How picky is too picky?

trophft

Well-known member
Jul 16, 2014
144
Port Neches, TX
We are almost done, waiting on punch list items, swimming and having a ball! But not 100% satisfied with the coping job (see pics).
Just seems like shoddy work: rough edges on mitered corners; awkward angle cuts and asymmetrical layout at corners (not planned or well-thought-out at all...triangles?); plaster stains; cracking grout lines (looks like standard sanded tile grout was used...); splotchy uneven color; pencil marks (that won't come off!), etc.

We love the overall look (from afar), but don't know if we can live with what we consider subpar quality. We are satisfied with every other aspect of the project, but the up-close details leave much to be desired.

Are we being unreasonable?

20200922_162450.jpeg20200922_162602.jpeg20200907_131327.jpg
 

Desert Dog

Silver Supporter
Apr 4, 2020
292
Alpine, Ca
Not the worst but I would call them out on it and see what the builder will do. The corners would drive me nuts! Better planning would have avoided that. Even if you had to cut an inch off ever piece to end up the same size and consistent. I would think any professional would agree that is not the work of an experienced crew.
 

Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
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The corners look ridiculous. See if you can gather some more ammo. In the pics, it looks like at least some of the tiles are sloping towards the pool. The coping should slope away from the water, so run-off flows to the landscaping, not into the pool. If it doesn't, that's a legitimate reason to ask for a complete redo. That might even be code. If that gets you a redo, then you stand there and ask that the tile be plotted out to your liking, all the tile, before it is grouted in. Have them do the corners to your liking. Have them place the joints where you want. Reject unwanted tiles (based on any criteria you choose, but be prepared to pay for a little extra material). Have them place borderline-lookers in less obvious locations (away from primary sitting areas, for example).

If there's nothing wrong with the slope, then you see what can be worked out. You might have to offer to absorb a reasonable portion of the cost of the redo. Everything's negotiable!
 
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HermanTX

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May 20, 2020
1,158
Katy TX
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Definitely agree that the corners and grouting could be much improved. Hopefully you have not made the final payment. When spending $50k+ you have the right to want it to be perfect. Would you pick up a brand new car from a dealer with scratches or a misaligned taillight? Same scenario for pools. It should clearly meet your expectations.
 
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jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
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In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,171
Morris Cnty NJ
Pretty bad layout. They should always use full pieces in corner amd keep consistent joints. Then lay out field amd lose the cuts in the field. I dont like uneven gap spacing between the coping amd deck that would drive me nuts. Stuff like this is why I cant let anyone do my coping as a sub. I'm way too OCD
 
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Dirk

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Jimmy, when tile coping is installed, do they use those little spacers that are sometimes used laying out interior tile? Should they?
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
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In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
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Morris Cnty NJ
I do use them often when installing smaller coping especially on curves. 3/8 is a good size on 6x12 coping amd similar. On those bigger slabs its pretty easy to eyeball them, but you have less joints to cheat so the cuts need to be more precise. Its not easy to take a hair off a larger slab if it's a little long, not like trimming wood on a chop saw
 
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trophft

Well-known member
Jul 16, 2014
144
Port Neches, TX
I do use them often when installing smaller coping especially on curves. 3/8 is a good size on 6x12 coping amd similar. On those bigger slabs its pretty easy to eyeball them, but you have less joints to cheat so the cuts need to be more precise. Its not easy to take a hair off a larger slab if it's a little long, not like trimming wood on a chop saw
Thanks for all the comments. This is actually the 2nd go-round since the first batch of this pre-cast concrete coping was flawed and real brittle (chips EVERYWHERE; see other thread here). This batch has far fewer (and smaller) chips, but these issues seem to all point to installation/technique, not a product issue. It was the same tile crew both times, and the guy used a handheld angle grinder to cut the 45s, just looks like a sloppy job overall. We are pleased with EVERYTHING ELSE so far, but the finished product is not what we expected it to look like (up close). We haven't approved the final payment yet ($9300), and they still have the punch list to come finish (lights, a few return heads, cap a few pvc stubs at the pad, etc.)...I assume they'll try to clean the pencil marks and plaster while here, but that stuff won't budge!

Wife and I are just trying to weigh the hassle of having them rip out all the coping and start over for a THIRD TIME!?!? Or live with sub-standard workmanship...
 

trophft

Well-known member
Jul 16, 2014
144
Port Neches, TX
The corners look ridiculous. See if you can gather some more ammo. In the pics, it looks like at least some of the tiles are sloping towards the pool. The coping should slope away from the water, so run-off flows to the landscaping, not into the pool. If it doesn't, that's a legitimate reason to ask for a complete redo. That might even be code. If that gets you a redo, then you stand there and ask that the tile be plotted out to your liking, all the tile, before it is grouted in. Have them do the corners to your liking. Have them place the joints where you want. Reject unwanted tiles (based on any criteria you choose, but be prepared to pay for a little extra material). Have them place borderline-lookers in less obvious locations (away from primary sitting areas, for example).

If there's nothing wrong with the slope, then you see what can be worked out. You might have to offer to absorb a reasonable portion of the cost of the redo. Everything's negotiable!
I think its an optical illsion since the deck is significantly sloped away from pool...might make the coping look sloped towards water...I hope!
 

Dirk

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I think its an optical illsion since the deck is significantly sloped away from pool...might make the coping look sloped towards water...I hope!
Yes, the whole deck is supposed to slope away. You can check the coping with a level.

I've never set any tile, but I've seen it done (though not for a pool). I always see a big saw with water shooting at the blade. Pretty sure an angle grinder is not the right tool! Yikes. What passes for craftsmanship these days... 😔
 

trophft

Well-known member
Jul 16, 2014
144
Port Neches, TX
For any tile (coping) experts...is there a specific type of grout that is flexible (like the mastic)?
If these grout lines are cracking and crumbling on day 29, then how will they hold up over the next few months/years?
coping8.jpegcoping9.jpeg
 

trophft

Well-known member
Jul 16, 2014
144
Port Neches, TX
Oh my goodness that is terrible work, especially facing the water! I'd definitely want that redone
Just sucks we finally have our backyard back to normal, water is balanced and beautiful, and we are swimming and enjoying the pool...part of me just wants to be done with it, but i know this isn't right and we arent satisfied with the finished product. The PB is a high quality company I think this tile contractor just did a crappy job, and PB should have caught it...
 

Andome

Member
Sep 10, 2020
17
Palm Bay, FL
I totally get the tough position youre in. You dont want to seem nitpicky, especially after them already redoing the coping once. But you have to look at it every time you swim. Like others have said, they will be on to the next one and never look at it again. I say at least make an attempt to get it fixed. Maybe they fix it, maybe they dont, maybe they come up with a solution that works for all. Either way, you wont regret pushing for a solution, but you might regret doing nothing.
 

Dirk

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At least swim season is almost over so it can be fixed while you aren’t using the pool anyway. Trying to think positively.
I was going to suggest that. As part of the fix, you can request that the work be postponed until after the end of swim season, as part of the negotiation. Loss of use should be considered as part of the damages. You could use that fact as a negotiating point, as in: fix it in December and we won't be adding any Loss of Use damages to the claim. If the PB comes back and says "No, it's now or never." then that would be something to let go of. Chances are he might want to postpone, to lessen the hit he'd take by fixing it during his busy season. Of course, you wouldn't pay him until it's done.
 
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