a fantastic job.

I'm posting side-by-side pictures of the botched job (by the old contractor) on the left next to the correct, beautiful work (by the new contractor) on the right.

I hope this will help someone else when they are wondering if their tile work is going badly. If it looks anything like what we went through, then YES it's going badly.

This photo is not of the tile, it's of the shower pan. But the shower pan is the foundation for the shower floor, so a messy pan could end up with uneven or cracked shower floor tiles. If the foundation is a mess, you know you're in trouble from the get go! We didn't realize how bad the first contractor's shower pan was until we saw the shower pan done by the second tile guy (his was a thing of beauty).

This next photo shows the shower floor tile that went on top of that pan. The first contractor's shower floor was so uneven and messy, it actually hurt your bare feet to stand on it.

Speaking of the shower floor, our first contractor also took some terrible shortcuts. Instead of grouting the shower floor where it meets the curb and the shower walls, he just caulked it. Not only was his caulk job a mess (looked like toothpaste all over), but this shortcut would allow for water to leak out and we'd be in the same boat in a few months, having to replace a leaky shower. This infuriated us as it was really a shady shortcut.

The other issue we had, is the first contractor used Bostik's Quartzlock2 urethane-based grout. The instructions are very specific on this grout and you have to clean it as you go. You also should seal any porous or textured tiles beforehand. Our first contractor did not do any of this, so the entire bathroom was covered with this horrible grout haze. NOTHING would get it off (we even tried Blaze which is recommended by Bostik). Our shower and floor tile looked like it had milk splattered all over it. Our brand new mosaic tile looked like it had years of hard water stains on it.

Here's the stains on the mosaic tile:

You can see the grout haze staining on the walls and in the corner of the shower floor here:

On the mosaic tile, you can see how wavy and crooked the tile installation was. Plus the mess on the wall niche:

Here's some close-up photos of the niches in the shower:

We had drooping tiles...

... and terrible tile cuts (plus more grout haze!).

Last, but certainly not least, the main floor of the bathroom was a disaster. The tiles were all uneven and crooked. We installed heated floors under these tiles and the original contractor installed those incorrectly as well. All of it had to be ripped out and re-done. Very sad!

These photos are just the tip of the iceburg. But, now our bathroom is [finished[( the right way and the bad contractor's terrible work is becoming a distant memory.

I hope our experience helps someone else to know when their job is going badly.

Comentarios (22)

  • Diane R
    Thank you for sharing. Hope it was not to terribly expensive lesson.
    Brandy Edwards agradeció a Diane R
  • Carin Fromm
    Wow it looks so much better! Love your tile choices! One note, though, is that CAULK is the finish for all changes of plane (corners, floor/wall intersections), not grout. Caulk is waterproof, grout is not. Caulk moves as the tile moves, grout does not. Also, caulk or grout alone is not enough to keep a shower from leaking, properly waterproofed walls and pan are.
  • PRO
    Furniture Re-born

    I have a botched kitchen backsplash which covers from the counter to the ceiling. After seeing this, I will have to see how much would it cost to pull it out and have someone else redo it. It is one inch glass tiles and the more I look at it the more issues I see. Most of it is tiles not lining up right or some depressed so they are not all flush. I could of done that myself but wanted a professional job.

    Brandy Edwards agradeció a Furniture Re-born
  • PRO
    Mega Builders

    Thank you for sharing - you should post this in design dilemma as well..

    Brandy Edwards agradeció a Mega Builders
  • PRO
    OTM Designs & Remodeling Inc.

    That really is a night and day difference between the two! Looks great!

    Brandy Edwards agradeció a OTM Designs & Remodeling Inc.
  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    wow. that is possibly the worst tile job I have ever seen. Were you able to recoup any money from him? did you actually pay this other guy in full???? Unbelievable. the 2nd one is flawless.

    Brandy Edwards agradeció a Beth H. :
  • flyr4fun

    Can't believe the first job was actually done by a professional. Very scary. They ruined $$$$ in materials and you can bet they didn't use proper underlayment or seal correctly. Glad you found a great installer and finished with a beautiful project in the end. Thanks for posting.

    Brandy Edwards agradeció a flyr4fun
  • Home Pictures

    I would have been happy with your botched work!!

  • zellycat2

    So sorry, it's so frustrating. How did you handle getting it redone? Did you ask for money back from first contractor or not pay the rest?

