Bunbun81

Member
Jan 30, 2022
12
Los Angeles, CA
Was nearing completion on a project. Waterline tile bought at floor and decor (dream Icelandic blue) and verified to be OK for pool use. Builder just wanted us to make sure before use, which we did, and showed him the website and the label at floor and decor, so it was installed. One week after installation, the side facing the sun spontaneously started breaking. Builder states a fracture barrier was used.

Now, the builder is saying that he requires the pool glass tile testing specs to prove it is rated for pool use and he is requiring us to pay for all cost to remove and replace the tile as well as cost of new materials. Our contract does not say anything about us needing to do any of this. We had graciously offered to pay for the cost of replacement tile as a goodwill gesture, however, he is not satisfied with this. There are gaps between the grout and the coping that I’m not sure are related to why the glass tile is breaking.

Additionally, the custom gradient tile for the waterfall had already been installed so sloppily I could’ve done better myself (totally crooked). Would take months to order a new one. So, this is adding insult to injury.

The building company made the purchase of the waterline tile—yet they are having us make the phone calls to floor and decor and try to negotiate with them. Legally, and contractually, they are on the hook for basically covering all of it to my understanding. At any rate, floor and decor already already told us there’s a warranty that would refund the cost of the waterline tile.

Advice appreciated about how to proceed in discussing next steps!
 

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klanel

Silver Supporter
Jul 11, 2021
482
Athens, GA
Did the builder buy the tile or did you? If you bought it then you seem to be in the middle between the builder saying that it was installed correctly and the tile mfg who says it is suitable for pool use. If they are pointing their fingers at each other, that sort of makes it your problem unless you can prove otherwise. This is a situation where if it were me, I would have preferred the builder to be using his own tile and in that case, it would be on him. I will say the pic on the right that doesn't line up looks like a sloppy job was done. Good luck.

I just re-read your post and see the builder bought the tile. Either way, it's still sloppy looking work and I'd want it done correctly.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
33,578
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Welcome to TFP.

You have two different disputes that should be negotiated seperately and not linked together.

On the waterline tile you say Floor and Decor will refund the cost. So you are even there. Now you have the redo costs. A compromise with the builder may be to spilt those costs.

On the sloppy work your problem is if there are no workmanship specifications in your builder agreement then it will fall onto you to convince a judge the work is not up to general community standards.

How much of your contract have you paid? Do you have payment leverage?

You are in California which has strong consumer protections for pool builds. @Dirk has written on how to work the process in California.
 
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Bunbun81

Member
Jan 30, 2022
12
Los Angeles, CA
Did the builder buy the tile or did you? If you bought it then you seem to be in the middle between the builder saying that it was installed correctly and the tile mfg who says it is suitable for pool use. If they are pointing their fingers at each other, that sort of makes it your problem unless you can prove otherwise. This is a situation where if it were me, I would have preferred the builder to be using his own tile and in that case, it would be on him. I will say the pic on the right that doesn't line up looks like a sloppy job was done. Good luck.

I just re-read your post and see the builder bought the tile. Either way, it's still sloppy looking work and I'd want it done correctly.
As we see it, it’s rather outrageous to expect us to pay to remove and replace the tile they purchased and installed.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
33,578
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
As we see it, it’s rather outrageous to expect us to pay to remove and replace the tile they purchased and installed.

Did the pool builder recommend the tile - no.

Did the customer choose the tile and vendor and instruct the builder to purchase it - yes.

I rest my case your Honor.
 
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MAPR-Austin

In The Industry
Feb 23, 2021
37
Kansas City, MO
I'm not from California, so I cannot speak to the specific protections or options available to you.

Generally, you could look to the ANSI or TCNA standards for the tile work. The spillway 1x1 tile almost certainly is not on you, but is on the installer. It should be redone.

The waterline tile is a bit more tricky. If it is truly just a material defect, then I don't know that you can go back on the installer. Cost of materials will be a fraction of the labor to remove/replace the tile.

One thing to figure out is if they have any expansion joints installed in the tile. This would be areas where a sealant/caulk was used in lieu of grout between the tiles. I believe it should be every 8' or so. Most grout manufacturers make color matched sealants for this purpose, so it might be hard to locate by sight. I suspect it should be sealant between the tile and coping as well, not just grout.

