If we regrout or install floor tiles, please stay off the floors for several hours to allow them to dry. Overnight is safer, in fact. If we regrout shower walls, we request you allow them to dry for at least 24 hours before using the shower. In some cases, our technician may recommend even longer, such as 48 hours, especially if a grout or caulk line had to be filled to cover an unusually large gap, so it may need extra drying time.
If you request additional work beyond what we originally agreed to, including trips to stores for custom products, we have to bill extra for the additional work at our standard hourly rate. Also change orders and delays/waiting time may be billed extra. All down payments or deposits already paid are not refundable if you cancel the work for any reason, because we have already blocked off calendar time for the work, thereby losing other income. If a progress payment is not made on schedule or if a down payment or progress payment is returned by the bank, we reserve the right to cancel all credit and require payment in full to date, or payment in advance before continuing. Any balances not paid within 30 days of job completion and final billing will bear interest at the rate of 1% per month. Normal work hours are Monday through Friday, anywhere from 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM, usually about an 8 hour day. If you have any unusual requirements, such as a shorter work day or night work, please inform us as soon as possible so we can avoid misunderstandings. We try to be flexible and accommodate your schedule – we sometimes work weekends when the job requires it or if the client permits, or for commercial jobs when that is the only time the work can be done. We may take pictures or film a video during the process of work, for which we reserve all rights. If for some reason you don’t want us to do this please tell us before we begin the work and we will respect your wishes.
Clear penetrating sealer that goes on new grout does not change the drying time. Color sealer dries very fast and is usually safe to walk on within 45 minutes or so. The manufacturers do request that you not wash a color sealed floor for a few days to allow the coating to harden completely before exposure to water. Light damp mopping is acceptable, though. After floors have been color sealed, we recommend using a diluted solution of ‘neutral cleaner’ to wash them when needed. It’s not necessary to use heavy duty or harsh cleaning agents – neutral cleaner and water are able to handle any normal soil cleaning requirements with no damage to the sealer. Neutral cleaner is a category, not a specific name of a product. It’s usually available at home center outlet stores like Home Depot or Lowes, and also janitorial supply houses and some hardware stores. It is very economical to use and a gallon of concentrate can last the average residential kitchen floor more than a year if used correctly. The key is to use it quite diluted. You can safely use it much less strong than the label says (remember, their goal is to sell you more liquid!) If you use very harsh or caustic solutions like wax stripper or heavy concentrated cleaning agents on the color sealed floor, it’s possible to damage the finish. The sealer is durable, but not bulletproof. Since it doesn’t need harsh chemicals to remain clean, please don’t use them.
If we are regrouting a floor (or wall) where grout has cracked, it may be due to excessive movement under the tile in the subsurface below. (We can’t always tell from looking at it). Try as we may, there is no way for us to guarantee that the cracking won’t return, unless you allow us to replace the subsurface (which means a brand new floor or shower wall for more cost). So regrouting cracked floor or wall grout is a risk – not a sure thing.
Grout, caulk, stain, and epoxy fill colors are approximate and may not match the color chip or the existing grout or tile or your expectations perfectly. So any color matching work we do of any kind comes with a caveat that we don’t offer the level of precision in colors that a paint contractor can achieve. Even the manufacturers state this on every box of grout, tube of caulk and bottle of grout sealer. So we do our best to avoid color problems, but color matching grout and caulk remains a very ‘rough science’. It’s also possible during the regrouting process to scratch a tile with a blade while removing the grout. We always try to avoid this, but over the years we’ve found it’s impossible and impractical to guarantee it won’t happen, so we don’t guarantee it. Most people understand this, and it’s rarely been an issue, since we try to be extremely careful and it doesn’t happen very often. It is a risk of the process that we can’t completely remove, and neither can any other contractor.
If we are regrouting a tile installation or polishing stone tile or repairing tile or cleaning tile or doing any other work including demolition of adjacent surfaces and a tile comes loose from the wall or floor, that is always due to inadequate bond. It usually means the tile was not cemented with good coverage of thinset cement. If it were bonded correctly, then cleaning, regrouting or sealing would not dislodge it. If tiles come loose, we are not responsible in any way for replacing them for free. We are willing to re-bond the tiles back on to the wall or floor if that is feasible or if any replacement tile can be found by the client, but we always charge extra for this. Our goal is not to be unfair, but we often work on tile installations that are in need of repair, and that need becomes apparent only when we remove the grout lines and the tile falls off the wall. In some cases, the grout or caulk is literally the only thing holding the tile on to the walls, which does not indicate healthy tiles, to say the least. In some cases, it becomes clear to our technician that the shower or floor may not be salvageable, or that it should be replaced and not regrouted. If that is the case, we will inform you so you can consider alternatives. We can give you a quote on complete replacement if you would like, or you are free to use any other contractor if you prefer.
