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We're nearing the end of our remodel and we're not happy with the backsplash. We apparently chose a hard tile to work with as there are a lot of little pieces (but sheeted 12x12). Knowing we chose a tough tile, I'm okay that many areas don't have consistent grout lines, I'm even ok with a little lippage. But the showcase area, underneath our hood, looks bad.

The GC has redone part of it a few times but they're saying that the lippage is due to uneven studs. I've done some research and it seems like it might be the thinset was laid on too thick and is shrinking in some places. Is this a normal recent with small sheeted tiles? Can it be fixed?

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    I do not have time for a full answer, so I will leave a comment. It is a bad tile job and the stud excuse is BS – Jack Dec 7 '20 at 15:30
  • If the studs were uneven, the issue would be vertical (since studs run vertically). There could be horizontal blocking behind here that's causing the issue, but it's not a stud. Fixing that would involve ripping open the wall and resetting whatever wood is back there, reapplying the drywall, then resetting the tile. – FreeMan Dec 7 '20 at 15:50
  • Also, it appears that the tiles are from different batches (of stone or fake stone, as appropriate). Are you OK with the color differences? That would annoy me no end! – FreeMan Dec 7 '20 at 16:06
  • The tile is sheeted marble: wayfair.com/home-improvement/pdp/… There are a couple of patches of dark tiles, part of the problem is that since they had to keep redoing sections of tile they started to dip into the "don't use" box of sheets that we had set aside. – ca136 Dec 7 '20 at 17:23
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    I generally agree with the others... this is fugly. FYI, the right way to install mosaic tile like this is with smooth mastic and a very small V-notch trowel, which makes it difficult to screw up even little tiles--when there's not much behind them they can't move off plane very far. Of course, you need a properly prepared (flat, smooth) wall to begin with. – isherwood Dec 7 '20 at 19:33
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Your instinct is correct: this is a terrible job. As Mongo says, have them redo it. Also, you will never be able to keep it clean with the super deep and rough grout lines. Im curious if this is similar quality to the rest of the job, or limited to the backsplash area? Those tiny tile are hard to use, unless the pattern is attached to webbing first. (This looks like a custom pattern)

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  • The tile is sheeted, so they don't really have to pattern them: wayfair.com/home-improvement/pdp/…. Hopefully they are able to redo it – ca136 Dec 7 '20 at 17:51
  • I think I'd have someone else redo it, on the contractor's dime. They clearly don't care enough to ensure a good outcome. This isn't rocket science for someone with some sense of craftsmanship (or -womanship). – isherwood Dec 7 '20 at 19:25
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There are several different types of "thinset" but I have never seen anything like this except when there was a more significant problem. I have seen uneven studs, wall board, backerboard and so on, and the tile man is always able to compensate for that and get a smooth surface. The local tile guy I like could do any rough surface with a shiny flat tile and make it look like a piece of glass with grout lines.

Your best recourse is to have the GC redo. You have photos, which make the job look very poor, and would not fare well for him. Far better for him to fix the tile blotch up than to have you unhappy with the entire job.

I hope you still have some extra tile, as it will likely be needed for the fix. If you don't, buy some because whoever fixes things will need some.

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    Worth reminding the contractor that bad reviews aren't good for business. Do it nicely, of course, but remind him... – FreeMan Dec 7 '20 at 15:51
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    @FreeMan, agreed. I have more than once seen someone email the contractor the post and pictures and their story, asking if the contractor had any input. In each case this was done reasonably nicely, and the contractor made it right. One person created a new post talking about the nice work and mentioning that one little snafu got resolved quickly and to their satisfaction. I have several friends who are contractors, and they know they make all kinds of mistakes. For the most part, they will admit it, and make things right. Happy customers are like gold. – mongo Dec 7 '20 at 16:03
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    If this guy is trying to give any excuse I would not pay and I could contact the contractors license board and the BBB a simple photo like you have will be enough to get resolution. – Ed Beal Dec 7 '20 at 18:28

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