Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


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Ceramic tile is the healthy choice

Recent news reports about the health-impact of building materials are not a concern when you select ceramic tile. To summarize the science of tile’s environmental positives, the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) released a bulletin yesterday highlighting tile’s attributes.

Ceramic Tile is: Natural choice as graphic

  • made from clay and naturally occurring minerals, so it’s free from formaldehyde, VOCs, and PVC.
  • fired at extremely high temperatures producing an inorganic material, so its Zero VOCs don’t contribute in any way to “sick building syndrome.”
  • formaldehyde-free, unlike other floor coverings which have been in the news recently for their possible adverse health effects.
  • free from PVC resin which is used in other floor coverings and is a subject of concern among health experts
  • available in thousands of choices that are slip-resistant when wet, and it’s not flammable.
  • the most cost-effective and best use of resources, with a 60-year service life — when installed properly.

Environmentally, “North American-made ceramic tile has the lowest environmental impact across all impact categories when compared to other flooring,” according to the TCNA bulletin which references the  UL-certified Environmental Product Declaration.

The bulletin was released yesterday at Coverings, the largest tile and stone expo in the United States with exhibitors from more than 40 countries. “More and more research is being done as people realize the long-term impact of various common chemicals in the built environment,” said TCNA scientist Dr. Jyothi Rangineni.

 


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Tile installation by the book(s)

It takes more than a tool bucket to be a successful tile contractor; you’ve got to use the right reference books as well!

Many contractors, architects, designers, specifiers and industry partners are familiar with the Tile Council of North America Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation (TCNA Handbook) and the American National Standard Specifications for Installation of Ceramic Tile (ANSI Book).

The TCNA Handbook is “a guide to assist in clarifying and standardizing installation specifications for tile,” while the ANSI book is a compilation of voluntary standards that “define the installation of ceramic tile as well as the test methods and physical properties for ceramic tile installation materials.” Each is representative of the consensus efforts of national as well as regional organizations and individuals who volunteer their time to serve on each committee. Both of these publications are widely used throughout the industry.

Less widely used, but equally relevant is the National Tile Contractors Association’s Reference Manual. While the NTCA Reference Manual also focuses on tile installation and its many facets, it’s written for the benefit of professional tile installation contracting firms and individuals who are committed to installation excellence and the best interest of the industry.

Its purpose is “to identify recurring challenges to successful installations of tile and stone, recognize potential problems, and to gain consensus from industry experts on offering solutions.”  In this respect, the Reference Manual is different from both the TCNA Handbook and the ANSI Book,  because it takes things several steps further and details information for issues before, during and after the installations are performed.

This publication is valuable “feet on the ground” information about tile installation. It’s produced by the National Tile Contractors Association Technical Committee (comprised of highly skilled and experienced members providing perspectives and expertise from all segments of the tile industry).

Great effort has been given to provide consensus answers to issues tile contractors, manufacturers and distributors face daily. This unique compilation, its explanation of problems, causes and the listing of their cures is invaluable to the installation trade. The proper use of this manual will save its user the cost of an annual NTCA membership several times over. The education it provides represents sincere efforts by those on the committee who have “been there and experienced that,” and have the desire to see others in our industry avoid the pitfalls that often occur without this knowledge.

We encourage our peers in the industry to get this valuable reference tool and to apply it correctly as the problem preventer it is designed to be. Successful tile installations are the goal for all of us!


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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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Specify tile installations that last

To help architectural and design professionals demand installation excellence, the tile industry approved historic new language for its 2012 Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook. This update details the credentials an installer needs to complete a specific project so that the customer can rely on both the beauty and longevity of the tile.

In the past, correct tile specifications have included types of tile, setting materials, methods of installation, and any mention of installer qualifications has been vague at best.  However, this new TCNA handbook, “strongly recommends using installers who have demonstrated their commitment to their craft and taken the time to stay current with the latest materials and methods.”

Listed are recognized certifications and programs which give an indication of a tile professional’s qualifications. Also referenced is a Contractor Questionnaire developed by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which can be used “to aid in evaluating and comparing contractors.”

“Well-established and recognized programs like CTEF Certification, National Tile Contractors Association’s (NTCA) Five-Star Contractor designation, and Tile Contractors Association of America’s Trowel of Excellence distinction allow specifiers and owners to feel confident that their material is being installed by a company which has the expertise and integrity to do the job correctly. They also assure manufacturers that their quality products are being installed by knowledgeable craftsmen who will stand behind their work,” said NTCA and Neuse Tile Service president, Nyle Wadford.

This industry-approved language has also been added to MasterSpec and other systems designed for use by engineers, architects, specification writers and owners.

Most tile installers will tell you they do a ‘quality’ job, but for true ‘quality’ other things MUST be considered:

-How long will the installation last?  will it move when the structure breathes? how much use can the surface withstand? will the setting material keep the tile in place when water seeps through? how challenging will it be to maintain the surface?

-What are the consequences of a project’s failure? grout coming up or ‘crunching’ heard each time you walk across a floor? tiles popping loose and creating a trip hazard? down-time and money to re-do the project; or water seeping through the downstairs ceiling?

As TCNA executive director Eric Astrachan said, “For a tile installation with permanence and artistry, specify installers who are passionate about their craft. For a permanent finish, the issue should never be who is cheapest, but rather who is best.”


