My Decorating FAIL: Has This Ever Happened to You?

by hookedonhouses on September 5, 2012

Have you ever come across a photo on a blog and little bells went off in your head (ding-ding-ding!) because you realize that’s exactly what you want to do in your own house? That’s what happened to me when I saw this one of Edie’s lovely master bath on her blog Life in Grace.

I had been trying to figure out what floor tile to use in my bathroom for YEARS. I’m indecisive like that. In the meantime, it looked like this:

{This is one of those “I can’t believe I’m showing them that!” moments…}

When our house was built about 10 years ago, the builders in this neighborhood put carpet in the vanity areas and vinyl flooring in the water closets (where the toilet and shower are) in most of the houses. I wasn’t too concerned with it–we’d just replace it when we got around to it!

Fast-forward a decade later and I was still living with the old flooring, which seemed to look worse by the day. I kept my eye out for a tile I liked well enough to spend the $$ on it but never found anything I could get really excited about.

That is, until I saw Edie’s. Loved the classic look of it. It reminded me of the kind of black and white bathroom tile we had in the old house I grew up in.

One weekend when I was walking through Lowe’s on a totally different errand I saw a display with tile that looked a lot like hers. I called up her blog on my iPhone to compare and sure enough–same one. It’s called Sausalito, and I was surprised to find out Lowe’s had it in stock.

I asked them to price it out for me–white tile with black grout so it would create the black and white look I wanted in the bathroom. It came to about $1,500 for the tile and installation. We bit the bullet and ordered it.

I was so excited to finally get that project off my To-Do List. I would be embarrassed by my bathroom no more!

On Monday the Installer arrives, alone. He says it’s going to take a day longer than his supervisor told us it would because he’s doing the job on his own.

Oh, and since you decided at the last minute to have them tile the kids’ bath down the hall while they were at it, you aren’t going to have access to the toilets or showers for the next 3 days.

(Oh, boy. Maybe I haven’t really thought this through…)

I never realized just how far away the half bath on the first floor is from my bedroom until I had to walk down there in the middle of the night. Also, how hard it is to wash your hair in a powder room sink. But I digress.

On Day #3, Dave the Installer made a few comments like, “Man, this black grout is KILLING me.” At one point I peeked in to check on his progress and suddenly realized what he meant. The black grout made a big ol’ mess.

I snapped a pic with my iPhone as he was washing it down:

He washed it. And washed it some more.

But even when he was finished, I found black splatters and “residue” all over the walls, the woodwork, the side of the tub. It looked like a crime scene. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed some more. And most of it came off.

The white woodwork was stained beyond hope, though. Here’s a close-up of some of it to give you an idea:

I can repaint the woodwork, I guess (ugh). And it doesn’t look bad from a distance, so if you can avoid going into the room at all–just glancing in from time to time like this–it’s fine:

But what really threw me is how there is now black all around the edges of the room. And black is not what you want to see along the bathtub, around the toilet, around the door frames…

It totally looks like mold growing. Everywhere. And “black moldy bathroom” was NOT the look I was going for.

I looked back at my Inspiration Photo from Edie’s blog and realized that the difference was her baseboard sat on top of the tile. Mine just butts up to it. Which creates a thick black outline around the room.

I just stood in the middle of the room for a long time, trying not to cry. Some of the thoughts running through my head…

  • I wonder how hard it would be to change the grout color now?
  • He said not to get it wet for another day. If I hose it down, maybe it’ll come back up and we can start over!
  • Maybe we could just move?

My husband is the consummate problem solver. He immediately started making plans to repaint the woodwork and put quarter-round down around the edges of the room to cover as much of the black grout as possible. If we can get it looking decent enough I’ll share the entire before and after with you when it’s finished.

But geez, it’s so discouraging to finally get a big house project completed and not be happy with the results. It’s going to be extra painful to pay that bill when it comes due.

Have you ever finished a major project, only to realize you’ve made a huge mistake (as Gob would say)? I hope you’ll share some your own decorating FAILS in the comments. Maybe it’ll make me feel better about mine….

*1/13 UPDATE: Want to see how the room turned out?

master bath 11-12 black bench and new tile

The Reveal: My Master Bathroom is Finally Finished!

P.S. You can see more pics of my house on the “My House” page


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Jared September 5, 2012 at 6:57 am

I think it looks great! If worst comes to worst you can always replace the basemouldings. No biggie! Also did you think about just adding like a bull nose piece like they do with hardwood floors? And as for the tub and toilet what about re-caulking with bright white? Don’t give up hope!

Joan September 5, 2012 at 8:57 am

The bullnose is a great idea! (It gives the base moulding a lot of depth, too.)

emily@remodelingthislife September 5, 2012 at 6:59 am

My handy hubby says install shoe moulding all the way around. We have black grout in the kid’s bathroom with similar tile and it looks great, even though he did it up to our baseboards. He put in shoe moulding and you’d never know :) I really love the floor!! Great job!!

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

Thanks, Emily!

Leslie September 5, 2012 at 9:56 am

I was about to say the same thing! Shoe molding (I’ve also heard it called “quarter-round”) would go along way to tidy up the edges. The tile looks beautiful and the nice thing about the black grout is — it’s already black! Seems like a dream in the cleaning department! (Once the residue is gone, I mean!) I think it’s gorgeous!

Susan Brinson September 5, 2012 at 7:01 am

Put a piece of 1/4 molding along your floor line. The tiler should have taken up your base boards. Kinda a lazy move on his part. You wouldn’t have the black line. I’d have they put new base boards for you. That are wider and cover the line.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 7:17 am

Yeah, I wish I’d known better and could have requested that before he did it. He told me that he usually does tile in new construction before they put the baseboards down.

Live and learn…

Laura C September 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

I totally agree that the install was done incorrectly. Contact Lowe’s so that they pay to have the molding beefed up.

Tudie September 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Yes, added molding is certainly the solution to make the best of this situation, but I’ll also add that the perimeter should not have been grouted in the first place. Any professional tile installer knows tat any change of plane should be caulked not grouted due to the movement of the surrounding material. The overall look of the floor is great– an improvemnt over yucky ol carpet for sure!!

Laura @ Finding Home September 5, 2012 at 7:02 am

The first project we ever did was wallpaper my daughter’s room when I was pregnant. We made SO MANY mistakes and we were so frustrated. But when we pulled the whole room together we didnt notice the mistakes any more I am sure when your husband make those updates and the whole room is completed you will love your room as much as Edie’s! Good luck!

Angela September 5, 2012 at 7:03 am

That is heartbreaking to fork over so much money & be so excited after waiting so long, only to be disappointed! :( Reading your post I was going to suggest the quarter round to cover the “black mold look”! There’s a smaller profile than the quarter round which you may prefer. It’s a shoe mould & is slightly shallower so wouldn’t butt out quite so much. I’m sure it’ll look lovely when it’s all finished!

Laura September 5, 2012 at 7:04 am

It’s going to be beautiful – don’t panic :)

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 7:15 am

I’m trying not to. You guys are making me feel better already! :-)

WonderingWoman September 5, 2012 at 7:05 am

I think putting quarter round down will fix the wall problem and just replace the grout around the tub and toilet. The tile looks really good, I wouldn’t have thought about the black grout looking yucky around the tub/toilet either. I don’t know how hard it would be to get it out in those couple of places but at least it’s not a lot.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 7:14 am

Yeah, the trickiest thing will be the places where the wood trim won’t cover it. I have a thing about bathrooms looking sparkling clean, and I hate seeing all the black around everything.

Kristy September 5, 2012 at 7:06 am

I have to agree with Jared, I think it looks great too! I know it would be different in real life but such a vast improvement from the carpet.
Would love to see your kitchen (inspired by As Good as it Gets) – perhaps it’s already on your blog but I can’t see it).
Love this website, lots of inspiration (for the house we are about to build in Western Australia).

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 7:12 am

Thanks, Kristy! I’ve never shown my kitchen but have been thinking I might soon. It’s a very humble one, but I love it. Just have to decide if it’s “blog worthy.” :)

Kristy September 5, 2012 at 7:17 am

I am sure it is. Would LOVE to see it! I don’t think I will be able to go to town like the Something’s Gotta Give House (sorry, wrong movie above), so would really like to see a pared down version.

lisette drake September 5, 2012 at 9:22 am

Please show pictures of your kitchen, I would love to see.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 9:44 am

I’ll try to work up my courage. Even though it’s one of my favorite rooms in the house–it just feels good to spend time in it, and it’s very practical for cooking and feeding big groups of people–I’m afraid you’ll all be disappointed in it. It’s not high end or fancy at all!

Shabby Chick September 5, 2012 at 11:30 am

Show us the kitchen! Show us the kitchen! Show us the kitchen! We will never be disappointed in our Julia! (Unless she doesn’t show us the kitchen….) ;)

Holly September 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

PLEASE show us the kitchen! Mine is pretty utilitarian, and I’m holding off on remodeling for the exact same reasons. I’m afraid I won’t love it and be disappointed. It’s hideous right now, teal speckled Corian with a nice, white racing stripe.

Richella at Imparting Grace September 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Oh, Julia, if your kitchen isn’t high-end or fancy–that’s exactly why you SHOULD show it! To be completely honest, I usually whiz right past the fancy-schmancy houses. Occasionally I like to see celebrity homes or designer work, but what interests me most is real homes of real people. You’ve shown snippets of your kitchen before, haven’t you? Like holiday decor on your counters? I for one would love to see the whole thing!

I’m so sorry about your bathroom woes. I do think it’s worth it for you to contact Lowe’s. Your installer apparently didn’t realize that he should use a different technique for installing floors in an already existing home. I’m guessing that the baseboards should have been removed and the toilet taken out before the tile was installed. Perhaps Lowe’s can work with you on a solution.

By the way, thank you so much for correctly identifying your old floor covering as vinyl. Have you noticed how many people call it “linoleum”? One of those things that fascinates me!

hookedonhouses September 14, 2012 at 7:45 am

Thanks, Richella! :-)

Kelly Ann September 5, 2012 at 7:11 am

OMG…Now I know exactly what tile I’ll be putting in my bathroom redo..thx

Rachel Cagle September 5, 2012 at 7:12 am

DUDE– it looks awesome! I did white with black grout in my last house just like this. In my humble opinion, it looks like your tiler did a poor job cleaning up after himself. How does grout get on the wall?! I’d let the contractor know, but that’s just me. Tell him you’ll have to repaint the walls and trim and see what he offers to do. Also, quarter round would solve the edging you don’t like. Oh, and DON’T wash it off, then you’ll have half grouted tile– and will have to start all over… after digging out the grout that dried. Ouch.
Finish the project and see how great it looks then!

rosie September 5, 2012 at 7:16 am

oh, Julia!

