Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


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Tile won’t flex for a bad install

We spend a lot of time talking to folks who’ve run into problems with their current installer or contractor. That’s probably because we’ve been in the area for a long time and, we believe, because we have a reputation for helping solve tile-related concerns.

Unfortunately, the answer is often “tear it out and start over,” so we’d really prefer to talk with customers before they ever run into these issues. If we get that opportunity, we suggest they ask some important questions of anyone they are considering hiring to install a lasting and inflexible finish like tile:

  • What TCNA method they will use?
    (Tile Council of North America Handbook is an industry-recognized guide to assist in clarifying and standardizing installation specifications for tile.)
  • If their tile installers are Certified by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation?
  • Where will the movement joints be located and what will they be made of?
  • What is the span of your joists? (Can your floor carry the weight of tile? How will your substrate and its support structure respond to the tile application?)
  • What level of service and product warranty can you expect on the installation?
  • Will you need a vapor barrier? What about crack isolation? Is additional waterproofing necessary?
  • What setting materials will be used for your installation? What experience does the installer have with these products? What are their advantages?
  • How does your installer keep up with the latest industry advances? What associations do they participate in?
  • Will they provide a written proposal on the work to be done?
  • Are they a Five-Star Contractor?

Tile won’t bend to make up for a bad installation.


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Shedding light on a tile problem

A long-time friend called today to ask for our insight on her tile installed by someone her contractor hired (not us). She was happy when the installer finished and got the edge trim corrected, but when her under-cabinet lights were mounted new problems appeared.

The growing use of accent lighting and handmade tiles exacerbates an issue that needs to be addressed before the first tile is installed. Die release lines on ceramic mosaics, scored tiles, and uneven edges on tile will cast distinctive shadows when highlighted by direct overhead lighting –-even if the tile is installed meeting acceptable standards. In this case, the tile installation had some issues that made the situation worse, so her contractor is having everything taken out and re-done.

elli splash

Under cabinet lights require prior planning by all involved.

This time, he needs to 1) make sure the surface to be tiled is totally smooth and flat or specify a mortar bed installation; 2) discuss the tile selection with the homeowner and explain the potential issues that the tile chosen could produce; 3) make sure the finished lighting is in place and functioning prior to the tile installation so any shadows can be immediately addressed; 4) and discuss a pattern change or widening the grout joints to allow for more gradual variation as shadows are cast over the tile.

The tile installer will, of course, need to perform his craft carefully, properly adhere and  ‘beat-in’ the tile, and perhaps present a mock-up to get prior approval. Like so many issues in construction, this one could have been prevented by:

  1. using professionals in the selection process who are knowledgeable about potential “gotcha’s”;
  2. using high-quality materials produced by known manufacturers (not necessarily high-priced);
  3. using experienced and qualified installers who can help identify issues before they become problems.

We know our friend will love her new kitchen after the removal and replacement is completed, but her 72-day renovation has now been prolonged another week. When she gets ready to do the bathroom, she says she’ll call us first 🙂

#NotAsEasyAsItLooksOnTV


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Latest in tile trends

We attend industry events so that we’re up-to-date on the latest installation products & methods and to participate in the committees that draft the standards used for tile installation. At shows like Coverings, we also get to see the beauty of tiles themselves as manufacturers display the latest tile designs from around the world.  #WhyTile!

The summary below gives a good glimpse of some trends & highlights. And, when these tiles are installed correctly by qualified craftspeople, they’ll last for years to come. Enjoy!


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Exterior tile that lasts on your deck or porch

As the weather is getting warmer, more people are thinking about exterior projects. We’ve done a lot of porches and decks that last beautifully — and we’ve re-done many that were done incorrectly by others. Uncovered, exterior decks with tile are some of the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmost difficult installations in our industry. They require many different components of an integrated system to make them perform correctly.

Uncovered decks can have very broad thermal (temperature) swings that far surpass the high and low reported temperatures of the day. As a result, these installations have to be designed to move with this expansion and contraction.

The key components of this type of installation are:
1) movement joints
2) prevention of water intrusion (waterproofing)
3) flashing at dissimilar surfaces
4) 95% mortar coverage on the back of the tile to ensure the tiles are
well bonded

Some less-knowledgeable installers might suggest that epoxy grout will help prevent future grout cracking, but the type of grout will not determine the success or failure of any system’s performance. Movement joints are far more important, and, if they are not present, the system will most likely fail regardless of the type of grout used.

Make sure your exterior improvements last through many future seasons by investing in a tile contractor with the experience and knowledge to perform a long-lasting installation.


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Neuse Tile’s community connection

Working with family, reasons to use tile, weathering a difficult economy, opportunities in the industry & advances in grout — all covered in this recent Podcast by the Wake Forest Chamber featuring Nyle and Paige from Neuse Tile! Podcast photo 3-18

We love being part of our community and have always continued the Chamber connection that Dad so passionately supported. Thank you Ann & the Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce for asking great questions and including us in your series –we enjoyed it!

If you want to get to know us better, here’s your chance 🤣

Follow the Podcast link: https://app.stitcher.com/splayer/f/150417/53773281” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>clicking here.


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Wara Juraku & other possibilities – Why Tile?

It’s National TILE Day, and we’d like to celebrate by mentioning a few of this week’s materials: yellow penny rounds in a café, 24”x24” porcelain in 10 movie theaters, Wara Juraku Dukechisled cobblestone for a residential renovation, crackled glass for a new kitchen, and Wara Juraku Stucco straight from Japan. Let your artistic imagination scroll through that variety for a minute!

Our work is as varied as the materials and imaginations of designers and end users, and we love the technical challenge of making sure we’re doing the right things to prepare the materials, select the correct mortars, ensure a long-lasting installation, provide a system warranty, and leave every space yellow penny roundsmuch better looking than when we arrive. Our installers are certainly craftsmen, frequently artists, and always skilled technicians.

They do math, and our materials are weighty, but our team is equally talented in creativity and spatial prowess. There’s no other trade that combines such diverse skill sets and the satisfaction of a space truly transformed – for the long haul.

Tile and stone are low-maintenance, environmentally healthy,wall tile outside restrooms ala meant to last, and full of style – when installed by a qualified team using the right materials. It’s the ideal material for your next project, and we can’t wait to see what you select!

Now we’re going to celebrate National TILE Day by getting back to a conversation about some 5 ft. x 5 ft. porcelain panels for a new shower……  #WhyTILE


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The tile year in pictures

As we welcome a new year, we’re looking forward to increased opportunities and reflecting on a year of wonderfully creative tile installations. Thanks to the contractors, designers, and homeowners who included us on your projects!!!!! Here are just a few for your viewing pleasure: