We had a contractor come in and tile our fireplace. The front (where the eye goes immediately) is not flush with the rest and creates a visible line that is driving us crazy. Is there anything we can do ourselves such as sanding or re-grouting that can fix this problem?

We have already paid a lot for the entire job as they also did the cement boards underneath. They are blaming the different thicknesses of the tiles for this look. Is this bad enough for them to come in and redo it from the ground up free of charge? enter image description here enter image description here Thanks!

  • what is causing the horizontal lines?
    – jsotola
    Jan 24, 2019 at 1:16
  • @jsotola - these tiles come attached to a sheet of mesh. The tiles on the mesh have a given spacing. Hang the sheets wrong and it looks like this.
    – Mazura
    Jan 24, 2019 at 1:45
  • 1
    Unless it is actually different thicknesses of the tiles. - Do you still have any of the boxes, or can look it up? Bet you money the manufacturer says to mix your boxes of tiles for this reason.
    – Mazura
    Jan 24, 2019 at 1:59
  • This isn't exactly something you don't notice while doing it, but it is something you might hope grout will let you get away with. It sucks, but really tho, put a shelf or whatever... with stuff on it. - Or have some guys back in your house tearing it apart, who don't want to be there...
    – Mazura
    Jan 24, 2019 at 2:04
  • 1
    @Jsotola. Actually, we tried that and shining a beam directly on it made the lip dissapear :P
    – annsimd
    Jan 24, 2019 at 2:59

3 Answers 3


There's nothing you can do to fix it short of tearing it out and starting over. Any sanding or grinding you might try will be even more evident in the difference in finish and texture.

I doubt there is a significant difference in the thickness of the ledger panels. But even if their is, that's part of the job of a tile setter - compensating for materials and substrate to get an even, clean, finished look.

I wouldn't be happy with it either. But it will mean tearing out much of the job to fix it. Good luck.

  • I can only hope that it shows up worse in the picture, just like the last botched job I did. Mine was tiny circles, and if you look hard enough you can see it, but it's definitely there on a picture. Thought's were to ease some of the grout out; it shows because the grout line is too big. - And I have sanded down entire floor medallions, to some effect. That would probably just end up looking wavy though. Take it down or put some art.
    – Mazura
    Jan 24, 2019 at 2:06

it is definitely not a tile thickness issue. I have never seen mosaic being off that much. If this is not a natural stone, the tiles would be super uniform. Even natural stones are cut precisely and we cannot pickup imperfections with the naked eye like this.

it is happening on a straight line, thus most likely the cement boards are not being leveled. It is also possible they used different trowel sizes on each side resulting into thicker thinset on the right.

You can take off just the tiles, grind down the thinset and reinstall. I know mosaic are expensive but no easier way 😔


Other than being wrong, it really shows atm because it still has grout haze on it. Worse, it's more than haze where it bumps out because when they wiped it with a sponge it stayed in the depression behind it.

White abrasive scrub pad and vinegar. If you use green scrubbies your grout will turn green. Do the whole thing, and if I'm right, you'll see the 'more than haze' still there... Scrub it. (hashtag: unsanded grout sucks ;)

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