I think the tile will look wonderful, but that installer did you WRONG! He should have pulled up your baseboard trim to put down tile-absolutely! I would call Lowes and have them do each and every step you require to make the room look perfect. And, let them know about how he did the job on his own. They contract out their work and I guarantee he pocketed the money he should have been paying to an extra person (or two) and you had the unfortunate experience of having to wait longer for the job to get done because of it. All that said, your Lowes probably has no idea of this guy’s antics in your installation and they should before he leaves someone else in the same predicament. A professional installation should be just that: professional. You shouldn’t have to clean up this guy’s mess.

Laura September 5, 2012 at 8:27 am

I agree! You shouldn’t have to pay any extra out of pocket to fix his wrongdoing! Once THEY fix it though it will be stunning!

Mick September 5, 2012 at 8:27 am

I totally agree. We just had a flagstone patio installed and when the workers poured the base, cement splashed onto our house siding, our kitchen bay window, our door etc. We immediately called our contractor and insisted that it be cleaned up when the job was done. At the end of the job the cement was power washed and chiseled off. I doubt it would have been had we not spoken up. And the fact that your guy didn’t pull up the baseboard to do the tile – grrrr!

It’s beautiful, though, and I agree that some quarter round moulding will make all the difference!

Jessica September 5, 2012 at 9:09 am

I agree, too! He should not have left things in such a mess! Make Lowe’s fix it. ;-)

Amanda September 5, 2012 at 9:35 am

Call Loews! We have been the victim of poor installers before. To pay a ton of money and be disappointed is NOT your problem…it’s theirs. For him to install the tile without taking up the baseboards, complain about the grou,t and then leave such a mess suggests pure laziness, but he still got paid for the bad job. I would call and pitch a fit!

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 9:40 am

I did talk to Lowe’s about it and they apologized profusely. Said they’d pass the word along to the contractor about the issues (there were more than I even mentioned here–they delivered the wrong tile, wrong type of grout, wrong amounts of everything, which was a hassle). I didn’t demand that they fix anything because I assumed it was my fault for choosing the black grout and not knowing to tell them to remove the baseboard.

Cheryl September 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm

It is the contractors job to know what to do, not yours. YOU were not the one who should have thought to remove the baseboard. That’s why we pay the pros. But it really does look sharp. You might be able to ask a tile shop what you might be able to do around the toilet & tub.

Shannon September 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm

NONE of this is your fault. It is not your responsibility to tell them how to do their job correctly. The color of grout is irrelevant; people choose black grout all the time without ending up with a Crime Scene in Moldyville bathroom. It’s certainly fixable and it’s going to look great, but what Rosie said is so true.

Lisa T. September 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm

He was also supposed to pull your toilet up so that the tile goes UNDER your toilet. This requires a little bit of “know-how”, but that why your paying a professional. Even after the quarter round is installed your baseboards are going to look shorter now, and rarely is that what people choose, if given the choice. Your installer should have gone over all of this with you. The tile looks great though.

Janet G. September 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm

The only way this would have been your fault would have been if this was a DIY. You payed a premium for professional know-how which you did not receive. It is not too late to complain to Lowe’s and have them do whatever you are not satisfied with. Not removing the toilet and baseboards is lazy and non-professional. I also suspect this individual was not very experienced, either. Lowe’s guarantees the work of their contractors/installers and will work to ensure your satisfaction, so talk to your store’s manager. The tile and black grout are very beautiful, though. I absolutely love it!

MissCaron September 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

OH NO! I also wouldn’t have really thought about that but I’ve never been one for dark grout so I probably wouldn’t have taken the leap in the first place. However, I think your hubby’s idea of the quarter-round will solve your dilemma. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

Haydee September 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had horrible (expensive!) home decor fails and its profoundly disappointing, frustrating and just plain old sad..Its strangely comforting to see that we’re not alone…It does look great though, can’t wait to see the big reveal!

Diane September 5, 2012 at 7:22 am

The black around the walls, toilet and bath may be caulk, not grout, which is a lot easier to remove and could be replaced with white caulk. If that is the case, and if they used silicone caulk originally, the new caulk should also be silicone, as nothing else will adhere properly to where the silicone was. For the black along the walls, as your husband and others have suggested, quarter round around the base of the trim would solve that problem. In our master bath the quarter round was left as a natural wood color, even though the trim is white and the floor is tiled.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 7:27 am

Okay, that’s good to know. Thanks, Diane!

Diane September 5, 2012 at 7:52 am

You can feel the difference by testing it with your fingernail — caulk will be more soft and pliable, grout is hard. You could also do clear caulk if you don’t want a white line… I agree with the others about having the installers fix it. Good luck!

Laura September 5, 2012 at 7:26 am

It looks beautiful. When our tiler put down our bathroom tile I saw every imperfection, not quite right tile, etc. Now they are all fading away. That being said, I would raise a few of your concerns with Lowe’s about the work you’ll have to do on your baseboards and being inconvenienced for extra time due to only one worker. If anything, you’ll feel better for speaking up. And oh…you happen to have a blog that a ton of folks read and a happy ending would be nice for them and you. :)

Amy September 5, 2012 at 7:31 am

LOL! “maybe we could just move”
I know I have thought that SAME thing a time or two.
Don’t worry! It looks great! We are just perfectionists. ;)

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 7:49 am

That’s definitely part of the problem. Things always “look better” in my head than they seem to turn out in real life. Ha.

Jennifer September 5, 2012 at 7:35 am

We have the identical tile in our master bath, black grout and all. THAT’S not the bad part. The bad part is the exact same tile in our shower, but with white grout that is a perpetual shade of yellow/slime pink. When I scrub it, it stays white for about 48 hours. White tile? White grout? I only hope that someone can learn from my $2000 mistake!

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 7:47 am

Yikes! That would drive me crazy. We used white grout in the kids’ bath. Hope it stays that way!

Lisa September 5, 2012 at 8:15 am

Jennifer you can buy a grout paint if you want the color changed or just buy a sealer. It may make the clean up a little easier. Good luck!

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 8:31 am

I didn’t know they had grout paint. Thanks!

Anne September 5, 2012 at 7:36 am

Aww Julia! My heart hurts for you – why don’t you try using white caulking all around the floor edge? It would hide the black & give you a clean edge. Use Painters’ tape or that frog tape stuff to make sure you get a sharp edge.

The floor looks gorgeous!

Melissa Daly September 5, 2012 at 7:37 am

Yikes! Shame on whom ever sold you the tile and didn’t inform you that black grout is not recommended with white tile. Most contractors know since tile is porous black grout will leach into the tile even though it is glazed on top, (and as someone has already told you the base should have been removed). I’m so sorry. It will just take a little longer but after a while you’ll forget how long it took. Believe me, I’m repapering a bathroom that was not usable for two years and thought once it’s done I’ll never change it. : )

Casey @ wafflingdesign September 5, 2012 at 7:37 am

Oh no! I want to redo my floors too and now im scared! I would do quarter round or even just caulk over the black edges?

But really, the tile looks amazeballs besides that point!! dont worry!

Anne September 5, 2012 at 7:38 am

Oh and btw, if the edging has been caulked before a quick fix is to use spackle on top of the caulking so that your new caulking will adhere (if you don’t want to pull up the old stuff, that is!) I used that trick in my bathroom and it worked like a charm.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 7:46 am

Good to know! Thanks!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality September 5, 2012 at 7:40 am

Hey, Julia! I love Edie’s bathroom too, so pretty. That would be some tile I would be interested in as well. Don’t be discouraged, putting down quarter round will solve your problem completely. you will be so happy when it goes down. And you can touch up those baseboards too & it will be fresh & new.

I’m working on my fixer upper bathrooms right now just trying to get them presentable. I have to put down quarter round around the baseboards where the tile doesn’t meet. It looks so messy now, but once the quarter round goes down, that will take care of it. Enjoy your new bathroom, Julia!

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 7:46 am

Thanks, Rhoda! It’s been fun watching the progress on your new house. It’s looking great!

ange September 5, 2012 at 7:42 am

I still love the look of the tile, I think your hubby has the right idea! If nothing else, maybe take some white paint and paint the black grout white. Good luck! I hope you love it soon!

Trish September 5, 2012 at 7:44 am

I feel your pain. I had much the same thing with hardwood floors. I didn’t think to tell them to pull off the baseboards first. The installer should have asked me – he’s the one who’s done that before. I ended up with teeny tiny baseboards and there’s no way to lift them without taking the floor out again. And, no, it’s not as simple as new baseboards – you’d have to have them custom mitered to fit over the old ones. We finally went with adding quarter-round molding which made the baseboards even tinier. In those days we didn’t have the money to just rip it out and start over. I still want to cry when I think about it and we’ve been moved from there for over a decade.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 7:45 am

Oh, no! That’s terrible, Trish.

Kate September 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm

http://www.thehouseofsmiths.com/2009/10/first-big-reveal-yup-here-it-is-kitchen.html Ctrl+F “Cheap Faux Baseboard Tutorial”

That might work if they’re painted, not stained wood.

hookedonhouses September 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Wow, what a cool idea! I love that blog but don’t remember seeing that before. Thanks, Kate!

RoeH September 5, 2012 at 7:45 am

Yup. I’m sitting on it. I bought a couch when I was sick and tired of looking at couches and needed one badly. I looked at many and didn’t like anything – which may or may not tell you I’m weird – and finally got sick of it all and went into The Room Store one day and just picked out one blindly and had it delivered.

I hate it. And still do.

Anon September 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Right there with you! Long story short, I have a $3600+ dining set I don’t like, don’t use, and feel like throwing up every time I look at it. And I have never even used it! Was pressured into buying it and will never make that mistake again.

