Tile Installation Conflict, Tile Setter vs Trim Carpenter

Tile Installation Conflict.

Floor tile installation preparation conflicts can arise.

Tile Setter versus Trim Carpenter.

Residential construction work scheduling practices, when implemented poorly,  produce less that optimum results and a tile installation conflict between craftsmen.  It is typical for general contractors in Port St. Lucie to have  trim carpenters scheduled to finish their work before tile setters start floor tile installation.  That practice is problematic.

Chris Boyer at work preparing a wall for tile installation.

Although there are reasons for such schedules, the practice often results in increased work and aggravation for tile setters and floor tile installations less than perfect.  From the tile setter’s point of view, this is an old argument that rears its ugly head too frequently.

For instance, when a tile setter arrives and finds that door units are already set, he is upset because he will have to use a jamb saw to cut wood off the bottom of the door to clear the additional height of the tile yet to be installed.  In addition, base boards are often already set flush to the cement floor. That practice forces the tile setter to use a jab saw to cut 7/8″ off the bottom of the base board to allow the new tile to slide under the base boards.  The necessity for that additional work is inexcusable.  The trim carpenter should have known what flooring surface was going to be used and set the baseboard accordingly.

The Tile Installation Conflict – Possible Solutions.

The proper approach for the trim carpenter is to hang all the doors and trim except where there is to be tile. If you go ahead and do all areas, you will create extra work for the tile setter.  If you really have to do that, do it right!  Use a piece of tile and corrugated cardboard as a spacer, so the tile setter doesn’t have to trim the casing.  After the tile setter installs the tile, install the baseboard. Take the base and back bevel the bottom and scribe to fit. That takes about the same amount of time as a shoe mold and you don’t have to look at the hideous ends where they butt into the usually cheap undersized casing.Tile Installation Conflict - Rectified tile flooring

Setting doors and base first creates fewer problems than the other way around. Cutting the jambs off allows for a clean, tight fit. If the base is held up the thickness of the backer board and tile plus 1/8″ or less, then the gap, if any, can be easily grouted with the rest of the floor, or caulked if you prefer, not requiring shoe molding. Of course, you can work over a finished floor (tile or wood).  Sometimes it is necessary, but as a general rule,  installing doors and trim first creates fewer problems and makes for a better looking job.

Depending upon your point of view, tile setter or trim carpenter, this issue has no firm resolution. But, we should all be looking for ways to improve the job we do. Residential construction subcontractors have varied approached to there work.  It is important that they work well with each other (i.e. plumber with tiling shower, counter top with backslash, trim with floor, etc). Proper communication between sub-contractors prior to floor tile installation is vital, if they have never worked together before.


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In St. Lucie County Boyer Tile LLC. services Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie West, Tradition, Torino, Tesoro, Lake Charles, Lake Forest, Magnolia Lakes, PGA Village, The Vineyards, St James Golf Club, The Cascades, and Fort Pierce.

Port St. Lucie Marble and Tile Contractor.

(772) 828-8909.

Mobile: (772) 828-8909.
Skype: (772) 828-8909.

Florida Tile Contractor (772) 828-8909