We respect the privacy of our customers. We may contact you by phone during the job or afterwards, but you will not be telemarketed by constant phone calls. Also, your email address will not be used for any other purpose than to communicate with you about the job or follow-up after the job is over, or occasionally a special offer on a service we provide. We do periodically send out notices to our previous customers, but if we do so we will always offer you the option to opt out and not receive any more emails. We often take before and after pictures of tile work or video footage of the process, but when we use these for promotional or training purposes, we never identify the customer’s name, address or contact info. If you would like us not to do so at your home, we will respect your wishes. We may ask you periodically to provide a reference for us to another potential client or a testimonial, but this is entirely voluntary and we only want you to do so if you feel like it, not under any kind of pressure.
For one day jobs, we require payment at the end of that day, when the job is complete. If the job is set up for more than one day, we usually request half down on arrival and half on completion. Jobs may also be set up for 3 payments. We have remarkably good relations with our clients and very few collection problems, but if we have to pay any collection costs at all including attorney fees, we pass them on to the client who made the expense necessary. It almost never happens, so it’s not something that affects most customers. We request that you leave a check with our technicians – we trust them and you will get full credit for your payment. If you’d like a receipt for the payment, the technician will be happy to provide you with one.
Sometimes when grout or caulk dries, it may leave small pinholes that concern you. If that happens, just call us back and we’ll take care of it for no additional charge. It isn’t always avoidable if the tilesetter cut a large gap and the caulk or grout shrinks while drying. The solution is to add more grout or caulk and that solves the problem.
Some clients hire us due to leaking or moisture concerns. Regrouting may in fact often solve the problem of missing, cracked or broken grout and leakage. But while we’d really love to guarantee a solution to all leakage problems, we just can’t. That’s because the root cause of nearly all leaking problems is bad installation or plumbing problems. When you hire us to regrout, we are only able to work on the top of the surface; we can’t reach down below the tile to get at what may be the true cause of the leaking. Regrouting may be a cost effective solution; but we can’t always be sure. If we know for sure it won’t help, we may decline to do the job just so as not to waste your money – we only want to do it if it has a fighting chance of solving your leaking problem.
We are never liable for any damages to any form of radiant heating systems (electric wire warming systems or tubes filled with hot water)installed under tile, at any level of the substrate under the tile surfaces or consequential, incidental and special damages that may result if these systems fail. Our guarantee also does not apply for surfaces we work on that have radiant heating, at any level of the substrate under them. These systems are extremely new and not very well field tested yet. We also have no control over the workmanship used in their manufacturing, fabrication or shipping. Beyond this we cannot control and have no way to verify proper methods nor workmanship of preparation of substrates for installation or installation of the radiant heating by any of the other trades involved that precede our work. So we cannot be responsible as a painter is not responsible for the structural integrity of the wall he paints. Please inform us in advance if any surface has radiant heating under it – it’s not always possible to tell otherwise. Also, if you have a bathtub shower that has been reglazed, please tell us and we will exercise special care to avoid scratching it while we work. It’s not always possible to remove caulking or grout from a refinished tub without damage, so we are not liable for that damage, but that has been extremely rare for us.
We try to keep the work area clean, but almost all work we do all do creates some dust. We do clean up at the end of each day, but our technicians are not professional house cleaners. We do try, but you may still find that a thin coat of dust may be present even after we have cleaned up. We’ve had some homeowners decide to they want us to put plastic over furniture and then they also schedule their housecleaner for the day after our visit, which may be a good idea. If you want us to include this cleaning cost in our quote, please tell us in advance – it’s not customary in our industry to include these costs, so we leave them out to make our quotes comparable to others. When there is no onsite dumpster and we need to remove trash there will be a charge for labor and dumping fees.
Color sealer will work on normal grout, but not thinset cement. If there are spots of thinset where grout should be, this may result in sections where the color sealer won’t stick. (Usually caused by a careless tilesetter who failed to clean thinset out of the grout joints before grouting, especially with gray or white grout, since those are the two thinset colors). Just let us know if you notice this and we can remove the thinset and replace it with grout. If it’s minor we don’t charge extra, but if it exceeds one hour we charge our standard repair rates.
