Asked on Jun 05, 2016

Caulking tile for our backsplash

We hired a so-called professional for our backsplash after we received our new counter tops. While the tile turned out OK (we noticed a few mistakes). When he grouted several days later he did a lousy job. We used subway tile to border smaller glass tile. The inner tile is framed by 12 x 3 glass subway tile with rounded edges to give a finished look. Where he cut the corners (the entire smaller tile is boxed in) you can't even rub your finger on the tile. He did such a lousy grout job the jagged and sharp edges stick out and would cause a very ugly cut on your finger. He came out last Friday and started blaming our tile, that we really needed 1/4 round for the edge. I totally disagree, subway tile is made with a finished edge. So now what his plans are when he returns is to re-grout but also use caulk on the outside edge of the subway tiles. I would like to know if that is acceptable or not? I've had a lot of tile work over the years and never seen anyone using that on my tile. I bought pricey tile for a great look and don't want to cheapen it with caulk. He assures me it will be in the same color as the grout.
  12 answers
  • Lynn Merritt Lynn Merritt on Jun 06, 2016
    That is a terrible job! Ask him to do it over and if he refuses, complain to his boss (if he has one). It's always best to get references from previous clients before hiring an unknown.
  • Anna M.S. Anna M.S. on Jun 06, 2016
    Check to see if he is licensed to work in your city/county. Check the Better Business Bureau. Does he happen to have Performance insurance? General Contractors have to have it for bid jobs in some cities. Does one of your local TV stations have a consumer investigation department? Did you pick him out from Anggie's List or DO NOT PAY HIM UNTIL YOU ARE SATISFIED!!! I personally would not be happy about where the corners of the tile extend beyond the counter on the bottom picture or beyond the upper cabinet on the top picture, besides the workmanship. Who decided where the tile would start/stop? What written contract do you have???
  • Elaine DiAntonio Elaine DiAntonio on Jun 06, 2016
    My goodness....looks like it will have to be scraped off and redone, not difficult but takes time & elbow grease! Are you sure you even want this individual to do it?
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jun 06, 2016
    It's hard to know what to say. Sometimes we have to pay for our mistakes. A good tile man can fix a lot of that and replace the real bad. Get a couple good guys in and get estimates for fix and repair, rather than replace. Close your eyes, open your check book and move on.
  • Karen Welch Karen Welch on Jun 06, 2016
    Tis is not a tiling job by a professional that knows his stuff. Your first reaction was best, don't let him back. When you need to fill in and fix with caulk, it is because you didn't do a good job in the first place. If this was me I would cut my losses and remove the tile, (there are good grout removers on the market) and find someone that knows what they are doing. Glass is not the easiest to work with but this is a mess.
  • Con3711289 Con3711289 on Jun 06, 2016
    To answer your original question about caulk around the finished exterior edges of the tile...yes. This can be a great solution, preferable to grout that goes out onto the wall, especially with a transluscent glass, as in your situation. BUT, I agree with the others. This tile guy doesn't seem up to the task. The caulk should be a clear silicone, not white painters caulk, and not matched to the grout. A very thin bead of silicone, expertly applied, will be invisible. The mortar or mastic bed does the job of adhering, and should stop short of the edge so as not to be visible. The clear silicone then seals the space between the tile and wall . Just to clarify, the clear silicone caulk should not be used in the grout spaces, but only on the outside, finished edge of the tile where it meets the wall. Moving on to the tile itself. Reusing the same tile, scraping and regrouting is not going to give you the results you want. The miter cuts are terrible. To cover the jagged edges, you'd have to build up the grout over the edge of the glass. It'll look like a mess. Remove these pieces and all the mortar or mastic adhesive on the wall behind them. Start over with new pieces. In addition to the jagged edges, the grout line at the miter cut is way too wide. It looks like he just did them the same width as the other grout lines. That separation creates two sharp points instead of a continuous corner. Very jarring to the eye, and a rookie mistake. (Or, just plain lazy.) . Corner miters need very tight grout lines. A good tiler knows this. Good luck. Let us know what happens.
  • William William on Jun 06, 2016
    He did a lousy job of cutting the tile, his tile cutter blade was dull, or he just was tired. Even with this, he did not do a professional job. Looks like a first time tile setter did the job. I would not let him correct the job. Ask him for a discount and get a Professional to assess the job and correct it. I would not let him in my house without CASH in hand. Even my tile work is as good as the Pro's and I'm just a novice.
  • Marilyn Zaruba Marilyn Zaruba on Jun 06, 2016
    Nowadays, everyone is an expert. For that reason, before you hire someone you need to see some of their work or talk to their previous customers. I also like to check them out online or on Angie's list plus the BBB. If they are not in those places DO NOT HIRE THEM. My husband is a retired custom home contractor. He had a great bricklayer for many years and suddenly the guy inexplicably started doing really, really shoddy work. My husband took pictures and hired someone to fix the mess. He was sued by the bricklayer and when the judge saw the pictures he threw the case out of court. I sincerely wonder if this person ever laid tile might have supplied his OJT. Do not let him back and do not pay him. You might get some flack, but that beats dealing with such a loser.
  • Deborah Deborah on Jun 07, 2016
    WOW! What a mess! I have tiled a few times myself redoing kitchens in my new homes and my work was 1000 times better then this. Do not let this person back in your home. He does not know what he is doing. I would call BBB and see if there is anything you can do to get reimbursed for some or all of the money you paid. I agree with Mark about what to do to repair this mess. Good luck.
  • Pat Pat on Jun 07, 2016
    No. That is not acceptable at all. He should know how to properly finish a cut edge if he is a professional. I feel bad for you, this is the kind of nonsense that the real good,true professional has to compete with. If you think hiring a real professional is expensive, wait until you discover the true cost of a cheap one...
  • Barbara Barbara on Jun 08, 2016
    I can't believe a pro did this job! I would not have paid for this sloppy work! I would never let him in my home again, even to repair his poor workmanship. I'd file a complaint with the BBB and then look elsewhere to get a real pro. Check with a local tile store (not HD or Lowes) that actually sell only tile, they may be able to refer you to a reputable tile pro in your area that they've worked with before. Ask for references. So sorry you've had such a horrible experience. I had a similar experience with a plumber who charged me $1500.00 for clogged bathroom sink telling me the 'pipes are corroded' and replacing the bathroom plumbing with PVC. Found out later it was a scam.