Ours has long-been perceived as a male dominated profession, but the National Association of Home Builders has designated this week to recognize the amazing contributions of the women in our world.
Neuse Tile is a woman-owned business, and, let’s be honest, the women in our office keep things ticking on a daily basis. :) So, we’re happy to have a reason to give a shout out in recognition of the many contributions of our female workforce, both in the office and on job sites!
The NAHB’s designation of a week to celebrate women in construction is something new, but those of us who have been in the field a while know that women have been working in construction for a very long time. Some don hard hats and kneepads and install tile; others are superintendents; and many are project managers and estimators. The work of both men and women in this field is difficult and underappreciated, no doubt, but no other profession offers such tangible satisfaction at the end of every project.
We applaud all the changing faces on construction jobsites while also giving honor to women who have done the accounting, the purchasing, the scheduling, the inventory management, and the marketing for our profession for all these years. You may not see them on a daily basis, but, without them, the jobs probably wouldn’t happen.
All our team members are essential to getting our work done to your satisfaction, and we know that the person who answers the phone or makes the sale is just as valuable as the technically adept project manager or the master craftsman. It takes us all to get things planned, built, and maintained with quality.
Let’s celebrate all those who work so hard in construction, with a special tip of the hat this week to the women among us!
We often write about coming in behind tile placers who have done residential jobs poorly or left homeowners with failed installations, but this happens on the commercial side as well. One of our local contractors recently called us in to evaluate and tear out the tiled steps in a commercial building.
The tile installer they hired initially had little experience installing tile on steps, and their finished work showed it. The building owner was not satisfied, and the contractor called us to correct the problems. We completely re-worked the steps, and they look great now since we used the proper adhesives, planned the layout before setting any tile, and finished it all with Schluter’s Trep-E stair nosing profiles.
But, why do things have to be done twice?
General contractors feel tremendous pressure to produce the lowest bid when vying for projects, and, to get there, they feel they must take proposals from low-cost providers. The end result is sometimes adequate, and sometimes, as in this case, more expensive. The cost of increased supervision, project delays, multiple change orders, and potentially unsatisfied customers is real. If only we could get those making the ultimate decisions on selecting a contractor to understand that Quality Should Not Be Cheap. The low bid contractor or tile installer should be the first bid thrown out because someone has missed something or cut a corner that will be costly later on.
Knowledge and craftsmanship are costly to obtain, and it’s fair to ask the end user to pay for that high-quality work. Long-lasting, beautiful tile installations with no hassles, no headaches, and no callbacks should be the expectation, and a ‘Schmuck in a Truck’ can’t get there with his low-ball price.
We said goodbye to a longtime co-worker and friend this past week. And, judging by the hundreds of people at his remembrance gathering, his life had a powerful impact. The eloquent reflections presented at his service provided a summary of a man who could teach us all a few things.
There was coaching and leadership: Scott ‘Stump’ DeShields was a mentor who made a difference to future generations. We met Scott because he coached our brother in high school in the early ’90s. In more than 25 years on the sidelines, Scott never hesitated to get in a player’s face and order him to “get his head out of his duffle bag,” but he also didn’t hold back with an arm around the shoulders for a player who needed encouragement or support. They knew his booming voice of instruction, but they also discovered that he really cared.
There was a passion for excellence: Scott held us all to the highest standard. Whether it was in tile, football, or being on time, Scott didn’t accept excuses. “Do your job,” meant Scott was calling you to do your best, to do what you were capable of, to not accept less than your 110 percent.
There was loyalty: Scott was the essence of a ‘foxhole buddy.’ If Scott counted you in his inner circle, he’d do anything in the world to back you up, to come alongside – no matter what. He might call you to task later on, but there was no question as to whether he would be there for you. Even when our dad was in his last days and struggling with his surroundings, he frequently asked for ‘Stump’ to come help him.
There was family: Scott loved his wife and kids beyond measure. His face lit up when he talked about their achievements and plans for the future. He always wanted the best for his children, and they are truly excellent young adults. They will continue to be a very proud legacy for him.
There was personality: Scott would agree that he wasn’t always the easiest person to work with, but he was always himself. Our homogenous world has watered down the ‘characters’ among us, but Scott wasn’t really bothered by social norms. He was true to what he believed, to the people he loved, and to his passions in life. He was true to himself.
Nyle’s salute to Scott at the service was perfect: “To you and those like you. Damn few left.” May we all try to take the best of ‘Stump’ with us into our coming days.
We celebrated a big birthday last week with a party for our local contractors and industry friends. The party was our way of saying ‘thanks’ to the ones who keep our business going: our great customers, our supportive community, and especially our fantastic staff.
