Our contractor laid down a tile on our renovated bathroom and somehow did not realized that it was defective (see picture). The defect is some sort of metal mineral (kind of rough) the kind that would hurt if you are walking barefoot and step on it. We noticed it before it was groutted but told the contractor the following day but by then it was already grouted.

Can anyone suggest a solution to how to polish/remove that mineral part without making too much damage to the tile? We have not yet put the sealant solution onto the tiles.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

enter image description here

  • Red flag: that is not the correct way to use tile spacers. Did the contractor leave those in and grout over top of them?
    – gregmac
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 19:42
  • @gregmac: let's hope not, only a moron would grout over spacers... OMG! Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 20:12
  • err. of course not, I took that picture the day before it was groutted (I meant to tell him to replace the tile before grouting but the following morning when I arrived grout was in)...
    – macutan
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 21:08
  • The kitchen in my last rental apartment had grout over the spacers. Or I should say, there was a thin layer of grout over them before it chipped off, and now almost all the tile corners are exposed.
    – Hank
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 21:19
  • btw, forgot to mention. there is a heated mat (suntouch) underneath the tiles... so removing the tiles (and the thin set below) will definitely be interesting to see...
    – macutan
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 21:28

1 Answer 1


Let's start by saying the tile should be replaced. It still can be replaced even though the grout has been applied. I would insist on it.

There is little that can be done to repair the flawed tile, except sanding or grinding down the flaw. This would have to be done with extreme caution in order not to scratch and damage the area around the flaw. Perhaps a small stone on a Dremel tool might work if your careful. I doubt you will remove the off color, however. Hopefully the overall finish is a matte finish, because you probably could not bring it to a high polish finish without specialized tools like granite cutters use.

  • 1
    I agree with replacing the tile. As the slate is a natural material you have no idea how deep the flaw is. It may go all the way through.
    – mikes
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 21:24
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    I also see now that that piece is cut around a pipe. The contractor knows it will take a little extra work to replace that one, so kinda sluffed it off. I'd be on it and get it replaced at no charge. Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 21:29
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    He realized the tile was defective, he just didn't care. How can one not see that defect while laying tile? He should eat it and replace the tile!
    – Gunner
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 22:08
  • Yep, I agree. been doing GC for 14 yrs, I would never let this happen. It's called quality. Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 22:40
  • Maybe the installer thought he would use the defective tile in way that the defect would be cut away as part of the pipe cutout. And then marked the tile on the wrong side and cut out the good area instead. If this is the case then this installer should be fired after the error is remedied. If there is any chance to withhold payment for the job till after the tile is replaced it will give you some leverage.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 4:35

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