Touching tiles

30 Sep 2012
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United Kingdom

I have had a Tiler come in to tile my bathroom. The tiles were handmade and a bit irregular, but the tiler wanted to use 2mm spacers which I thought would be okay. Because of the irregularity he didn't use the spacers on the corners of the tiles and now a lot of the tiles are at slight angles and touching. Are touching tiles bad? I can imagine it would mean that there will be places where there is no grout, which I guess means Water could get behind, over time?

Help! Tell me it's okay?!
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That's horrible. I'm not sure whether your pictures are sideways or not, but spacers should have been used in both orientations, to keep the spacing regular. That's not hard to do, even with that kind of tile edge.

Disclaimer - if a professional tiler comes along and says I'm wrong, then listen to him rather than to me. But I've both had tiles of a similar type installed, and also installed some myself, and I wouldn't find what I see in your pictures in any way acceptable. The tiles are all over the place, and several are on the slant.

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That's what I thought

The tiler is just saying (he's not here today) that he had to keep the lines good across the wall, but it seems to me he could have still put spacers to stop things going wonky

My main concern is the way the grout will stop and start where the tiles touch and that that will affect the waterproofing (yes we have lots of waterproofing behind, but if water gets in, the tiles will come off, I would have thought?
My main concern would be that the tiles are all over the place, and it's going to look terrible.

I don't want to stoke controversy, but I would refuse to pay him, and get someone who knows what he's doing. Hopefully someone will be along here to give you a professional opinion.

Looks lousy if I'm honest. Why are there no vertical spacers? Nope wouldn't say that was an acceptable job.
Personally, I don't like irregular tiles but think I would have suggested larger spacing and straightened them by eye with various packing/spacers. A real pain in the a**e to do I admit. As you say, where the tiles are touching, it will be difficult to get a decent grout in there to make it waterproof.

Thanks for all your comments. I looked more closely and I see that in fact the tiles are all very irregular, so it is difficult to get them to fit well. He didn't do too badly, considering. But this issue with the tiles touching and the grout does concern me. I have spoken to him about it and he SAYS that the grout is very fine and will fill even the small gaps where there isn't really a gap.

What more can I do, at this point? I have already paid him for half the job, the tiles are on the wall, so that material is invested. Shouldn't have paid him perhaps.

Wider grout lines certainly would have done the trick.

Anyone else have knowledge or opinions about the grout and the touching tiles? If this is really a major issue then I need to stop the job before the final grouting on Tuesday...
A difficult one indeed, and the only real method of doing these would to have a wider grout line......I don't think your tiler was experienced enough to fix these.
At this point I don't think there's any more you can do but bash on......take the middle pic, middle right hand tile where it touches at the top. Even if that tile was lifted, there isn't any other way it could be replaced without it touching somewhere else.
Maybe where the tiles touch, extra care is needed to push the grout in, and perhaps have a slightly wider grout line where the tiles on a galloping horse, etc.
Personally I wouldn't expect any water penetration to the wall behind, but the tiles should be dried down after use in any case.
Please post a pic back with the final result?
John :)
The thing is, he's done the job to the best of his ability.
The alternative with regular tiles, with suitable replacements available, would be to have him take them off and redo. but with these tiles? it'd be difficult to have spares available. As you made comment, the grouting will look out, but get him to do a section with a view to taking it out with a brush before it dries if it looks crackers.
Many thanks for all your comments. It feels good to have a few people chipping in to this issue - one of many in a whole house renovation which has so far taken two years!

So - on we go. I have already 'managed' the situation by 'commenting' that we will need to take extra care squeezing in grout to the touching parts. When you say wider grout lines, do you mean protruding a little more from the surface level? I can see how that might work, but won't that look funny in another way? Changing touching tiles is also an option. We do have some spares. But it will be a long job and if he feels alright about the job he is doing, I will have to pay extra, and cause MORE of a fuss, to get him to change things. So do I do that, or do I just run with it?

If your (sorry - can't see names as I am replying) comment that you wouldn't expect water ingress, is true, then we might as well bash ahead, I guess...?
No, whats meant is a wider spacing between the tiles say 4-5mm to allow more for adjustment. That said they haven't been spaced properly. I have handmade tiles laid before, admittedly not by me and they looked fine as the original job stands, they haven't been laid correctly....

If I am totally honest, for me, the result is unacceptable, and again if it were me I would insist it was all redone. Sorry thats my opinion.
I appreciate you saying that. Just a final clarification, as I guess you are online now, etc. - are you saying this because you are worried about water ingress or just for aesthetics?

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