Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


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Doing the right thing for the long-term

It’s been a personally challenging year for many of us in the Neuse Tile family, and we’d like to take this opportunity to say how much we appreciate your business, your loyalty, your kindness, and your encouragement. wreath on door

We’ve been blessed once again with miles of tile that needed our installation expertise and with gifted artisans who deliver on each and every project. From estimating, to scheduling, to supervision and installation, the intricacies of each tile project are unique and varied. It truly takes a team with technical know-how, craftsmanship, and flexibility to meet the many expectations we face each week, and we are grateful for every member of our group!

Of course, we are especially appreciative of the contractor friends and homeowners who have trusted us with their tile needs this year! It is significant to us that we’re in our 53rd year of business, and we believe our longevity is, in large part, due to a commitment to do the right thing with a view toward the long-term. We plan to keep that up!

We lean into 2018 excited about how our industry is growing together and looking forward to continued opportunities to bring quality tile installations to the Triangle.  Let us know how we can be of help to you!

 


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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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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!


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CTEF highlights one of our own

Juan Sauceda, our lead superintendent, is the featured Certified Tile Installer in the current blog by Ceramic Tile Education Foundation! He’s been with our team since 2002, and we love the artistry and craftsmanship he brings to every project. Neuse Tile Service's Juan Sauceda CTI#64, with a poster depicting many projects that he has either overseen or installed.

Take a few minutes to read about Juan and his credentials. He’ll take great care of your next project!  https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/blog/certification-greater-efficiency-setting-tile


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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!


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Why pay for tile twice?

We often write about coming in behind tile placers who have done residential jobs poorly or left homeowners with failed installations, but this happens on the commercial side as well. One of our local contractors recently called us in to evaluate and tear out SCHMALZ STEPS compressed the tiled steps in a commercial building.

The tile installer they hired initially had little experience installing tile on steps, and their finished work showed it. The  building owner was not satisfied, and the contractor called us to correct the problems. We completely re-worked the steps, and they look great now since we used the proper adhesives, planned the layout before setting any tile, and finished it all with Schluter’s Trep-E stair nosing profiles.

But, why do things have to be done twice?

General contractors feel tremendous pressure to produce the lowest bid when vying for projects, and, to get there, they feel they must take proposals from low-cost providers. The end result is sometimes adequate, and sometimes, as in this case, more expensive. The cost of increased supervision, project delays, multiple change orders, and potentially unsatisfied customers is real. If only we could get those making the ultimate decisions on selecting a contractor to understand that Quality Should Not Be Cheap. The low bid contractor or tile installer should be the first bid thrown out because someone has missed something or cut a corner that will be costly later on.

Knowledge and craftsmanship are costly to obtain, and it’s fair to ask the end user to pay for that high-quality work. Long-lasting, beautiful tile installations with no hassles, no headaches, and no callbacks should be the expectation, and a ‘Schmuck in a Truck’ can’t get there with his low-ball price.