5 On Your Side

Tile job leads to unexpected problems for Raleigh couple

Posted April 16, 2012

— The Myers are about to adopt 5-year-old twins. It should be a hectic – but exciting – time for the Raleigh couple. What they did not need were unexpected problems with a tile job. That's what led them to call 5 on Your Side.

They were working on a kitchen remodel when they found out their family size was about to double. So they hired Kevin Taylor, owner of Strictly Business in Raleigh, $540 to install the tile floor.

That "help" only caused more problems.

They were happy with the carpet he had installed upstairs. The tile looked good, too, they say, until two days after it was installed. That's when the Myers noticed cracks in the grout.

"My husband just thought, 'You know we needed to redo a couple of the grout lines. He does it for a living. Not a big deal,'" Sunny Myers said.

Then, there were more problems. The tiles started shifting.

"It's supposed to have mortar underneath it to not be able to move or to shift," Myers said.

Botched Tile Jobs Tile job leads to unexpected problems for Raleigh couple

According to the installation guide, thin-set mortar should be used between the sub-floor and backer board, which goes under the tile. The Myers say it wasn't there, and that allowed for movement and the cracks.

When 5 on Your Side called Taylor, he said that he the use of mortar is up to the discretion of the installer and that it's "up to the customer to make sure the installation would work." He promised to get back to 5 on Your Side about a refund for the Myers. He didn't.

So after repeated phone messages were not returned, 5 on Your Side went to his business address. No one answered the door.

In a voicemail to the Myers, Taylor claimed that installation guidelines recently changed and that he wasn't aware of the changes until now.

But when we called the manufacturer of the backer board, U.S. Gypsum, a technical support agent said the same installation guidelines have been in place for at least five years and that the industry has installed tile this way for a, "long, long time."

"It's not done right, and now our floor is moving, so it just needs to be fixed," Myers said – fixed so the couple can have their kitchen done to take care of bigger priorities – room for their adopted children who will be here soon.

As of Wednesday, the Myers plan to take Taylor and his company to court.


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  • TeresaBee Apr 20, 2012

    I have worked as a flooring consultant for two flooring companies. I have worked closely with tile installers. I have NEVER heard of installing tile without using mortar. Better have a level floor too!

  • superman Apr 18, 2012

    It will cost them about $150 to file a small claims action. The guy probably has bad credit or no credit and a poor BBB rating so the couple is not likely to even get the money after they file court action. That will be just another $150 loss added to what they already lost. They need to just chalk it up to a lesson learned and forget him. No matter what you are doing if you are spending money--do your homework.

  • LuvLivingInCary Apr 18, 2012

    computer guy you are wrong...if i go to sugar land and buy a $40 birthday cake it is not going the be the same as the $17 one from the grocery store. i got what i paid for. two totally different pieces of work.

    same if i go to best buy and buy a dvd player.

  • superman Apr 17, 2012

    My neighhbor and I tiled my kitchen and two bathrooms. We nailed the backerboard to the floor. Didnt use mortar. Nails will not allow the board to shift of move. A good lesson here is before you contract work to be done--do some research and learn everything you can. Doing research after the fact and trying to figure out what went wrong is pretty pointless. Write up a contract, list materials and labor and be sure to speicfy a completion date. Watch the installers every step of the way to make sure they are doing it according to your specifications and research. Dont wait until the horse is out of the barn to lock the door.Even if they are able to get their money back getting up the old floor is going to be hard work and expensive. If you dont do your homework there are consequences. Didnt they check with the BBB?

  • johncarync Apr 17, 2012

    This is one of the few times that having 5 on Your Side didn't help one bit. The Myers are having to take him to court. I just looked up the company, Strictly Business, on the Better Business Bureau website...Strictly Business has a grade of D-.

  • LambeauSouth Apr 17, 2012

    I do tile as a side hobbie, did my inlaws Bathroom floor and entry way, if you have a solid subfloor, thin set directly to the subfloor. I personally only use backer board in bathroom showers or around the tub. I probably would've layed additional subfloor and then layed as I have stated, I have had no "floating tile" issues what so ever. I also use an expoxy based grout, set's very well and never needs sealing and rarely cracks...

    my to cents
    Any tile job for $540 i would be suspect, jobs like that are typically 1500 to 2,000 on average kitchen. P.S. I do like their tile choice!

  • computer trainer Apr 17, 2012

    Prozac, last time I checked, the VENDOR sets the price. This is a pro, who said to do the job correctly, it would cost $540. If he was not going to use all the materials he should have (that other installers have been doing in the last 5 years, and I suspect he has also) then he should have been honest about it, and told them to use the materials it would cost X more. THEN they would have been at fault. As it is, HE is at fault and HE needs to fix it, or pay someone to do it.

  • LuvLivingInCary Apr 16, 2012

    lol. so the people thought they got a bargain and now they are not happy. the way i look at it the job should have cost seven times that so if they got 1/7th of what they should have then they got what they paid for....lol..some people are funny...