Yet Another Decision

I have to make a decision on who’s going to tile our bathrooms:

  1. Us,
  2. Friend of a friend,
  3. Pro.

I have pretty much ruled #1 out because the amount of tile we have would be time-consuming and tedious, not to mention it must be done meticulously since it must also be waterproof.  I’m not good at sustained tedious and meticulous. Plus I’d have to buy a tile saw.

Doors, trim floors, etc. -- everything except painting and insulation.
Our friend does doors, trim floors, etc. — everything except painting and insulation.

Our friend (who by the way is a professional carpenter and all around handy man) has been helping us with various projects and he knows how to do everything.  In addition he has access to other people who know how to do things. (He supplied us with our drywall finishers who did a fine job for us.)

Epoxy grout is not easy to work with and is mixed in 3 parts.
Epoxy grout is not easy to work with and is mixed in 3 parts.

If our friend’s colleague  does the job I’ll need to supply the tile, the mastic, and the grout. His estimate for just the labor is $2500 (regular grout) or $3200 (epoxy grout) for the conservatory bathroom.  Floors only in the downstairs bathroom: $700 to $900 depending on grout.

The master shower waterproofing comes out onto the floor of the bathroom which now needs to be tiled.
The master shower waterproofing comes out onto the floor of the bathroom which now needs to be tiled.

Finally the contractor who put the Kerdi waterproofing in our showers has given me the following estimate with the understanding that I will supply tile and grout. He will supply thinset or mastic.

  • Conservatory bathroom floor: $890.
  • Conservatory shower walls: $2900.
  • Master bathroom floor: $1150.
  • Master bathroom shower walls: $3300.

Since I received the pro’s quote first I had decided that if the subsequent estimate was in the 80% ball park I would let the pro have the contract.  If the numbers were more like 50% then I would have to really consider the pros and cons of each proposal.

The Pro laying waterproofing membrane.
The Pro laying waterproofing membrane.

One of the considerations was that the pro had installed the waterproofing so if there was ultimately a water damage problem it would probably be better for the same person to have installed at least the floor tile. I’m trying to avoid a who-struck-John* incident.

When the tile is in I'll feel the major part of our new bathrooms will be finished: only toilets, faucets, and sinks remaining.
When the tile is in I’ll feel the major part of our new bathrooms will be finished: only toilets, faucets, and sinks remaining.

Also I considered the personalities of the two men:

  • The pro answered my questions and gave me information before I asked. He seemed proactive.
  • The friend of a friend, while a professional tiler, seemed perplexed by some of my questions. He really didn’t want to make a recommendation.

So Charlie and I have decided to go with the Pro (who actually did a similar job at my workplace).

A newly tiled shower worked into an old bathroom with a minimal threshold.
A newly tiled shower worked into an old bathroom with a minimal threshold.

Phew. This whole affair gave me a headache.

*who struck John =  finger-pointing, blame-fixing, excuses, accusations

Do you like artistic/practical decisions that also involve finances? Or do they give you a headache?

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Author: Jo

Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights. We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house. Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.

11 thoughts on “Yet Another Decision”

  1. My other half did it himself, he’s not a tiler. It looks good but not fantastic.
    Personality is really important. We’ve been looking for a landscaper for over a year, we’ve only just picked one! X

  2. This very decision gave me heartburn. If your pro is actually a tiler, it may be good to just write the check. I called two of those, one who my parents like a lot who won’t go to the city or to Jersey, and one the Irishman works with who apparently retiled all the bathrooms in the Valley Forge Casino. And then the tilers I got did no better than I would have and I didn’t keep them on to do the walls.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Chad. You’re much more of a craftsman than I am. Since tile is “forever” I’d like it to be as good as possible. I’ll write the check as you suggest. Jo

  3. Many decisions give me headaches. I think you’re wise to go with the pro. You’ve put so much time and thought into your longterm renovations that it would be a shame to regret this big decision down the line. Lots of money but it’s a very visible job that must be done right.

  4. “Always have the job done by someone you can sue.” While I’m not a litigious person, when you’re dealing with a water area, I’d say it’s best to go with a pro!

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