Tile Installation Conflict | Tile Setter vs 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.

Tile Installation Conflict - Rectified tile flooring.
Marble Tile Installation.

Although there are reasons for such schedules, the practice often results in increased work and aggravation for tile setters and produces 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.

Tile Installation Conflict Solutions.

The proper approach for the trim carpenter is to hang all the doors and trim except where there is to be tile. If the trim carpenter sets the trim where there is to be tile, he will create extra work for the tile setter.  If he really has to sets the trim where there is to be tile, he should do it right!  He should 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, he can install the baseboard. Back bevel the bottom of the baseboard and scribe to fit.

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 any gap can be easily grouted with the rest of the floor, or caulked if you prefer.  Of course, you can work over a finished floor (tile or wood), 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 subcontractors 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, FL.

In Indian River County Boyer Tile LLC. services Vero Beach, Indian River Shores and Sebastian. FL.