Tile Installation Conflict
Tile Setters versus Trim Carpenters
General contractors for new residential construction in the St. Lucie County area usually schedule trim carpenters to finish their work before tile setters start theirs. Although there are reasons for such schedules, the practice often results in increased work and aggravation for tile setters and sometimes tile installation results are less than perfect. There are valid arguments being made from both camps concerning these tile setter and trim contractor practices and this is an old argument that seems to rear its ugly head frequently. What it comes down to is what makes for the best looking job with the least problems.
In the above situation, when the tile setter arrives he finds that door units are already set and he is upset because he will have to use a jamb saw to cut wood off the bottom of the door to clear the height of the tile he is to install. In addition, base boards are 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.
There are valid arguments to be made on both sides of the fence concerning the conflict between the tile setters and the trim contractors. From my point of view, here's the proper approach. Hang all the doors and trim except where there's tile. You can go ahead and do that as well, but you create extra work for the tile setter. If you have to do that (don't want to return later to do it right), use a piece of tile and corrugated cardboard as a spacer, so the tile setter doesn't normally have to trim the casing. After the tile is done, install the baseboard - no shoe mold ever! Take the base and back bevel the bottom and scribe to fit, which 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. 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, pre-installing doors and trim 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. There are several ways and styles that residential construction subcontractors do work. It is very important that they work well with each other (i.e. plumber with tiling shower, countertop with backslash, trim with floor, etc). The trick is to allow the subcontractors to converse prior to installation if they have never worked together.
It is so easy to learn to do a particular job one way and never consider other ways to accomplish the same job. Maybe an easier way, maybe a more difficult way but with better results, maybe a more time-efficient way. The biggest problem for all of us who have taken the proper steps to master our trade is the incompetent contractor who tries to cut corners before we get to the job and after we leave.