Just had someone install ceramic tiles for bathroom. But to my surprise one tile on the shower walls, appears to have a hairline crack. I asked him about it and he said it was a manufacturing cosmetic defect and it's not a real crack more like a harmless scratch. I don't know, but I know replacing it is not easy. The pipes out of the tiles are for the fauce, so there are two holes for them in the same tile already.

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The tile has 4 horizontal squares and two vertical, the two important holes are in the center:

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I had posted this as a comment but believe it should be an answer. Wow to me from that photo this is a full blown broken tile not a hair line crack that you would see in a natural stone. This porcelain tile should have no broken tiles. I hope you have not made the final payment and if you have contact your local contractors board this is unacceptable in my opinion and not a hairline crack. It looks like they used snipers and not a saw to make that crappy cut out. Just my opinion but it looks like a DIY job for a first time tile person to me.

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  • Made final payment, but I think I can persuade them to come back redo it, but is it even possible? Won't it make problem worse? The definitely used basic tools so cuts are all crappy. – Altoban Nov 18 '17 at 1:14
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    Yes it can be replaced there is a very narrow grout line so that can be blended with less notice than the huge crack. It also looks like there is backer board so that helps. Cutting the broken tile with an abrasive saw and removing it without pounding or trying to break it up it can be removed. Once removed the thinset scraped out including the grout, then placing a new tile and regrouting will look much better than this broken tile, I have made mistakes in the past and had to remove tiles , the grout is the tough part to match even if some was saved in a zip lock. But would look better. – Ed Beal Nov 18 '17 at 1:31
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    Manufacturer chose to put a dirty line right where the contractor needed to cut a hole in a tile.... I wonder what the odds of that would be, if it was actually true. Sarcasm aside, it might be very valuable, if you haven't already, to inspect the tiles around any surrounds, wall mounts, etc, where screws may be, to ensure there aren't any others like this. – noybman Nov 18 '17 at 5:52
  • He should cut with abrasive saw along the grout lines? Would that damage the tiles next to it? He might not have experience in doing this well, what should I tell him? Yeah I'll inspect everything, I just noticied it late because I wasn't the one overseeing their work. – Altoban Nov 18 '17 at 10:19
  • At this point, you (personally) should not be worried about if adjacent tiles would be damaged, because the repair cost is on the contractor up to your satisfaction (within reason). If you are concerned (rightfully so) if the contractor knows how to do the work (e.g., protecting tile surface etc), talk to a supervisor if that is an option, or get an alternate quote and request a partial refund for time and material. You could try small claims court if it comes to it. I guess it comes down to who "he" will be, repairing the tile. – noybman Nov 18 '17 at 14:34

I also see that as a full blown crack; not a cosmetic defect. They should replace the tile completely under Warr. P.

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That sucks. What happened there is that the moron who made that hole used an angle grinder (doh) and when he pushed in to make the cut, the vibration cracked the tile below. Water will, of course, go through that crack.

You should have the tile replaced.

Make sure that the guy you hire is an old Italian guy. They are the only ones who know how to do this stuff correctly. You know the Romans were using tile like 2000 years ago, right? You hired some idiot non-Italian to do this job and you see what happened, don't you? Don't make the same mistake twice, hire an Italian guy.

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    Where do you find a 2000 year old Italian guy who's still working? :-) – fixer1234 Nov 18 '17 at 20:19
  • And as soon as the Italian guy sees that tile, you will learn many words of his language – noybman Nov 18 '17 at 20:42
  • I knew 80 year old Korean who made tiles for entire new buildings in all major areas. But for repairing a broken tile I can only get beginners. – Altoban Nov 24 '17 at 0:56

It does look like a crack. But not a particularly serious one -- there's relatively little water dripping against the wall under the faucet, and the odds are that you'll make things worse rather than better by trying to fix it.

I'd tape the sides and try to force some epoxy into it, and live with it as is.

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  • Wow you need some glasses, scabbing in epoxy would look worse. Any shower I have ever done this area gets soaked with shower spray. On top of the crack the large gouge that is close to an inch into the tile. – Ed Beal Nov 22 '17 at 20:23
  • Is it really as hard as everyone makes other seem? What's the worst that could happen? – Altoban Nov 24 '17 at 0:56

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