Julia,
To me your bathroom tile looks great! I would have never even noticed the issues with the black grout if you had not pointed them out in your post. I think it looks great! I do however, understand being upset over the outcome. BTDT more times than I care to admit. Try to keep it in perspective (something I could never do. Just a tad OCD. haha). In the big scheme of things, this is NOTHING and easily remedied. :)

House Crazy Sarah September 5, 2012 at 7:46 am

Black grout is hard to work with – and impossible to clean! It looks nice at first but I noticed in my last house that it would get stained by water and cleaning supplies and discoloured. I feel for you Julia! I think the quarter round is a good idea to hide the heavy edges. It will look sharper.
Keep us posted! (I chose the option of just selling the house, rather than redoing all the grout!) :)

Janet September 5, 2012 at 7:49 am

I agree that you can make this look much better with shoe moulding. Your contractor is liable for more than just paint and shoe moulding, though. He should have both taken up the baseboard and trimmed the doorframes to slide the tile underneath. He also should have cut tile pieces along the edges, not filled in the gap with extra grout. I’d start by asking for a complete new job done properly. And you should never have to clean up after a contractor!

Beth Crawford September 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

Yes, I too noticed the large grout fill he used instead of cutting pieces of tile to fit against the edges. Lazy contractor. One big mistake I made was the color of paint I selected for my living/dining room in my former condo. Being a singleton at the time I hired a pro to do the painting (hubby and I do it ourselves now). I came home from work excitedly anticipating the transformation. I came in and was speechless–and not in a good way. My heart sank. I tried to remain calm as he finished up the last bit. I didn’t say a word, just walked around trying to will myself to like it, that I just needed to “get used to it”. But I knew in my gut it was hideous. As he was finishing up I said, “Richard, it’s gotta go”. I think he was a little stunned, but it really was hideous. I had even painted large swatches to test the color in different light, just like you’re supposed to. I ended up having to pay twice for the paint and labor, but I loved the final color.

Jane September 5, 2012 at 7:53 am

Hang in there! You will have Edie’s bathroom floor!! In fact, what I would do is beef up your baseboards to match hers (not with quarter round)…. and although it’s lots of work, I would carry those baseboards around your bedroom. Meanwhile, I am now in LOVE with black grout because of your floor!! (And yes, new caulk around the tub will be all you need there).

Nori R September 5, 2012 at 7:58 am

Remodeling is full of little surprises. Ideally, your installer should have taped off your base mouldings to prevent marring them. Quarter round or a new, thicker base moulding will solve the perimeter mold-look, though. Projects usually look worse before they get better. ;)

laney September 5, 2012 at 7:59 am

…it is going to look WONDERFUL…just wait…a little bit more…blessings laney

Linda @ My Crafty Home Life September 5, 2012 at 8:05 am

Another thought…paint the baseboard black. Black cabinetry work is hot right now. good luck…it’s just a bummer that after all that money, you still need to do more. I feel and have lived your pain.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 8:12 am

I do love black cabinetry like Edie’s!

Lisa T. September 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm

That’s a great idea!! Love the black base boards in small rooms. That style would go great with your new tile, too. Kinda Deco.

JD September 5, 2012 at 8:06 am

Sometimes when you look at something too much, you lose track of the big picture – it looks great! I also agree with the other suggestions to put another trim piece on if you don’t like the look. Or, perhaps white caulking around the edges will be a more subtle way to hide the grout line.

Katie @ Domestiphobia.net September 5, 2012 at 8:11 am

I’m sure this has already been said in the comments, but the quarter round will work WONDERS to finish it off and cover the black grout border. In the areas with door trim where you can’t put the quarter round, maybe you could do some white caulk or something? I’m sure this can be fixed without re-doing the grout. And I HOPE so, because that floor looks stunning!!

My Boys' Teacher September 5, 2012 at 8:17 am

Yikes, so sorry that happened! Yes, as the other commenters mentioned, the baseboards were obviously off when the inspiration photo was tiled. I don’t know why he left the baseboards on. Isn’t the grout along the baseboards going to crack as the baseboards expand and contract throughout the year? At least it is easily solvable. Toe molding should do the trick. Also, won’t you be running a bead of white caulk along the edge of the tub anyway? You already know this stuff, but I’ll say it anyway…make sure you tape off before you caulk so you get nice edges instead of a meandering snake.

If you have good luck with Lowes customer service, then maybe they can break out the edges and retile them.

Keep us posted!

MIMI September 5, 2012 at 8:21 am

You didn’t make a mistake, Julia! You had a visceral response, a true “A ha” moment after years of indecision. Your installer, on the otherhand, should have known to remove all baseboards before an install. And replace them upon completion of installation and clean-up.

Nonetheless, the floor is fabulous and with quarter-round installed, perfection. The black grout gives the tiles dimension, a classic yet contemporary statement in an often underplayed area of the home. Wonderful choice!

margo September 5, 2012 at 8:22 am

Consider a black tile baseboard piece all around the room which would sit atop the edge of the tile. There is a great one at Lowe’s near the subway tile.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 8:30 am

Never would have thought of that!

Katie September 5, 2012 at 8:23 am

What a bummer! But seriously (and I don’t mean to downplay your disappointment), I think your husband totally has the right idea. Painting trim is dreadful, but you could make a party of it. Then put down some quarter round and call it good.

Embrace the imperfection! :)

ps. Much easier said than done.

pps. We’ve been in our house three years and there is still one bathroom that has grout residue all over the trim… maybe we should paint together. :)

Shannon September 5, 2012 at 8:35 am

Someone has probably already suggested this but you can use white caulk to cover the grout around the tub, toilet and any other places the new baseboards won’t hide. I think it will look great once those things are fixed. We had things like this happen when we were building our house. You almost need to know how to do every trade just so you know they are doing it right. It’s amazing he didn’t know to remove the baseboards before installing the tile. I believe that is covered in tiling101. But don’t get discouraged, everything can be fixed and sometimes it is a pretty easy fix.

Rick S September 5, 2012 at 8:54 am

Julia,
Great tile the fix is easy. Like others have suggested install “Base Shoe” along baseboard. I have always finished (paint or stain) the base shoe before installation to make it easier. You also may use a bead of caulk at tub or shower. In a previous house I but a amall bead of white caulk under base shoe where it meets floor to get rid of dark shadow line. Use a paintable latex, Altex is brand I use, and use warm soapy water and tee shirt rag to wipe away excess and leave a smooth line. try it in hidden corner to get the hang of it. I saw them use this brand of caulk to set the china sinks into the laminate counters and have used it to cover gaps where counter or cabinets meets wall before painting. just a small amount makes the job look finished. The problem with silicone caulk is paint doesn’t stick and it comes off.

Heather H September 5, 2012 at 9:18 am

I second this suggestion, should fix it up nicely.

Some folks have mentioned that Lowes should have taken the baseboard off (which i agree with) however many installers do not do that nowadays as a shortcut. Definitely good to always remove it and either make sure they will do it or find out if they are expecting you to as pre-work. We’ve changed a few floors to wood and tile and have found that they have expected us to remove the baseboard if that is what we want.

Julia September 5, 2012 at 8:55 am

Julia, you should definitely get Lowes to fix the problem. This was a sloppy job. They will come in and paint the woodwork and replace baseboards for FREE. Call them. They are supposed to guarantee their work.

Jenny@EvolutionofStyle September 5, 2012 at 9:09 am

I think you’ve gotten some great advice here so far, and I agree that your first recourse should be going back to Lowe’s and telling them that you’re not happy with the end result. It sounds as though he took a shortcut in not removing the baseboards (when we had tile done in our old house, they did take the baseboards off now that I think about it – but it’s not like I *told* them to, they just did it), and that’s the reason you hire a professional, right? You didn’t know to ask but you shouldn’t have to!!

That aside, I think the tile looks fantastic – it really took my breath away!

A.Men September 5, 2012 at 9:17 am

I hate all tile except decorative authentic Mexican tile on the walls. It is a myth that tile will look good.

Holly September 5, 2012 at 9:29 am

Speaking from my own tile-laying hell experience, quarter-round hides a multitude of sins! But really, I think it looks great how it is.

Heather September 5, 2012 at 9:54 am

I think the floor looks great!!!!

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 10:03 am

Aw, you guys are making me feel so much better. You have no idea. :-)

david September 5, 2012 at 10:02 am

The first thing I thought of was quarter round but really a heavier more dramatic baseboard would dress everything up more. I put heavier baseboards in my bathroom and a large crown molding it really dresses up a small space. And it is a cheap fix up.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 10:03 am

I’d love that!

Linda Wheeler September 5, 2012 at 10:16 am

I really don’t think it looks that bad & the solutions you have in mind are sure to do the trick! I too wanted an old fashioned look so I used a black & white vintage looking tile w/ white grout. Well the installer was wearing these filthy boots and my white grout looks gray! I was on the phone w/ the contractor seeing how we were going to “clean” it, so I know the feeling of disappointment! Sorry you had a bad experience, but since I work for Home Depot it was interesting hearing the dialogue of the Lowe’s installer :)

Anne B-P September 5, 2012 at 10:16 am

I think the actual tile and grout look great in the space, however you are right- more care should have been taken to protect your baseboards. Contractors these days, maaaan!

Looks like lots of people have been giving you good advice on how to get this righted, and I am thankful to have read their advice in case I ever have an issue like this.

Hang in there and eventually the finished project will look wonderful! I do really like that tile! I’ve always been a fan of darker grout, too!

Amanda @ Serenity Now September 5, 2012 at 10:16 am

Don’t discourage! The tile really does look nice. :) Your husband is a smarty–I was going to suggest quarter round too. :)

erin@liveprettyonapenny September 5, 2012 at 10:24 am

Hi. I just got floors put in and the trick around the baseboards is shoe molding. That will cover the black that you see along the baseboards! Hope this helps!

Christina from Dallas September 5, 2012 at 10:31 am

This happened to me too!! I had white subway tile installed in the kitchen. At the last minute, I asked the installer to put in gray grout because I was afraid of food and grease staining the white grout. I don’t think he had ever done this before. Anyway he did it but all along the edges there is a gray line outlining the kitchen. Also around the cabinets. It looked terrible and dirty. What we did was put white caulk in those areas where the gray looked out of place and this worked okay. I love that the subway tile stands out with the gray but it needed a bit of tweeking to make it look finished.

Laura September 5, 2012 at 10:39 am

Quarter-round, white paint and caulking will do the trick. Black grout sounds like a good idea in the long run. The white always gets stained and dirty. I think it looks great!

