When it comes to whether or not tile installation services have been done right, when you know, you know.
A job done right is not only a work of art, but it is also easy on the eyes and brings a certain calm to a space.
We’ve all been there, in a hotel lobby or bathroom and your eyes are just drawn to the imperfections of the work. Patterns and spacing is off, lines are not clean, or grout lines look a bit bloated in some areas over another. It’s like a bad car accident–you can’t help but notice, stare and wonder what happened?
While a well-executed commercial tile job can be durable, stylish, and cost-effective, a poorly done job will do way more damage to your reputation. Tile work never gets a second chance at a first impression because of its permanence. Quality tile craftsmanship should be free of aesthetic disruptions, pleasing to the eye, and if it’s not, you may as well just rip it all out and start over.
Here’s how to tell if your tile installation was done correctly.
Tell-tale Signs to Look for Right Away
Some tiles are uneven
While flexible materials like vinyl are more forgiving, stone and ceramic tiles will accentuate irregularities like high or low spots on floors. Your tile is only as good as your underlayment, which means a smooth, hard, level surface free of debri. Tiles with edges that stick up or sit higher than others are not only prone to chipping, but also present a tripping hazard to all those who pass your employees and your customers.
Tiles that butt up against the walls
Unless they are irregularly shaped, ceramic and stone tiles tile should be laid out with a comprehensive plan in mind before any tile is ever laid. This means a solid game plan for how tiles will meet in corners, against walls and other fixtures and should have even spacers between them to create uniform grout lines. Tiles that are too close to walls can crack or come loose as building materials expand and contract due to humidity and temperature changes.
Outside corners around cabinet bases and walls should be mitered and smooth to prevent injuries.
Tiles sound hollow when you tap on them
If mortar is not spread evenly on a tile before it is put in place, it is very easy to trap pockets of air beneath the tile. Gently tap on tiles with the handle of a screwdriver. If it sounds hollow, the tile should be replaced before it cracks
Cracked, uneven, or bubbled grout
Grout lines should be evenly filled and smooth when dry. Grout that is too watery will shrink and crack as it dries. Bubbles in the grout can occur if it wasn’t firmly packed into the joints between the tiles. Any cracks or holes will allow water to seep behind the tiles and should be repaired immediately.
Adhesive or grout left on the surface of the tile
After the grout is applied but before it sets completely, the excess should have been removed and any remaining haze wiped away. Once the grout has cured completely, it is much harder to get it off. With vinyl flooring, excess adhesive can ooze up between the tiles and should be removed before it dries. Once it is dry, it can be very difficult to remove without damaging the finish.
Water doesn’t bead on the tile or grout lines
Unglazed tile and most types of grout will need to be sealed to make them water-tight. Unsealed tile and grout will discolor and absorb moisture. In wet areas, like bathrooms and kitchens, water seeping through or between the tiles can cause toxic mold to grow behind them and water damage to walls and subflooring. Sprinkle some water on the tile and grout. It will bead on sealed surfaces. Even more, for areas where water is involved, a vapor barrier is a must between your tile and its underlayment.
Large gaps are filled with small pieces of tile
Unless a mosaic look is what you are going for, filling in large gaps with shards of tile and grout is not the solution. Cutting tile can be tricky, but the pros know how to do it right without jagged edges, uneven cuts, and unsightly gaps filled with grout or slivers of tile.
Don’t Settle for Substandard Tile Installation Services
And while some tiling issues are purely cosmetic, others can even be hazardous. In either case, it’s important to recognize the signs of bad tile installation before it’s too late. The right tile partner can make all the difference.
Always inspect your installer’s work early and often and if it’s someone you have worked with for the first time, assume nothing. Repairs are much easier to make before the grout has fully cured.
The professionals at Brooks Tile, Inc. are dedicated to managing every detail of your commercial tiling project. With over 40 years of experience in large scale tile installation services and 6,000 jobs completed, you can expect expert installation that is done with the utmost attention to detail, on time, and on budget. Check out our portfolio and schedule a consultation today.