Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


3 Comments

Do one thing and get really good at it

We had a conversation recently about ‘diversification’. We appreciate dialogues that challenge “the way we’ve always done things,” so we spent some time thinking about the way we’re structured versus how some of our competitors operate.

For 56 years we’ve installed tile and stone in the Triangle area of NC. Some of our competitors have decided to install all things that go on floors and walls. They’ve created large enterprises and expanded their package possibilities. We’ve considered and discussed this kind of expansion many times, but it still just doesn’t make sense to us. Tile is a specialty product– there are endless tile options, and literally thousands of methods and application possibilities. It’s installed in all kinds wet areas; it doesn’t bend or flex; and yet it’s really meant to be a permanent finish. Therefore, the craftsmanship and knowledge needed to install tile that lasts over time is significantly different than that needed to put down a plastic or vinyl floor covering that’s intended to be changed out every 5-10 years.

We’ve spent decades getting really good at what we do –long-lasting tile and stone installations. https://www.neusetile.comWe know a lot about the materials and methods needed to successfully install these unforgiving materials.  The artistry and precision needed to install tile well is a true craft, and the tile and stone industry is continually creating new products and uses to keep us challenged. Today we’re seeing larger and thinner tiles used to transform walls as well as thicker paver tiles set on pedestals for decking. Endless imagination and innovation ensure an interesting and growing future for our craft.

So, we’re not going to muddy our focus and tell you we’ll install everything because we still choose to do the one thing we’ve done for 56 years. We’re really good at it. It’s our craft, it’s our art, and it’s our service to our customers and friends.

For now, that’s enough to keep us challenged and creating every day. Thank you for the opportunities you give us to keep going.


Leave a comment

Long-lasting, beautiful investment in tile

Many of us are seeing more than usual of the inside of our homes lately, and we’re coming to really appreciate surfaces that are easy to clean, durable, and nice to look at.  When your home includes properly installed tile you know you’ve provided your family a hygienic space that will hold up well over time.

As described in a recent piece on WhyTile.com, long-lasting installations are a direct correlation to the skill of the installer, the use of the right components in the assembly,  and the integrity of the company behind the work. If any of those pieces are missing, problems may result. With tile, issues of technique (like uneven grout joints) may be immediately apparent; concerns with product might show up with use (like a base-level grout put in a commercial kitchen or interior tiles used outdoors); but the biggest worries are the ones that take time to present themselves (like deterioration of a structure from water that works its way under the surface tile and through a gap in poorly done waterproofing).

In order to ensure your investment in tile is a good one, look for a company that provides all three components — skilled installers (check their certifications), knowledgeable estimators who specify quality products (do they participate in industry training & associations), and proven business credentials.

Carefully choosing your contractor on the front-end of your investment can save you a lot of headache, time, and money on the back-end.

#QualifiedLabor #NTCAFiveStar #NeuseTile


Leave a comment

The long-term impact of good prep

If your New Year’s exercise program started off with a solid plan and workout gear that was well-suited to your routine, then you might have made it into February with some success. But, if you made up a plan as you went, then January probably didn’t bring much change in your health.

Jewel box 2In the same way, starting off with a good plan and quality materials can help ensure a beautiful and long-lasting tile installation. However, when initial corners are cut due to ignorance or cost-cutting, the final finishes will suffer or fail –either immediately or over time. Tile is meant to be a permanent finish, so it has to begin with the proper foundation.

When a job goes to the lowest bidder, it’s usually because something has been left out or a specification wasn’t followed, and the easiest thing to hide from an end user are the steps needed to get an area ready for tile. Before a tile installation should begin, the surface needs to be solid (no deflection or de-lamination), free of previous residue, dry, and within the flatness tolerances to install the chosen tile. If slope to a drain or zero-entry is needed, then often additional surface prep methods have to be used. A good tile contractor will know when to use a membrane, cement backer board, mud beds, or other required installation materials. Much depends on the existing surface, the budget, the application desired, the material to be used, and the skill of the installer to perform a quality, long-lasting installation.

One solution just won’t work in every application, and the tile installer who only has one tool in his box probably hasn’t been tested over time. Be sure to ask why he’s recommending the particular system to be used, and ask him or her to show you the method details and/ or standards involved.

We’ve had projects where we’ve been told to skip the preparatory steps needed in order to save some money, but that’s just not in our DNA. The long-term success of our installations depends on starting off correctly, so we’re pretty passionate about good prep. After all, don’t we all want our ‘outfit’ to look as good as possible?

#QualifiedLabor


3 Comments

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


1 Comment

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!


1 Comment

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


Leave a comment

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!


2 Comments

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!


Leave a comment

Terrific tile from 2015

Thanks to some of the country’s best installers, our fantastic customers, and the most knowledgeable tile team anywhere, we’re wrapping up a good year in tile. We’ve been honored to be included in some great projects in 2015, so here’s a sample for your viewing pleasure:

WF Bap entry tile

Large tile is here to stay, & custom patterns add interest.

VAUG- L NEW BATH comp

Intricate cuts and plenty of patience created this fantastic feature bath.

BR curbless fb

Removing barriers – properly installed curbless showers are a new norm.

Subway shower red

Classic subway tile is always a winner.

 

heat mat fb

Practical luxury — heated floors continue to gain popularity.

Stack stone fireplace comp

Stacked stone is a great way to create a fireplace focal point.

mars splash close

Lots of glass on the walls this year. Installed well, it’s a fantastic backsplash.

 

 

 

 

porch floor wa

Upstairs porch tile installations have needed our expertise this year. Done properly, they’re beautiful and functional.

At dedication.jpg

A tiled mosaic in Louisburg features the largest state motto ever. NTS craftsmen & a local artist created public beauty.

VITA VITE MENS BATH

Tile as creative expression takes hold in this new Downtown Raleigh commercial  space.


Leave a comment

Why can’t you match my stone?

Marble striations

StoneWorld magazine photo.

We’ve been asked to address a problem with a small crack running through the marble in an entrance area. While the underlying problem is movement in the concrete slab under the tile (installed by others), an additional issue is matching the stone.

Natural stones like marble are just that — natural. The chances of duplicating the colors and veining in marble after several years are like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. As you can see in this photo, marble is cut in quarries (this one 490+ feet deep so far) which produce tons of material each year. This material is shipped over the world, and tracing it back to a particular point of origin is often an impossibility.

While we can order samples, and try to get close, it’s doubtful that we’ll be able to keep the consistent look of the original installation. So, does the customer learn to live with the crack, accept an area of marble that isn’t the same color as the original, or remove the entire area and replace it with a new material?

Here’s the caution from us: When natural stone is used in an installation, it is imperative that extra material be ordered and stored as ‘attic stock.’ Make sure you ask your installer to order extra materials, and be sure you store them in a safe place so they’ll be available should you ever need them to preserve your installation.