Swimming Pool Construction Defect Expert Witness analyzes aqua azul colored glass tile mosaic installation failure.
Something for nothing? Never!
A homeowner in Los Angeles, CA got competitive bids to line his swimming pool with aqua azul colored glass tile mosaics. The average price for ONLY THE INSTALLATION was $75 per square foot. The cost of the tiles would be extra.
However, one company proposed to supply their own aqua azul colored glass tile mosaics and install them for around $20 per square foot.
Hmmm... multiple companies provided bids that averaged $75 per square foot (labor and setting materials only) and this company was going to provide and install the tiles for only $20 per square foot?
Remember, there is a sucker born every minute! You don't get something for nothing!
Poor Quality Glass Tile Mosaics
Yes, there is a difference in the quality of glass. Most cheap imported glass tile mosaics from Asia are formulated with recycled glass of unknown origin. This bastardized blend results in many kinds of glass with different expansion indexes. Under the slightest change in temperature (sunlight or heating a spa) and the different formulations of glass will expand at different rates. And, you guessed it, they will crack.
This company promoted their glass as being inexpensive because they cut out the middleman and imported container loads directly from Asia.
Poor quality glass is poor quality glass, no matter where it's from. The contractor did not care, nor were they even educated as to the science of glass.
Click on the image to see the cracked aqua azul glass tile mosaics up close.
Deficient Installation Instructions
The Asian manufacturer of the aqua azul colored glass tile mosaics did not even supply installation instructions that complied with ANY published trade standard. Their instructions did not recommend any compatible thinsets or grouts. They made no mention of the requirement for waterproof membranes. No Tile Council of North America (TCNA) product analysis or testing were provided or available.
Their instructions said to merely mix by hand, a blend of white cement and sand. They stated to set the tile directly onto the concrete pool shell. No leveling mortar bed and no waterproof membrane was specified.
TOTAL Disregard of Industry Standards
The low ball contractor then merely followed the manufacturer's instructions, and set the tiles directly onto the concrete shell. In some instances, they merely set the tiles on top of the old pool plaster.
No leveling bed or waterproof membrane was installed. The tiles varied in appearance because of the variances in the underlying layer. The tiles were not level and undulated across the walls and floor.
Click on either image to enlarge them, so that you can view this abortion up close.
No movement joint was installed below the coping stones. The gap that was supposed to be filled with a flexible material was instead filled with grout. When the coping exerted stress upon the tiles from thermal expansion, the energy was transferred into the tiles.
Whose to Blame?
Legally, the contractor is ultimately responsible for the poor quality aqua azul colored glass mosaic tiles and the inferior workmanship. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for ignoring the published trade standards regarding the proper installation of glass tile mosaics in a swimming pool.
A waterproof membrane is a "no brainer." They are required in shower pans and showers are only wet for a few minutes at a time. Swimming pools are full of water 24/7 and 365 days a year!
The property owner is to blame as well.
They were simply GREEDY and CHEAP. They wanted something for nothing. They wanted the look of the expensive glass tile mosaics without the associated price of doing it correctly.
The property owner did not do their due diligence. The search engine GOOGLE would have revealed that the contractor left Arizona, when their contractors license was REVOKED by the State of Arizona. At the time, the State of California Contractor's Licensing Board records showed disciplinary actions and sanctions. On-line reviews of the firm indicated that they were unscrupulous.
Yet the property owner hired them any way. What a deal! What an idiot!
Click on the image to enlarge the delaminating tiles.
Instead they ended up with a nightmare. But, they really got what they deserved. This contractor and this property owner were made for each other.
Contact the author, Paolo Benedetti of Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-776-8220.
Visit his website at: www.aquatictechnology.com.
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