    You actually want to "caulk" (since I think you use a caulking gun) using 100% silicone at any change of plane as it won't rot or mildew and will allow tile to expand and won't crack with small movement. I recently asked this question and not a single person defended using grout in the plane joints. So that's the bad news, the good news is your second guy looks like he would come back and change it for you.

    Brandy Edwards agradeció a zellycat2
  • bska


    I am living a similar nightmare in the PNW,

    see my recent post;

    I would truely appreciate if you could send me the contact of the new tile person you used -

    I am so glad to see that your bathroom is now how you dreamed!

    Brandy Edwards agradeció a bska
  • PRO
    Stecki Construction

    What a big difference! I'm happy to see that you were able to get your bathroom fixed! What a mess but now you can finally enjoy your bathroom!

  • PRO
    ProRepairs LLC

    there is a great product to get the pitch correct: pre pitch, liner, than final shower pan. called goof proof pitch. Apparently even a poor contractor cant mess it up. I think all contractors should use it ( I do and I have a mason background) since it saves time and if not the most important part of a leak free, mold free shower.

    The other thing is properly mixing the shower pan mud: the formula and ratio. Jot me a note if any contractor is interested in what I use.

  • PRO
    Grenz Homes, Inc.

    Please be careful who you call "professional" and "contractor" as the "before" does not resemble the work of someone who has the training to be a licensed tile contractor ("4 years of journeyman level experience" in CA). I don't think I've ever seen that poor level of work on even production (tract) homes, but it's common in "flips" where investors often hire "parking lot tradesmen" from the local chain supply house. Notes: I see 3 different shower pans.... 2 "befores" with different drains. Matching caulking is sold at tile supply houses with and without sand for a near perfect match to grout.... It minimizes expansion cracks at the inside corners of the base. The shower pan (hot tar, preformed or other system) has the backup job of water containment for the base. Make sure the wall systems are complete. People often underestimate the grout job (I have before) as it's often the apprentice who performs it... but after many redos and a long tedious training process. Labor and substrate is usually most of the tile budget, not the material.

  • Donna

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am currently going through a similar situation. I decided to use 6x12 glass tiles for my new shower. Which I showed to the contractor, asking if they were experienced. Of course they responded with a YES!!! Well this is what I have to contend with now (please view the pictures). I stopped the project. Now I'm in need of someone to fix the damage, without losing the tiles. I'm a single professional, who was trying to follow through on my fathers goal of renovating his home. He passed away suddenly in March. So needless to say my dream of a beautiful new master suite has been deflated. Any recommendations to repair with minimal cost, please!!

    As you will view,cardboard was used, the grout lines are uneven , the corners are off, there are jagged edged tiles, and some are chipped!!!

  • PRO

    B DE: Wow... just wow. I am not that experienced at tile (I've done some) and did an entire bathroom (bath enclosure, ceiling, floor, backsplash) and my work looks top notch expert next to that horror. Did the original contractor give you a refund? Did you sue him? Did you at least put his name out there so others could avoid his bad work?

    Donna: That's sad. A bag of plastic spacers is available at nearly every hardware store and online. Using corrugate cardboard is terrible, as it will get wet and compress very easily making your grout lines bad. Can't believe the people that call themselves "pro" and then give you this kind of sub-par work.

  • Denita

    Donna, start your own new thread with this dilemma in the bath forum so others can see it and help you.

  • Donna

    Great idea

    thank you

  • Donna

    I have only paid for materials

    not labor

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    Donna,,,yes,,please start your own post. this is horrible. I know of no professionals who use cardboard for spacers. Especially when you can buy 200 of them for like, 3 bucks.

    do not pay them. please start your own post and show us pics of how they prepared the shower prior to tiling. need info on waterproofing, etc.

    looking at the pics from here, the tile work doesn't look half bad. I notice they didn't use any Redgard or other waterproofing membrane over the cement board. It's not mandatory, but good tile workers will do it for extra insurance. post some other pics on your own post

  • Donna

    Thank you Beth.

    I did bring in another tile setter yesterday, who was speechless when he walked in. He is willing to save the job!

    I will start my own feed.

  • PRO
    Verona Home Design

    Wow after reading your post of how the bathroom looks now I had to see what this first contractor did, its terrible! I hope you didn't have to pay them one penny! Good thing the finished product from the good contractor looks so wonderful now though!

  • Lidya Sapien

    Wow what a difference..

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