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How should contractor fix this tile job?

2 months ago

Help! I'm a middle-aged single woman getting my bathroom redone and I've had it with my contractors. After nearly two months, it's almost done and I just discovered their tile guy did a terrible job on the marble mosaic floor. I need to know what is reasonable to accept as a fix because I think they take advantage of my lack of knowledge (they keep telling me I can't believe everything I read on the internet.)

The floor was done right after the tub install, but they didn't clean up before proceeding with the rest of the job. The room was literally a construction zone, with grout dust and empty buckets and paint trays, etc. so I hadn't scrutinized it. Then the whole project went on hold for two weeks while we waited for a broken vanity to be replaced (and they left the buckets and junk that whole time. Last Wednesday the new vanity was in so they came back and installed the vanity, toilet, and baseboards, and they touched up the paint. They think all they have to do tomorrow is vanity top, fixtures, and accessories. However... I asked them Wednesday if the tiler had sealed the floor before grouting and they cocked their heads at me - um, no, why would he? I said because the instructions that came with the tile said to. Of course they'd never heard of that, and said it wasn't necessary, and they implied that sealing the floor wasn't part of the job at all (I just looked and the word "seal" is not in the contract.) They still hadn't cleaned up before working that day. In addition to the previous dust and grit, by the end of the day there were three gobs of wax ring material on the tile and grout around the toilet. They hadn't even swept the vanity area before installing the vanity. They were going out of town over the weekend so I said I was going to clean and seal the (exposed) floor before they came back. I spent four hours Thursday night sweeping and scrubbing so I'd have a clean surface to seal Friday morning. What I found when I got down close was that the floor tiles are very uneven. Lots of lippage, in some places not because a tile is high or tilted but because the tiles next to it are sunken. I went ahead with the sealant and this morning I finally walked on it barefoot and it feels terrible. I started to tape high spots using the credit card test but it would have been every third or fourth tile, and there's a larger issue - all the grout is too low. This tile has a sharp 90 degree edge and he didn't grout up to the level of the tile. But if he just adds grout now, he's going to submerge some of the low tiles (there are already two that are partially covered with grout.) Could the uneven tiles that don't have grout on them be because of settling? (Although that doesn't justify him not attempting to grout up to the level of the tile.)

There were issues around the tub tiling that have been addressed, or I was going to let go, but now I'm so ticked that I don't know how much to tolerate. The walls were not plumb when they handed them over to the tiler and he tiled them as-is, cutting the tiles slightly diagonally in some spots to follow the corner of the wall. The left side looked particularly terrible and I pointed it out to the contractor and he said, nope, not acceptable. I thought it was his fault for not leveling the wall but he said the tiler was supposed to have checked and added mortar to level it out before proceeding. He made the tiler remove the top 3-4 feet of that wall, level it, and retile. He mostly leveled the wall but his retiling was sloppy - uneven grout lines, lippage, and most of the new tiles are higher than the schluter at the end. And now that that left side is "fixed" it's more obvious to me that the right side has the same problem. The top right tile by the ceiling is a good 1/2 inch wider than the bottom right tile over the tub. And you can see where tiles are cut at a slight angle next to the niches, to follow the angle of the wall (a wall the contractors built, so no excuse for it not being plumb). Oh, and I found some cracks in the grout when I was taking pictures this morning.

Long story short, I need help with what are reasonable fixes to ask for:

1) What is the right way to correct the floor? Should they be spot-grouting and creating little ramps? Or regrouting the entire floor? Should they cut out and re-set the tiles that will be submerged, then regrout? Start completely over with new tile?

2) This is partly dependent on the answer to Question 1, but should they remove the vanity, toilet, and baseboards before doing this, or would it be okay to work around them (and not worry about what's under the vanity)?

3) I've read repeatedly that unsanded grout should be used with marble tile, but they said that was a bad choice for floors. Are they right, or should I insist on unsanded grout for this next round?

4) Would you insist they fix the uneven grout lines and lippage where they fixed the wonky wall?

5) Would you insist they remove and straighten the wall next to the niches?

Thanks for your input!

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