Cracking tile claim creates dispute in Indiananpolis area
COMPLAINT: Jerry and Jennifer Long, Camby, Ind.
"Shaw's Custom Handy Work in Zionsville [Ind.] installed ceramic tile flooring in our kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and sunroom. After six months, tiles started cracking. Mike Shaw replaced tiles, but a few months later, more tiles cracked and grout starting coming out of the joints. He replaced those tiles and the grout, but we're still having problems. The tiles are at different heights, which makes it difficult to move chairs over the floor. Mike blamed the problems on the tile, so we contacted the home improvement store.
"They contacted the manufacturer, which sent an inspector. The inspector's report stated the issue was the installation, not the tile. Several other companies have also stated that it was an improper installation. The tile was installed directly over a vinyl floor with no backer board, which we've been told is incorrect. The only way to correct the issue is to tear the floor out and start over. We gave Mike Shaw the inspection report and expressed our desire to have him tear out the floor and start over, but we haven't received a reply."
DESIRED RESOLUTION: "We want Shaw's to replace the floor and install the new one correctly."
RESPONSE: Michael Shaw, owner, Shaw's Custom Handy Work
"Yes, after six months, one tile cracked and I replaced it. Three months later, two other tiles cracked, and I inspected the entire floor and replaced four tiles and the grout. I explained to the members that the problem was the tile contacting the substrate, but not bonding to it. The tiles used were 20-inch-by-20-inch, and if the floor has a slight wave to it, they can sit high on one side, causing weak contact. To [reassure] the owners, I extended the warranty for two years.
"I thought everything was OK, but they came back with a new complaint that they didn't like the pattern in some of the tiles and they wanted me to replace them, even though they weren't damaged. I gave them the price to change out the tiles, but they said they wouldn't pay for it. Now they want the entire floor replaced because another installer says he would have done it differently.
"According to my manufacturer, the subfloor preparation was within the proper specs. The linoleum tiles that were there were stripped, scarified and primed to maximize the tile's bond. I used a mortar that exceeds [industry] standards and is designed to bond to substrates including plywood, vinyl tile and existing ceramic tile."