The reason for this is to help accommodate differential expansion (one material absorbing heat and expanding faster than the materials around it) - which can cause exactly the type of damage you are seeing. If there are no expansion joints, then it makes a lot of sense that the sunny wall would be the one experiencing the issues.

If the tile is installed wrong, it should be on the contractor. There are plenty of resources (ANSI and TCNA) that detail the industry standards for tile installation - there is not a lot of wiggle room.

Edit: Also, a fracture barrier is not going to help with differential expansion. It would presumably help with and cracks in the gunite coming through the tile, but that does not sound like what is happening here.
 

Bunbun81

Member
Jan 30, 2022
12
Los Angeles, CA
I'm not from California, so I cannot speak to the specific protections or options available to you.

Generally, you could look to the ANSI or TCNA standards for the tile work. The spillway 1x1 tile almost certainly is not on you, but is on the installer. It should be redone.

The waterline tile is a bit more tricky. If it is truly just a material defect, then I don't know that you can go back on the installer. Cost of materials will be a fraction of the labor to remove/replace the tile.

One thing to figure out is if they have any expansion joints installed in the tile. This would be areas where a sealant/caulk was used in lieu of grout between the tiles. I believe it should be every 8' or so. Most grout manufacturers make color matched sealants for this purpose, so it might be hard to locate by sight. I suspect it should be sealant between the tile and coping as well, not just grout.

The reason for this is to help accommodate differential expansion (one material absorbing heat and expanding faster than the materials around it) - which can cause exactly the type of damage you are seeing. If there are no expansion joints, then it makes a lot of sense that the sunny wall would be the one experiencing the issues.

If the tile is installed wrong, it should be on the contractor. There are plenty of resources (ANSI and TCNA) that detail the industry standards for tile installation - there is not a lot of wiggle room.

Edit: Also, a fracture barrier is not going to help with differential expansion. It would presumably help with and cracks in the gunite coming through the tile, but that does not sound like what is happening here.
This is very helpful, appreciate you taking the time here. I am 99% sure there are no expansion joints.

Floor and decor responded to our email inquiry and said not to remove the tile for now, and that an independent inspector may need to come check that it was installed correctly. So, if it was, it appears there is some hope that floor and decor would cover the expenses.
 

MAPR-Austin

In The Industry
Feb 23, 2021
37
Kansas City, MO
This is very helpful, appreciate you taking the time here. I am 99% sure there are no expansion joints.

Floor and decor responded to our email inquiry and said not to remove the tile for now, and that an independent inspector may need to come check that it was installed correctly. So, if it was, it appears there is some hope that floor and decor would cover the expenses.
I'm guessing it is more likely that the inspector will call out the installation as at faulty, so F&D will be absolved of fault. This will put it squarely on the shoulders of your PB, and they will probably push back on that.

I would act accordingly - document everything, hold payment if possible until resolved. Don't let them do the interior surface installation, wait until the tile is right. For sure you should look into what you can do on the litigation front, at least to get your bearings. I bet if you know what leverage you have, and communicate that to the PB, you stand a good chance of getting them to make things right without you having to use said leverage. Ask them for their insurance carriers information.

Good luck, keep us updated.
 

Cena_sea

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2021
191
Northern California
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
The web link is confusing. It says interior tile but later says pool safe. I too would assume that meant any pool—not just interior pools. I had looked briefly at another tile from an interior decor store but though it said said recommended use interior/ exterior it never said pool/waterline safe as a few other ones via their site did so I didn’t pursue that tile.

Either way the installation should be redone. The poor installation is on the builder.
 

.ben

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2020
50
Katy, TX
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite Pro (T-15)
I agree that it is ridiculous to expect you to pay for the re-install. So what if you chose the tile? It’s up the the PB to determine if the tile is appropriate for pool use, they are the “experts” after all.

I would also insist on a new tile crew for the re-instal, if possible.
 
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Bunbun81

Member
Jan 30, 2022
12
Los Angeles, CA
Was nearing completion on a project. Waterline tile bought at floor and decor (dream Icelandic blue) and verified to be OK for pool use. Builder just wanted us to make sure before use, which we did, and showed him the website and the label at floor and decor, so it was installed. One week after installation, the side facing the sun spontaneously started breaking. Builder states a fracture barrier was used.

