Tile Installation | What you don’t know could cost you

Tile Installation

Tile Installation | What you don’t know could cost you

Tile installation in a bathroom is very popular and quite typical for our clients.

One of our showers (in progress) prior to the shower door being installed | Designer, Sheri Bruneau

The situation that I’m going to talk about for this blog is such a sad story. Here is the history.


We are very fortunate to be taking on the construction for a design colleague of mine, Caireen Kennedy with Shift Modern Homes. We are going to take Caireen’s basement development design and make it a dream for her clients. Prior to us starting our work, Caireen’s clients mentioned to us that their one and only main bathroom upstairs was having water issues and seemed to have issues with the tile installation. We were tasked to look at it prior to closing up the ceiling in the basement.

tile Installation
Super cute main bathroom, right? | Design and construction by unknown

Upon entering the bathroom, it was evident this was a recent project and we quickly saw reasons why there might be issues.

bad tile Installation
Grout was coming out and tiles were starting to lift up. This is a heated floor. This is not a great tile installation as the necessary prep work was not done.

bad tile Installation
The tile job in the shower was actually quite bad. While I do not like to throw trades under the bus, this shower job is bad. I’m actually glad I don’t know who it is that installed this as they’d get a piece of my mind. There were tiles with grout lines and without grout lines. There were clear areas where the extra grout was added due to a poor cut leaving gaps and uneven spacing. With wall tiles near the base of the shower starting to come off, it was evident what we needed to do.

The Plan

If I could have personally called Mike Holmes, I would have. Mike would have been disgusted at the tile installation work we were looking at. We knew we had to make this right for our clients.

My site supervisor and I had our walkthrough and got on the phone with our trades. I asked our trades to really sharpen their pencils for this one.

We all pulled together with a quick calendar and a plan to make it right. Here is our scope for this bathroom

  • Removal of all floor tile and heat mat. This will allow us to check the subfloor to ensure that it is level. .
  • Removal of the entire shower.
  • While the walls are open in the shower, we are going to be adding in some additional spray foam in a ‘dead area’ of the home.
  • Drywall and prep the shower.
  • Re-tile the entire shower adding in a shower niche (which our clients wished but did not receive the first go-around).
  • Paint
  • Reinstall all of the fixtures.
  • Have this all put back together and then move to the basement development.

Now we see why the tub was loose and the drain not fully connected. Why there are 2 tiles totally missing is….I’ll just leave it at that.

Two Lessons to Learn for Tile Installation

As I mentioned above, I just felt sick to my stomach for our clients. They really had no idea just how bad of a tile job it really was (and they still don’t know my full feelings on this). Our clients were hit with this fix just before embarking on a full basement development . We are very fortunate that they have the funds to fix this prior to us starting the basement.

Here are 2 of my recommendations if you are going to be looking at doing any tile work (or any other work for that matter).

1. Check References

When I look at my client roster for our design builds, we have 90% our of clients that are referred to us. Whether it’s a past client or someone who knows our work, I always suggest our clients to talk to past clients (and thank you all of our past clients)! Check references and talk to other people who have had work done. Get their first-hand opinions.

2.Skill set โ€“ what are they?

When you are dealing with a wet area, like a shower, I would never recommend our framer to tile your shower. I would never recommend our drywaller to tile your shower. Our tile setters are not the cheapest, but the are THE best. We have never had warranty work on a tiled shower. Never. In 13 years, not one call-back for warranty work. Why? This is their wheelhouse. This is what they have been trained to do.

tile Installation
One of my favourite tile setters who hates to get his photo taken. He may just kill me for posting this. | Installing herringbone tile in one of our projects

tile Installation
iPhone photo of our tile setter’s immaculate work.

Tile Installation

When it comes to tile work, I think it’s safe to say that it is not an easy job. Please do your due diligence, protect your largest investment (your home), and get peace of mind knowing the job will be done right the first time.

Sheri Bruneau


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