Help Squad: Oak Park contractor makes good on bad tile job

Dear Help Squad,

Several months ago I purchased tile from Heritage Tile in Oak Park. I then selected, Phil Zeleznikar from a list of tile contractors they provided. On the day of installation, Phil arrived and I then left for work.

The installation was complete within a day and a half, and the project was paid in full, $1,400. It was the weekend when I first had an opportunity to inspect the tiles. Several tiles were installed upside down, one was backward, cuts were not straight, a corner tile was pieced together and there were no holes placed to attach switch plate covers. The grout was not mixed or applied properly leaving a large variation in color and uneven areas. According to a discussion I later had with Phil and staff at Heritage Tile, Phil admitted to allowing two of his workers to install these tiles unsupervised.

Phil has been contacted several times requesting that he replace several tiles and attempt to even the grout. In addition to my requests, Heritage Tile contacted him and an attorney sent him a letter. To date, all efforts have been unsuccessful.

I would appreciate your assistance with resolving this matter.

Sincerely,

Marie DiGiacomo, Oak Park

 

Help Squad reached out to Phil and we have to say, he could not have been any more pleasant and accommodating. He gave us two possible days that he could be at Marie’s home to repair the work and he kept his word.

According to Marie, Phil replaced 12 tiles, re-grouted part of the project, and went the extra mile, replacing switch plate covers that weren’t even part of the estimate.

Marie let us know that she is quite pleased with the way the kitchen looks, and that Phil was not only professional, but very concerned about making sure the job was done to her satisfaction.

Dear Marie,

I think anyone would agree that the kitchen is probably the room in which we spend the most amount of time either cooking, socializing or enjoying meals with family and friends. So Help Squad understands the importance of making sure the décor is everything we want it to be. We are so glad that you are enjoying your updated kitchen, and that Phil stepped up and did the right thing! Bon Appetite!

 

Tips for do-it-yourself tile projects

Since Phil did such a nice job on Marie’s kitchen, we decided to call him back to get some advice and tips for do-it-yourselfers who might want to install some tile in their home. We found out that Phil, who is a former U.S. Marine, has spent 13 years working as a general contractor.

 

Tile tips

1. Sometimes people tile over drywall or plaster, which isn’t wise. It’s always better to create a flat, level substrate, which is an underlying surface that the tile goes on, and then tile over that. The substrate makes the project easier, and improves the quality of the work.

2. Do your homework when choosing an adhesive. There are several types, each meant to be used for different projects. In other words, you would use a different adhesive when laying tile on a floor versus a backsplash. Also, factors such as moisture, humidity, heat and foot traffic should be considered when choosing the appropriate adhesive.

3. Pay close attention to the tile you select. Different tiles work better in different areas of a home. For example, you shouldn’t put a very porous tile in a shower because it will be too difficult to keep it sealed. Porous stone is much more appropriate for a floor or a backsplash.

4. When choosing your grout, take into account location, moisture, heat and other factors.

5. Always seal the tile after completion of the project, and continue to seal the area annually. Sealing protects and helps maintain the integrity of the grout, prevents staining, and makes cleaning it easier.

6.The biggest mistake people make is that they don’t apply enough pressure to secure the tile to the substrate. If there’s a void in that area, it will eventually start to loosen, and will cause the grout to crack.

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