An anonymous friend gave us permission to share this story about a DIY tile nightmare:
“I used to have a desire to remodel my house myself. Every time I’d see pictures of kitchens and bathrooms on Pinterest, I’d think, ‘That is so cute! I could do that!’ I’d go to hardware stores and wander through the flooring aisle, loving all the different colors and textures. ‘This hardwood would be so nice in my living room. These ceramic tiles would be the perfect backsplash in the bathroom. These tiles would be absolutely perfect in my kitchen.’ I’d look at the prices and think, ‘that’s really not very expensive. I could buy a few boxes at a time, and then if I put the tiles in myself, I’d save loads of money!’
My DIY dreams got even farther out of hand when I rented a cute little house for a few months. I loved the beautiful tiles in the master bathroom and was pleasantly surprised when the owner mentioned that her husband had put them in himself. When I’d seen pictures of DIY tile failures in the past, the issues were too much grout between the tiles, crooked placement, some tiles sticking up farther than the others, etc. These looked like an expert had done them, and I thought, ‘See, it really isn’t that hard. You can do the tiles yourself in your next house, just be a perfectionist about laying them out.’
After about a month, I noticed a crack in the grout between those tiles. A few days later, a second crack appeared. A week later, I stepped out of the shower and was instantly in pain. A chunk of grout had popped right out of the cracked section, and I stepped on it. When I reported the damage to the home owner, she said that she knew I hadn’t caused the damage. She told me not to worry about it, that she’d have a professional come and fix it when I moved out of the house. Over the next few months, the cracks got worse and worse. It was no longer a surprise to find a chunk of grout missing here and there. I made a habit of sweeping up all the grout ‘gravel’ right before each shower, so I wouldn’t accidentally step on any of it. By the time I was getting ready to move out, it looked like this:
I talked to the home owner about it again, hoping she wouldn’t expect me to pay for the repairs, since it had gotten so bad. She said that she hadn’t wanted her husband to do the tile himself. Her father had told him he’d need a special type of sub floor installed before the tile, and that the tiles weren’t going to last long without it. Her husband didn’t think it was necessary and didn’t want to spend the extra time doing it. She also suspected that he may not have gotten the correct grout mixture for the situation. Those practically brand new, beautiful, tiles were now an eye sore, and it hurt to walk on them in bare feet.
My DIY flooring dreams are dead. When I buy my next house, I won’t even tempt myself with walking down the flooring aisle at the hardware store. When I’m ready for kitchen and bathroom remodeling, I’m calling a professional tile installer right away!”