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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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.

 


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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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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.


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Low price won’t turn clay & powder into tile artistry

“Without the tile installer, the tile and installation materials are nothing more than boxes of baked clay and bags of powder; the installer has everything to do with how the tiled floors and walls will look and how well they will hold up over time. Yet, there is very little – in most cases, nothing – to ensure that tiles will be laid straight, even and flat, or that they will not come unbonded or have other installation-related issues. Often, and especially on commercial projects, the first and sometimes only, consideration is the tile contractor’s price, and the lowest bidder is awarded the job,” says Stephanie Samulski, Project Manager at The Tile Council of North America.

“When it comes to hand-crafted work, there is, by necessity, more to the selection process than checking the price tag,” Samulski continued in a recent TILE magazine article. “When a brand new hospital or casino has to repair leaking shower units or cracked tiles, wing-by-wing or floor-by-floor, by rotating areas closed off for business, it’s not a stretch to say that the general contractor’s, architect’s, and building owner’s reputations and profit margins are literally in the tile installer’s hands.”

We couldn’t agree more, Stephanie!! As a former installer and current industry leader, Stephanie helps champion qualified contractors at all levels. She has been involved in the development of Qualified Labor language added to Master Spec and available for architects and specifiers to use in their projects. And she has participated in the curriculum development for the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation’s (CTEF) certification programs.

With those designations available from CTEF and the National Tile Contractors Associations Five-Star Contractor program, you can choose a tile installer, like Neuse Tile, that is fully capable of turning boxes of baked clay and bags of powder into long-lasting, useable art.


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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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What do you need to know about tile?

This is the 2nd blog from our magazine interview installment:

What do you wish people knew about tile?

   Television shows might make you think that installing tile is an easy weekend project, but we see first-hand the failures that result from using less-than-qualified tile people.

Tile doesn’t bend, adjust or flex to mask a corner that’s out of line or a slight bump in the underlayment. Therefore, tile installers have to be exacting and precise. Obvious poor cuts and bad layouts aside, what’s under the tile is even more important. If the wrong product is used to “flatten” a floor, it will show up eventually as the tile begins to crack or crunch as you walk on it. And, when you add water to the equation in a bathroom, the need to choose a qualified installer is even more essential.

In a year’s time, far more water runs across the tile in your shower than over the roof of your home, so the people you hire to do your tile (and your roof 😉 should really know what they’re doing. Proper tile installation is actually pretty complicated (with its precision layout, intricate cuts, specialized tools, variety of setting materials, water management issues, and the hundreds of methods), so we make sure our folks are up-to-date and well-trained. {And, as an aside, we don’t believe that our tile training makes someone good at carpet or vinyl installation. We just don’t understand why general ‘flooring’ contractors would say the same crews could install all kinds of materials…}

Look for a certified TILE contractor next time you’re considering a tile installation. The money you invest in getting it done right will be money you don’t have to spend getting it re-done later.