Jenna Sue September 5, 2012 at 10:40 am

Ohh, no! I’ve had that feeling MANY times… I totally get your pain, sister. But at least the shoe molding will be a relatively easy fix and all will be forgotten soon. Thanks for sharing the “darker” side of renovating! ;)

bev September 5, 2012 at 10:42 am

My husband owned a flooring company and I can tell you it is NEVER acceptable to put ANY type of flooring down until the base boards are up. Someone needs to be held accountable. I’m thinking Lowe’s.

Lisa September 5, 2012 at 10:59 am

Oh Julie!
First of all, good job on your choice of tile. It’s beautiful!
Second of all, DO NOT PAY for that installers mistakes. If you have not paid yet, DON’T! Once they get your money you are done.

Demand that the job be made to your satisfaction down to the last detail. Seriously. My husband is a professional carpenter. Owns his own business and has seen stuff like this before. That installer is just biting his nails hoping you will be an easy target and leave him alone.

You are a paying customer and should get what you asked for. Period. If it means that you get new baseboards installed free, sobeit. If it means you get a whole new tile job, then so be it. You get the idea. The customer is always right. You have to be tough with the people in this industry. SO many of them are flakes and so many of them pretend to know more than they really do. I’m so sorry you had this experience, but really hope you will be vindicated!

Blessings,
Lisa

Nancy September 5, 2012 at 11:04 am

My biggest mistake: A DIY show made scraping popcorn off the ceiling seem simple enough, so I went to work in my bathroom. Not only did the popcorn scrape off, but alot of the dry-wall as well as the drywall-tape along the edge where the ceiling meets the wall. I then had to try to putty it up and fix it, paint it, and it still looked aweful…..then I figured crown-molding might hide all the blemishes that the putty & paint couldn’t hide…

Eventually we sold the house, but before putting it on the market, I hired someone to repair the ceiling in that bathroom and paint it.

My lesson learned: DIY shows are for the skilled!

Laura September 5, 2012 at 11:12 am

The little you have shared actually looks really nice! I’ll just bet overall it doesn’t look as bad as you describe. From experience, I know that other people don’t usually see the problems we see when we look at our own homes. Sounds like your hubby has a great idea to remedy the outside black grout problem that bothers you more than it will ever be noticed by anyone else! Hang in there, in the end it will really be great!

Laura

Shabby Chick September 5, 2012 at 11:25 am

It’s not a disaster. The quarter round will be wonderful, and have hubby put a thick bead of white caulk along the tub and around the toilet. It’s going to be beautiful when you’re done! ;)

Maria September 5, 2012 at 11:28 am

I haven’t read all the other comments, but…

First, your tile choice looks lovely and 2nd…

Honestly? I would make them rip it out and start over. Period.

The baseboard 100% should’ve come up first and any installer worth his salt knows this. Because if you ever need to change, repair (hey it’s a wet room, a water issue that warps the boards isn’t unheard of), or replace the baseboards – how are you going to do it? They are grouted in. Huge mistake. And the contractor knows it too.

You can cover it with 1/4 round or maybe white caulking, but it doesn’t change that a mistake was made.

I would *insist* they fix it. (Hopefully they will already offer to do it.)
*No would not be an option.*
They’d be ripping it out, fixing it, and buying/painting me new baseboards too.

Ana September 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Julia,

I manage the installation team at my Lowe’s, and I can tell you that I would want to know about your experience. First, the installer leaving you without a usable shower for days is unacceptable. The job should have been scheduled one bathroom at a time, to minimize inconvenience during your remodel. Unless you requested it completed by a certain date or all done at the same time, I don’t see why this wasn’t offered as an option. Having the baseboards pulled up and put back may have cost more labor in your area , ( in my area it is not part of “basic installation”) but they should have recommended to you that option especially in light of your choice of black grout. I think baseboards should always come up first, but not every pro agrees with me on that. Still, it makes sense, especially here, and the installer should have thought of that and addressed it.

If it were my store, I would be offering you a job done to your satisfaction. If that means replacing the baseboards, it would be done. If it meant redoing the job so the baseboards are not grouted in, it would get done. Painting, maybe not so much – it’s understood in my location that painting and finishing of walls is not installer responsibility. But we’d be discussing on your terms what would make you satisfied with the job and make it happen.

I would disagree with some of the harpies in the comments recommending you “demand” Lowe’s to fix it or “holler” or “squeak” until they make it right. There’s no need to act like a deranged brat. Unfortunately there are millions of people who think this way and it’s why people hate working in retail. It’s not the hours, it’s not being on one’s feet. It’s people acting like uncivilized psychopaths. Just call and speak to the manager about why you aren’t happy. They’ll likely send someone out to take a look, and agree with your assessment. Discuss with them what would make you happy with the final outcome. If that doesn’t work, you can email me and I can forward it where it will get proper attention. I’ve changed my name above and given a non-primary email address to protect my identity as this comment will be displayed on the internet, but I do check that account and would properly introduce myself and offer to assist you if needed.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Thanks, Ana! The people at Lowe’s have been very helpful and apologized when I told them about some of the issues we had. I really didn’t expect them to do anything further–just wanted them to know what our experience was. I really wish they had mentioned the option of removing the baseboard since it’s not something I knew to ask about myself. I would have gladly paid to have that done. I appreciate your input!

Barb @ The Everyday Home September 6, 2012 at 5:56 am

Ana,
I just wanted to say how wonderful it is that you have reached out to Julia like this. And I agree with you 100% as I worked in retail management for almost 4 years. There were times when I could not believe how people reacted and thought they could treat another human being when I was dealing with some clients. I just wanted you to know this was a very nice gesture.

Spring September 5, 2012 at 11:34 am

That must have been so disappointing for you. However, I’m sure, once you get the baseboards painted and some shoe molding or something put down it will be just as you wanted.

becky September 5, 2012 at 11:40 am

And that is why God made quarter round. Add quarter round, and you hide edges.

the Blah Blah Blahger September 5, 2012 at 11:46 am

Quarter round…brilliant solution! Sorry you were so frustrated!

Teresa September 5, 2012 at 11:50 am

Julia,
Keep your chin up! The tile looks great and the “fixes” that have been suggested to you should correct the grout problem. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and complain until you get Lowes to resolve the issue which was due to improper installation on the subcontractors part.

Misery loves company…..My decorating nightmare was two matching leather reclining chairs. The material used for the seating was defective and after only 4 months the cushions were flat! The manufacturer wanted to replace the inside foam but the leather had already stretched out so badly that wasnt going to be acceptable so after a month of going up the corporate ladder I findly got satisfaction when they came to pick up the chairs and I was given a credit to select different chairs.

We have all been there one time or another!

Sue September 5, 2012 at 11:54 am

Biggest decorating mistake! Oh, where do I start? We live in a 50+ year old house and the master bedroom has a wall of built-in bookcases and cupboards underneath. Lovely for storage but a DIY job by the original owner and not the best. We had the floors refinished and the entire upstairs painted this year. We picked a contractor based on a recommendation of a friend, and liked him when we met to discuss the job, etc. I picked the paint, pale green for the bedroom and off white for the woodwork. Need I add, the bookcase painting was a huge job and a big part of the expense. The pulls and hinges were “early American” black that had been painted over. I went out to find replacements more in keeping with our style, not the 50′s style of the house. No luck! After checking every source locally and on-line, I was stuck with replacement just like what we had removed. Also, the painters discovered (they should have checked before they began) that latex paint had been put over oil-based many years ago and when they started putting on new latex, the old latex began peeling off. And to top it all off, after all the trouble and expense, I hate the color! I’d like to rip out the whole wall and start over, but that is not a option, so yes, I know how you’re feeling. I think you have lots of good suggestions to make it better. Good luck.

Holly September 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I was going to suggest quarter-round/shoe moulding. That plus a new coat of paint on the trim & cabinets (maybe you’ll paint the bases black like your inspiration photo?) should do the trick. I agree that the baseboards should have been removed before the tile was laid.

Yes I have had many decorating fails. We just finished two phases of a multi-phase home renovation. Pretty much everything I picked out on my own (versus the designer or architect or someone who helped me at the plumbing supply store) was a mistake. Wrong ceiling fan on screened porch. Heinous flush mount fixture at back door. Wrong style lamp (and expensive and non-returnable to boot). Wrong color bath accessories. Ugh! I think I’m saving money by selecting these items myself but they’re always wrong, wrong, wrong!

Oh, and I just had a door hardware guy here for an entire day replacing all the door hardware on my main floor, and after he left & I took a close look at the levers, I realized that he had installed the wrong style lever — everywhere!!

Nancy @ Dreamit...build it...style it! September 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I think your husband’s quarter-round suggestion is the answer to your problem. But if you feel that the baseboards are now is really bad shape you could replace them. Removing the grout is a crazy amount of work so I’m not sure that is something you’d like to tackle. My first painting job in our home was a mess. I hadn’t primed the walls and didn’t realize the walls were painted in oil paint so all the paint peeled off the wall! What a mess!
Best of luck with the tiles.

Maria September 5, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Ok, just read the installer comment that he normally works in new construction where the baseboards aren’t yet installed. What a lame excuse – that also admits he knows he installed it wrong! (That comment ticked me off on your behalf.) Grrr! No excuses – fix it!

I come from a family full of contractors and home builders. I’ve worked in building out commercial spaces as a project manager. The cosmetic cover-ups are what we call in the industry “mickey-mouse” work. Any inspector would catch it right off (I don’t know if this does/doesn’t meet code where you live, but there is no doubt it’s a mistake). You paid a professional to do this properly, so they need to be held accountable.

They are trying to be lazy/hope they can get away with it, but they know this is a mistake and in no way asking them to make good is an unusual request. Any general contractor who’s sub did this would make them fix it. I’d start nicely with either Lowes or the contractor: the installer tiled the baseboard in, when can we schedule you to come out and fix this?

If you need me to put on my construction hat, make a phone call, and kick their behind – let me know!

Lisa September 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I completely agree with the others. Go into Lowe’s with your photos and make them pay and or fix their mistakes. There is no reason why you should have have to pay one penny for their mistakes. Obviously this fellow was not a professional.

On the plus side, the black grout looks lovely!

Amy in PA September 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Our tile guy is coming tomorrow to install very similar tile in our hall bathroom (same design, different color). We’re going with a light grout but I’ll be thinking of you as the reality takes shape & hopefully matches what’s in my mind & inspiration pics! And the new blog layout looks great!! Keep up all the good work!!

