Home>Discussions>KITCHENS>"Industry Standard" glass tile backsplash installation?
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MRE
"Industry Standard" glass tile backsplash installation?
MRE

Hi, we really appreciate any experts out there that can help us out. We had a glass tile backsplash installed during our ongoing renovation, with small (expensive, $20+ sq/ft) glass tiles. We are very concerned with the quality of the installation, and raised those concerns with our contractor. They responded saying this was an "industry standard" installation job and that our points of concern (chips, cracks over 20% or more of the tiles, irregular edge pieces around trim, etc.) were a product of the tile we picked, not the installation. In essence, while candidly admitting that there are isolated instances of things that are wrong and could be fixed, they are saying "overall" this tile installation is as good as it gets, and we should be happy with it (e.g., our standards are "too high").

We have worked with this contractor before, and they have been great. To their credit, they usually do very good work and strive to make us happy, and even here, will not make us pay if we are unhappy (even though they firmly disagree with our concerns). But making us happy would be re-doing the project, because, for example: the chips & cracks are wide-spread throughout the backsplash (i.e., 100s of tiles), tiles around cabinets and edging seems wrong, backslash wall is not straight (so slight, but noticeable, wavy backsplash), fixtures do not sit flush with the tile, tiles protrude out or are not laid straight, etc. The contractor will not do this because, again, this is an industry standard installation and a new job would come out the same. So, money issues aside, they are leaving us with two options: (1) live with it, or (2) find someone else to install.

We are not experts, and friends and family input is really not that helpful (everyone has an opinion, it seems). What we are looking for an honest and candid "expert" opinion - are we being unreasonable, is this really what we should expect, or is this a sub-standard job where another contractor could do better? We are striking out locally on getting another contractor or expert to review, because our contractors are local and well-respected in the community (why we picked them). Couldn't figure out how to upload pics here, but if there are any experts out there that could take a look at the pictures at www.houzz.com/user/mre8712, which are illustrative of the tile and the installation job (i.e., these pics are not isolated instances, but examples of what we see throughout), we would greatly appreciate any advice and input, even if that advice is that we are being unreasonable. Thanks in advance!

ed21
Re: "Industry Standard" glass tile backsplash installation?
ed21

I can't see the photos well enough to say. However there should be no cracked or chipped tiles.
Depending on the tile, they may not always be perfectly straight, but overall the effect should be pleasing.
He may be a good contractor, but maybe not a good tile setter. BTW- glass tile are harder to work with.

A. Spruce
Re: "Industry Standard" glass tile backsplash installation?
A. Spruce

I can assure you, installing cracked, chipped, and broken tile is NOT an industry standard. In fact, anyone who is trying to sell a job by using the term "industry standard" should have their license pulled and be thrown out of the trades, as it is a term whose sole purpose is to demean the layman and push forward sloppy workmanship, as in, "industry standard, quite literally, is what I tell you it is, and since you are not in the trades to know any different, it is up to me to tell you, and I'm telling you, this turd that I've presented for your approval is the best you're going to get by anyone."

BULLSHIT!

Do yourself a favor, call in a couple other well respected tile companies to get their opinion and quote for repair. This will give you bargaining room with your contractor, who while may not charge you for work you're not happy with, would rather not bear the financial responsibility for a job well done. NO, you do not want your current contractor or his tile installer back on the job.

dj1
Re: "Industry Standard" glass tile backsplash installation?
dj1

Why do you want to accept sub par installation? If the glass tiles were perfect before the installation, and are imperfect after this contractor installed them, then it's time to call the state board.

You see, if this contractor is bonded, then the money to repair or replace the job has to come from his bonding company. That's what bond is for. The only entity that can make the bonding company pay up is the contractors board.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: "Industry Standard" glass tile backsplash installation?
HoustonRemodeler

Your tile contractor doesn't know his craft;

1- The tiles often come from that crappy manufacturer with chipped edges and crooked on the sheet. He should have picked out the crooked ones and warned you of the chipped ones ahead of time. Personally I hate these tiles as they are so poorly made. Even at $20 /sf

2- The tile manufacturer (oceanside I'm betting) has installation instructions that will require the installer to follow the current TCNA guidelines. He did not. At the very least he should have;

3- An expansion joint NOT filled with grout all the way around the perimeter of each area, wall to wall, wall to counter wall to cabinet, wall to window frame... you get the idea. That gap is filled with caulking to allow for expansion and contraction. TNCA EJ171

4- The rest is debateable and you can't sue for crappy craftsmanship. You can have it all re-done due to the failure to follow EJ171.

5- Cutting glass tiles takes skill and some learning. The do not handle like ceramic tiles. The new glass cutting diamond blades are amazing and leave no chipping on the edges. See this video. Glass tiles can also be snapped for a very clean cut. see this video

6- There are lippage standards- the maximum allowable lippage between tiles is 3/32" which is the thickness of a credit card.

7- You need a new installer which you might be able to find on the John Bridge Tile Forum.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: "Industry Standard" glass tile backsplash installation?
HoustonRemodeler

If you want to see some stunning glass tile installations, ask the fine folks on the John Bridge Tile Forum. or search the forum under 'glass tiles' and see what pops up

Mastercarpentry
Re: "Industry Standard" glass tile backsplash installation?
Mastercarpentry

Two thoughts to add to the great replies so far. First is that no matter who supplies the materials, bad materials are not to ever be installed no matter what made them 'bad'. Only an incompetent idiot would do that and expect it to be accepted. Second is the issue of owner-supplied materials itself. Unless I approve of the materials I will not warranty any work done with them beyond faulty labor. If I disapprove of the materials I will either refuse to install them (you can get someone else to do that without hurting my feelings) or I will offer no warranty past the final inspection on finishing. As someone who uses building materials on a daily basis I know of many sub-par materials which I will recommend against using but in the end it's your choice and that makes it your problem after the final inspection. Prior to that it's my problem regardless of anything else.

You're paying for new and proper and that's what you should always get. Things never fix themselves on their own- if anything they only get worse. If work is done so poorly that it's questionable then there is no question- it was not done correctly and that needs to be rectified.

Phil

MRE
Re: "Industry Standard" glass tile backsplash installation?
MRE

Thank you everyone for your time in responding and the great responses. We still don't know what we're going to do, but with everyone's help and a week's worth of research, we are certainly more knowledgeable and in a better position to effectively handle the situation. So thank you again.

A. Spruce
Re: "Industry Standard" glass tile backsplash installation?
A. Spruce

You're welcome. Please keep us updated on your progress.:cool:

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