My biggest full bathroom remodel regret


I made a mistake in my full bathroom remodel. I learned some things. They're kinda expensive.

So I hate to be a debbie downer or sorts but I feel like this post is necessary to get off my chest. Taking on a full bathroom remodel has been an awesome experience for the most aprt. Everything from finding our contractor, to picking tile to scoring on a better vanity than I’d imagined. I’ve spent so much money on the space. Even though it makes me so happy to enter the space, I don’t feel like I’ve wasted money. Except for the tile installation.

You may or may not know the breif story I told about my first attempt at tiling. We initially tried giving the bathroom a “facelift” and I attempted tiling the floors with 2″ white hexagon tiles. I loved the tile and was pumped to get it done. I watched so many youtube videos and the guys and lowe’s, home depot and the tile shop assured me it was an easy DIY. Time consuming, but easy. I feel like the only person on this planet that doesn’t find tiling easy.

When we came to the decision to hire a contractor, I was happy to pass the tiling responsibility off. I didn’t want to touch anything that wasn’t cosmetic. I’ll share later what I did do, but today is about my regret. The one thing that makes me cringe everytime I use the bathroom.

When our contractor asked us about how we wanted to do the bathtub/shower situation, I excitedly showed him pictures of built in shelves I’d found on Pinterest. He said it was doable but gave us an additional list of supplies we’d need to get it done. For the shower wall alcove we were also going to need border and bullnose tiles to match the gorgeous jeffrey court tiles. I cannot beleive how difficult it is to find bright white tiles. We eventually found them at The Tile Shop and spent an arm and a leg and our last bit of patience getting the pieces we needed (short story- they promised us tiles on a certain day and it didn’t come).

So what was the big regret?

crooked and misaligned tiles

poorly grouted and tiled bathroom shower moroccan inspired tile

But after the contactor got to laying in the tile, I started to worry about how things lined up. I marked the especially noticeable ones and had him fix them. But there are still so many imperfections. Many of the tile sheets aren’t spaced correctly. Some are raised off the wall more than others. The corners didn’t match up (and he neglected to use caulk and used a messy thick line of mortar). And the alcove border is sloppy. Some of the tiles are crooked and the moroccan inspired tiles around it weren’t properly cut to fit.

I think it looks pretty bad.

moroccan inspired tiled bath and shower combo walls with an alcove- biggest regret is the imperfect tile job

So what could I have done differently?

I should’ve stuck to my guns and required the border be done the way I wanted it be done.

I should’ve asked for proof he’d know how to work with uniquely shaped tile like these ones.

What can I do now?

I can take a tiling class. I know that the big home improvement stores have classes pretty often. And I can learn how to fix this myself. Or I can bring in someone with proof of experience to remove the worst tiles and lay a cleaner borner of tiles. Supervised. So I can have adjustments made before everything is set and “permanent.”

I’ve learned a lesson. I have to wait until after we replace the roof and windows and give the kitchen a facelift (aka forever) to get this fixed but I know for sure it’s not going to happen again. Expensive mistakes are hard to swallow but I had to share. A terrible tile job isn’t something I’ll have to live with forever, but it’s made the elation of the other progress not as exciting.

Have you had a home improvement project go wrong? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. I hope I’m not the only one!


Comments

  1. says

    I think you have such a unique style and you OWN it. I like the idea and the Moroccan style tiles, but girl, if feel you on it not lining up in the corners. I would hate to have to redo all that hard work. With that said, as a viewer I like how it looks, but I as a designer and perfectionist…I would change it. Honest opinion. Thank you for sharing this experience, not many bloggers share the downsides of DIY’s. Very much appreciated!

    • corinna.ah@gmail.com says

      Thank you Jessica! It was so hard to share these pictures. Even though I’m not the one who screwed it up, I still don’t want to share that my house looks like this :/ But it has felt a whole lot better to have it off my chest.

  2. says

    I don’t blame you for wanting the work redone. I’d feel the same way. We hired a contractor to install crown molding in the girls’ bedrooms. I interviewed two contractors and the first included the caulking, filling of nail holes, and painting of the molding. The second estimate was only slightly cheaper so I went with him. Long story short–I was in tears when they said they were finished because it was primed molding with no caulk and nail holes everywhere. I asked when they were painting and they said I’d have to hire someone else to do that. And that’s when I realized I never confirmed painting with them–I assumed it was included because it was with the first contractor. One year later, we finally had the painting finished. I like learning experiences, even if they’re painful. Always get a written estimate, and ask up front what is and isn’t included. At least it won’t happen again!

