Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


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Parading the possibilities of last-minute construction

Subway tile with styleThe Parade of Homes sometimes brings out our hidden talents as 2nd story men, parking attendants, and temporary tile magicians. Every year, local home builders showcase their talents, and those of their subcontractors, as they open newly ‘completed’ projects to the public for 3 weekends of touring.

The dates aren’t a surprise, but construction schedules compress, and changes happen, so it always seems there’s a rush to meet the deadline for upcoming Parade entries. WHandmade tile on vent hoode do love working with our builders, so we go to great lengths to help them meet their goals.

We’ve gone up and down a ladder to grout a second-story floor while hardwoods were being finished downstairs, joined other trades to jam 50 work trucks in one cul-de-sac, and worked late nights redoing more than one design because of actual site conditions. And, we’re certain other trade contractors have plenty of similar stories.

So,Bath tile feature in honor of this year’s Parade, we’re sharing these photos to celebrate the impossible achieved on so many beautiful projects again this year! Go out and visit some Parade homes and feel free to offer a cup of coffee to any tired-looking contractors you see on-site.  🙂


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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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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