8 Signs of Bad Tile Installation Services

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.

Sharp edges

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 floor tiles from bad Tile installation servicesCracked, 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.


Porcelain Vs. Ceramic Tile for Your Sacramento Commercial Tile Project

One of the most common questions asked when planning for a large tile job is what kind of tile should be used – porcelain vs. ceramic tile? 

These days, advancements in tile manufacturing and tile glaze techniques have brought about so many design choices, that to the average eye, the two are not all that different. 

In fact, both types of tiles, if glazed, have almost identical characteristics with regards to durability. It’s only when you are agonizing over seemingly identical tile samples in Sacramento, that it’s nice to know a little bit about what’s underneath so you can make an informed decision.

Porcelain Vs. Ceramic Tile Compared


Price Generally costs ~60% more
How it’s made Made of refined clay, minerals and water 

Fired in a kiln at higher temperatures
(Up to 2,300°F)

Can be glazed or unglazed 

Pros Harder, denser, less porous, harder to stain, less likely to crack, better at cold temperatures, requires less frequent and easier cleaning
Cons Can be harder to cut (wet saw with a diamond blade) and install
Water absorption 0.5% of water
Great for Commercial and home – High traffic areas, high moisture areas, and outdoors
Applications Kitchens, flooring, walls, bathrooms, laundry, patios, countertops


Price $.50 – $50+/square foot
How it’s made Made of clay, sand and feldspar 

Fired in a kiln at lower temperatures (1,800-2,000°F)

Can be glazed or unglazed

Pros Can be easier to cut (simple tile cutter) and install, flooring stays cooler in warm climates
Cons Softer, porous, susceptible to stain, requires frequent deep cleaning
Water absorption 0.5%-3% of water
Great for Commercial and home – low-traffic areas, low-moisture areas, warmer climates
Applications Kitchens, flooring, walls, high-end custom designs of interior spaces

Porcelain Tiles

As a general rule porcelain tends to run a little higher in price than its ceramic counterpart, but it may not always be the case depending on the durability rating and design. Porcelain also has the reputation for being nearly impermeable and does not chip as easily. Cleaning and maintenance is also fairly easy, but again that all depends on whether or not the tile is glazed. Overall, porcelain is the material you would go to for high-traffic, high-moisture spaces both indoors and outdoors – kitchens, patios, showers, lobbies, hallways, and baths. 

Though porcelain tile can be more expensive, the savings can be realized through less maintenance. Porcelain tile also doesn’t require special cleansers, a vinegar and water solution will most always do the trick.

Ceramic Tiles

On the other hand, ceramic tile can be a little less expensive to install because it tends to be easier to cut. However, because ceramic tiles are more porous, they are recommended for lower traffic areas and walls because they are more prone to staining and chipping. The porous nature of ceramic tiles can make them more susceptible to absorbing moisture and may cause cracking in colder climates. 

Maintenance and upkeep of ceramic tiles can also be a little more work. Ceramic tiles typically require more frequent, deeper cleaning.

Key Factors in Tile Selection

When choosing tile for a job, be it a kitchen, bath, or even an outdoor patio space, the following should be taken into consideration:   

  • Proper installation
    No matter what material you choose, the end result is only as good as the skill level of your installer. Tile installation is a highly technical skill. The best installers are not only skilled at their craft, but also have an eye for design to ensure that every piece is laid with consideration of the bigger picture. 
  • Check the ratings
    Whatever you choose, most tiles come with durability and weight ratings for both floor and wall applications. Be sure to check what your selected tile is rated for to ensure the product is best suited for your specific needs.
  • Maintenance and upkeep
    If properly maintained, with frequent cleaning with the recommended cleanser for your specific tile, and in some cases, annual sealing, tile can last a lifetime in a home or business.
  • Price
    The cost can vary widely depending on the total project surface area, type of tile selected, and the complexity of the design. Planning a tile job is the perfect balance of all three.

Porcelain Vs. Ceramic Tile: You Make the Call

When it comes to porcelain vs. ceramic tile, there really is no magic answer – one is not indisputably better than the other. 

Like most construction projects, the answer sometimes comes down to personal preference, and sometimes what someone likes is the only factor that matters. Who loves a beautiful arrangement of tile that’s been installed poorly or is damaged? No one. 

While price, durability, ease of install, and overall use, are the pillars of any construction material choice in our minds, professional installation of whichever tile you choose should always be considered. Working closely with a tile installation team can ensure you make the right choice for your project. 

In most cases, no matter what material you choose, if it’s installed by an expert tile pro, and maintained over time, just about any tile material will work. 

Brooks Tile has over 40 years of experience in both commercial and residential tile installation. We work with both porcelain and ceramic tile, and are eager to collaborate with you on your Sacramento tile installation. Contact us for more information on our expert installation services and to schedule a consultation for your next project. 


3 Red Flags to Look Out for When Searching for a Tile Contractor

Choosing tile contractors for your home remodeling projects can spell the difference between a successful project and one that flops. Whether you want a contractor to give you fireplace tile ideas, small bathroom tile ideas, or help you install tile flooring that looks like wood, you should not just settle for anyone you come across.

Unfortunately, the process of finding a reliable contractor is never straightforward. People have had horrible experiences of being defrauded or ripped off by contractors they picked blindly, and you want to avoid going down the same route.

Fortunately for you, we have put down a list of red flags to look out for when  hiring a tile contractor. We want to ensure you only hire a person with the skills, experience, and knowledge to do the job correctly. That way, you can have the peace of mind that tile installation in your home will happen professionally to your heart’s content for years to come.

Is the Tile Contractor Credible?

An excellent approach to checking a tile contractor’s credibility is scrutinizing their profile on social media and the internet. Platforms like Yelp and Facebook provide basic details about a contractor’s past and performance.

In addition, user reviews and customer service examples will help you know if the contractor is on top of their game. Besides, you should be able to see videos and photos of their work.

While at it, you also want to verify the contractor’s contact information. Can you find their phone number or street address online? Does the information they provide match what is on their website?

The red flag is flying high if you can’t find credible information about the contractor online in this digital age. In addition, if a contractor is unwilling to provide their business’ street address, something is off about them.

The Tile Contractor Is Not Licensed, Bonded and Insured

Lack of proper credentials or certification is one of the biggest red flags when considering tile contractors. Checking if they are licensed should be high on your priority list when deciding whether to hire them. If they don’t have a license or are on a “buyers beware” list for some form of a license violation, avoid the contractor for apparent reasons.

It’s also crucial that your tile contractor is insured. Without this necessary documentation, you could become a victim to a scam artist or be held liable for injuries and damages.

Low Ball Rates

For example, you will get a range of quotes from contractors when you want to find out the tile floor installation cost or cost to retile a shower. However, if one seems too low to be true, that’s probably a red flag that you should avoid the contractor.

The lower rate may indicate that they will cut costs and do a less than perfect job. You will end up spending more in the long run as you will have to find someone else to redo the job to your satisfaction.

Final Thoughts

When looking for a tile contractor, you want one who will help you meet your tile installation goals with the highest level of efficiency and most minor inconvenience. That is why you should look for a licensed, insured, and credible contractor with fair rates based on the market prices. In addition, look for a reputable contractor who works with you based on your timeline, budget, and design without trying to arm-twist you.

Don’t take shortcuts when looking for tile contractors, as the one you find can stand in the way of accomplishing your dream. Contact Brooks Tile Inc. for reliable tile installation services that you can count on in the greater Sacramento area.