Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


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Hiring a tile installer

Every week we get calls from folks who have hired a tile layer who has or is causing them heartburn. Sometimes the job is current and sometimes it’s weeks or months later. Either way, the consumer is dealing with an installation that is less than the best that our industry can offer.

We love to help people, but we’d love it even more if people’s experiences with tile installers were positive and long-lasting from the start.  We have some tips for hiring a tile installer on our website, and we’re working with a group of industry leaders to come up with a list of general questions that customers might ask a potential tile installer. We thought we’d put them out for you to give us some feedback on what we have so far:

  • Will they document their commitment to quality?
  • Are their methods & standards verified by the TCNA Handbook?
  • How will they control site conditions?
  • How will they properly prepare the surface before tiling?
  • Where will movement occur (expansion/contraction)?
  • Will they provide references of similar, successful installations?
  • What is their warranty on labor and setting materials?
  • Do they participate in industry conferences and continuing education?
  • How are their employees trained and kept up-to-date on products and methods?

We like to say that “Tile won’t bend to make up for a bad installation” so it’s essential that you hire your tile contractor carefully. We certainly hope asking the right questions will help consumers be more informed BEFORE they hire their next installer. Let us know if you think of other things we should add to our list.


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Cleaning tile, sealing grout & caulking joints

We had the fun of working a booth at our local Home Show last weekend, and wanted to share some common questions that visitors asked about their tile installations:

How do I clean my tile?

  • Remove soil with a broom, non-oily dust mop or vacuum. Damp mop or spot-clean using CLEAN, warm water or water and a pH neutral tile cleaner.
  • Avoid all products containing bleach or acids, as they can weaken the grout (opening the pores & causing it to get dirtier more quickly).
  • Always rinse thoroughly with CLEAN, warm water and allow to dry. When mopping, change rinse water often.
  • Shower tile looks its best when you remove excess water with a squeegee after each use and run the exhaust fan for at least 20 minutes after a shower.
  • Tile distributors sell cleaning products developed specifically for tile and stone. These specialized cleaning products generally outperform products available from large retailers.
  • For stubborn grout stains, agitate with a fiber or nylon-type scrubbing pad and a higher concentration of the pH neutral cleaning solution.

2) Should I seal my tile?

  • Many newer, high-performance grouts have a built in sealant. Ask your tile installer about the brand and type used. (Neuse Tile routinely uses high-performance grouts.)
  • While not a part of a base-level tile installation, sealers can be applied to further protect your investment. Sealers should be applied to cement-based grouts when the installation is thoroughly dry and after the initial grouting has cured at least two weeks.
  • Sealing may be necessary for natural stones and tiles like quarry and saltillo. Ask your tile distributor if your specific tile requires sealing, stripping, and resealing periodically

3) What to do with the ‘crack’ between tile and counter or tub?

The joint between the tub and tile wall and the counter-top and tile splash have the potential to separate with seasonal changes. As a house settles or the tub flexes, the grout in these joints may periodically crack.  If this happens, remove the old grout with a sharp-pointed tool. (Be careful not to chip tile or tub.) Dry the joint thoroughly, and fill with silicone sealant, available in tubes at hardware stores and in matching colors at most tile distributors. Broken or damaged tiles should be removed and replaced only by a reputable tile installer.

We are glad to be a resource for our customers and our community. And it’s just fun to #TalkTile.


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Championship team for locker room tile

It takes a team — to win a national championship, to complete a successful construction project, and to get your tile installed correctly.

We are honored to be featured on the cover of our industry’s unc-pools-compTileLetter publication for our work at the UNC Basketball Locker Room. [TileLetter 2017 at Dean Smith Center.]

