Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


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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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What’s the difference in tile, porcelain, and stone?

We specialize in the installation of products that don’t bend or flex, but not all the materials we work with are the same. When you’re deciding between hard surface materials for your floor or wall, consider these main categories:

Ceramic tile – typically white or red clay fired with a glaze on top; a man-made product requiring very little maintenance.

Porcelain tile – extremely fine powdered clay that is pressed under enormous pressure and heat; harder and more dense than ceramic; often the colored bisque matches the surface glaze. Virtually maintenance free and most are a good choice for outdoor installations.

Natural stone – quarried from the earth; no two pieces ever look the same. Requires periodic maintenance and sealing; and matching one mining lot to another is extremely difficult.

In addition to color, size, and type of tile, you’ll want to consider the tile’s texture, coefficient of friction (slipperiness when wet), potential exposure to temperature changes, and the flatness of the current substrate (larger tiles require flatter subfloors). Local tile distributors can help as you choose the best product for your project.

And, of course, choosing a certified tile installer or a Five-Star Contractor will ensure that the installation is as durable as the material itself.


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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?”


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Tile Person of the Year – congrats, Nyle!

Our very own Nyle Wadford was recognized as Tile Person of the Year by the National Tile Contractors Association at Coverings 2013 in Atlanta this month. Since 1958, NTCA has been honoring a tile professional each year who is dedicated to supporting the non-profit trade association and its service to all segments of the tile and stone industry.

NTCA Tile Person of the Year

NTCA Tile Person of the Year

Nyle joins a prestigious group of tile professionals who have received this honor, and, we’re pleased to say, he was completely surprised at the ceremony (good job team!).  Nyle’s work to create qualified labor specifications for the tile industry and his contributions to the growth of NTCA were cited among his many industry accomplishments.

The whole Neuse Tile team shares Nyle’s passion for correct tile installations, but it’s Nyle and the team at NTCA who have worked so diligently to make sure all tile contractors have the technical instructions they need to perform installations that will last. When Nyle was President of the NTCA, the organization experienced record growth in membership, expanded its Partners for Success program, formed an historic partnership with Tile Contractors Association of America, and significantly expanded the NTCA’s Five-Star Contractor Program.

Nyle will continue to represent the NTCA on the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook Committee, and serve on the ANSI ASC 108 Committee, making Neuse Tile Service one of two contractors worldwide to sit on all three committees! He currently is the Chairman of the Board for NTCA.

Way to go Nyle! We’re proud of you!

Check out this interview with Nyle from the floor of the Coverings Show in Atlanta:

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1137610517001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAAi5oby5k~,gf8A03pw9syJ8i8_PnfPj-SRCKEGXH2m&bctid=2379083272001


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Trusted tile team pulls together

Like the human body, a well-run work team has many parts that ideally line up and work in sync. When we’re hitting on all cylinders, we move forward pretty well. But, when we recently had several team members out of the picture for multiple days, it took extraordinary effort to keep the machine running as it should.

We have a fairly small staff, and the recession reduced our structure to its bare bones. So, when this rash of incidents and illnesses took out two and three team members at once, we were really struggling to keep our customers from feeling the effects. Internally, we always talk about our team of employees as our “work family.” (When you’re a family-run business, the people who work with you long-term become adopted members of your clan –whether they want to or not -ha!). Like most families, we certainly know it when one of our folks is missing or out for a few days, but we ‘re pretty good at knowing what needs to be done to adapt and flex to fill the gaps.

But with two and three out at the same time, we were intimately reminded of our interdependence. It took some extra “above and beyond” efforts to keep all the installations, estimates, accounting, purchasing, warehousing, and deliveries going these past two weeks, and we’re extra grateful for the team members who made it all happen with minimal interruption to our customers.

While we want to be as inconspicuous and expedient as possible when we’re working on your tile installation, we also want you to know that the folks who work with us are superior. They are talented, of course, but, even more important, they are trustworthy people who have proven how much they care about the quality of your work and about each other.

Thanks to our great team and to our wonderful customers, we’re looking forward to getting back to “business as usual” this coming week!


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New Green Tile Standard is the Sum of Parts

Tile containing recycled content or set with materials which emit no harmful odors meets the criteria to be called ‘green’ in some rating systems, but, if it’s manufactured overseas and brought here using a great amount of transportation energy, should it still be considered part of an environmentally friendly local-government building?

We’ve seen this scenario play out a few times in the past several years, and are always amazed that fabulous tiles manufactured within 500 miles of our location are not used on local ‘green’ projects. (Of course, we’re also flabbergasted by local projects that bring in contractors and subcontractors from other states, but that’s another blog topic.)

The point is that ‘green’ criteria to date have addressed individual components of a tile installation – the composition of the tile or setting material, the long-term durability of tile, the fact that tile doesn’t emit any VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), where it’s manufactured, or how the plant that makes it handles its water supply. Now, however, there’s a measurement standard which will encompass all aspects of ‘green.’ ANSI’s new Green Squared Standard (A138.1) is a “multi-attribute, total-system approach to sustainability.”

Within the standard, things like recycled material, life-cycle assessment, and re-use of post-life product are detailed. It’s complex and measured by independent certification laboratories so that the industry now has definite points of evaluation and end-users can determine which products are truly ‘green.’ With the Green Squared certification, customers will be able to see that they are choosing some of the most sustainable products on the market today.

‘Green’ features aren’t new to tile and stone, but this quantification of its positive attributes should help easily translate its viability to architectural specifiers and consumers. “Tile’s inherent durability, and the perpetuity of the natural materials out of which tiles are manufactured, have made ceramic tiles the natural choice for centuries,” states the 2012 TCNA Handbook.


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Tile industry leadership and passion

I have experienced this business from the mud box to the grout float to the balance sheet, but as I have continued to watch our industry grow and change, I am reminded that it is people who are the constant — PASSIONATE PEOPLE — Passion for the tile industry is the common thread you will find in Five-Star businesses like ours and in family businesses throughout this great country.

It is this passion and love that drives us to better our industry on a daily basis. As Bob Noyce said, “Knowledge is power and knowledge shared is power multiplied.”

I am proud to lend my passion to the tile industry, and to work with the many others that share the same fervor, as we forge ahead to the future.

I know times are tough. I implore you to stay in the fight; continue to do the right things for your business and your family.  I believe that our nation still believes that private property, entrepreneurial risk, and the potential for profit or loss are the elements that make our system dynamic and are what has spread prosperity to more people in and out of our country than any system in the history of man.

Leadership will take us there.  God bless.

Nyle Wadford

Nyle is President of Neuse Tile Service and current president of the National Tile Contractors Association. These excerpts from his induction speech serve as good reminders in challenging times. We are grateful for our people and their passion for our industry and our customers.