Some helpful information when planning your tile job:
1. CHOOSING THE RIGHT TILE - The best and the simplest way to select the right tile is to get help from your local supplier. I have listed most of these on another page for your convenience. (Local Suppliers) They know what tiles or natural stones are available and are familiar with the latest trends in design. They will also let you take samples home to confer that the tile color schemes are correct for your back splash, counter top, kitchen floor, shower, etc.
Taking the samples home is a good idea, because they sometimes look different when actually placed in the lighting of your home and you get a better idea of how it matches your color schemes. Although I don't recommend the cheap 79 cents a sq ft ceramic tiles, Lowe's or Home Depot could be the way to go, and I usually get a 10% discount. You can get some really good buys (under a dollar for 12X12 ceramic tiles) from their in stock and or over stock supplies.
Visit www.ehow.com/how-does_4964544_how-porcelain-tiles-made.html for a better understanding on the difference between porcelain and ceramic tiles. And if you have the money to spend , a professional home decorator could be the way to go. Home and garden type magazines and home and garden TV shows are also a good source of design ideas. You can also look at my web page for ideas. Over the years, I have found most of the people in the different tile supply stores to be very knowledgeable and professional and I would be glad to point you in the right direction.
Just remember not to go crazy with color schemes. It's a good idea to stay with neutral colors, for re-sale value. And don't forget to select the correct grout color, and ask them about (mold) resistant epoxy grout. It is becoming very popular in all applications and I strongly recommend it in showers.
2. FINDING AN INSTALLER - This is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the remodeling job. After selecting your tiles, the next task is to find a good installer.
3. USE QUALITY PRODUCTS One product is the thin-set used to bond the tile or stone to backer board or concrete. The cheapest is around $5/bag, with no additives. The best start around $18/bag and contain polymer additives for better bonding and latex for flexibility, and in some special need cases, $35/bag (when flexibility and extra bonding is needed). And there is Kera bond/keralastic @ $65 which they say will stick to glass!! There is a big difference in the quality of these products. And I would be glad to explain in more detail, just ask me. I buy mostly from Best Tile in Durham who uses Mapei (www.mapei.com) products.
And please don't hire someone without references. You are asking for trouble. Tile has to be done right the first time or Mike Holmes (from TW show Holmes on Homes) will show up at your door steps. I have been to these homes many times and felt their pain. Really good installers are not hard to find if your willing to do a little research. How do you know if the guy recommended to you is really any good. Well, you don't really know, unless you or a friend has used him in the past, and that is not 100% either. But, they are all we have. So, make those calls. If you have a good tile installer, keep him happy and refer him to your friends. We are taught in business school that bad news (bad jobs) travel about ten time faster than good news (good jobs).
3. QUESTIONS TO ASK THE REFERENCES - Was the Tile Company licensed and insured? Did they show up on time or call if going to be late? Did they look and act professionally? Did they return all your calls promptly? Did you receive the estimate promptly? Did they protect the surrounding area from dirt and dust and clean up each day? Did they complete the job as promised? Did they stay on your job until complete? And if there were problems, did they fix the problem with out a lot of hassle? And most important, was the job done in a timely and professional manner and to their total satisfaction?
And you must take into consideration that some people are really nice and give good references even for a so so job, and of course there is always the grouch that might give an excellent job a so so or bad rating. So, check as many references as you feel comfortable with, but at least three or four.
4. FINAL TASK - When your ready to pick the installer, please, please don't automatically pick the cheapest. The majority of people don't know the tile business and that's why they depend on the Pros. But, you are asking for trouble if you hire the guy that does it for half the cost of others. Tile is not like carpet or vinyl that can be fixed easily. Once it's down, it's pretty much down, and it can be done right for 30 years or it can look bad for 30 yrs. If you don't do your home work, it's pretty much the roll of the dice and you may get lucky and get a good job or if not, "Mike Holmes" will be knocking at your door!
There's usually a reason why an installer is so cheap. Use your gut instinct (best educated guess) but, most important, take the time to CALL THOSE REFERENCES !! I have visited too many homes and found the tile job to be a disaster, to have the customer tell me that they came highly recommended by a friend or neighbor. And when they called and asked them to fix it, they didn't return their calls. And you end up paying twice or living with a messy job. Just this last week, I was asked to write up an affidavit for a customer who hired the wrong guy and is now suing to get some of the cost back on a bad tile installation job. This does not need to happen. PLEASE, DO YOUR HOME WORK FIRST!!!
TILE IS A BEAUTIFUL LUXURIOUS ADDITION TO THE HOME. IT ADDS AMBIENCE, VALUE AND CHARM.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU.
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