Cindy September 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I was going to suggest putting in white quarter-round, which hides a multitude of sins, but Dave beat me to the punch. I know from an old, big bathroom in an old house that black grout is difficult to work with. Our installer, who was a complete professional, talked me into a more steel grey tile so that there was contrast witht he white hex I was putting in, but it wasn’t the high contrast of black. Also, apparently (and I know this wouldn’t have been a consideration with your house), I seem to remember that historic black grout is really just lighter grout that aged; in the ’20s, tile wouldn’t have been laid with black. All that said, I think the tile looks great! I can understand being disappointed with the edges, but I think most tile would look like that — rtoug goes to the edges of the tile, so if you have black grout, there’ll be a black ring unless it’s covered up. His attitude could have been better, and certainly painting (or retouching) trim and laying quarter-round is a pain, but he didn’t lay the tile crookedly, break fixtures, or stop half-way. And Lowe’s cost probably 1/2 to 1/3 what you would have paid going through a high-end tile shop. I’d let it go, fix the edges, and you’ll eventually love that bathroom floor. It’s really striking.

Tara September 5, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Totally lazy move on your tiler’s part. He REALLY should have removed the baseboards, tiled up to the wallboard, then replaced the baseboards after grouting. Then there would’ve been no staining, no build up, no problems at all. I agree with what everyone else has said. Get a whole bunch of quarter round, paint it white (ahead of time), go in & nail it down, making sure to countersink the nails, then caulk over the nails holes. Done.

Derek September 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm

It looks fantastic!!! Great choice, and it goes great with the wall color!

This might take a little more time, but what about using a small saw and cutting and removing the baseboard down to the level of the tile, and then putting in new baseboards that are a wee bit thicker to cover up the base of the old baseboard (the part that is between the grout and attached to the wall) and will still bump out and give you the same look?

vanessa September 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I am sure I am going to tell you what most commenters have said but I know that sick feeling when you think you have made a mistake. I work for a flooring company and we usually do not remove the baseboards unless requested by the customer or new construction. We do remove the toilets, always. We don’t caulk around the toilets after the install because if you have a leak you will have a hard time knowing it. We do not even make the cut line around the baseboards perfect because we cover that wall line with 1/4 or shoemold if you don’t want something as thick as 1/4 round. That is just the norm in the flooring world. We offer the 1/4 round service but I’m not sure if all companies do so that may be your situation. I would be livid if one of our installers left a customer’s baseboards, tub & walls dirty but that is the kind of personal check up on the job service that a small company offers. Black grout is the worst to work with but still, clean up your mess!
Anyway good luck. I think if you do the shoemolding you will love your tile. I’ve had that tile with dark grey grout for 3 years in my house and really enjoy it. And I bought it from Home Depot because our sales rep for American Olean couldn’t even give me HD’s price for my cost! Crazy.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Very interesting! I wish I’d known all this beforehand, but I will next time. Thanks, Vanessa!

marieDee September 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Julia, I am sorry that you experienced this but am so glad you shared it! My projects often don’t turn out as I envisioned, and it’s especially bad when I’ve paid to have something done and would have to pay to have it redone. Knowing that I’m not alone helps a lot!

Katherine @ Grass Stains September 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I’m sure one of the other hundred commenters has already said this, but another option would be to lay a wide line of white caulk around the edge of the room/toilet/etc. But I think the tile itself is beautiful! You made a great choice. :) I hope you don’t stay discouraged for long!

Renee F. September 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Ok, I have worked for a tile company for 11 + years and have seen my share of Epic Fails. Yours is not that bad. :)

1) He should have done a final wash with sulfamic acid. It is gentle enough to not damage the floors and would have taken up that residual black. DO NOT use it to clean anything with a metal property to it.

2) You can do the quarter round and caulk it with white. It will look great. :)

3) If you do not like the color you can stain the grout, only if he used SANDED grout. UNSANDED grout will not adhere to the floor if it is unsanded.
What you do is go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and ask for Behr concrete stain. It lasts 10 years and makes it stain proof. You go to the tile aisle and look at the grout charts that they have. Pick a color that you like and ask the paint department to color the concrete stain to that grout color.
Use a tooth brush, paint brush and a clean cloth and go grout line by grout line.
Paint grout line, scrub with toothbrush, paint again, scrub and wipe.

I am not sure how it can lighten the black grout. You may have to test an area first.
I hardly ever recommend white as a grout color, it stains to easy. Mapei products actually sells a grout that has a stain inhibitor in it.
Newly tiled jobs, wait 30 days and take the Behr or other concrete sealer (without color added) and use it to seal your grout. The grout HAS to cure for 30 days before you can do this. Use same toothbrush, paint brush, cloth instructions as above. Remember to test a spot before doing the entire floor because this will make the grout 1-2 shades darker. Same as above though this will NOT adhere to unsanded grout, the unsanded grout is usually used on smaller grout joints and some wall tile depending on the size of the tile.

Hope this helps. :) I don’t think it needs a new color, I think it needs the quarter round and white caulking on the edges.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm

So helpful! Thanks, Renee!!

Jana September 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm

It already looks 1000 times better than that vinyl did! Love the look and everyone has had so many good suggestions that I won’t add. But, definitely work something out with Lowe’s to help you get the job to your satisfaction. That tiler did a very sloppy job. Who slaps black grout around without covering the client’s baseboards????

Wendy September 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Easy fix would be to get a small painter’s brush from Walmart (1/2 width or less) and spend an hour painting the grout line along the base-boards. White or off-white to match the trim. Cheap paint will do the trick (or grout paint) … it will stick well and presto, you will be in love with your new floor. You may already have some left-over white paint somewhere :) Floor looks fab by the way !!

Jennah September 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I’m actually shocked at how many would “accept” this error via a Lowes contractor. It is an expensive error and not one you should have to fix, Julia. The contractor should have taken OFF the baseboards before tiling. Any reputable contractor knows this is a necessity. Once again, another “cheap” contractor via a big-box store ruins what should have been a lovely (and simple) reno. I would contact Lowes and demand it be fixed at THEIR expense. Honestly, shoddy workmanship via a big-box store is one reason we always use an independent contractor. Lowes has hundreds of “contractors” on their payroll and quality service is never consistent.

Good luck. Simple installation of quarter-round should solve your issues but it doesn’t “make it right” (as Mike Holmes would say).

Maria September 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I agree, I’m *shocked* at how many would accept this error too. If it was a DIY I could understand fixes to cover mistakes, sure, but paid for professional work? NO. And it makes me wonder what other corners he may have skipped as well.

If one goes to sell the house it will look like a DIY, which could make one wonder if permits were pulled, which an inspector/appraiser could wonder about, which could make someone not be able/have a hard time to get a loan on the property (at least in my state this is all true)…not to mention one bathtub overflow and the floor needs to come out to repair the baseboards.

Parnassus September 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Although I am crazy about ceramic tile, and love the old-fashioned pattern you selected, I’ve never been a fan of grout when seen close up. My current living room has marble tiles which are closely set without grout, and I am wondering whether that finish could be used in a bathroom.

Thanks for all the warnings and tips in this post from you and your readers; I now feel much better prepared if I one day order this sort of work.
–Road to Parnassus

Xenia September 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I love this post. I am here thinking if that lady at Hooked on Houses can mess up I can now forgive myself for all of my past mistakes. Try not to panic though. You can replace the baseboard and sit the new one right on top of that new flooring.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Oh, yes. This Hooked on Houses lady messes up all the time, I’m sorry to say!

Kim September 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I think your bathroom looks great so far even though you have that grout mess. With all of the wonderful ideas you’ve been given, I’m sure you will be able to fix your problem and your bathroom will look even better than it does now.

lynda September 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I think what you want is base coving tile from Lowes to replace the baseboard tile. It is easier to keep clean and will have a nicer look. I would choose black and use the black grout. If you use shoe molding, make sure you use a composite or a vinyl product, because the wood is just too hard to keep up in a wet bathroom. (sometimes it even rots) Floor choice is very nice and you will love the bath when it is completely done.

MadMegan September 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I actually just installed this exact tile with black grout in my half bath, and yes, the black grout was a major pain to get up. We put it in first, grouted it, and then tiled up the walls with black subway tile and white cove base tile (with white grout). Overall it’s a very dramatic look!
I would say quarter round will solve your problem with the baseboard, but it’s not going to fix around the tub and toilet. I would suggest getting a white silicon caulking (paintable) and just running a bead of white all around the room to cover the black line. Cheaper and easier than new baseboard, cove base tile, quarter round, etc.

Rebecca C. September 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I still love the black grout though! I think we used a pewter when we did our tile floor in the bathroom. Not as dark. My husband, who did the job himself, had demo’d the whole bathroom, so there were no baseboards at all. I’m a bit surprised that the installer didn’t mention that it might not be perfect without that. I think that the quarter round idea will work perfectly. It will make the floor look more finished and it’s easy to install. If you had chosen white grout, I don’t think you would have been happy at all. I learned that from experience. It’s impossible to keep clean and is dull and dingy after only a year. I will never do that again. So your choice will last a lot longer and not look like you haven’t cleaned the floor. Darker grout is the way to go.

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Oh, dear. We used white grout in the other bathroom. Now I have something else to worry about…

Darla September 9, 2012 at 8:00 am

We have had white grout in bathrooms before. Just use a grout cleaner on it and seal it. Maybe once a year you will need to use a hand held steam cleaner (do you know what I mean? Like a shark hand held steamer) with the grout brush/tool. And then reseal. It’s not a big deal.

Jess September 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I’m sure someone has said this but you have A LOT of responses and I just couldn’t read through them all:
That installer from Lowe’s knows better! All of your baseboard should have been removed BEFORE he installed the tile and grouted. That way the grout line on the edge would have been covered up and your beautiful white baseboard would have remained WHITE! Any tutorial you google will tell you that. It’s basic knowledge. Something that a ‘professional’ installer would certainly know.
This is the worst feeling. We had granite countertops installed in our kitchen last summer and when we went to replace the stove their was a 1″+ gap between the stove and the countertop. The installers thought ‘patching’ it with a piece of granite would work just fine but the pattern doesn’t match up exactly and even though I’m sure others don’t notice the patch, I DO! And it stares at me. I can totally sympathize; even though others will hardly notice it, you know it’s there, and that it wasn’t done right.
You should definitely make a complaint and see if you can’t get all or some of your money back. It should’ve been done right in the first place.

