How long should I expect my new tile job to last and is there anything I can do to make it look newer longer?
In Europe, you can go see tile work that is 1000 years old or more. In my opinion, a good installation’s longevity should not even be a questionable issue. This would of course require that no corners be cut along the way.
Unfortunately, much of the expense involved in a proper installation is not something that can be readily seen by the naked eye. Not only the cost of premium setting materials involved here but also the unseen steps involved in the labor contribute to a job lasting forever or failing before its time.
One of the advantages of being in business for over 40 years is the knowledge gained over the years. I have demolished thousands of jobs in my time. This has given me a very real advantage to be able to see what works, and even more importantly, what doesn’t work.
In today’s economy, many tile contractors are willing to cut corners to be competitive. Many homeowners are looking for the cheapest bid as well. Not a good combination for sure when such an expensive investment is on the line. You get what you pay for could never be a truer statement in today’s day and age.
First and foremost my conscious could never allow me to exchange integrity for a quick buck. My reputation and good name are far more important than doing a substandard job for a builder or homeowner. The best deal is not always the cheapest.
What can I do about dirty and stained grout on my floor?
Your local home improvement store sells many different “grout cleaners”. I personally like products made by Miracle Sealants. After following the instructions on the cleaner let your grout dry for a few days. Once dry I use a 511 impregnator by Miracle Sealant.
Buy yourself a cheap 1″ throw away paint brush and paint the 511 impregnator onto the grout. Use liberally, and come back a second time in about 5 minutes to do an additional coat. What we are trying to do here is totally saturate the grout with the sealer.
Before the sealer dries take a dry Terri cloth and buff the surface dry. Do not leave any standing sealer on the tile or stone. The puddles will dry into a milky haze if left standing.
How do I figure out how much tile I need for my job?
Great question. There are a few different layers to this question so I will try to look at the different answers.
Generally speaking, in lieu of not delaying the completion of a certain job, it’s always better to have a little extra than what is needed for a few different reasons.
First, It’s always a hassle to have to go back and have to get more because it delays the critical path to getting the job finished on time. That is especially important when other trades are involved in scheduling or a certain deadline is looming on the horizon. Occasionally, even tile purchased from the same vendor and manufacturing facility will have slight shade variations, from one production run to the next. No one is happy when all but a couple of pieces are installed to find that the re-ordered pieces show up and look different than what’s already installed.
This is especially true with natural stone. Some quarries run consistent in the personalities of the stone while others can, at times, change over time as they cut deeper into the mountain to remove the stone. It’s always a good practice to have a few pieces left over to be able to store away in case of unforeseen damages should occur.
Lastly, the cost will also dictate how close to exact you need to be. No reason to have 10 pieces of expensive glass tile left over at $40 per sheet when two are more realistic. Compare that to having 10 pieces of tile at $2 a piece left over.
So here is the rule of thumb for most applications: The larger the tiles, the more waste you should expect to incur.
That being said Most of the time when measuring the dimensions for flooring of a job you should round up the nearest foot in your length and width to get your square footage and then add 10%. The same would hold true with walls. Only do this with each wall treated separately from the other. Smaller tiles would be the same except that you can usually round up when measuring to the nearest half a foot. Then totally and add 10% for wastage.
How do I tell the difference between a good installation and a not-so-good one?
Tile and marble are very demanding and not very forgiving. It’s pretty easy to see some telltale signs of a less-than-perfect job if one knows where to look. There are several things that might be obvious and others that may not be so.
Let’s start with the obvious. Most hard goods should be the same size as well as square. That should provide good lines as far as the grout joints are concerned. If a layout is not perfect, instead of seeing perfect intersections at each cross section you will notice that the corners do not line up with each other in a continuous line. The corners of the grout joint should make a perfect + It’s fairly easy to get out of square and the + will not line up well once that happens.
Secondly, if you stare down a continuous grout joint it should be perfectly straight the entire distance of the floor or wall without any deviation.
Along the same lines, if you look where one wall meets another, the horizontal grout joints should all align at the same height instead of one wall being set higher or lower than the other.
The surface should be flat without lippage from one course of tile to the next. Outside corners should be square. This may not always be possible depending on the framing underneath the substrate.
The job should look and feel balanced.
Lots of guys will start on one side with a full and end up with small cuts on the other side.
- Normally one should be able to balance that so as to have equal-size cuts on both sides unless the layout would dictate differently for some reason.
- The cuts should all be the same size and distance from whatever it is that it is cut away from.
- Grout should be smooth and uniform in width and look smooth like a piece of sandpaper without sponge marks and pock marks left behind. They should also look crisp and clean instead of fuzzy.
- The grout joints should also be fully up to the surface of the tile rather than recessed deeper into the surface.
All of the above require more time spent with a detailed eyed. These may seem small and insignificant but the total sum of all these line items can make a big difference to the overall appearance when applied correctly.
Why should I hire you instead of another contractor or a tile store person?
Obviously, this is subjective but I will give my best honest answer. I don’t want to sound proud here so please view this as a combination of confidence combined with old fashion straightforwardness.
The very first thing apparent when dealing with me is my experience level. I have over 40 years of full-time experience primarily in multi-million dollar custom homes. This kind of experience is priceless and can only be earned by working in the trenches year in and year out. My experience will ensure that nothing will be overlooked or unanticipated. By being able to see the whole picture I can usually be able to address potential snags in the critical path so that once the project is underway it will commence to a timely finish without interruption.
I treat people right. I have always tried to treat folks as family. Reputation and word of mouth are what my business is built on and that is why I am still here after over four decades. I am in this for the long haul and a good name is better than ill-gotten riches.
I do each and every installation as if it were in my own home. In my trade, there are many ways to cut corners to save time or money. Being able to sleep at night is utmost so I follow my conscience and do things right, even if unseen in the final look of the installation.
I am given to detail and perfection. I’m not saying I am perfect but my every intention is to be the very best I can be. I put my very existence and livelihood on the line every time I start a new job. I take ownership of your job and invest in it. Even though it’s your house it’s still my work. it’s my pride, it’s my feelings of accomplishment, it’s my reward for giving you the best service possible.
Not only will I get in and out as best able, but I will also treat your home with respect while I’m there and keep the intrusion to a minimum. I am clean-cut and honest. You won’t feel uncomfortable giving me access to your home and belongings while you are at work and I am in your house. I’ll still be around years from now.
I have had the same phone number since cell phones first came out. I’m not going anywhere and I’m certainly not hiding from anyone.
I would like to finish by saying that I do not believe in, nor participate in the concept of the “lowest price equals the best deal” mentality. I thoroughly believe that you get what you pay for. I do understand the need to stay competitive in today’s economy but I have no interest in competing in price wars.
I hope you can appreciate someone who has pride in their ability and is not interested in just doing well enough to get paid for the job. This mentality is what’s wrong with America. If you desire to work directly with a person whose good name is at stake rather than someone who is just earning a paycheck, we need to talk.