In my many travels, I always keep an eye out for the worst grouting and caulking jobs. Airports, restaurants, hotels, convention centers—every one of them has given us fodder for our article. Our list gets regular updates and consistently tops itself in what we lovingly call “tile atrocities”. The below examples reveal a true utter devastation of both technique and character. Following are the world’s worst tiling jobs we’ve ever seen. When you see something crazy…you just have to share it!
Everybody’s seen them. Tile jobs that went wrong. If ever there’s evidence of needing to hire a professional, it’s those times when I walk into the bathroom at a restaurant or public facility and gaze upon the destruction of a tile job obviously undertaken by a staffer or otherwise unqualified individual. And I’m not saying that Joe Schmo shouldn’t try to take on a small tile job, but if you don’t have the required skills, a discerning eye, or just a sense of personal pride—you’re better off hiring the pros to do it for you.
Last year we took a look at some of the worst tile and grout jobs we’d seen. This year I think we topped that list in terms of atrociousness and utter devastation of technique and character.
Don’t Repeat These World’s Worst Tiling Jobs
Everybody’s seen them. Tile jobs that went wrong. If ever there’s evidence of needing to hire a professional, it’s those times when we walk into a restaurant bathroom or public facility and gaze upon the destruction of a tile job obviously undertaken by a staffer or otherwise unqualified individual.
We’re not saying that Joe Schmo shouldn’t try to take on a small tile job. However, if you don’t have the required skills, a discerning eye, or just a sense of personal pride—you’re better off hiring a Pro to do it for you.
Without further ado, here are the world’s worst tiling jobs you’ve ever seen (and our obligatory running commentary of sarcasm):
#10 Don’t Drink and Tile
Maybe you should wait until after work to have that beer. Seriously, if you can’t make a straight line you might want to get some help, or a laser layout tool… or something. This tile job might have involved replacing a tile. If so, that still doesn’t excuse the poor alignment. We blame both the tiler and the person who signed off on it—no one gets to claim innocence in this restaurant bathroom.
You run into a similar problem when you fail to make straight cuts. Take this public restroom example which doesn’t even cover the crooked corner line with a bead of grout or gray caulk:
#9 Just Add More Grout!
When you want to renew that old tile and make it new again you just add a ton more grout…right? What’s not pictured here is the wrap-around portion just off to the right where the grout is literally 1/2-inch wide. I guess since it’s white they figured no one would notice. Remove old grout before adding new and you can avoid this problem altogether.
#8 Let the Color Blind Guy Pick the Tile
What’s worse than mixing white with off-white? Mixing off-white with “cigarette stain yellow”. This beauty of a tile job apparently looks pleasing to somebody. We just think it’s a bad choice from the get-go. Take a brief color theory class or steal an idea from Pinterest. Whatever you need to do to get a cohesive tile design…just don’t mix these two colors ever again. Please.
A close relative of this has to do with choosing the wrong color of caulk to finish a job. In this local restaurant, we can’t help but gasp in horror at the inappropriate use of bright white caulk on a darker countertop.
#7 You Missed a Spot
This little bump may seem like nothing, but in a sea of tile, it sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. It doesn’t take the best oscillating multi-tool to fix this problem—but it might help. In reality, you should never leave a bump like this on a tile when you grout. Many of the worst tiling jobs come down to something very small that ruins the entire look. Fortunately, this one’s an easy fix.
#6 Worst Tiling Jobs Where You Just Slap Some Caulk on There
We’re not sure what was being thought of here, but the bottom line is that it looks like the solution was a lazy, thick line of white Alex caulk. It’s not the worst thing we’ve seen, but it sure isn’t pretty. There are sanded caulks on the market. They will cost a bit more, but assuming you can charge the client, there’s no reason not to at least attempt to blend in better with the existing grout.
Here’s another great example from a public test room at a ball park.
#5 Budgeting Grout, This Worst Tiling Job Takes the Cake
Caulk is cheap—so is grout. Apparently, this tiler decided to skimp on the grout, which resulted in serious shrinkage and ruining the otherwise decent tile job. If the grout doesn’t look right, the tile looks wrong. Take that to heart and make sure you have the right amount and consistency to avoid a call back.
#4 Grout Sponge? Never Heard of It
A sloppy job removing excess grout will leave streaks like this on corners. If you don’t get all the way in there, you don’t remove the excess. That leaves you with residual grout that is harder to remove down the line. If you notice, this was a re-grout, so we can’t blame the original installer. Whereas we’re thankful they went with grout over caulk, finishing the job properly would have been better. Instead, we get a good decision followed by poor execution.
We’ve seen this in plain view and down low where, perhaps, the tiler thinks no one will ever look.
#3 Plan Your Tile, Then Lay It
When you don’t plan your tile you end up with odd results. Here you can almost see the gears turning. Likely, the tile guy got to the corner and realized he’d be laying split tile down the entire inside corner of the door. Who wants to do that? So, at the top of the door, you’re left with a dilemma. His solution? Create a very odd-shaped L-tile, which he apparently broke, rather than cutting out the corner notch with a diamond blade.
Plan your layout and always carry a 4-inch angle grinder with a diamond blade. Of course, failure to plan the layout and take into account the door caused this situation in the first place.
#2 Not-so-Mitered Corner Kick
We love soccer, so we’re used to enjoying a nice corner kick. This one, however, is going to hurt mighty bad if you graze it with a toe. Mitering outside corners is a huge thing when dealing with tile in a kitchen or bath. You don’t want to miss this little detail as it can actually cause a pretty nasty injury to a homeowner. Those corners are sharp!
#1 Ah, Just Slap it in There
This worst tiling jobs example lives at the local baseball field where the minor leagues play and the majors hold their Spring training. Apparently, some tile fell out—possibly from mold or humidity—who knows? To some maintenance guy the solution was simple: use Liquid Nails to secure the new tile to the wall!
Yes, of course, why bother fixing it when you can just slap on some glue and affix said tile to the wall. I mean, this time they’ll at least stay! And while you’re at it, don’t bother making sure the tile is smooth, or even bothering with pesky grout. Grout is for sissies.
Our bonus entry lives in the Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe. While it definitely tops our list, the bathroom itself is a miracle of ingenuity—the rooms having been built into a former horse stable. I actually love this hotel, but I absolutely had to point out the disaster of a tile job that adorned our oversized walk-in shower.
Wrapping Up the Worst Tiling Jobs
Hope you enjoyed our worst tiling jobs article… And if you’re a tile guy, please feel free to contact us and let us know of any horror stories you might have encountered. We know you’re looking!