Before and After; Saving Timbers


After: Panorama Saving Timbers Project

Here are before and after photos of the Saving Timbers project, the job that inspired us to post the currently popular Cheap? Buyer Beware! 

It would have been nice to plan ahead with side by side comparison photos; alas the tile was torn out by the time we arrived. All our before photos come via the project Owner. Besides our brains are not thinking about how to frame the content in BEFORE/AFTER format, that’s a problem for @tilepup (a fantastic yet vacant employment position at Mosaic), but rather our minds are laser focused on how we are going to earn the trust of our once bitten twice shy client so they let us save their project. You will have to settle for the photo narrative companion.  Away we go.

Fig 1.: Before

Layout matters. In Cheap? we indicated that Clients may not know the words for what is right tiling and wrong tiling, but they know good from bad when they see it. We talked about Symmetry and Proportion. In Fig 1. the tub deck layout is not proportioned to the wall layout. See the minimal and very noticeable offsetting joints from the tub deck at the back of the tub with respect to the wall tile above it? The offset should be half tile or lined up joint to joint. Looking to the back right of the tub deck, there is what we call a “finger” tile. Its a skinny cut tile. Finger cuts lack symmetry; hence, they are undesirable. What is worse than a skinny cut running along the head of the tub to the front of the tub deck? (opposite the commode) The finger is in full view of the King (or Queen) on her throne for perpetuity. Nobody gives the King the finger. Not once and definitely not forever. Its just not right. Spots of blue tape in the foreground probably indicate flatness straightness issues. In the background, there is no grout joint above and below the mosaic band. And there is no joint at the mitered bullnose upper left. Blue tape in the corner of the back splash wall (barely visable) probably shows flatness and/or an inconsistent cut out of plumb. Moving on.

In Fig 2. below We can see a whole corner of hot mess. Are we going with no joint in the corner? Or big fat joints? (pun intended) Again we can see no joint below the mosaic. And then some where along the mosaic (out of view), the installer added a joint above the mosaic. I’m scared to see the place where he went from none to some joint. Above the mosaic, we can see the right cut is coming in higher than the left, not by much, but if you are going with a really tight joint like here, the defect shows. Last the mosaics on the right are sticking out from the face of the tile. Its just not flat. May I be blunt? (pun intended again) This cannot be defended.

Fig 2: Before
Fig 3. Before









Fig 3. Added without comment. :-O

Fig. 4 Before. Tagged “Mastic”.

What does this mean to you?  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture of one word, brings a thousand word focus on that one word. Case in point, Fig. 4’s “Mastic”. What does it say if I put myself in the Owner/photographer’s shoes.  It says:

“For the last few days I’ve been going around and around with you about this little nagging thing and that nit pick in your tile work. All you have done is minimize my concerns.

“You being the expert, I trusted your judgement. I figured it was just me being overly critical, so I gave you your due. But then you put up more work, and frankly it too just does not look right, but I can’t find the words to describe why it is wrong. So that you will understand what I want, And we can sort this thing out.

“When again I am met by your minimizing talk, I begin to ask around, because I am beginning to not trust you. So I ask a trusted friend in the business who knows a thing or two about tile. Actually he might know a lot. He might be an experienced tile-setter. After all its not that uncommon to find one. The uncommon thing is finding one who is not too busy to fit in your schedule. When you know that guy, then you know you’ve met a guy you can trust. So after sharing a few of my concerns that you have so cavalierly dismissed as no big deal, I am beginning to suspect that you are a fraud.

“You see. A fraud is a person who does not have your best interests at heart. He will win your confidence, promise you the moon, take your money, and leave you with swampland in Florida which he deviously trade-named Boca Beachfront. Only no Boca and no Beachfront; Just the mud the blood and the tears. And gators. Lots of gators.

“I am beginning to fear that I have a tile job full of gators. But how to prove it so that I can begin to drain the swamp. So that I can move you off the job and move in someone whom I can trust.

“So mister fraud, I did a little reading on the interwebs about tiling. I found out that using mastic in showers has a questionable reputation. And while I have seen a bucket of mastic on the job, you assured me you were not using it in the shower. And lo and behold when I removed this tile from the shower, it appears to be bonded with mastic. I think we are done here.


Below are the after photos. The work looks right. Everything proportioned, no skinny cuts, plumb level flat and square. Plus there are field fabrications like quirk mitres so we could wrap the corner of the tubdeck with the field tile. Its a nice treatment to view and really opens the design possibilities not being constrained by needing to put a bullnose there where the shape of it may not be proportioned to the layout.




Quirk mitre

h/t Wes McUmber for the artful install