It was a great project for the Neuse Tile team, of course, but, as good as they are, it takes more than just our skilled craftsmen to make it happen. Our behind-the-scenes team members monitor every detail of estimating, ordering, warehousing, scheduling, supervising, and accounting. And, with a project like this one that’s happening at a rapid pace, with strict parameters, and involving a variety of types of installation, there are also representatives from mortar manufacturers, tile suppliers, and industry specifiers ready to help. (The accumulation of years of industry experience and lots of shared industry knowledge help, too 🙂

We appreciate the hard work of all members of the tile team, as well as the UNC facility staff, the Architects at Corley Redfoot, and the design professionals in the comp JimSink22 overview with partitionsKansas City office of HOK. And a particular thank you to General Contractor, Vision Contractors Inc. for including us in this truly championship locker room!


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CTEF highlights one of our own

Juan Sauceda, our lead superintendent, is the featured Certified Tile Installer in the current blog by Ceramic Tile Education Foundation! He’s been with our team since 2002, and we love the artistry and craftsmanship he brings to every project. Neuse Tile Service's Juan Sauceda CTI#64, with a poster depicting many projects that he has either overseen or installed.

Take a few minutes to read about Juan and his credentials. He’ll take great care of your next project!  https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/blog/certification-greater-efficiency-setting-tile


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Taking care of your tile

We’re in the process of re-writing our tile maintenance brochure and would love to have your input. In addition to what we’ve described here about routine maintenance, sealers and repairs, what else would you like to know?

Routine Maintenance:

  • Remove soil with a broom, dust mop or vacuum. Damp mop or spot clean as needed, using CLEAN, warm water or water and a pH neutral tile cleaner.
  • Avoid all products containing bleach or acids, as they can weaken the grout (opening  the pores & causing grout to get dirtier more quickly).
  • Always rinse thoroughly with CLEAN, warm water and allow to dry. A second rinsing with clean water may be necessary to completely remove all cleaning solutions. When mopping, change rinse water often, preferably every 50 feet.
  • Shower tile will look its best when you remove excess water with a squeegee after each use and when you run the exhaust fan for at least 20 minutes.
  • Tile distributors sell cleaning products developed specifically for tile and stone which generally outperform products available in supermarkets.
  • Use fiber or nylon scrubbing pads to help remove difficult stains; do not use steel wool pads.

Grout care:  For stubborn grout stains, agitate with a fiber or nylon scrubbing pad and a higher concentration of the recommended pH neutral grout cleaning solution. Over time, if the grout appearance becomes unacceptable, your tile distributor offers specialized products, including colored epoxy sealants which help restore grout’s appearance. Contact a tile service company or carefully follow manufacturer’s recommendations.

Sealants:  Many newer grouts have stain resistors already built in, so check with your tile installer about the brand used in your project. While not a part of base-level tile installations, sealers can be added to help keep stains from penetrating the grout. Sealers should be applied to cement-based grouts when the installation is thoroughly dry and after the initial grouting has cured for at least two weeks.

Common Concerns:  Clean up spills as soon as possible. Material left on your tile can be ground into the tile or grout, making clean-up more difficult. Ask your distributor or installer for specific information on your products because different materials require different cleaning regimens.

Tile Repairs:  The joint between the tub and tile wall and the counter-top and tile splash have the potential to separate with seasonal changes. As a house settles or the tub flexes, the grout in these joints may periodically crack. If this happens, remove the old grout with a sharp-pointed tool. (Be careful not to chip tile or tub.) Dry the joint thoroughly, and fill with silicone caulk available in tubes at hardware stores and in matching colors at most tile distributors. Broken or damaged tiles should be removed and replaced only by a reputable tile installer.

Always test products in an inconspicuous area before treating the entire surface and be sure to protect surrounding non-tiled surfaces because some tile cleaning products can adversely affect metals, glass, wood, etc.

Our website: www.NeuseTile.com has links to some of our preferred manufacturers.


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Slam-dunk tile in UNC locker room

Take a break from Thanksgiving family dynamics and enjoy these photos of our recent tile installations in the UNC men’s basketball locker room at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill. Mud bed floors flowing to 12 different drains, large-format glass in an expansive area, polished stone, 2×2 mosaics, large-format porcelain in multiple sizes, and honed decorative stone made this one a technical treat. Thanks to Vision Contractors and the facility managers and coaches for adding us to the team for this special, world-class project!


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Professional Women in Construction

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!