Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


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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!


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Coach, father, friend –gone too soon

Scott DeShieldsWe said goodbye to a longtime co-worker and friend this past week. And, judging by the hundreds of people at his remembrance gathering, his life had a powerful impact. The eloquent reflections presented at his service provided a summary of a man who could teach us all a few things.

There was coaching and leadership: Scott ‘Stump’ DeShields was a mentor who made a difference to future generations. We met Scott because he coached our brother in high school in the early ’90s. In more than 25 years on the sidelines, Scott never hesitated to get in a player’s face and order him to “get his head out of his duffle bag,” but he also didn’t hold back with an arm around the shoulders for a player who needed encouragement or support. They knew his booming voice of instruction, but they also discovered that he really cared.

There was a passion for excellence: Scott held us all to the highest standard. Whether it was in tile, football, or being on time, Scott didn’t accept excuses. “Do your job,” meant Scott was calling you to do your best, to do what you were capable of, to not accept less than your 110 percent.

There was loyalty: Scott was the essence of a ‘foxhole buddy.’ If Scott counted you in his inner circle, he’d do anything in the world to back you up, to come alongside – no matter what. He might call you to task later on, but there was no question as to whether he would be there for you. Even when our dad was in his last days and struggling with his surroundings, he frequently asked for ‘Stump’ to come help him.

There was family: Scott loved his wife and kids beyond measure. His face lit up when he talked about their achievements and plans for the future. He always wanted the best for his children, and they are truly excellent young adults. They will continue to be a very proud legacy for him.

There was personality: Scott would agree that he wasn’t always the easiest person to work with, but he was always himself. Our homogenous world has watered down the ‘characters’ among us, but Scott wasn’t really bothered by social norms. He was true to what he believed, to the people he loved, and to his passions in life. He was true to himself.

Nyle’s salute to Scott at the service was perfect: “To you and those like you. Damn few left.”  May we all try to take the best of ‘Stump’ with us into our coming days.


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Tile in the Triangle for 50+ years

cake compWe celebrated a big birthday last week with a party for our local contractors and industry friends. The party was our way of saying ‘thanks’ to the ones who keep our business going: our great customers, our supportive community, and especially our fantastic staff. staff comp

We had a great time collecting photos and reflecting on the personalities and talents of folks we’ve worked with through the years. The types of tile we install and the sophistication of our methods have certainly advanced through the years, but the reliance on talented people has never changed.

Sometimes we get calls from homeowners who need a grout touch-up 30 years after their original install, and we’re honored that they remember us and still count on Neuse Tile to provide them quality service. That kind of continuity is a tribute to our family and the quality of our employees’ work over time.

Neuse TCake cut compile Service was incorporated May 22, 1964, by founder Homer Wadford and his business partners. In 1967, Homer’s brother Al came into the business and soon assumed the company’s leadership when Homer moved on to other pursuits. In 1987, Al’s son Nyle took over as company president, and daughter Paige joined the company in 1995. Today, we are North Carolina’s only residential 5-Star Contractor recognized by the National Tile Contractors Association.

A big thanks to the sponsors of our birthday celebration event: Best Tile of Raleigh, Mosaic Tile Company, Florida Tile, and Laticrete. Thanks for the journey, and here’s hoping we’re here to serve you for many years to come! Cheers!


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Removing barriers in good design

As part of ongoing community education efforts by the Home Builders Association, our own Nyle Wadford participated in a local radio program on a recent Saturday morning. WPTF 680’s Eye on Health program featured several members of the Raleigh-Wake County HBA’s C.A.R.E. Council explaining how their companies work together to help make homes accessible for everyone.

Nyle talked about the increased requests we’ve had for curbless or stepless showers. NYLE ON RADIO WPTF 2-13-16Innovations in tile technology have made it possible to keep water inside a shower without the traditional ‘curb’ or step at the doorway (if you have a knowledgeable installer). He explained that the traditional curb is also a point of failure for many improperly installed showers. “To avoid future problems, it’s essential to hire professional trade contractors with credentials that demonstrate knowledge and commitment to their industry,” he explained.

Lewis Sadler of Sadler Construction explained that the HBA’s Council for Ageless Residential Environments (C.A.R.E.) Council was started with a desire to educate the construction community and the general public about all the options available in barrier-free living. By designing to reduce entry steps, widen doorways, incorporate technology, open up bathroom spaces, and think about future use, any home can be built to accommodate future mobility challenges. The intuitive design of this type of ageless home or remodel is a beautiful alternative to the institutional look of historically ‘accessible’ homes.

More Americans are living multi-generationally and our population is aging, so the need for more functional spaces is gaining increased attention, said Nancy Caggia, a Berkshire Hathaway Home Services York Simpson Underwood Realtor and Senior Real Estate Specialist.

Sadler detailed the cost savings achieved by building accessible features into a home during initial construction versus the need to retrofit a space if a family member becomes mobility challenged. As he explained, a person coming home from a rehab center must have a way to enter and exit the home safely as well as have access to a bathroom where they can maneuver. The increased grading costs and upgrades that would make a home fully accessible may cost 2-5% more during the original construction of a new home, but there is a huge savings when compared to going back and remodeling after-the-fact.

Other members of the C.A.R.E. Council specialize in the fields of home technology, cabinets, countertops, flooring, elevators, design, real estate, as well as new construction and remodeling. A full list of members can be found at www.HBAcare.com.

