QUESTIONWe purchased a new manufactured home in 2005 and ordered ceramic tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms. Within a few years the tiles started breaking up around the refrigerator, sinks, bathtubs, and toilets. Wanting to repair the floor, we took a piece of broken tile to the local tile retailer and was astonished to learn that the manufacturer had installed "wall tile" on the floors. We called two contractors and got the same opinion. Wall tile is very smooth and presents a slip and fall hazard. Replacing the floor is several thousand dollars.
My question: Do we have any recourse with the manufacturer?
ANSWERANSWER - There are smooth floor tiles as well as smooth wall tiles. Often floor tiles are used on walls as well as on floors.
On shower floors they should be using a tile that is either small with a lot of grout joints, or for larger tiles a texture tile to give some slip resistance.
You can't necessary say that a tile is a wall tile without testing it. There are talc white body tiles that are clearly meant for walls, but otherwise it can be difficult to determine if the tile is suitable for floors without testing it. Although those types of tiles are recommended for light duty bathroom floors.
There are test protocols for classifying tiles for various applications and level of use.
If the tile is breaking, it is more likely due to an improper tile installation, than the tile being that weak.
Even if you can prove that the supplier of the tile misrepresented what they sold you, because it has been over 10 years and beyond the statue of limitations for many states, it is unlikely that you have any recourse.