Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


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Why use a general contractor?

Just to be clear from the start: we love working with homeowners! Information sharing is one of our very favorite things, so the education process of helping someone prepare for a tile installation is usually great fun for us. When your project is mostly cosmetic, and you have the patience to coordinate (or do) some or all the trades involved, then serving as your own contractor can be a great option.

However, when your project involves moving multiple plumbing fixtures, re-routing water, or relocating walls, you’re absolutely going to get the best result when you hire a licensed, professional general contractor.

No matter how easy they make it look on television, construction (when it is done well) is a very specialized and knowledge-based profession. The parts and pieces that go into a project are innumerable, and the details needed to get a project finished on-time (or even close) are voluminous.

When chatting with one of our contractor friends recently, we came up with the following list of why we think using a general contractor is a good thing:

  • Their industry knowledge (licensing, testing, and continuing education)
  • Up-to-date on codes/ materials/ techniques
  • Established trade accounts for materials sourcing & contractor discounts (their established relationships)
  • Technical adaptability to unforeseen issues (what’s going on behind that wall?)
  • Design assistance (what has worked before as well as outside-the-box ideas)
  • Appraisal requirement (if you change the square footage of your house, you must get it permitted, or you will not be able to count that addition when you sell)
  • Connections with vendors and priority scheduling of work & deliveries
  • One point of contact and responsibility
  • They know the requirements for permitting, fees, restrictions, insurance, etc.
  • Warranty
  • Fewer headaches and less stress for you
  • The time and capacity to live your life during the remodel

Your home is your largest investment, so you want work done on it to last for a long time. Often that means hiring an industry specialist to get the job done right. We’d be glad to recommend some great, local general contractors to help with your next project!


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Qualified to talk tile in NJ & at home

Sometimes it takes an out-of-town audience to fully appreciate our hometown know-how. That was certainly the case for our own Nyle Wadford when he recently traveled to Dayton, NJ, to present a large-format tile seminar to an architectural and design community. 

3rd from left, Wadford presented NTCA seminar.

3rd from left, Wadford presented NTCA seminar.

The local American Olean & Marazzi USA distributor wanted a special guest to introduce their services to an important client base, and they asked Wadford to present an NTCA seminar on large tiles and participate in a discussion about qualified labor. The hosts and audience said the seminar was “informative and truly helpful,” and Nyle was glad to participate.

As a long-time tile contractor and Chairman of the Board of the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Nyle is absolutely passionate about correct tile installations – whether in NC or NJ – he just loves talking tile!

The NTCA is an invaluable association for our industry, and, as a Five-Star Contractor, Neuse Tile is able to present its seminars for continuing education credits to the Architectural and Design communities. As NTCA’s 2012 Tile Person of the Year, Nyle is also quite well-known and respected by his peers in the industry (and throughout the country).

Neuse Tile has no plans to install tile in New Jersey, but the visit is helping open doors for the NTCA and furthering discussions about proper tile installations, so Nyle sees it as a worthwhile investment of time. And, sometimes it’s also nice to get that ‘out-of-town’ recognition as well.

Nyle is also the Vice Chairman of both the NTCA Technical Committee and the ANSI A108 Committee. Great job, Nyle!


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Builders rely on specialty subcontractors

Ours is not a glamorous profession. What we do involves lots of craftsmanship and behind-the-scenes know-how, some heavy-lifting, and, frequently, getting a little dirty. But we’re good at it, and we’ve made lots of functional spaces in the Triangle look a whole lot better because we were there.

Tile craftsmen at work

Tile craftsmen at work

That, in itself, is rewarding most days, but sometimes it’s also nice to be recognized by the people who use our services. The National Association of Home Builders recently published an article which highlighted subcontractors as, “an often over looked but essential part of the home building industry.”

Interesting facts in the article included that it takes, on average, 25 subcontractors to build a single-family detached house. About 71% of those employed in the home building industry are subcontractors.  (Total employment in the industry breaks down to 647,000 builders and 1.584 million residential specialty trade contractors.)

During the past 40 years the use of subcontractors has “significantly accelerated.” (Construction costs subcontracted in 2012 averaged 75% vs. 31% in 1959.) The diverse amenities offered in housing and the increasing complexities of each trade are cited as reasons for this shift. Code requirements are more complicated, materials used are more technically diverse, and the labor force is drastically different now than it was in 1959.

We have great appreciation for our general contractor customers. They must have a vast knowledge base and be planners, jugglers, and, sometimes, babysitters. They take big personal and financial risks, and their work is often unappreciated. The best ones know that it takes an amazing amount of teamwork to get a project completed. Having their respect and appreciation makes it easier for us to go the extra mile when needed. So, today we celebrate being one of the “often overlooked but essential,” and we get back to getting it done!