Eye on Health airs on 680 WPTF on Saturday’s at 7 am to help listeners navigate the many choices and issues we face as we age or care for an aging loved one.  You can listen to the show at  http://wptfeyeonhealth.blogspot.com/2016/02/eye-on-health-02-13-2016.html


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Determining the value of your bath remodel

When weighing the decision to remodel your bathroom or kitchen, it helps to know what your return on investment might be. Bathrooms and kitchens are still high on the list according to the annual Cost Vs. Value report in Hanley Wood’s January issue of Remodeling Magazine.

The report is broken down by region of the country, average project cost, and return on investment recouped at sale of the home. While we always think the best reason to remodel your space is so that you can enjoy it, we do think this year’s numbers show some interesting upticks in the market.

For instance, in the category of bathroom remodel between $5000 and $25,000, the average renovation in the South Atlantic region costs $16,534. Of that, $11,639 is recouped at sale of the home, showing a strong 70.4% return.

A minor kitchen remodel costing between $5000 and $25,000 recoups a whopping 86% at sale. (The average South Atlantic cost is $18,907, with $16,425 recouped in value at sale.)

For a bathroom addition or higher-end bathroom remodel in the $25-100,000 range, the average cost runs around $46,000 with $28,000 (or 60%) recouped at sale of the home. For a major kitchen remodel costing between $25-100,000, the average cost is $56,901 with $36,438 recouped at sale (64%).

As you think about updating your tile or hiring a remodeling contractor, the trends in this report are a good indicator of the long-term value of your investment. The report also gives you a good idea of the average cost of a project in our area of the country. As Remodeling Magazine says, it helps potential clients see the reality of pricing from local professionals rather than “the oft exaggerated world of TV repair shows.”

[Just FYI – many of those shows get to their total project cost numbers by convincing local home improvement professionals to deeply discount or contribute their services and materials in exchange for the advertising benefit of a few seconds of national TV exposure.]

Data for the Hanley Wood report was collected from professional remodelers and builders and encompasses all project costs (permits, sweat equity, etc. that might be excluded from other reports that roll-in DIY numbers).


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Miles of Tile for all our great customers

It’s a new year, and we’re hoping for a good one!  As we’ve been doing our end-of-year analysis and new-year planning, we are reminded of those who make our existence possible – OUR CUSTOMERS!

We’d like to say ‘Thank You’ to all who have given us the opportunity to participate in your projects. The miles of tile we’ve installed in the Triangle area wouldn’t have happened without the thousands of homeowners and builders who have trusted us with their installations.

(Our great installers and their consistent good work are a big part of that, too, of course, but we’re focusing on customers today.)

Some of our builder and remodeler friends have stayed busy through the downturn, and, because their business has been built with a reliable team, they stayed true to their high-quality subcontractors. Others have found us more recently because they needed reliable, quality tile installations done at a fair price.

So, in an effort to say thanks and help promote their great work (with positive Google searches), we’ve added some contractor credits to our website photos. They’ve kept us going in 2014 (and in previous ones), and we appreciate them! Check out their beautiful work (highlighting the tile, of course) at www.NeuseTile.com. We’ve labeled photos with a lot of contractor names and are adding to the info. every day.

Also, as we were reviewing our data, we realized that several of our contractor customers have been working with us for almost 20 years, so we’d like to give a special thanks to: Jay at Beaman Building & Realty, Mark at Massengill Builders, Jim and Dan at J.L. Williams Construction, Mark and team at Prime Building Company, Walt at Dillon Construction, and to Kemp Harris Inc. You guys have lived through the ups and downs with us, and we greatly appreciate your loyalty and your good work!!!

Here’s hoping 2015 will be a good year for all our local contractors and for those of us who are part of their teams! We’d love to add to our list and help make sure the area’s quality level remains high. If you have a builder friend who is tired of headaches and no-shows from his current tile guy, tell him or her to give us a call. We’d like to keep adding to the miles of tile we’ve installed for the area’s great contractors. And, if you want a recommendation for a general contractor for your next project, give us a call.


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Fewer construction workers will lead to greater problems

Our family business is on its 2nd generation of owners but we’re also on our 2nd generation of tile installers. And, since most of them are over 35, we’re starting to think about who comes next.

And we’re a little concerned.

Ours is an artistically rewarding business with practical and beautiful finished work. The trends and materials are ever changing, so the trade can be one of growth and opportunity. A good tile installer can provide for his family and find daily rewards in a job well done. We are, however, still part of the construction industry, and we’re finding that’s not a popular career choice these days.

The recent recession hit the trades particularly hard, and many experienced workers had to find other means of making a living. Statistics show that these departures, baby boomer retirements, and a decreasing number of workers entering the construction fields are likely to bring significant shortages.

For consumers, this will mean longer waits for quality work and higher prices to get knowledgeable craftsmen. We’re trying to be proactive and recently had a good visit with two of Franklin County’s Career and Technical education professionals. They’re helping us think through ways we can reach out to local young people as they’re making career decisions. While we are optimistic, we realize the looming problem is bigger than our limited capacity. To that end, we’d like to share some suggestions made by Angie Hicks of famed “Angie’s List,”

She addressed the coming shortage of skilled trade workers in a recent column, and made several good suggestions:
1) “Let’s agree not to take the trades for granted. Some observers and service company owners believe a general devaluing of skilled labor – a societal stigma, even – is one reason for the shortage.

2) Look around where you live. Do vocational education opportunities exist? Is that an issue you might get involved in? Do you have a skill set you could pass on to the next generation?

3) Perhaps you can encourage a young person or someone making a career change to consider the trades. Don’t assume that working with one’s hands pays less or is less satisfying than other work.”

We agree, Angie! It will take all of us working together to make sure we can find, as she says, “skilled hands and heads to solve our home maintenance and improvement challenges. Where would we be without them?”