Given the number of people resuming their pre-pandemic travel plans, the need for hotel rooms is consistently increasing. In order for the hotel owners to obtain a piece of this puzzle, upgrading hotel rooms and associated common areas is crucial to increasing room-booking volume.

When a tile installer bids a commercial remodeling project of this type, the assumption is that the plans are a clear indicator of what will be found on site. The measurements are accurate, the scope of the work is fully provided, and tile to be installed is known. However, a jobsite visit is critical to determine the actual conditions and may or may not tell the entire story.

In the case of the hotel viewed here, the existing hallway running perpendicular to the lobby was covered in carpet. The project called for the carpet to be removed with the necessary substrate prep to be completed yielding a quality tile installation. The problem here was that any existing structure issues were not recognized until the carpet was removed and initial layout work had begun. The walls of the hallway leading from the lobby were not square to the lobby.  

As seen in the image, the tile cuts along the walls are not balanced or consistent in size. Looking from the back of the hotel toward the lobby, the tile cut on the left side is 2-1/2” and grows to 4” in 30 feet. However, the tile cut on the right side begins at 3-1/2” and shrinks to nothing over the same distance. The unfortunate situation in an existing structure like this one is that the potential of moving or correcting the out-of-square walls issue is practically nil.  

So, what alternatives could mask the problem? The easiest remedy would be to change the direction of the tile for the entire area. Instead of the tile in the lobby and hallway running from front to back (the long direction of the hallway), turn it ninety degrees and run it from left to right. This way, the out-of-square walls, although still crooked, would be much less noticeable. A second option would be to run the lobby tile from front to back and turn the hallway tile 90° at the doorway. A third possibility would be to change the tile from a plank to large format square tile such as an 18” or 24”. When properly balanced in the hallway, the crooked walls would not be as obvious.

The good side here was that the prep work was well done which provided a really flat surface for the tile installation. You will notice that the 6” x 36” plank tile was installed with a 50% offset rather than the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) required maximum 33% offset. The tile was well within the guidelines of the ANSI A137.1 standard for warpage and was exceptionally flat. Even though the required offset was ignored, the installation was flat, showed very minimal lippage and looked good.

The bottom line here is that the tile looks bad although the finished appearance along the walls was outside the installer’s control. However, the potential tile consumer seeing this crooked-appearing tile may select a different product for their project which is loss on the tile scorecard.