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Tile upside down, but not backwards

Neuse Tile is all about customer satisfaction, and we’ve often laughingly said, “we’ll install tile upside down and backwards” if that’s what the customer wants,” but, with this story, we’ll have to modify that when it comes to glass tile.

An out-of-state relative hired a local contractor to renovate their master bathroom. They went to their home show, interviewed prospective contractors, reviewed their references, and selected one that gave them great confidence. We went up to visit, gave them some tips on selecting the tile and some things to look for as the process moved along.

The first text message asking about the adhesive being used in the shower was a little concerning, but not all that unusual. We gave some online references and told him to hold firm with his general contractor that he expected the tile subcontractor to adhere to industry standards. paper-face done wrong-not NTS

However, the text which said “we were awakened at 2 a.m. by the sound of falling tiles” was startling. When we got on the phone and he began to describe the issues with his glass accent liner, we realized the tile setter who had been subcontracted to do the work had installed the glass backwards. Sometimes glass tiles are what we call ‘paper-faced’ meaning the factory rolls an adhesive paper over the front of the tile sheets (usually mosaics) before boxing and shipping. This keeps the individual pieces aligned (for the most part). The intent is for the exposed glass tiles (which sometimes have small holes in them to absorb some of the setting material) to be laid into the troweled mortar and then the adhesive paper peeled off before grouting. However, this tile guy had laid the paper-side of the sheet into the mortar and gone home for the day. As the mortar dried and the tiles broke free from the adhesive paper, the small glass mosaics dropped off one-by-one. Thus, glass tiles hitting a newly tiled shower floor at 2 a.m.

This was the last straw for our relative, and he insisted the contractor hire a different tile installer and re-do the job. When the new – and more qualified- tile installer came, he determined that the whole shower had to come out and be started over. The accent tiles were obviously an issue, but the shower pan had been sloped by doubling up sheets of backerboard- clearly not an industry-approved method!

After 9 weeks, our relatives now have a great, new master bath and further appreciation for all the technical know-how that goes into our everyday work. And, we’ve contacted our national association to see if they can do something about getting more certified tile contractors in that part of his state.

In the Triangle area, you are fortunate to have some well-qualified tile contractors to choose from. Know what’s under your tile – hire a professional and make sure your tile is installed right side out!


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Ageless ideas for your project

When planning a building or remodeling project, it makes (dollars &) sense to incorporate ageless design. Staying in your home longer with the possibility of hosting multiple generations means it’s best to plan for the long-term. Neuse Tile is a member of the HBA’s C.A.R.E. Council, and offers these ageless design ideas to consider in your next project:
1. Innovative Beauty

  • Curbless showers remove the barrier of a step, and seats and hand-held sprayers are convenient for everyone;
  • Cabinets of varying heights with disappearing doors and lower drawers provide roll-up and easy access;
  • Front-controlled kitchen appliances and a front- loading washer/ dryer are convenient for everyone;
  • Pre-wiring your space for the latest in communication and safety equipment make future adaptations easy.

2. Accessible visitability

  • Odds are that someone you know already has mobility challenges. Can they easily visit your home? Would a broken hip keep you or your parents confined to one room in your house? How would someone in a wheelchair gain access?
  • Incorporate a no-step entrance; wider doorways; non-slip, durable floors;
  • Add enhanced lighting at entry points.

 3. Adaptable design

  • Open floor plans make wheelchair access possible;
  • Increasing standard interior doorways to 36”;
  • Add a transfer space in the toilet area to open up future access;
  • Include pull-out shelves and adjustable closet racks;
  • Put levers rather than knobs on faucets and fixtures;
  • Make light fixtures and outlets easy to reach from a seated position.

4. Future savings

  • Ageless features might add 5% upfront cost now, but could mean a 35-40% savings per item if you have to retrofit later. (Dropping joists, moving doorframes, installing elevators, and re-configuring entrances are costly retrofits; but they only require a little extra planning and effort to accomplish during original design.)
  • Any extra cash outlay now can be offset by current earnings. Retrofitting as you age means your expenses will be incurred when you are not in your earning years.
  • Many who suffer long-term injuries and haven’t done advanced planning are forced to sell their current homes and leave established neighborhoods to find appropriate accommodations.

5. Re-sale that works

  • The demand for accessible homes far outweighs the supply in our area, so your marketability increases greatly when you incorporate universal design features.
  • 42 % of those over 65 have mobility limitations, and 19 % of 16-24 year olds are disabled in some way. High-rising front steps and narrow doorways represent barriers in their search for a new home.
  • By 2035 when 20% of our population will be over 65 years of age, the demand for accessible homes will be even greater.

The CARE Council members of the HBA of Raleigh-Wake County are industry leaders who focus on using universal design principles to enhance the livability of your home. Council members can help maximize your investment by including ageless features and guiding you through the building, remodeling, or home purchasing process. Visit the resource links at www.HBAcare.com.


