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My contractor started tiling the bathroom with these tiles and the spacing between them is all over the place. I pointed it out to the contractor who said the tiles are slightly different sizes. Even spacing between pieces on the mesh are slightly off. The gaps range from almost touching to being able to fit 1.5 of the spacer. Reading more and it looks like we needed rectified tile to avoid this issue but still seems like the variation is extreme. Are there any tips on how to reduce it?

EDIT: Or is my contractor selling me a story that it's like this because they're not rectified and tiler is just doing a crap job?

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  • The "next to the bottom right side point" is chipped in your pictures. This smells of using reject/seconds tile. Certainly that tile should have been cut out and replaced, not installed with a chipped end. The left tile two above that also looks dubious, but not as plainly chipped. Did you supply the tile, or did the contractor supply it?
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 8, 2022 at 12:38
  • I supplied it, I wouldn't be surprised given the price and if you saw the back alley warehouse they were purchased from.
    – riotburn
    Apr 8, 2022 at 13:27

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I doubt the tile pieces themselves are bad. You can confirm this by stripping them off one of the bad sheets, and stacking them to see if there is a size variation.

More likely, the mesh sheets are poorly done or have been abused. These tiles are backed by a mesh and the placement could be off from the factory, or the mesh is stretched during placement/storage, or the mesh has lost its strength because it is old or of poor quality.

Generally I would return the tile.

You will regret it if the spacing is not 100%, and you cannot expect the tile layer to adjust & correct every single tile space.

When viewed from a distance these patterns offsets can become unsightly even to the untrained eye.

If it's just in one or two sheets, then you have to manually space the tiles. Also, using a colour matched grout will help obscure the problem.

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  • we did take them off the mesh and looked at the tiles. There is some variation. Looking at another manufacturers tile, they recommend a 3/16" grout line whereas they were using 1/16" spacers for these. To be fair to the contractor, the gap in the mesh fit 1/16" spacers and that gap was inconsistent too. They're taking the tile off, separating them and using 3/16" spacers.
    – riotburn
    Apr 8, 2022 at 13:44
  • And the savings on tile price go right out the window with increased labor costs... ;-) Might as well inspect and reject the chipped ones while doing that. They can be saved for use where the chipped part would be cut off anyway.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 8, 2022 at 13:53
  • Live and learn. Thanks for your response. Variation in tile size is normal from what I read except for rectified, just need to use a wider grout line. The mesh spacing was the issue. Not contractors fault but he also should've pointed out the issue earlier rather than keep tiling.
    – riotburn
    Apr 8, 2022 at 13:59
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    @riotburn "Not contractors fault but he also should've pointed out the issue earlier rather than keep tiling." - This is beyond common. Since you're the one that bought the product, the contractor just wants to get the job done and move on; you bought it so that means you were satisfied with the quality. It costs labor to point out your mistake. I assume the contractor is not an experienced tiler so you get what you pay for.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Apr 8, 2022 at 15:12
  • @MonkeyZeus its coming out a lot better cutting the mesh and using bigger spacers.
    – riotburn
    Apr 8, 2022 at 17:50

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