We explain how some bathroom renovation companies use this technique to cut costs. Ask your tiler if they will be 'spot setting'

Summary

Is your tilerusing 'spot setting' for your bathroom renovation

What is 'spot setting' when you are tiling a bathroom?

When Nu-Trend is contracted to do small bathroom renovations or even master bathroom renovations in Sydney we generally prefer to work on projects where the room is demolished back to the wall frames or structure. This enables us to get a good understanding of the structure we are working with which includes the floors, walls and ceiling.

 

In some situations it might be required to do some remedial work to make sure they are all square. Over time some homes may suffer from movement and this can make it difficult to do things like tiling correctly.

 

By demolishing the walls it also means the tiling can be completely redone as well as the waterproofing for the room. By starting from scratch you then know you are getting a high standard of work completed to the latest standards.

 

Sometimes it also helps us uncover underlying problems like the incorrect fall, illegal flooring or even ‘spot setting’ wall or floor tiling. All of these things can lead to water leaks or failed waterproofing for the bathroom.


‘Spot bonding’ or ‘spot setting’ or “five spotting” is a method of installing tiles that began many, many years ago when most bathrooms were using small format square tiles. These days lots of bathroom interior design choices are using large format tiles where this method of bonding the tile just doesn’t work very well. It is a leading factor of causing the tiles to crack, break or even fall off the wall.

 

The ‘spot bonding’ method usually involves putting small globs or daubs of mortar on the back of the tile. Sometimes this can be done at the corners and the center of the tile which gets referred to as ‘five spotting’ Doing either method is a recipe for problems later on in the life of the bathroom. The method does not fully support or bond the mortar to the substrate.

 

 

Why do bathroom renovators use 'spot setting' when tiling a bathroom?

The most common reason that bathroom renovators in Sydney will use the ‘spot bonding’ method of retiling a bathroom is to;

  • Save time – squirting a few globs of material onto a surface is quick, easy and doesn’t take too much time to do. This means tiles can go onto the floors and walls faster for the bathroom renovation company. There is less time spent trying to cover the surface of the tile with adhesive.
 
  • Save money on labour – the time saved putting tiles on the floors or walls will then reduce the labour costs needed to complete the bathroom renovation. The renovating contractor probably won’t tell you this when they are quoting and as a home owner you won’t even be aware they are doing it. If tiles crack or fall off later it could be 12 months down the track and outside the warranty provided on the renovation.
 
  • Save on the cost of materials – of course if there is less material being applied to the renovation then even more costs are saved. The renovation company can maximise their profits without the home owner knowing.
 
 
That is why some quotations for tiling will vary so much. The bathroom tiling company might be using sub-contracted labour that is very low cost, then they minimise the materials used to then maximise their profits.
 
 
They will do this knowing that the tiles will probably stay on the walls for at least twelve months, maybe longer, and by that stage it’s too hard for a home owner to ‘blame’ them for the issue.

 

We see evidence of this quite often when we do our Bathroom Inspections or Leak Detections

 

Why does Nu-Trend do tile buttering for all bathroom renovation projects?

Nu-Trend does not do cheap bathroom renovations in Sydney, in fact we lose quite a few jobs to companies that quote their jobs at quite low pricing. This is just one area that enables them to achieve this.

 

What Nu-Trend does is focus on delivering a high quality bathroom renovation that will last a lifetime. So we will do tile buttering to both floor and wall tiling to cover the surface of the tile before it is put in place. 

 

This method takes more time, requires more labour and needs more materials to complete. Therefore our quotation will most likely be higher than other companies.

Learn more about bathroom renovation ideas

We have written a number of different educational articles about bathroom renovating in Sydney.

‘Spot bonding’ or ‘spot setting’ or “five spotting” is a method of installing tiles that began many, many years ago when most bathrooms were using small format square tiles. These days lots of bathroom interior design choices are using large format tiles where this method of bonding the tile just doesn’t work very well. It is a leading factor of causing the tiles to crack, break or even fall off the wall. The ‘spot bonding’ method usually involves putting small globs or daubs of mortar on the back of the tile. Sometimes this can be done at the corners and the center of the tile which gets referred to as ‘five spotting’ Doing either method is a recipe for problems later on in the life of the bathroom. The method does not fully support or bond the mortar to the substrate.

For ceramic or porcelain tile of any size, back buttering can better promote transfer of the bonding material to the back of the tile. It isn’t necessarily a mandatory practice but it is the best way to ensure your wall or floor tiling will remain in place for a very long time, reduce cracks or tiles falling off the wall.

In simple terms there is more adhesive keeping the tile on the wall.

The term ‘back buttering’ refers to the process of spreading the adhesive to a tile just before it is placed. The adhesive is applied with a trowel to ensure proper adhesive coverage across the whole surface of the tile. It will reduce the possibility of movement or tiles breaking.

Rick Karagiannis - Plumber & Bathroom Renovator

Rick Karagiannis - Plumber & Bathroom Renovator

Rick Karagiannis is a licensed Plumber, Building Renovator and Director of Nu-Trend, a Sydney Plumber and Bathroom Renovations contractor. Nu-Trend has been operating since 2009 as an independent sole trader in Sydney. Rick provides all types of services for small bathroom renovations, leaking tap repairs, hot water high-pressure jet blasting and more.