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Flooring and Carpeting/porcelain rectified tile


QUESTION: just had a professional installer place Italian porcelain tile on my floors.  
The tile is from Italy and i believe unicomstarker.
When I look at the tile I see a glaze over the tiles as if something is on the
tile.  Some tiles have a shine and some have this dull whatever appearance as if
dirty. Then there are tiles that they put pencil marks on to cut the tile.  They
told me to take the grout and rub out the marks.  I did this on one tile and now
the tile seems to be rough and shows where I scrubbed. I tried cleaning with hot
water and some white vinegar.  I also put plain vinegar on one tile to just see
what is going on here.  I went the extra money because I was told this tile was
not porous.  They told me to use acid to clean it but I am not going to do
anymore to damage the tile.   Is this tile defective?  I researched where it
says detertek is a good cleaner?  But again, I do not want to cause damage.   
Then I am told to seal the porcelain???   I am so upset...........I saved for so
long to do my floor and now I have this mess.  thank you for your time.

If you cannot answer tis because it is out of your expertise can u please tell me where I can get this answered?  Thank you.

ANSWER: Forgive my being tardy with my reply overloaded at work and then the Holiday...

Thank you for your question Patricia,

    Ok....I have gone over your question/circumstance and I need some clarity here. When you say that "they" told you to rub grout on an existing pencil mark I have to wonder "who" is doing this installation? Are you the customer or are you a helper? Film will not come to light on any installation unless the tiles are simply not cleaned properly, period. You said that the tile are Porcelain (doesn't matter if it is Italian or Mexican or American) Porcelain is a Universal material if it is legitimate, also is this a polished or textured or matte finish tile? Do you have any left over tile from the installation? Lay them out on the floor to see if there is anything on them that might conclude there being an outside material affecting the surface of the tile that was installed. Using Vinegar is a marginal and weak acid in it's own right and while it won't affect the tile it can turn the color of the grout a much lighter color and basically ruin the shading all together if continually used. So do not employ any additional exposure to an even stronger acid. Where are the original installers??...why are they not cleaning this floor to "your satisfaction" and not the other way around? What is the name of the grout Manufacturer they used, do you have a receipt listing the products they used?...was it a "modified" grout meaning it had a Latex additive in it. How did you hear about this Contractor? he licensed and insured? Do you have any copies or verification of both certificates being valid and current? There is absolutely no reason to seal a Porcelain tile it is non-porous, but you may want to seal the grout. Ok Patricia...put together some additional information and provide me some answers to the questions I posed and get back to me so I can try to put together a plan to correct your current conditions. I'll wait...

Perry V.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Well Perry, it seems I have no recourse but to educate myself here.  Seems the installer said he is not paid to wash my floor.  Buttttttt I will not go there since I just want to resolve this problem.
But for the record I am the consumer....
They told me to use vinegar and hot water.  Then they said to use Star Clean and a product called Nana.  WEll I tried a small tile and so glad I did not do the whole floor.  But I am not sure the vinegar would make a difference since the grout color is not the same color either way.  I guess I have to pay someone to stain the grout and seal it...sigh...
Added to the issue is that they did not set the rectified tile in mud so it is not level and u can see the uneven tile set which amplifies the grout lines.  

Grout:  JAMO unsanded grout.  I wanted the grout with the apoxy but guess that never happened.  He said it was 100's and 100's of dollars so did not use it.  

The store is in Pompano Beach Florida.  This store has been in business for quite some time. I went shopping for tile in this area because there are so many tile/granite stores in this area.  This man has been in business for quite some time.  He seed honest and had a decent show room of his work.  So I felt I could trust the work in my home.

Yes they are licensed and insured but I have no proof of such.

Thank u so much for your is more than appreciated

ANSWER: Welcome back Patricia,

    I am dumbstruck by the lack of Professionalism that your Contractor displays. I have to assume that you have paid this loser in full? There is a responsibility on the shoulders of the Contractor to ultimately satisfy the customer or return until the customer is happy and satisfied. There are a couple things that you can do. One is write a "certified" letter to the owner of the store that provided the material and the installer, letting them know that you are totally unsatisfied with the material and the installation. Now did the store you purchased the material from also do the installation??...or did they "farm" out the installation to a separate contractor?? A certified letter is one that has to be signed to receive it that way you know that the person in question got the letter. You are inquiring to know what "they are going to do" about the less than Professional manner in which you were treated and the current condition that your floor was left. You mentioned that "they are licensed and insured" but you have no documentation proving so. At the close of your letter you can ask them for copies of "current" certificates that prove they are legally in business. Usually this will "imply" that if your concerns are not addressed then the next step is a more forceful letter from an Attorney that will elevate the pressure to the next level. Of course this approach is not unusual but it will cost a few dollars to have an attorney write an official document for them to consider. You can also employ (minimal cost) another flooring contractor "who has a good reputation" by going to a Distributor who is a National provider like Dal-Tile, or Emser anyone who has a higher level of visibility and ask for a highly regarded Tile Contractor who would come and evaluate you current condition and give you an "eye on the problem" evaluation that he would be willing to back up. Once you have invested (mostly time and some gas) to get this far, the one's responsible for your distress will be more than likely legally encouraged to do the right thing, and take care of your concerns like they should have in the beginning. I want you to take these few steps and see what happens. If nothing happens then you can run the flag up a little higher. Take some pictures of what the floor looks like, do you have the final bill and the original bid from the contractor? Start to put these things in a folder and keep it all together. Perhaps in the mean time the "Professional Contractor" that you find at the reputable Tile Distributor may be able to simply correct the issue while he is there or perhaps suggest another plan to give you the floor that you were hoping for in the first place. I can't put my eyes or hands on your floor to make a better informed plan to correct things for you so you need someone who can. Once you have more answers or responses then come back and we will go a little further...ok? I'll wait...


