Opinions wanted for cockeyed tiles.

Flooring Forum - DIY & Professional

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HoosierDaddy

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Jul 6, 2012
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Hi,

I had travertine flooring put in and discovered later some problems. The contractor agrees and thinks he can fix things but I want to get some other opinions before doing anything because I can't understand how what he wants to do can fix it.

I am guessing the cause of the problem is that the concrete slab was not flat. So each tile in a row of tiles going down the center of one hall is tilted a little more than the last. The tiles are 18"x18" polished and sharp cut (don't know the term) with 1/8" gaps. I assume all of those factors make it harder to mask the changes in angle of the slab. I mean larger gaps, or rounded edges or smaller tiles where each takes up less of the slack would have ended up looking okay.

Now I suspect the contractor might be able to fix the hallway by completely redoing it BUT the entire first floor of the house was done with no breaks, so fixing the hall would seem to result in creating the same or worse problem at the doorways to the rooms off the hallway. And I'm not sure he can even fix the hall by relaying it because the same people did the hall as the rest of the house so can't figure out how this happened unless it was the best they could do with the changing slope of the slab.

Someone suggested, just having the hall way tile joints ground level and the tiles polished to match and resealed. Is that even possible? And if its done, obviously the tiles would not actually be flat afterwards. It would be gradual but I don't know if that would be very noticeable in the reflections (they are not highly polished).

And I would like to hear about other possible options, including using different tiles, etc. I know the varying angles of the tiles would be totally unnoticeable if the tiles had rounded edges, for example. But I can't really do something that anyone's first reaction will be "why does this area look out of place?"

As I said the contractor has a great reputation and says he will make me happy but he has been paid so I worry that the attitude could easily change. So I am completely agreeable to any solution that would not look strange. I thought about making a runner in the center of the hall out of other smaller, rounded edge tiles but the hall funnels out into a living area and the tilted tiles extend into that a small way and I can't figure out a design that wouldn't look funny. If only the entire first floor wasn't a single continuous run of the same tiles.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.
 

HoosierDaddy

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Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
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Location
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The larger the tile and the smaller the grout joint, the worse it looks on an uneven floor.
Good to know I was right about that since I just "common sensed" it which I often get wrong. LoL

Now I need to figure out what can be done about it.

It makes me uneasy that the contractor thinks he might be able to fix it by just redoing the hall. The same common sense that told me small joints, large tiles and sharp edges made the problem a glaring one tells me it might take changing one or more of those factors, not just doing the same thing again and expecting a different result.

If one tile tilted one way and the next the opposite, redoing it would fix it, but when each tile just tilts farther in the same direction, the two ends of the run are at a big difference in slope, so with large tiles each one has to take up a bigger percent of the total difference. To this laymen, it seems like the difference in angle between each tile is probably already as evenly distributed as possible.

I'm just hoping that like most professions, the experts have a solution that a laymen would never figure out.
 
Last edited:

Ernesto

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Jun 25, 2011
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, AZ
Sounds like he shoulda used a leveling system.

You can have it ground and honed and polished. Might be better than ripping it all out. I dont see anyone re-using stone thats been set already. It will bust to pieces.
 

DennisT

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Joined
Jul 25, 2013
Messages
131
Location
San Jose, CA
Yeah, if it was laid properly it will not come up except in pieces. There are several companies around here (Northern CA) that can grind a stone floor smooth (similar to terrazzo). If the original stone was expensive that can be a viable option.

I'm surprised that the installer didn't check flatness first thing. With stone & tile there's basically a must list for every install.
1. Check structure and reinforce as needed.
2. Check flatness and fix as needed.
3. Plan pattern in detail (square, center, cuts)
4. Got enough material?
5. Install
etc.

Your installer failed on #2.
 

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