In general, wall tiles range from 3 to 6 inches in size, and standard floor tiles range from 8 to 13 inches in size. If you have not yet selected a tile, and want a quote, you should know that our quotes are based on standard size ceramic tiles. If you change your mind after the quote and decide on installing smaller tiles, it will cost more than larger ones, since it takes longer to install them. Exceptions are ‘large format tiles’, over 13 inches. Large format tiles also cost extra to install, since they require a more flat subsurface. If the material changes from ceramic tile to stone, it will also cost more due to higher labor costs for stone installation. Some stones are porous and can be stained by tinted grout. The industry standard procedure to minimize this staining is to pre-seal the stone before grouting. Even though we do this, the staining can still happen, and while we do try to remove the staining, it is an additional charge at our hourly rate. Marble, granite, onyx, slate, travertine, limestone and other natural stones shatter more often when being cut, so additional tiles must be purchased to allow for this. All our flooring quotes are done with the assumption that your wood floor joists and subfloors are sufficient for ceramic tile or stone flooring, and your concrete subfloors are free of major cracking or active cracks. If we discover that this is not true after doing demolition, repairing the joists, reinforcing them or adding extra plywood is an extra charge. If we discover that concrete subfloors are heavily cracked or actively cracking, we may recommend an anti-fracture membrane over the concrete to protect the tile from cracking or if we are planning to polish or stain the concrete and it’s heavily covered with self leveling cement or patching compound, it may be necessary to pour an overlay on top of it before polishing or staining, which is not a service we provide. If we discover that bond inhibiting chemicals or substances, such as grease, paint, mastic, patching materials, etc. are present and their removal was not included in our original estimate there will be an additional charge to prepare the surface. If tile cracks due to the building settling we are not responsible for the resulting damage this causes. Demolition of tile or any other surfaces can create stress cracks in nearby sheetrock or other surfaces. We wish it were possible to avoid this happening, but realistically it’s not, so we view that as an unavoidable casualty of the remodeling process, not a fault we created by carelessness. If we submit a quote based on blueprints and include square footages in our quote, if there is any discrepancy between the prints and the square footage we listed, the square footage we listed takes precedence. If the actual site is larger than the square footage we listed, there will be a reasonable additional charge. All our wall quotes are based on the assumption that the unexposed studs are sufficient to hold your walls up and support the cement board, and not damaged by water or rot. If they need to be rebuilt or shimmed extensively, there is an extra charge. If someone else installs the substrate for floors or walls (cement board, plywood, etc.) then we don’t have any way of knowing if the work was done correctly beneath the visible surface. Therefore in that case we are only responsible for the work above that person’s work, the bond between the tile and substrate, not the entire installation. When we install glass tile we cannot be responsible for the visibility of the setting material under the tile and it’s ghosting, cracking, shrinking or any other undesired appearance or even tile breakage due to shrinking of setting material. Our floor and wall installations offer a 1 year limited warranty if subfloor and wall substrate meet TCNA (Tile Counsel of North America) standards, for the type of tile being installed. If any defects in our workmanship or materials cause cracks, broken tiles or loose tiles or grout for a 1 year period, we will repair, replace or refund money at our option. We must be allowed to inspect the installation to look at the damage and to repair it if we decide it is repairable. If someone else does the repair, that voids our warranty. Our total obligation in any case is limited to the amount we were paid by the client. We do not cover any special, incidental or consequential damages. Manufacturer’s defects in the tile world include incorrectly gauged tiles, tiles that are not consistent in size. It is impossible to set a clean row of tiles if they vary in size one to the next. We can either reject the shipment of tiles and send them back to the manufacturer, creating delays in completion of the project, or we can proceed to install them if you prefer, but with no assurances that the finished product will look consistent. Even if the tiles are only off by 1/20th of an inch per tile, that still means that after 20 tiles, grout lines could be off by an inch. We know there are time constraints, but we recommend returning them.
We make all reasonable attempts, but not all etches, stains or discolorations may be removable from grout or stone or concrete. Natural stone and cement has small cracks and pits in some areas and is often uneven so our machinery can’t always reach and remove all imperfections. There can also be some discoloration and stun marks in some sections, and the honing/polishing process will not fix this. Chemicals or food spilled on marble or concrete during construction may leave marks that are visible permanently, despite our best efforts to remove them. For this reason, we request other trades and general contractors to use drop cloths and be careful to avoid spills and stains. Where existing cracks are, it is possible that they may crack further during the process. Concrete can crumble while being honed, but that is rare and indicates faulty concrete. If concrete is spalling or actively crumbling, small pieces of hard stone can be dislodged and cause scratch marks that we can’t remove. Swirl marks from power troweling may also be exposed after polishing: this is normal and not a defect. Concrete polishing does not create as uniform a shine as marble and not as high a gloss in general. Any stains or dyes for concrete aren’t guaranteed to create uniform color. They may show imperfections in the slab and may even highlight existing imperfections. They are typically translucent, and they are affected by previous exposure to acids, mastics or other adhesives or chemicals that were on the floor before we do our work. They often don’t match the color samples provided by the manufacturer, so a tolerance for color variation is needed on the part of the client.
