How big can it get?

The tile world is growing, not just in the amount of tile being installed but the sizes of the tile now permeating the market. Porcelain tiles for walls and floors are now “super-sized.” Panels as large as 60×120” are not uncommon. There are smaller sizes such as 30×30” and 30×60” that are being used residentially because they can be quickly installed behind a free-standing tub or on a fireplace surround. These gorgeous panels look like marble or travertine. Fewer joints add to the impact and enhance the beauty of the marble.

These tiles are much thinner than expected to avoid the problem of too much weight for the application. At 1/4” to 5/16” thick, these panels are easily managed by a couple of installers using braces for support while adhesives cure. However, with large panel installation comes the need for experienced installers. Pinterest always makes it look easy, but be sure to hire professional tile contractors familiar with the installation and tools required for these materials.

These attractive new products give new meaning to the expression “Go big or go home!”

Who is that in the bathroom?

A great looking tile job is only as good as what’s behind the tile. Materials matter, so ITM is committed to quality products. But, as much as we like to sell tile, we really don’t like selling the same job twice! A successful project depends upon having the right tile professional involved in the process. Selecting the “right fit” requires asking the right questions before the project begins. Things to consider:

  • Does the installer have experience with the type of project you are undertaking? Some installers like new construction while others prefer remodeling work. Some installers don’t like to work with mosaics; others love them.
  • Do you have a clear idea of what you envision from the project? Convey this to your prospective contractor, then ask him or her to educate you about your project. How do they plan to meet your vision? Are there pros and cons to
    the approach being taken?
  • Does the installer “want” to do the job? The best result is based upon a shared vision and a sense of enthusiasm for the project.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for and check references for your prospective contractor. Did they finish previous jobs on time? Did the finished project meet the expectations of the customer? Were they polite and professional? Did they keep a clean and orderly job site? Seek these answers from someone other than the installer; let someone else sing the praises of the professional in question.
  • Does the contractor have a sound knowledge of special aspects of the job? Consider the water proofing necessary for a wet area like a shower or tub, or the setting materials best suited for the project. Is the grout being used the best one available for the installation from among the many on the market today?

Keep in mind that a professional tile contractor will not be hesitant to address your questions or concerns. If they seem leery or brush off your queries, they may not be the best person for the job.

The right materials in the hands of the right installer will make the difference between an unhappy result and a great tile job that you will be proud to show off and live with each day.

What is really going on here?

So, you have selected the perfect tile, the proper grout is a lovely match, the installation materials have arrived and the project begins. To prevent “surprises” as your project moves forward, there are few things that you must know before
you begin.

Tile work is not a clean trade. There WILL be dust from setting materials, backer boards, and the process of cutting tiles. Wet saws, mixers, and grinders are not generally quiet tools, so expect some “noise pollution” as well.

There WILL be left overs and scrap tile. It is critical that the installer have extra tile to work with. It is like insurance; extra material allows the installer to make a better-looking cut on a tile rather than the cheapest cut due to a potential shortage of material. Sometimes the tile will look better laid in one direction that will waste a bit more tile. Paying a little extra for a correct layout is far preferable to a “more efficient” installation capped off by a one inch cut bordering the entire room. Note that any extra tile should be retained. You never know when a plumbing issue may cause you to have to cut into a wall, when unexpected movement cracks a tile, or when someone may drop a bowling ball on the corner of a marble floor. (Yes, it has happened!)

Stone products are not always uniform as veins naturally vary. It adds to the beauty of the product and enhances the natural look of the finished job. Be sure that you consider this in the selection of your materials. Avoid natural stone if you want a very uniform appearance. Similarly, dye lots in man-made products can change. Purchase the necessary material for your job at one time if possible to avoid unwelcome variances.

If you have carefully discussed these items with the “right” contractor (see the previous blog) you will not encounter any of these common surprises during your installation project. And, you won’t wonder “what is going on here?”