Why are the edges of my tile chipped?


My husband installed 4 x 12 inch subway tiles in our bathroom shower and tub surround. He is not a professional, but a do-it-yourselfer.

Our problem is that after we grouted we began to notice chips on the edges of the tiles that we are sure was not there before we grouted.

Is this something that we caused somehow or fault of manufacturing? I find this very disturbing after putting time and effort into our project.


ANSWER - Any ceramic tile can chip, but some tiles are more chip resistant than others.

Normally the way we can tell if the edge of a tile was chipped prior to installation is by seeing if there is grout in the chipped spot.  If the chip is right at the edge of the tile then it would normally be filled with grout if the chip was pre-existing.

If there is no grout in the chipped spot, then it likely chipped after the tile was installed and grouted.

If you have any left over tile, I would look at it to determine if its edges are chipped the same way they are on the installed tile.

If the extra tile is chipped, then it was probably delivered that way.  Perhaps it chipped during transportation?  If so, there should be chip pieces in the box.  Tile should not be supplied with chips.   That is considered a defect.

If the tiles were chipped prior to installation, then they should have never been installed.  The tile installer should have noticed and not used those tiles.

If the tiles were chipped after they were installed that would be surprising because tiles should not be that sensitive.  Normally it requires a substantial impact for tiles to chip.  It is possible that the ceramic tile is poor quality and has a propensity of chip, but not likely.

There are epoxy paints or colorants where you can paint chipped spots so they are not as noticeable, but that is about all you can do to repair it short of replacement.




2 thoughts on “Why are the edges of my tile chipped?

  1. Daniel Coburn says:

    I just had a house built and I noticed a bunch of issues with quality. For my master bathroom, we have tile installed. The cut edges are all chipped, lippeage in some places are over 1/16 into 1/8 and I have a little sliver of tile (just one row where it looks like the installer didn’t calculate his cuts properly), grout was cracking (repaired twice now) and edges of the tile are not aligned. Anyone with a small bit of attention to details would question the work.

    My question is, are these issues common or should I push for a completely redone shower?

    Job was done in PA and I know the code for at least the lippeage is 1/16 max.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Per ANSI A108.02 under workmanship:
      All edges should be stoned smooth.
      No tile cut should be less than a 1/2 size tile.
      tile should align and grout joints straight.
      Maximum lippage for a grout joint less than 1/4″ shall not be more than 1/32″ plus the actual and allowable warpage in the tile, which is typically about 1/32″ or overall lippage in that case should not exceed 1/16″.

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