Any kind of coloring agent, stain, dye, or topical film forming sealer for concrete or marble can have inconsistencies in bonding, problems with excessive wear, insufficient service life, inconsistent coloration, peeling off, cracking, chalking or problems curing. The most common reason for this is a chemical inside the stone or concrete. Despite deep cleaning and/or honing, we can’t be completely sure that the surface is free from these contaminants, so we don’t guarantee success on any kind of coloring or coating project. The only kind of sealer that never creates problems is clear penetrating sealer. Most marble has small vein lines in the stone, which are not defects, but natural features and can’t be removed. Field restoration of installed stone or concrete has inherent limitations over factory polishing, so gloss is not guaranteed to be as uniform as showroom tiles. Grinding, honing and polishing all require water on the surfaces, so surfaces are assumed to be watertight and reasonably level. Bottom edge of surfaces that border on adjacent surfaces we’re not working on may need stain or paint touch up after the job – we will assist if you select the paint and have it on hand when we’re done so we can avoid a special trip. Penetrating sealer is invisible and can be selected in clear type that does not change the appearance of the surface. There is also a color enhancing type that adds some gloss and deepens color. Even with sealers and finishes applied correctly, both marble and concrete flooring is not impervious to acid or wear and tear. There is no such thing as a maintenance free floor. Surface edges next to walls will not match the center of the surface due to the different equipment used to do the edges as opposed to the main part of the area. The same is true for edges of all surfaces, floors, walls, vanity tops and counter tops – the last inch or so near the edge may vary slightly from the center of the field. Polished marble should be installed with unsanded grout. If we are attempting to polish a marble surface with sanded grout we cannot guarantee the quality of the work as the sand may interfere with the polishing process. This is also rare, but conceivable. This also applies to stone that is spalling, disintegrating as we work on it, or epoxy fill that keeps coming out while we polish. The same problem can occur with built in abrasive strips on stairs or tile floors. When we do vanity tops or plumbing fixtures, the work will usually be of better quality if a plumber first removes the hardware such as faucets and spouts so we can access the stone better. If the fixtures aren’t blocking access to the stone, or if the stone next to the fixtures is in very good condition, then it may not be worth doing.
We may create sample sections, mock-ups to show you an example of the overall look of the finished marble or concrete. But because we deal with natural materials with wide variations, we don’t guarantee that the finished result will have that exact look throughout the entire surface. Think of the sample as a rough sketch rather than a precise rendering. On refinished concrete or marble, if there had been a previous floor covering that was removed, a visible ghosting of the outlines may remain. This is not something we can remove – it’s a risk inherent in any such project. Any patches or fills we or others make to a marble or concrete surface will not match or visually blend well whether or not we polish, clean, hone, stain or seal the surface, despite our best efforts. Concrete is composed of stone pieces called aggregate with a paste of cement to bind them together. Typically when the concrete is poured the larger pieces settle to the bottom so the top visible surface, the cement, looks like cream. When we grind, hone or polish, we may remove enough of the cream cement that the particles of aggregate start to show through, changing the overall look of the floor. Some clients consider exposed aggregate highly desirable and request it, but in any event, we can’t control the amount of aggregate that is exposed during the process, how evenly it’s distributed, where it shows or even if it shows at all. It’s very dependent on what’s already inside the floor, and it may vary a lot from one side of a room to the other side. After tile, marble or concrete is polished, honed, installed, sealed or colored, it may be a good idea to protect it from other construction trades working in the same area. If we have specifically included this service in our written quote, we will do this. If not, it’s the responsibility of the property owner or the general contractor. We recommend avoiding excessive use of adhesive tape, since the adhesive can leave visible lines that can be difficult if not impossible to remove. Trying to remove such lines is an extra charge if needed. We’ve had good success using overlapping Fiberrock paper, taped over itself in the middle, and placing tape touching the finished surface only at the very edges.
Honing means no noticeable shine and polished means a very noticeable shine. Any surface that touches the stone, tile or concrete is at some degree of risk during refinishing, sealing or polishing. The machinery we use can conceivably scratch adjacent surfaces, or the water we use could damage water sensitive surfaces. Even when we use painter’s tape or duct tape to protect adjacent surfaces, the tape itself can lift off paint when it’s removed. We are careful but we can’t take responsibility for damage to adjacent surfaces, even though it’s almost never been an issue. Even though we use wet grinding and honing techniques and take dust control measures, there is no such thing as dust free work in this field. We clean the surface we are working on, but we do not clean the entire facility or home after the work is done – dust clean up costs and any ramifications due to dust are not included in our quotes and should be considered as an additional expense to the property owner, part of the total cost of the project. After restoration, we encourage you to use only ‘neutral cleaner’ for regular stone, tile and concrete cleaning – it is pH neutral so it has no acidity to hurt the stone. We can supply some for you if you would like, and it is readily available in the Boston area.