1. Loose tiles
I used a tool to hit the tiles and listen for a low pitch sound or hollow sound. I tapped every single tile.
The ‘hollow’ tile is just at the level of my pots, pans and ladle of my hob. The contractor commented that the ‘hollow tile’ did not bond and the tiles were not hydrated enough after soaking. The tiler did not soak the tiles and used tile adhesive in this case. It was just a matter of time for that tile to loosen and fall.
Some tiles were slightly ‘hollow’ sounding at small patches near the corner and sounded different at the cut out hole for exhaust fan, ducting and electrical switch area. That was acceptable for me.
Only one wall tile needed to be replaced.
The tiler had used a circular saw to saw across the tiles to replace it.
I was present during 80% of the floor installation and back butter technique was used. I did not dare to check it with marble as I was not keen on it being rectified. The wall tile that was replaced had some mild microchips at the corner of its neighbouring tile.
2. Grout size
The horizontal grout gap was 1.5mm. Vertical grout gap was 1.5- 2mm. Spacer was not used for vertical grout gap.
The contractor did warn me that the grout gap would not be consistent for the floor as they had to adjust it for the flow gradient that was requested. It seem fine to me. They installed the floor tiles without spacers.
3. Grout filling
The grout filling for the wall tile was fine.
Grout was slightly underfilled for one area of the floor tiles.
4. Tile placement
6. Tile lippage
Tile lippage means a difference in height between the adjacent tiles. A relative who have just renovated the kitchen had such bad tile lippage that it was so uncomfortable to walk on it. It is a falls risk.
The wall tile lippage is visible in the video above. My contractor had also commented that the tiles seem to have some degree of warpage. The lippage is about 1mm which is acceptable.
I tried walking on the floor barefooted to spot any obvious uneven ground.
7. Countertop finish
The tiler had dry lay it before installing. The edges were well polished.
The darker grey cement plaster below the countertop was done nicely. I had a friend whose tiler left a gap between the vertical tile and the concrete countertop and eventually plastered it messily after the cabinet was installed.
Piglet checked the slope using his phone. It was between 1-4 degrees. The tilers had used a spirit level after installing every single tile.
It was just 1 day after tiling the floor so using water would not have been the best idea to check the slope. The tiling gave me the go ahead to step on it 1 day after tiling. I swept the floor and tested it.
9. Floor trap & Drain Cover
I had the concern of cockroaches coming out from the drain cover & floor trap and the contractor provided those that were well covered. All of them are stainless steel material.
There are two floor traps in the kitchen:
a) Washing machine outlet at a corner.
b) Two outlets from the sink (dry kitchen and wet kitchen) meet.
Contractor had requested the tiler to leave it to him to install it.
10. Tiles with fixtures
I discussed the above with the contractor and he will be plastering that part after the electrician does the 2nd fix. The dry kitchen ones are fine. It’s just the wet kitchen back box area.
11. Grout Haze and Cleaning the Tiles
Wall tiles and backsplash
The contractor was planning to send his workers the following week to clean the wall grout haze. It is best done within the week it is grouted so that it would not harden too much causing it to be difficult to clean. Acid wash would not be suitable for the wall/ backsplash as the grout might discolour.
I just used water, cloth and gloves to clean the tiles.
The contractor gave me the go ahead to wet the floor 3 days after tile installation. He had advised to wash the floor (hose down) instead of mopping the floor since it is dirty.
I used a kitchen cleaning sponge to scrub the floor tiles one by one. There were a few tiles that had patches of cement on it. It was not obvious and blended into the tile design. The contractor offered to do a mild acid wash but piglet declined it as we were worried that it would cause chemical damage to the tiles.
12. Cracked tiles
While scrubbing each tile, I noticed that one tile had a slight crack. It wasn’t obvious too. I wet it, checked it at different angle, compared it with another tile of similar design and used my hands to feel the surface. I was not keen on replacing it as it was just adjacent to the countertop tile and might actually look better leaving it compared to a replacement.
Piglet had a look and he accepted it as part of the ‘design’. The contractor thought it was just a scratch initially but after looking closer he confirmed it was a crack.