Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Is It Really That Hard? Tile

We moved into our house on June 30. Which means that we've made it 6 whole months without any major repairs. I don't know what the norm is, but I'm feeling pretty lucky to have lasted this long.

But alas, all good things come to an end. And I'm fudging the numbers a bit in the first paragraph because in October, before we went on our trip to the UK, I noticed a water stain on our kitchen ceiling, caused by the upstairs shower.

We had people coming to visit, and then we were going on vacation. After we got back, we had a plumber take a look. He determined that the spout was the problem, but we all agreed that the tile around the spout and control (i.e., thing above the spout that controls how much hot and cold water is spouting) was not in good shape. They didn't think the tile was causing the leak, but the general consensus was that, if we're getting a new spout anyway, it's a good time to get that tile redone.

And then it was deep into the holiday season. Our credit card was already on fire from the usual gifts plus all the food, decorations, etc. for our first time as Christmas hosts. So we put it off until the new year.

Now that it's February, I think it's safe to say that 2007 is well underway. And we're finally trying to figure out exactly what we're doing with the upstairs bath tile. The tile guy came out last week and gave us two options: #1 (cheap version) replace only the tile around the spout/control. It might not match in size or exact color, so it won't be pretty but it'll be functional OR #2 (OCD version) Replace the bottom third of tile all the way around the bathtub.

If you have OCD tendencies, as I do, you find option #2 appealing because you want it all to match. You can't stand the idea that, every time you shower for the next 15 years, you'll notice the mismatched tile. But at nearly 3 times the cost, is it worth the peace of mind? I mean, usually your eyes are closed in the shower, right?

But actually, all of that is background that should probably have been summed up in one succinct paragraph. Here's my beef: the tile guy put Keith and I in charge of trying to match the tile. His point being that we know what we like/can stand, so if we provide tile and say "we're happy for you to use this," there's less likelihood of us crying to them afterward.

Which makes sense, I guess ... except WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT TILE. For the past week I've been on this wild goose chase for the exact same size tile in white. I don't particularly care if it's "alabaster lily" or "snow glitter," I would be happy with any version of white.

But we can't figure out what size the damn tile is. You know why? Because it's currently still IN our bathtub, surrounded by grout. And you know what else? We don't know anything about tile!! Have I mentioned that part before? So if a tile is 4" square, I don't know if that means it typically has a 1/16" spacer, or that 4-1/4" square tile is much more common, but that 4-3/8" is also an option.

I've learned about these things, on many calls to tile dealers and a trip to our favorite hang-out, Home Depot. But even after all this, here's my conclusion: I don't know what size our current tile is, and I shouldn't have to.

We're paying someone to replace the tile. THEY should know what size it is, what size is common, and the best way to approach the project.

My dad suggested asking them to reuse the current tile whenever possible, since the tiles themselves look okay—they were just laid incorrectly. I mentioned this to the tile guy in our second conversation yesterday, and got a grudging "That's a good idea. I don't know why I didn't think of that."

Gee, thanks. If this is just the first project of many to come .... I may only be able to handle the aggravation of one project a year, max!

1 comment:

cat said...

BIG reason why I haven't bought a condo yet ... I'm so OCD that I'd choose option C: Redo the entire bathroom. Who cares that I don't have money. That's what another credit card is for ...

Back to looking at the car wreck ...