Like most people, we’ve had more than our share of ‘screen time’ this past year. We love watching home improvement highlights. (Until we have to turn them off because some of their tile “techniques” make us nuts 🙂
However, due to the compression of time needed for entertaining video, they leave out a lot of details. In remodel situations, we very rarely run into a job that doesn’t have an unexpected detail. Sometimes it’s really rotten framing under what was thought to be a ‘new’ leak; sometimes it’s poor work done by a previous contractor that has to be corrected in order to do a new installation correctly; and sometimes it’s a visual change that the homeowner asks us to make because their project “concept” is still evolving.
All these things take time, materials, and expertise to adjust. We have a great team we can call on when unexpected details arise, and we keep things moving as quickly as possible, but the project might extend a bit. There are also occasional material delays or back-orders that you wouldn’t see on screen. Storms, driver shortages, and even port problems can sometimes delay tile getting to us for the installation. We try to factor all that in and hold off on starting jobs until the material is in-hand, but it doesn’t always work that way in the real world.
There’s also the reality of life – a vehicle that blows a tire on the interstate, an installer who breaks his foot playing softball the night before, a project manager whose family member dies, a key team member who has a heart attack, or maybe someone important to your job gets sick. You wouldn’t see any of that on screen, and we try not to let it impact your installation, but all these things happened in the past year, so occasionally things just haven’t gone as planned.
And then there’s the expertise to actually do the tile installation correctly… On remodeling shows, it looks like some mortar out of a bucket is troweled onto the wall and then in the next frame all the tile is up and being grouted with one stroke. Granted it wouldn’t be the most exciting thing to show all that happens before tile gets installed: floor flattening, weep-hole protection, ‘mud’ mixing, slope checking, layout manipulations, stud shimming, waterproofing applications, backerboard placing and taping, transporting heavy tile, keying in, back buttering, measuring and cutting, grouting and cleaning and cleaning some more.
We love tile, and the intricate, hand-made craftsmanship that makes it beautifully unique and long-lasting is one of our favorite aspects. However, a quality tile installation from substrate to finish just doesn’t happen in quick video-driven time. Let’s all try to enjoy the great things being done with tile today, and remind ourselves that the time-honored craftsmanship and know-how under the tile are an integral part of the beauty of a well-done installation.