  3. Holly says

    Yikes that is bad! I can’t believe the contractor was ok to leave that type of quality work. Is there no way to make him come back and fix it? Hopefully the silver lining is that others wanting to use that gorgeous tile in their remodels will now know what to look and ask for. Hugs girl.

  4. Fiona says

    Great style! You should not have paid the contractor!!!!
    Does look gorgeous but the not lining up is not professional!

  5. Nicole says

    I actually think that the problem mainly comes from the grout color- high contrast for this type of tile means you are going to emphasize the weird angles that are left at the edges and in the corners. Can you change the grout??

  6. Juli Thurston says

    I was a kitchen and bath designer at both Home Depot and Lowes. One thing I always did for my clients, and still do for private clients, is a detailed tile plan and elevations for all walks with details of each tile. Before any work is done, the drawings are reviewed by the contractor, and corrections or adjustments are made and the final designs are signed off by the client. I would have used a white mortar base (not sure if you did) and make sure the grout is stain proof or has a stain proof additive mixed in. Good luck!

  7. kaiti says

    I did a complete Kitchen remodel 3 years ago and right in the middle, my contractor had an epiphany, he decided he didn’t want to work anymore. I had to scramble to find another contractor willing to step in, I called more contractors then you can imagine and none wanted the responsibility. I called the company i purchased the cabinets from and they where able to finally help me out, but is was really scary for about 3 weeks.

  8. Louise says

    Corinna, I don’t know how long ago you did this reno but I would not have paid the tiler till he/ she fixed it. It is a shabby job. Maybe suggest they fix it or you will give them a review on every platform available and include the images. That is not a professional job. I rebuilt our kitchen nearly a year ago. Double brick walls. The electrician drilled a hole for the socket in the wrong place. My genius cabinet maker placed a cabinet over it and aligned it with an alternative. Then he built me another cupboard to cover the ensuing space. Only a small problem but I learnt from it.

  9. Steven Robinson says

    As a professional tile installer, I was looking for examples of bad installations and came across your blog. Now the craftsmanship leaves a lot to be desired. It’s pretty bad. That said, I hate to say it, but the biggest problem is the design. The moroccan style tile should never be asked to “turn” a corner. It should be used as an accent wall or set within borders. When you try to turn a corner (which your installer didn’t even attempt) it rarely lays out well and can end up looking odd. In your case, the installer just not give a $#!@. If you end up redoing the shower, let the moroccan tile just be the back wall and let the sides be a different, preferably square tile and your results will be much different. If you want to keep the design, be prepared to hire the best installer you can find and pay A LOT of money because these sort of installations take a lot of skill, patience, and time to get right.

  10. BexBee says

    Ok so ive just fully reovated my house and while im ok at tiling i leave the finishing jobs to the professionals and stick to 1st yr apprentice work only. that tile you chose is super technical so not something a biginner should cut their teeth on. I always get 3 quotes and i dont usually go with the cheepest. I pay a 10% deposit and the balance on completion so if it looks rubbish you can bet i aint parting with the balance till its fixed, this tends to ensure im not left disappointed.

  11. mandy cat says

    Our most memorable DIY experience resulted from a series of mishaps that weren’t actually anyone’s fault or mistake, just bad luck. Short story: Replacing an electric stove with a downdraft gas range snowballed into a new hot water heater, a new upstairs toilet and vanity and new flooring in the finished part of our basement. For a while it looked like The Three Stooges Visit HGTV.

  12. Susan says

    We have been going through the same thing….over a year fighting with the contractor. The pitch in the shower was supposed to be smooth for no entry with a 3″ pitch…0
    Puddle in the shower. The floor is a 1/4 off on the heated floor. Grout from 1/4 to 3/4″. He even grouted the toilet to the floor because it wasn’t even! I can’t even take a relaxing bath because the grout is cracking around the tiles. We are now redoing our bathroom with a professional.