Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers

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Matching tile for repair – ‘white’ is not white

When your beautiful project is complete, and all the bills have been paid, the last thing you want to think about is a potential problem 5 or 10 years from now. But a little preparation for the unforeseen can keep a future headache from becoming a migraine.

If a repair person who comes a few years from now accidentally drops his hammer on your tile, are you going to be able to find a matching tile? We keep records on tile installations for 10 years, and as tile colors and types have become more varied, the names and numbers have become more complex. It’s no longer enough to think you can match a tile by describing its color and general size. For an exact match, the brand, color name, actual size, and shade and caliber numbers are needed.

Most manufacturers keep shade variation within a series to a minimum, but, when the lightest of a shade is placed beside the darkest, the variation can be quite startling. Caliber is a more technical variation in tile dimension, but, nonetheless, can be a real challenge in the repair process. Acceptable measures of variation depend on a tile’s type and size. For example, variations of 0.18 inch could be found between two 12×12 tiles that were on opposite ends of the ANSI tolerance. That kind of variation will result in a visual mis-match and diminish the beauty of your installation.

A professional service technician can work around small variations in tiles, but an inexperienced repair person might not notice the differences until they’ve removed your tile and are at a loss on how to accomplish your repair.

How to avoid issues in matching tile or stone?
— Keep thorough records of what tiles and stones are used (including shade and caliber numbers and grout choices) and the tile installer who did the work.
— Keep some tile when your project is complete. (We reserve a small quantity of tile for one year for any potential warranty work, but some ‘attic stock’ on the premises will be a huge help if an issue ever arises.)
— Use a tile installer who keeps good records and who will be likely to be in business 10 years from now if you need help with a tile issue.

Matching grout is also a potential repair headache because they way a surface has been maintained will determine whether the grout has kept its original color. A professional service person will be more likely able to keep the look of your job consistent by matching new grout to the existing color.