Jess September 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I’m still fuming about this! Sorry.
THIS is exactly why we like to do things ourself. The granite was the only thing we felt like we couldn’t do ourselves thus far and it was so depressing that we PAID someone to screw it up. Even after they gave us money back for the labor it just sucked that it wasn’t done right.
Better than getting your money back? Ask Lowe’s to paint and install new baseboard similar to Edie’s. At least that way the job will look finished and you get an upgrade on your baseboard!

Eileen September 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Just this weekend had a decorating fail and like you, I could just cry over it. I had a college student repaint my basement office with the built in cabinetry, and it looks pretty good. He did a great job. But I thought an area rug covering the old, scarred vinyl floor would make the floor look good — and it makes it look WORSE because the perimeter vinyl contrasted with the new area rug and the new paint job looks horrible — worse than the “before” because the upgrades are so nice. So now we have to spend more money to put down either some cheap carpeting (not a good idea in a damp-ish basement) or vinyl plank flooring (perfect for the space, but way more than I planned on spending). But since it’s my office and I work from home, and the whole purpose for re-doing my office was I couldn’t work in an ugly environment one more day, I suppose we’ll bite the bullet. Ugh.

Kristen @ Joyfullythriving September 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Oh, Julia. Edie’s is lovely…and yours is lovely, too! However, I get the tears and frustration. We had a bad experience with getting new carpet. They had to come out twice, and they cracked our new tile that had been laid days before. Grr! Plus, I’m pretty convinced we were overcharged for a sloppy job. Yes, the carpet looks nice but still. Sigh. So frustrating. Hang in there! I hope Dave can add that quarter round soon, and that it helps.

Charlotte Des Fleurs September 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm

So many posts, I could not read them all. In case no one else mentioned this, white vinegar will dissolve any grout or mortor left on your walls or wood work. One of my friends had this problem in her kitchen. She had been scraping it for days! I pulled out her vinegar and took care of it in about 20 minutes.

Yes – the quarter round will make all the difference. That is why they make it! However, you might prefer a profile called “base shoe”. It is about 1/2″ tall but only 1/4″ thick. Personally, I like the base shoe better than a quarter round, but it does depend on how wide that offending grout line happens to be.

Best wishes, Charlotte

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I’m so grateful to hear this tip. There are some spots where I haven’t been able to get the black grout off yet, so I’m going to try that. Thanks, Charlotte!

Jenn September 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Hi Julia, I’ve had more than my fair share of design fails. I went through an exterior painting phase and had tried many, many colors for our shutters and trim, trying to complement our too dark house color. We finally settled on a green color which we had “test driven” on the front door and two of the windows for a few weeks. We decided to go for it and got to work removing the shutters from all the windows (27 of them!) and started prepping the house for trim work. The exterior windows and doorways were all outlined in bright blue painters tape, ready to be painted the next day. While we were outside working a neighbor stopped in her car and rolled down the window. “I LOVE the new trim!” she yelled with complete and utter sincerity. “So much better than that green!” We were howling as she drove away, knowing that if painters tape blue was starting to look good to the neighbors that we had made a horrible choice with the green we picked!

I agree with the moulding add on, but be careful with quarter round – it can end up looking a bit “pedestrian” and like an afterthought in the wrong environment. You might want something a bit more graceful with that gorgeous tile (love it! love it! love it!). Check out http://www.accentbuildingproducts.com/fypon.html and look under the mouldings section for “small mouldings”. I would consider going with something that has a bead or ogee edge to it to keep it looking intentionally designed. Enjoy your new floor!

hookedonhouses September 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Oh, wow, that story made me laugh out loud. That’s NOT what you want to hear when you’re starting a big project like that!

I’ll check out that link–thanks, Jenn!

Rebecca@MidcenturyModernRemodel September 5, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Yes, another design fail I should share. We installed a dishwasher and they didn’t do it right. It leaked all over our 1955 parquet floor. Boo. We had installed new baseboards about 2 months previous. When we got the new floors because the 1/2 parquet couldn’t be saved, it was lower then the baseboards. So they came in and installed quarter round. It does look kind of pedestrian as Jenn above says. But I have never fixed it, 10 years later. Boo.

CottageGirl September 5, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Oh Julia how disappointing for you, but with a tweak to the baseboards, you’ll be loving it in no time!

Laura September 5, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Definitely fixable and it will look great. I had a decorating “fail” of my own with pink paint. Turns out it’s a VERY fine line between a nice chalky subtle light pink and Pepto Bismol. I chose a swatch I thought would be perfect and they mixed up a quart. We put some on the wall of our (upstairs and downstairs) hallways to test and I loved it, so we bought 3 gallons. My husband painted the whole downstairs and it looked TERRIBLE!! Just like Pepto-Bismol. After much puzzling out of the situation we realized they mixed it according to the swatch correctly but had gotten the quart wrong….. Finally we unlocked the code and found the correct color, and I still love it, but ugh – what a pain.

Jenny September 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I think it looks great, but I see your concern for the edges. Your husband’s idea will work perfectly though.

Sil September 5, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Back in the 90′s we replaced a 60′s Kitchen-Aid dishwasher that finally died and after putting in the new dishwasher discovered we could not open the door all the way. Our mistake was, we did not measure the door length of the new dishwasher and because of the corner location (never a good location), when opening the door it would hit the stove door. If we had realized before buying the new dishwasher that this was going to be a problem I would have left the old one where it was and just done without. But instead, for a few years we could only open the door part way, load the top rack and bend waaaaay over to load and unload the bottom rack (we could not pull out the bottom rack at all). When we finally remodeled the whole kitchen, we moved the kitchen sink over just slightly, thereby allowing the new dishwasher to be moved over just enough so it would open all the way. With the remodel we purchased a Fisher-Paykel two drawer dishwasher which looked beautiful, worked wonderfully and was the quietest we ever owned. I sure wished they had made the dishdrawer back when we had to replace the original dishwasher, but I highly doubt we had the money then anyway. Live & learn!

Heather September 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Someone may have mentioned it in a comment before me, but shoe molding has a slightly narrower profile than quarter round. You really want shoe molding against your floorboard, not quarter round. They aren’t the same thing. Quarter round is going to stick out too far.

Sarah September 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm

On rehab addict, she totally painted grout because she wanted to make a design and it lOoked awesome!

And yes, I look at our laminate floors in our entire house and think, we should have picked a different color. Sad…

Linda September 5, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I think your hubby’s idea with the quarter round will work and it will be fine. Try not to worry Love the tile

Linda September 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm

I think your hubby’s idea with the quarter round will work and it will be fine. Try not to worry Love the tile. I also have carpet in the vanity area-ugh!

Michele September 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Looks great! I love the black grout. If you have trouble cleaning any of the black grout off woodwork, etc. I suggest you try the Mr. clean eraser sponges. They are amazing at cleaning stains that I had all but given up on! The latest-dark purple paint from the “color run” race that my daughter got all over the tan leather car seats!

Sandra September 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm

I agree Lowe’s should make it right, but it will turn out lovely, whichever way you go to “fix” it. I once bought a house that I loved, except it was gray, with a brown roof, just did not look right. Since the roof was fairly new, we opted to paint the house. After looking at a gazillion colors, keeping the brown roof in mind, I chose a “creamy beige” color. Since we were going out of town, I arranged to have it done while we were gone, since I thought it was not the sort of thing I wanted the kids around for. Got home, so excited to see it~~~and my house was PINK. No, it was not the painter’s fault, it simply looked very, very different spread on a house. I despised it. It was truly horrible. Lesson number one: Never choose paint for a large area based on a small chip. Lesson number two: Never leave and let workers do a job while you are away. If I had been there, I could have stopped them early on. As it was, I had to live in that ugly house for years.

Cara September 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I think the quarter round will make it look perfect. It’s just such a big change from what you had, it was bound to be a bit shocking. We remodeled an old house and had many same such feelings- frequently! I can’t tell you how many times I was nauseous over something new we had done. It turned out well in the end though, and yours will too!

Rebecca@MidcenturyModernRemodel September 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I see from the extensive comments you have hit a nerve. Yes, I have done this. Spent a ton of money and as the project was wrapping up realized I had not really thought about it thoroughly. I actually wrote a post about my top five mistakes in a recent $$$ bathroom remodel. Honestly although I labeled the top FAIL as my dripping shower fans (**sigh**), I really think I would redo the list and put the top FAIL as my NO BASEBOARD look. **Argh** The walls are getting more beat up daily. I am pasting the link here as a public service to your readers. “Don’t try this at home.” http://www.midcenturymodernremodel.com/2012/05/mistakes-in-mid-century-modern-bathroom.html
Your husband has a good solution. And the black grout is awesome!

hookedonhouses September 6, 2012 at 8:35 am

Great post, Rebecca! Thanks for the link. I can’t tell you how much better I’m feeling about my bathroom as I read about everyone else’s experiences with theirs. Clearly, I’m not alone!

Tessa September 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm

You might look into having the outer edge of the grout painted or stained. I have seen people do that before when the grout ends up making the tile look terrible.

Sandy September 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I’m building a new house right now and my hardwood floor man is a bear to work with, but he assured me the stain he was putting on was the same as the sample stain that he had put on a year ago, just a different company. I didn’t really buy it…but I am wore out (from building..so many decisions) so he stained the floors all 1500 SQ. FT. They turned out Red, I did not even want a hint of red, that’s the reason I purchased white oak. He did not want to hear about the problem & we were stupid enough to pay him (ALOT). I really needed him to go away because I wasn’t sure about his mental state. So we had to pay again to have them sanded back down to unfinished wood, pick another stain with NO RED and pay the other guy. My gut said don’t use this 1st guy, and I didn’t listen to my gut feeling, because I had been to a Parade of Homes & seen his work. They are finished now & look like I wanted them, but it sure did hurt the wallet. I used the Octagon floor tile you used for my upstairs bathroom, but I used a grout called Alabaster and it turned out pretty. Kinda wished I had used it in the Master Bath also with light gray grout. Hope it all works out for you…..PROJECTS ….they can get us in TROUBLE or wish we had never started. I hope to move in …in a few weeks. Don’t build new unless you want these kind of issues popping up ever other day….and faster that you can deal with! :-)

e. george September 6, 2012 at 3:29 am

Hi Julia where do I start the bathroom is the worst to deal with over here they tell you we won’t come and tile the walls of your bathroom that they have to gut the room to make sure the stud work is not crooked this is their money spinner and everything we picked it was discontinued so I did end up with tiles I would not have chosen the toilet was bigger than the one we wanted to replace (more cost) and a door that won’t close. You ask why didn’t you call them back well my husband did not want them back in our home. I wanted a 30s style bathroom it’s not bad but it could be better. I do love your tiles. The Brits would say have a cup of tea and don’t worry I know your husband will fix the problem and they will look beautiful. Till next time Regards Esther from Sydney. PS to add insult to injury they put some acid wash on the shower tile and it took the shine off. I like the British showers some use shower trays it looks good and would be easier to keep spotless.

