Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Random tiling

I don't know much about tiling, but I'm learning.  I think a certain gentleman on site may be learning valuable lessons of a different type too!

It would be fair to describe the man in question as older.  He's probably retirement age and came across as an old charmer when he started on site a couple of weeks ago as a tiler in one of the en suites.  With very little English language but full of hand gestures that showed appreciation for my eyes, hair, clothes, etc. he seemed harmless enough and made everyone smile.

So, back to the tiling.  Standard patterns include brick (see below) and grid (where all the tiles are lined up with straight grout lines).  You get herringbone and 2/3 and variations on all of these, but brick and grid are probably the most commonly used.

He started well enough with the shower area of the en suite:

Brick style metro

I then asked for the floor tiles to be placed in a random staggered way.  Much confusion!  But they got it in the end and staggered the floor tiles randomly.


When I asked for the same running horizontally on the wall I was equally clear.  This is what I got:

See the problem?!

Not only are the tiles running vertically, the grout lines are clearly lined up so it looks very un-random, very un-staggered and very much like brick pattern!  (Maybe the lady didn't know what she really wanted so he just did it the way he thought looked best?!)

Not only that but over what will be the recess for the mirror he has run them horizontally, because it involves less cutting I'm guessing (and probably the lady won't ever notice, right?!).

Not random, just inconsistent and bad!

And then there was this:

Spot the mistake on the bottom tile trim?

A few chats later with the boss and the gentleman tiler is re-tiling this wall and fixing the tile trim, and I suspect talks far less now with the team about my beautiful eyes and far more about less desirable qualities he may deem me to have like wanting what I asked for!

At times like these, I find myself questioning whether I'm being overly picky - whether other people would just let it go.  I console myself in this instance with the following facts:
  1. I offered at least three times to draw a plan for the tiling,
  2. the design was confirmed verbally by the boss with the tiler present,
  3. other parts of the tiling were done horizontally, like the niche in the photo above.
(Plus, I warned the builder, in no uncertain terms, that I am super-fussy when it comes to the finish, in particular tiling, and that he would likely hate me when it came to this point of the project!)

This wasn't a miscommunication or language problem, just a pure and simple cock-up!  So I'm okay if I come across less like the charming lady the gentleman tiler thought he was dealing with when he first met me, as I firmly (but fairly, no?) convey I'd like his work done the way I asked!

P.S. In the end, I suggested a compromise: remove and re-fit some of the tiles so that the overall effect was staggered, without switching them all to being horizontal.  I know, I know: I'm a softie!


P.P.S. While on the subject of tiling: here's how this renovation ragazza handles those moments on site when you just have to give the builders your full attention for key decisions, but your little man has lost all appetite for being held quietly!

Artist at work!