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Well the tile representative for unistakner came to see the tile.
I tracked him down via Roma Tile
He stated grout haze and of course the installer disagreed.
The installer decided it in his best interest to clean the floor.
He used Lithofin FZ Intensive Cleaner and a buffer for stone on the tile.
Contents: sodiu hydrocide, potassiu hydroxide, ethylene glcol monobutylether, iss-propanol, triethanolamine
Directions for Use:  Dilue Lithrofin cleaner up to 1:10 with cold or lukewarm water and distribute on surface witha  brush or scrubber.  Allow product to work for 10-20 minutes, rushing occasionally and not allowign the product to dry.  Remove from the surface witha  cloth or a wet and dry vacuum and rinse the surface with fresh water.
Now the installer did not follow these instructions.  He sprayed 1:4 solution directly the floor and then used the buffer machine.
I mopped last night myself and the floor is lighter in color.

The problem remains so
1: did he compromise the porceline glaze by not following the instuctions?
2.  The grout is a million variations of light to dark
3.  I have no recourse but to retain legal counsel sigh....
4.  Are there independent professionals that can check this floor that would not be considered "biased" in a court of law?

Again, thank you for your time as this is very upsetting to say the least right now.

Hey Patricia, would appear that the dubious "contractor" should not be in business if he can not follow simple instructions when cleaning a floor with a caustic chemical. Even with the return he has shown little regard for the cost investment "you" have made trying to receive a quality installation. He has given you crap basically...I am sorry for you. There is small claims court and I personally think you should consider heading that way unless the overall cost of the project is much higher in value lost. I don't know what the current maximum ceiling for recompense is so you will have to weigh that with employing a lawyer/professional council to recover a larger amount...which I think you personally deserve at this point. Did you find or contact a "mainline" Distributor in your area? Dal-Tile or any of the other larger "National" Distributors, they will always have a list of competent/experienced contractors for you to inquire for professional help either with a simple visual observation or perhaps a correction itself. I still do not know if this is a "polished" Porcelain or something else because a polished surface...even if it's Porcelain...can be dulled or ruined of not properly cared for. Did you happen to get a copy of "anyone's" Insurance Certificate and or License Certificate when this contractor returned? I'm willing to bet that it's all lip service and that he doesn't have current insurance, the same should go for the storefront you purchased the material from. When you purchased the tile from them they automatically assumed responsibility for the proper care instruction for you about the Porcelain tile and also the contractor's performance if he was recommended to you by them...follow me? Typically in court both sides may consider a professional that they hope would lend support to their side as a defense consultant. And of course the "proof is in the Pudding" as there isn't much defense available to a contractor who had done a provable poor installation. So you should now go to the next level and get a lawyer to formulate the letter for you that will put those involved on notice. It's not a comfortable process Patricia I know, but in today's economy all contractors should be far more customer oriented if they wish to survive the long term struggle in the Industry, and having happy and satisfied customers is the time tested way of doing just that. Ok lets contact a lawyer and a properly recommended contractor to visually evaluate your current condition. Then both together can plot a direction for you to take to perhaps get what you should have received all along...ok? Keep me posted as to how you are doing, I would like to know.


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Perry Vellenga


Ceramic Tile/Marble. I can answer questions about floor preparation, tile selection, layout questions, performance of products, expectations of finish, compatabilities, questions about grout and epoxies, evaluating an installer, asking the right questions to check competence...more? 33 years this August 2012/ many years in commercial application from exterior finishes to Mall store fronts/ interior finishes like floor packages in stores inside Malls examples: The Limited, Lerner/NY, Lane Bryants, Bombay Co., Now involved in Residential new construction covering all types of interior finishes and designs.


I worked in an exclusive field of floorcovering called "Tenant Development" which is by invitational bid only, by way of a National bid list. These are large floor packages usually over 3500 sq. ft. of 18" x 18" Marble and Granite and many other types of Marble and sizes. They are specialty stores where the floor package can cost upwards of $50,000 for one store. I have also done "Structure" stores and J. Riggins stores, Lane Bryant,Express and Body Shop stores where wood flooring is used. Presently work for a National Flooring Company in the Residential new construction arena that covers most interior design elements..Granite Slab tops/wood flooring both job finished and prefinished ect..

My response's are published all across the Internet and picked up by multiple Interior Design sites and Industry related web sites where people have questions...

too many most of which don't count...

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