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Thankful for our tile family!

As we celebrate this season of thanks, we’d like to send a special ‘Thank You’ to our customers and our work family! The past few years have been tough for all of us in the construction industry, and we are very appreciative of the work we’ve been privileged to perform and of those who have been part of our team.

We thank our customers for trusting us with your home and business improvements — we are honored to have provided tile installations and service that will stand the test of time. The tile products we use are of the highest quality, and we are constantly impressed as manufacturers improve and advance their technology. But tile installation remains an artisan craft that, as far as we can see, will always require the human touch. We are incredibly proud of the skilled craftsmen who produce work as beautiful (and technically sound) as any in the industry.

Neuse Tile Team

Neuse Tile Team

Those artisans are the ones you will most often encounter on the jobsite, but equally important is the small, but essential, team of talented and knowledgeable office and supervisory staff that stand behind them. Our work family has been together for 10-15 years, and, as we’ve persevered through these challenging times, we’ve come to really appreciate our diverse skill sets and our united passion for excellence.

The people behind every estimate, every order, every phone call, and every piece of tile are our company’s greatest asset, and we want to say ‘Thank You’ for all the hours, the hard work, the patience, and the perseverance you’ve provided.

We give special recognition to two team members who are concluding their time with Neuse Tile. Leigh, you’ve been that reassuring voice for so many who’ve needed details about their installation schedule or some of your expert cleaning advice, and Scott, your passion for details and drive to get the job done are legendary on commercial construction sites. We will greatly miss you both! You have been a very important part of the Neuse Tile story, and, though we know the folks taking your roles are extremely capable, we want you to know that your contribution here will always be appreciated and remembered.

For you and all those who have kept Neuse Tile going, we are grateful. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families!


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Circular project with a straight line to quality installation

The precision cuts of four different sized and colored tiles in concentric circles was certainly challenging for our certified installers, but it was the know-how of our staff and the capabilities of TEC’s products that set them up for a successful installation.

Making circles from square tiles takes math and artistry.

Making circles from square tiles takes math and artistry.

Our experience with the contractor’s team and the architect on this project were great, and the architect even sent an e-mail saying, “Pass along to the tile installer that the floor tile in the lobby is some of the best work I’ve seen in a while. The circles are very close to perfect. The arches are cut in nicely, the joints are very good. It’s just a good, neat job.”

We appreciate this high praise from an architect, and are glad that we, and he, can be sure the products and workmanship underneath this detailed work is as good as what is seen on the surface. Thanks, TEC, for the helpfulness and technical capabilities of your staff and products!

Check out the details about this project from our recent award-winning entry for TEC’s Imagine Achieve contest:
We were asked to participate on a local expansion project because the general contractor knew it would be a specialty installation. The client and architect’s specifications required intricate layout, precision cuts, multiple tile sizes and colors, and working within the parameters of a very controlled site environment.

As is usually the case, our team was involved in multiple communications and meetings long before the tile installation began. The bathroom installations were to be wall-tile only, and the floors were scheduled to receive an epoxy coating. However, the epoxy contractor had no idea how to create the slope to the drains nor how to waterproof the installations. Since bathrooms are our area of expertise, we suggested using TEC’s Hydraflex waterproofing membrane and helped resolve the issue for everyone.

Our next challenge was in the 4000-square-foot lobby, cafeteria and kitchen areas. Because of the high-PSI requirements for the concrete on the plant floor, all the concrete on the project was poured to that specification, including the lobby and kitchen areas. The concrete had been ‘wet-cured’ which produced an extremely hard and impervious surface on which we were to bond our tile flooring. The welded sheet vinyl contractor on the project had tried to shot-blast the surface of the concrete, but had absolutely no success. Our superintendent did a water-penetration test on the lobby concrete and knew there would be issues in achieving proper bonding when the tile was installed.

We called the technical support staff of TEC products and asked if their new Multi-Purpose primer could be used to rectify the problem. They provided assurances and written warranty explanations that helped convince the general contractor that the proper use of TEC’s primer over this substrate would provide the best possible solution. This process would also require less labor, time and materials than the usually prescribed subfloor treatments of shot-blasting or scarification, and would also allow the project to stay within its already tight construction schedule.

We proceeded with installation of the lobby, cafeteria and kitchen tile with TEC Three-in-One mortar and Accucolor grout. (These TEC products had been in our original submittal package due to the project’s high visibility and challenging installation specifications.) The general contractor was very comfortable with these products and helped convince the architect and owner that TEC products would give them the long-lasting installation performance they wanted. Excellent materials combined with the know-how of your local Five-Star Tile Installation Contractor once again achieved great results!

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