Now, the builder is saying that he requires the pool glass tile testing specs to prove it is rated for pool use and he is requiring us to pay for all cost to remove and replace the tile as well as cost of new materials. Our contract does not say anything about us needing to do any of this. We had graciously offered to pay for the cost of replacement tile as a goodwill gesture, however, he is not satisfied with this. There are gaps between the grout and the coping that I’m not sure are related to why the glass tile is breaking.

Additionally, the custom gradient tile for the waterfall had already been installed so sloppily I could’ve done better myself (totally crooked). Would take months to order a new one. So, this is adding insult to injury.

The building company made the purchase of the waterline tile—yet they are having us make the phone calls to floor and decor and try to negotiate with them. Legally, and contractually, they are on the hook for basically covering all of it to my understanding. At any rate, floor and decor already already told us there’s a warranty that would refund the cost of the waterline tile.

Advice appreciated about how to proceed in discussing next steps!
 

Bunbun81

Member
Jan 30, 2022
12
Los Angeles, CA
Update: builder came and inspected and will replace all tile and cover the labor costs. Problem solved. Thanks, everyone for your comments, this was a journey.

P.s. Getting away from glass tile for the liner, we are wary of it. Chose porcelain Daltile Remedy (attached) glazed tiles instead. Still going to replace the same custom waterfall gradient tiles, but unfortunately we have to re-order them from Canada. It will be worth it. This is all a first world problem we are fortunate to have. 😊
 

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Bunbun81

Member
Jan 30, 2022
12
Los Angeles, CA
Was nearing completion on a project. Waterline tile bought at floor and decor (dream Icelandic blue) and verified to be OK for pool use. Builder just wanted us to make sure before use, which we did, and showed him the website and the label at floor and decor, so it was installed. One week after installation, the side facing the sun spontaneously started breaking. Builder states a fracture barrier was used.

Now, the builder is saying that he requires the pool glass tile testing specs to prove it is rated for pool use and he is requiring us to pay for all cost to remove and replace the tile as well as cost of new materials. Our contract does not say anything about us needing to do any of this. We had graciously offered to pay for the cost of replacement tile as a goodwill gesture, however, he is not satisfied with this. There are gaps between the grout and the coping that I’m not sure are related to why the glass tile is breaking.

Additionally, the custom gradient tile for the waterfall had already been installed so sloppily I could’ve done better myself (totally crooked). Would take months to order a new one. So, this is adding insult to injury.

The building company made the purchase of the waterline tile—yet they are having us make the phone calls to floor and decor and try to negotiate with them. Legally, and contractually, they are on the hook for basically covering all of it to my understanding. At any rate, floor and decor already already told us there’s a warranty that would refund the cost of the waterline tile.

Advice appreciated about how to proceed in discussing next steps!
Update: the pool builder replaced and reinstalled the liner and custom waterfall tile at their cost. It looks great. This is pebblesheen blue granite. Max depth 5.5’.
 

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Bunbun81

Member
Jan 30, 2022
12
Los Angeles, CA
And… so close to being finished! We noticed the entire side of our house was flooding, and it turns out the pool deck drains and overflow drain were left unfinished and just covered up with dirt/plugged up with a plastic bag when construction had paused. There is nothing for it to tie into over there, and the pool builder is asking for $5100 to finish the job. It strikes me as a little bit shady to be like “here is your pool, did you want to drain the deck, too?” I’m not saying it was intentional, this is just how it feels.

Seems odd not to check or quote out proper drainage for the scope of work undertaken?

I feel like the builder is trying to recoup some of the costs of having to redo all of the waterline and custom waterfall tile, and I didn’t mention before that the builders had also installed an entire concrete planter incorrectly that didn’t pass code, and had to be demolished and reinstalled as well. Sheesh.

The contract doesn’t have a line item calling out this particular part of the job.

This photo is of what some workers came and did yesterday, planning to tie into our sewage line to drain, which we did not allow as it could reflux into the pool if ever a blockage occurred…😬. Right at the edge of the pool deck is where the drain had stopped.

Solar heat still isn’t working correctly, turns itself off, they told us to take it up with the manufacturer.

Suggestions for how to proceed with the builder? I think they could also just be giving an inflated quote to be able to be finished with the project without having to do anything further, as well, hoping we would most likely choose a reasonable quote elsewhere for the work.
 

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