Many people call themselves contractors and claim expertise at something, especially when the market is up. Often homeowners don’t know what to look for in a contractor and hire the person who is available the soonest or the cheapest.


Some homeowners make the mistake of thinking that working with tile and stone is a no-brainer and that anyone can do it. In reality, getting a skilled tile-setter can be the difference between hiding damaging mistakes and having a beautiful and functional kitchen or bath that endures for many years. When it comes to tile-setting and stonework, choose wisely.


Over the years, we have often been called in to repair a job that was previously started or completed by another contractor. We’ve seen our share of mistakes, both by the Homeowner and the Contractor.


As you plan your project, consider the below and protect yourself against these common pitfalls!




On the part of the Homeowner:

  • Selecting an unlicensed tile-setter with limited actual skills /experience

  • Not asking a contractor for references or not following up with references provided

  • Picking a contractor solely based on the lowest bid (which is often an under-bid that grows later)

  • Not having a clear idea of what they want before a project begins then making many major changes after material has been purchased and work has commenced

  • Judging a contractor’s experience by appearances such as gender, age, etc. This happens both ways: white hair does not necessarily mean skills. A youthful appearance does not mean inexperience.


On the part of the Contractor:

  • Does not properly slope the shower pan so water doesn’t drain properly

  • Crooked walls (not plumb) making it harder to install glass enclosures

  • Walls not waterproofed correctly causing damaging leaks inside the walls

  • Poor/inadequate framing of walls causing stability issues, particularly for glass installation

  • Bad tile layout and planning so that the overall pattern lacks aesthetic effect

  • Allowing chipped edges or other installation flaws to remain


Advice for Contractors and Homeowners:

Whether the job is big or small, always have a contract. It protects both parties and outlines scope of work, timing, and cost expectations upfront. Homeowners, if you’re working with a contractor who doesn’t provide you with one, don’t hesitate to draw up your own.


Never rush a job. Rushing anything increases the chances of mistakes. Mistakes cause even greater delays than taking your time from the beginning, and mistakes are expensive.