Patience September 6, 2012 at 5:21 am

Aw, I feel for you. It’s a great floor, though and definitely an improvement over the carpet/vinyl combo.

We had our bathroom tiled with those tiny white hexagons, and the guy who grouted it did a clumsy job *and* he somehow damaged the plumbing near the toilet. He “fixed” it himself, but did such a bad job, we ended up having to call a proper plumber.

Just thinking outside the box here, and this might be a terrible idea, but what about painting the baseboards black? I just did an image search, and it looks like black baseboards can look OK, but they can also look awful, so you might want to skip this suggestion, LOL.

Barb @ The Everyday Home September 6, 2012 at 6:02 am

Julia,
I think this is anything but an epic fail. I was afraid that your pictures were going to progress into this catastrophic tile job which had to be all ripped out. Now that said, I am also not the one paying the $1500, who had to live for (3) days without a bathroom (I agree with Ana on that, and to me THAT was the epic fail – lol) and I am not the one who waited a decade for a major remodel project. But, I feel your pain more than you know. When we bought this house almost 11 years ago, it was the deal of the century and we knew certain areas would have to be gutted. One was also our master bath. Its hideous. Guess what, its still hideous. So I can understand your excitement and then disappointment because you have built it up so much in your mind. I hate that more work has been created for you and your husband, but personally I like the look of quarter-round on all hard surface floors as I think it looks finished. Either way, I love the tile and can’t wait to see the “After.” Hope you are well. :)

Andy September 6, 2012 at 6:17 am

Hey!

I know the feeling when a project is only part-way done, and you only see one element. I just had a house built, and there were several gut-wrenching moments… When I saw the tile first go down, when I saw the stain on the stair railing. They were major components that would be too expensive to change. Luckily, once everything was completed, my original vision came together, and everything looks great!

Once you paint the cabinets and the walls, things will come together and look like your inspiration photo!

Andy

p.s.
Sorry if someone else has already written this… I started reading through all the comments, and then skipped to the end! :-)

hookedonhouses September 6, 2012 at 8:38 am

This is a good point. Often I freak out when we make a major change, but then once all of the furniture and artwork and window treatments are in place, it all magically comes together.

Dina September 6, 2012 at 7:45 am

I once saw a picture in Architectual Digest of a red (think Chinese lacquer red) library and decided to paint a room in my then post-college apartment the same (I thought) color. I should have known to stop when I finished one wall and a friend said it looked like a murder scene, but I went ahead and did the whole thing. The red showed every flaw in my old apartment wall. It ended up looking like the lair of a Dominatrix and I couldn’t stand to look at it. I stayed up all night repainting and most of the next day. It took FOUR! coats of primer to eliminate it and then a new coat of Benjamin Moore’s Corn Silk to make it a bad memory.

hookedonhouses September 6, 2012 at 8:37 am

Laughed out loud about it looking like a murder scene. I was inspired to paint a bathroom that color of red once and know exactly what you mean. Took me days to cover it back up. And some got on the sink countertop and stained it–never could get that spot entirely off, so I’ll forever be reminded of those red bathroom days…

Rebecca | MidcenturyModernRemodel September 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Oh I did this one too. A dark red bedroom with an apple green bedcover. REALLY? What is wrong with me. We had it for 4 years!

dannheim September 6, 2012 at 7:59 am
hookedonhouses September 6, 2012 at 8:09 am

I like that. Thanks!

Susan September 6, 2012 at 8:20 am

Not my deco fail but years ago I bought a house with a beautiful designer kitchen, high ceilings, cherry wood cabinets and a terra cotta tile floor with very wide grout lines. I hated that kitchen with a burning passion. I can’t tell you the hours I spent on my hands and knees with bleach scrubbing that grout! Everything showed on that floor. People would always ooh and ahh over the kitchen but to me it was a giant pain. My next kitchen had very plain lino and I smiled every time I mopped!

Ryan September 6, 2012 at 9:42 am

Do I have sympathy for you! I also have the exact tile in our bath, with white grout. I was going for a very period look to respect the age of our cape cod style home. This tile with white bead board on the walls white cabinetry and chrome accents just made the most sense although I kept threatening to tear all the tile out. However, a quick simple fix (for me) was replacing every third square tile with a charcoal colored glass square really helped give the white tile and grout some visual interest. These glass 1×1 tiles came on a sheet 12×12 also from lowes looked a bit too modern for my taste but punching out the dark grey ones and inserting them as I said, made this “ho hum” floor have some pizazz! Hope this helps!

hookedonhouses September 6, 2012 at 9:55 am

What an interesting idea! Wouldn’t have thought to do that. Thanks, Ryan!

Jane September 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

I love that tile. I want that tile. And here’s the question: knowing everything you do now, would you still want that tile? I’m betting the answer is yes. Of course, you’d take steps to make sure it was installed to your satisfaction. But I still think you’d want it.

Carl September 6, 2012 at 10:45 am

I have used Lowes to install two kitchens and Home Depot to install a stone patio and walkway. In all cases I had problems with either the installations or the product. I complained to the respective stores and THEY made it right at their cost. You got a lazy installer who decided that he could get away with shortcuts. Please don’t accept it. While it was nice that Lowes was sorry for the trouble, it just doesn’t go far enough. Please go back to Lowes and have them make it right. In fact, I know that Lowes would rather fix the problem then get all of this bad press on the web.

Cindy September 6, 2012 at 10:58 am

Hi Julia!

First of all, I only wish my fails turned out so beautifully! I love the tile!

As to your molding dilemma, have you seen the molding product that’s made to fit right over existing molding? It would be a bit beefier and taller (perfect for this situation) and installs right over the existing molding so you wouldn’t have to rip it out. I’m not sure where you buy it, but that might be a good solution for you.

Hang in there – I think the whole project will be spectacular once you get it all pulled together!

Cindy

debbie bailey September 6, 2012 at 10:58 am

Excuse me for saying it, but you’re overreacting! It probably comes from your disappointment over it not being the way you had envisioned, but you’ll just have to find a solution and fix it. Seems like your husband is on it.

It sure is aggravating when the mushroom effect sets it. You know, you fix one thing and tear up three more. Take heart, it’ll all work out in the end. Patience…that’s what’s required! And vision.

hookedonhouses September 6, 2012 at 11:18 am

Maybe I am. But after waiting nearly 10 years, saving up the money for it, and going without a shower for 3 days, I was hoping to go in there and love what I saw. Instead, I was horrified, mortified, and sick to my stomach. Ugh.

It will be okay eventually, I’m sure. Deep breaths. :-)

Norma September 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Julia, your Bathroom floor looks fantastic.It’s amazing that the installer did not take off the baseboards.I’d let Lowes know what he did not do for you.He could land up doing the same thing for another customer. I almost installed the same tile in our new basement bathroom 3 years ago,HomeDepot had the tile here at our store,I loved the tile,but my husband didn’t like it.So what do you do.I got another tile that he liked.I know that once you get everything the way it should be you will love your tile.Don’t forget to send us the finished pictures.Oh yes and also waiting to see pictures of your kitchen too.

Margaret September 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm

love the look of the black grout, quarter round like everyone else said. For the white grout, clean it really, really well and let it dry or a couple of days. Use tung oil and seal the grout. I used it once a year for years when I had tile enclosure around my bathtub. Never had any trouble with mildew after that. I realize that with kids having the room empty for a couple of days will be a hassle but it will be worth it in the long run,

Katie @ Newcomb Home September 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm

For the areas with no trim (like by the tub), we had the same problem. I covered it with white caulk. The caulk line is a little thick, but its better than our grey grout! Its a fix I’m happy with and much easier and less heartbreaking than redoing the tile next to the tub.

Absolute Condos September 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I loved the new look.

Christa September 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm

I love the tile, but can understand why you would be so disappointed..My hubby is wondering if the guy that installed it for you removed the baseboards before placing the tiles?? He said they should be removed first them placed on top so you don’t get the gap all the way around..

hookedonhouses September 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Nope. He spent hours cutting those little tiles to make them fit perfectly along the baseboard. He mentioned that he usually worked in new construction where there weren’t any baseboards installed yet, which was one of the problems.

John M September 7, 2012 at 8:31 am

The thing is, he made his life more difficult by leaving the baseboard on. The edges had to be very carefully trimmed to get and even line around the baseboard. He could have removed the trim and reinstalled it at the end in about half an hour and it would have saved him a lot of aggravation while tiling. You would likely have to paint the walls and touch up the trim, but it would have been a much more professional looking job.

I think the bathroom is going to look great. Just remember it is not finished.

Michelle G September 7, 2012 at 9:20 am

Good move choosing the black grout (And I think it looks great, but an extra bit of trim would definitely make you feel better). Any other color would darken over time anyhow, no matter how much you clean it.

Our biggest remodeling mistake was choosing click-together cork tiles for our kitchen and sunroom. Oh, they’re undeniably gorgeous, but the second you drop any liquid on them, the seams swell. We’ve begged and pleaded with the manufacturer (Wicanders, I’m talking to YOU!!) for a sealer for the seams, and they just basically have ignored us. You’d think if you spent SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS on a floor, you’d get some customer service! Apparently not. Luckily, we’re the only ones who really notice the popped seams, but it irks us every time we walk in the room.

rachel September 7, 2012 at 11:55 am

always take the woodwork off before laying tile (now you know why). The quarter round, however, will be ‘just the ticket’ !!! I think it’s going to look great!