We had a great time collecting photos and reflecting on the personalities and talents of folks we’ve worked with through the years. The types of tile we install and the sophistication of our methods have certainly advanced through the years, but the reliance on talented people has never changed.
Sometimes we get calls from homeowners who need a grout touch-up 30 years after their original install, and we’re honored that they remember us and still count on Neuse Tile to provide them quality service. That kind of continuity is a tribute to our family and the quality of our employees’ work over time.
Neuse Tile Service was incorporated May 22, 1964, by founder Homer Wadford and his business partners. In 1967, Homer’s brother Al came into the business and soon assumed the company’s leadership when Homer moved on to other pursuits. In 1987, Al’s son Nyle took over as company president, and daughter Paige joined the company in 1995. Today, we are North Carolina’s only residential 5-Star Contractor recognized by the National Tile Contractors Association.
A big thanks to the sponsors of our birthday celebration event: Best Tile of Raleigh, Mosaic Tile Company, Florida Tile, and Laticrete. Thanks for the journey, and here’s hoping we’re here to serve you for many years to come! Cheers!
Recent news reports about the health-impact of building materials are not a concern when you select ceramic tile. To summarize the science of tile’s environmental positives, the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) released a bulletin yesterday highlighting tile’s attributes.
Ceramic Tile is:
- made from clay and naturally occurring minerals, so it’s free from formaldehyde, VOCs, and PVC.
- fired at extremely high temperatures producing an inorganic material, so its Zero VOCs don’t contribute in any way to “sick building syndrome.”
- formaldehyde-free, unlike other floor coverings which have been in the news recently for their possible adverse health effects.
- free from PVC resin which is used in other floor coverings and is a subject of concern among health experts
- available in thousands of choices that are slip-resistant when wet, and it’s not flammable.
- the most cost-effective and best use of resources, with a 60-year service life — when installed properly.
Environmentally, “North American-made ceramic tile has the lowest environmental impact across all impact categories when compared to other flooring,” according to the TCNA bulletin which references the UL-certified Environmental Product Declaration.
The bulletin was released yesterday at Coverings, the largest tile and stone expo in the United States with exhibitors from more than 40 countries. “More and more research is being done as people realize the long-term impact of various common chemicals in the built environment,” said TCNA scientist Dr. Jyothi Rangineni.
As part of ongoing community education efforts by the Home Builders Association, our own Nyle Wadford participated in a local radio program on a recent Saturday morning. WPTF 680’s Eye on Health program featured several members of the Raleigh-Wake County HBA’s C.A.R.E. Council explaining how their companies work together to help make homes accessible for everyone.
Nyle talked about the increased requests we’ve had for curbless or stepless showers. Innovations in tile technology have made it possible to keep water inside a shower without the traditional ‘curb’ or step at the doorway (if you have a knowledgeable installer). He explained that the traditional curb is also a point of failure for many improperly installed showers. “To avoid future problems, it’s essential to hire professional trade contractors with credentials that demonstrate knowledge and commitment to their industry,” he explained.
Lewis Sadler of Sadler Construction explained that the HBA’s Council for Ageless Residential Environments (C.A.R.E.) Council was started with a desire to educate the construction community and the general public about all the options available in barrier-free living. By designing to reduce entry steps, widen doorways, incorporate technology, open up bathroom spaces, and think about future use, any home can be built to accommodate future mobility challenges. The intuitive design of this type of ageless home or remodel is a beautiful alternative to the institutional look of historically ‘accessible’ homes.
More Americans are living multi-generationally and our population is aging, so the need for more functional spaces is gaining increased attention, said Nancy Caggia, a Berkshire Hathaway Home Services York Simpson Underwood Realtor and Senior Real Estate Specialist.
Sadler detailed the cost savings achieved by building accessible features into a home during initial construction versus the need to retrofit a space if a family member becomes mobility challenged. As he explained, a person coming home from a rehab center must have a way to enter and exit the home safely as well as have access to a bathroom where they can maneuver. The increased grading costs and upgrades that would make a home fully accessible may cost 2-5% more during the original construction of a new home, but there is a huge savings when compared to going back and remodeling after-the-fact.
Other members of the C.A.R.E. Council specialize in the fields of home technology, cabinets, countertops, flooring, elevators, design, real estate, as well as new construction and remodeling. A full list of members can be found at www.HBAcare.com.
Eye on Health airs on 680 WPTF on Saturday’s at 7 am to help listeners navigate the many choices and issues we face as we age or care for an aging loved one. You can listen to the show at http://wptfeyeonhealth.blogspot.com/2016/02/eye-on-health-02-13-2016.html