Nathan September 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm

While I definitely agree that the woodwork should be painted, I don’t think the black around the edges are a huge deal and I don’t think they look like mold. I think you’re being too hard on yourself :)

Weezie September 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I didn’t read all the comments, Julia, but what about caulking a seal along the edges (before paying for trim and installing it). My husband is a carpenter and would’ve “finished” the edges that way against the tub anyway. Easy, fast, clean and white!

Laura September 8, 2012 at 8:22 am

The tile looks beautiful!! I love your choice. I think it’s so classic and you won’t be disappointed over time with your choice. I know Lowe’s is a little cheaper, but I am always weary of using a lot of their services. Do you think next time you’ll go with a reputable local company? I think you would get better customer service. I am saving up to get new flooring in my home and am going with a local company. It will be a little more expensive, but they have already discussed moldings and all the finishing touches.

I do LOVE your tile!!! I think you’re going to be happy with the dark grout in the long run. It seems low maintenance. Very, very pretty!!!

sue betts September 8, 2012 at 9:40 am

We just did almost that exact floor tile in our little bathroom but we used white grout. Looks fantastic. That being said, I debated between black and white for quite awhile and I am very glad with white but have to say, your black looks just as good in my opinion. I know what it’s like to get hooked on one detail that pretty much nobody else notices ( just ask my hubby). I would take the advice of some of the others in covering the black line but if I went into your bathroom, I would think.. ” NICE”.!

Mary Ellen September 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I had the same vision this summer when we remodeled our bathroom. I chose the grout called “Quartz” from Lowe’s or HomeDepot. It is a greige mid-tone grout. I really like it with high white baseboards and Martha Stewart’s “Sharkey Grey” on the walls. The vanity looks black but is a really dark expresso and I reused my old mirror but painted it black. I can add color with towels, etc. My contractor said that tile was hard to lay because of all the cuts and spacing, if anyone decides to DIY. I’m hoping you’ll learn to like your floor and am sure it will end up looking great.

Mariah September 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Oh man, I know how you feel! When we moved into our 1963 cape cod five years ago the first thing I did was dip into our savings and replace the 1980s linoleum with black and white checkerboard…something I’d always dreamed of for a kitchen. The day of installation it looked beautiful but I swiftly realized the flaw in my plan. With two dogs, a husband, and the back door leading directly into the kitchen Those huge white tiles always look filthy no matter how hard I work on them. After a few days when I realized I would have to mop daily and the floor would still show every footprint and speck immediately thus giving the impression my kitchen is always dirty…then the tears started :(
For what it’s worth I love how your floor turned out and I think the quarter round will be a great addition to finish it off.

Helen September 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I have your floor in my bathroom with grey grout. I did not have the baseboards removed for the install. My tile guy put white caulking where the tile and the baseboards meet. It looks clean, clean, clean. That is what your tile guy should have done. It does not clash because it blends in with the baseboard. That is what your tile guy should have done. He should come back and redo and you should definitely complain to Lowes.

susan September 8, 2012 at 11:41 pm

why not replace the grout along the edged with white grout.

Eric September 9, 2012 at 6:08 am

I used the exact tiles for my kitchen backsplash (with white grout!!!) and love the vaguely spanish feel that it gives.

Darla September 9, 2012 at 7:55 am

I totally understand. In all of our houses we have a few more than a few oooops things. Quarter round fixes a multitude of sins.

Ya know, the hard part is that he didn’t seem to know to tape off the woodwork, etc. And maybe that wouldn’t have helped but it might have made you feel better that at least he tried.

And no, you do not want to see black around the tub. I think the deal with that type of funky tile is that it has to be done in new construction only (or in a bathroom that you are completely renovating) so that it goes in FIRST and the rest works around it. And honestly why the tile people do not tell you that is beyond me. Everyone wants a quick sale these days. Sigh.

Scott Sidler September 10, 2012 at 8:30 am

Don’t worry too much. It looks great! Shoe molding will solve all your problems and it adds a nice extra dimension to the baseboards. If you want an option that would be really unique instead of regular quarter round or shoe molding use window stop trim. I use it on a lot of our projects to give a very custom look and it’s right at place in a historic style bathroom.

Trish @TheOldPostRoad September 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

Oh, Dear – Don’t you hate to have a mess after you pay so much for it?!! It is still beautiful! Enjoy it and don’t look at the edges. Or get down there with a small paint brush and white paint.
-Trish

Michele September 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm

The floor looks stunning – and I bet with a little fix here and there, you can make it so you don’t notice the issues you mention. Epic RENO-FAIL on my part – redoing our master bath: I wanted tumbled Carrera marble floors, white subway in the shower with a horizontal band of Carrera mosaic. Hubby vetoed white tile (too hard to keep clean) and then vetoed the Carrera floor (too pricey). So sadly, I ended up using Daltile Carrera Star everywhere with light dove grout. HORRIFIC – the individual tiles really did mimic Carrera, but once installed it looked awful – SO FAKE. And the grout is already horribly discolored on the floor (after only a year) – if I had installed true Carrera, I could have gone with tiny grout lines. I should have stuck to my guns because we will have to retile the whole thing soon! UGH!!!

Autumn@fallfordesign.com September 16, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Oh my! We’ve laid tile before, but we hired someone to do it. He removed the border for us so the tile can go up to the wall and the borders be replaced on top of the tile. That’s how it’s done in Missouri at least.

I like the idea of using black grout. I hate tile just because the grout gets ugly quick. I do like the idea of using black because I wouldn’t have to scrub it with a tooth brush!

Kristy Swain September 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

Oh man! That’s the worst feeling. I’ve done similar things and I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. So, glad your husband figured out some solutions – it should work well. Looking forward to the updated pics.

Candy September 28, 2012 at 7:45 am

Thank you so much for this post and all the reader comments. My first reaction was also to put down quarter round moulding and repaint the baseboards, but in reading what others had to say I realized they were right – the toilet should have been pulled up and the door frames cut back ect. I think you should go back to Lowes and insist they rip it out and do it right. We had an issue with some flooring we bought at Home Depot last year and they replaced it no questions asked, even though we had installed it ourselves. Good Luck

hookedonhouses September 28, 2012 at 8:05 am

Oh, they pulled the toilets up and put them in the tubs. That’s why I didn’t have a bathroom upstairs or a shower to use that week! And there’s no way I’m asking them to come back and redo it. If I never have to tile another room I’ll be happy. Ha. Much easier to just put the quarter-round down than start over. It’s actually looking much better now. I’ll try to do an update on it soon! :-)

Bridget October 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I laughed when I read your sad story of black grout mishaps. I have a similar sad story that involves some hilariously wrong drywall work that haunts me in my hall bath. If I ever fix it, maybe I’ll send the results to you! :) As it is, I kind of pretend it’s not there. So far that is only marginally effective.

Andrea November 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm

This is not your fault… the installer should have removed your baseboards before tile install. That’s standard protocol. I would contact them and have them come and change out the baseboards for you. Hope that helps!

Julie November 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Just add some quarter round trim to your baseboards and “Voila!” you won’t see that large black grout line anymore. :)

Lewis November 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm

There are a lot of upsides to this..
1. the quarter-round will solve the black line around the edge problem and even dress it up a little
2. touch up painting is easy
3. you learned something about tiling
4. it looks WAY better than before

Monica December 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Wow, I laughed so hard I cried. This is totally something that would happen to me – thanks for the good laugh and cry. I think the stress of trying to figure out what to do with the foreclosed property we just bought is starting to get to me.

But it does look fabulous in the end – and I’m sure the little trim cover up you did helped out the edges. Thanks for sharing! I want this exact floor in my bathroom, too :) black grout and all.

Mochelle January 13, 2013 at 1:51 am

It looks great now, so dry your tears. Your husband and I must think alike because my first thought was what a great opportunity to do some great looking baseboards around the room. I was thinking six inchers but his idea of quarter rounds looks wonderful and far less expensive than my idea. I love the tile and may do the same to my own bathroom.

Deb February 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I have the same tile in my bathroom except the diamond tiles on mine is black……I too love the black and white bathroom look. I made the opposite mistake with mine. I chose white grout despite my tilers warnings. After only a couple of months, in the traffic areas (like in front of the sink and toilet), the grout looks a lot less white than it does around the perimeter of the room. In retrospect I would have used gray grout. But what I really wanted to say is that I think I’m probably the only one who even notices it. I too have scrubbed and scrubbed to no avail, and have finally decided to just chill out and accept that I made a small error, and just enjoy that my new bathroom looks beautiful overall, and is a vast improvement over the old one!

Nancy Esmade March 7, 2013 at 10:28 am

Don’t panic is the right word… I also had almost the same experience as yours when the installer who is not that skilled at all also did the same on my bathroom. Anyway it looks good now as compared before, just have your baseboard repainted. Everything would be alright..

jinu April 24, 2013 at 12:48 am

It looks beautiful. When our tiler put down our bathroom tile I saw every imperfection, not quite right tile, etc. Now they are all fading away. That being said, I would raise a few of your concerns with Lowe’s about the work you’ll have to do on your baseboards and being inconvenienced for extra time due to only one worker. If anything, you’ll feel better for speaking up. And oh…you happen to have a blog that a ton of folks read and a happy ending would be nice for them and you, and you can see the best.

Alissa June 13, 2013 at 7:07 am

I just love your blog! I found it yesterday & I can’t stop reading it. Love, love, love the tv/movie houses section & your before & afters at your house. I’m feeling very inspired on this rainy day in PA!

hookedonhouses June 13, 2013 at 7:15 am

Thanks, Alissa! :)

Chris June 26, 2013 at 9:44 am

I think it looks Amazing. The problem possibly is that the inspiration job was part of “new construction” so throwing down black grout is not a problem IF they are following up with some bodacious moulding AFTER. It also sounds like you had a pansy doing the work because he could have totally avoided the bleed out of the back if he had just taped over by the tub, toilets etc. Since you have a wonderful DH. make a summer project to rip out the simple baseboard mouldings and hie thyself over to a good miter box and put in some beefier floor mouldings. I say forget the quarter round. It always looks like it’s installed to cover a problem and as fab as the house is I would just amp up the moulding. Of course you may have to follow suit in the rest of the house but then damn girl your house is beautiful.

hookedonhouses June 26, 2013 at 10:29 am

Thanks, Chris! It’s all fixed up now and looks much better, thank goodness. You can see how it turned out here:

http://hookedonhouses.net/2013/01/09/the-reveal-my-master-bathroom-is-finally-finished/

-Julia

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