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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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The Tile Market is On the Grow: Insights from Crossville’s Chairman Emeritus

Tile is outpacing the growth of alternative products in the floor covering industry. This interview with the ‘godfather of ceramic tile in the US’ gives some insight into the attributes that are sending tile to the top of the list for remodeling and commercial concerns: versatility, style, ‘green’ attributes, durability, and ease of maintenance.

Elevate Your Space

The tile market is on the rise in the United States, according to a recent report by John Baugh at Stifel Nicolaus. Svend Hovmand, Chairman Emeritus of Crossville, Inc., has some insight on what’s sparking this double-digit increase during an interview with FloorDaily.net.

Tile already tops the market in Europe, South America and other countries. The ever-increasing rise of popularity in the US is naturally occurring thanks to several key factors.

Tile is versatile. Today’s remodeling market is relatively strong. Tile is a premium material selection that fits into remodeling budgets to provide the versatile, high-end style and durability today’s consumers demand.

Tile is evolving in style and appearance. Tile of today is more beautiful and authentic than ever before. Thanks to advancing technologies, the looks and colors that can be achieved are immense, offering fresh new options for a range of styles.

Tile is green. Sometimes industry pros…

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Why is my tile cracking?

     Properly installed tile doesn’t do much moving on its own, so when a tiled surface is cracking, there’s often an underlying problem. A recent article by Katelyn Simpson of the Tile Council of North America gives us some insight:
     In an installation over a concrete subfloor, reflective cracks can result from movement or cracking of the concrete. Concrete continues to shrink long after it’s first poured, and “it causes many shear and compressive forces on the thin-set, tile, and grout. If the shear force exceeds the strength of the bond, the tile may de-bond from the floor. This is also called tenting.”
To help prevent the problem?
       Allow concrete to cure so that any cracks that form can be filled and any distortion of the slab can be ground down. A cure time of 14 to 28 days may be sufficient depending on the thin-set adhesive to be used. Crack isolation or anti-fracture membranes can also be of help. These membranes bond to the concrete subfloor, and then the tile is installed with thin-set over top of the membrane. This can reduce any concrete movement from being transferred to the tile.
     The addition of movement joints can also diminish the stress that occurs between the concrete substrate and the tile. Of course, all floor tile installations should make allowances for movement.
     In an installation over wood, a possible cause for cracked tile is excessive deflection (lack of rigidity or excessive ‘bounce’). Typically, the grout will crack first, and in severe cases, the tile can crack as the compressive and tensile forces bear on the installation.
To help prevent the problem?
     Appropriate joist spacing can minimize deflection. This information from the TCNA information page sheds more light:
            “Traditionally, the accepted minimum requirement for floor rigidity is L/360 – before the tile underlayment is installed. The L/360 standard means that the floor should not deflect more than the “span” divided by 360. If the span of the joists is 10 feet (between supports), then the deflection should not be more than 1/3″ between the center and the end. Frequently, there is misunderstanding regarding deflection between joists. For example, while joist manufacturers regularly meet the standard L/360 criteria for code construction with 24″ on center systems, these floors often have deflection between the joists exceeding L/360.
      Recent research has shown tile to fail under some conditions, when the floor is more rigid than L/360 – in fact failures at L/600 have been observed. It is for this reason that recommendations for floor rigidity are not based on deflection measurements but on empirically established methods found to work over normal code construction.”
Neuse Tile‘s staff can provide consulting and repair services if you have a problem with cracked tile.


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Tile tidbits — did you know?

Some interesting tile tidbits for you today:
–A wet piece of tile that is still dripping when removed from the wet saw will interfere with the mortar bond.
–‘Keying in” tile is covering an area with thinset with the flat side of a notched trowel before tile is placed. A trowel with notches impregnates the substrate with setting material; and thinset bonds to itself really well.
–For proper installation, trowel in one direction at a 45 degree angle, and as you place the tile, press it forward then pull it back to ‘burp’ out any air that might interfere with the bond in the future, as you collapse the ridges the notch trowel has made.
–For appropriate trowelling, 80 percent coverage is necessary. ‘Five-spotting’ just won’t do.
–Only cement-based setting materials can be used in a wet area.
–All installations need movement joints.
–The minimum grout joint for tile is 1/16″. Large format tile and offset patterns must have larger joints.
–Large format tiles require a substrate that is twice as flat (no more than 1/8″ variation from plane in 10 feet).
–Grout joints up to 1/4″ allow for 1/32″ of lippage (variation in the height of adjoining tiles).
–You need 3 times the facial dimension variation of the tile for minimum grout joint width.
–Wall-wash lighting can be a problem unless it’s out 24″ from the wall because no tile is perfectly flat.
–Too much sealer can cause hazing on the surface, damage, or change the color of your installation.
These notes are from a recent National Tile Contractors Association symposium. Yes, it’s more complicated than it looks on HGTV. Call a qualified tile contractor; don’t spend your hard-earned money on second best. Tiled today to last for tomorrow.


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Tile’s Green Squared measures sustainable systems

     “Tile products are durable, inert and intended to last as long as the buildings in which they are installed. Tile and related installation materials are engineered to serve as permanent finishes capable of outliving several generations of building occupants,” writes Bill Griese of TCNA as he describes the importance of a standard which can be used to assess the sustainability of tile and installation materials in today’s ‘green’ building environment.
     In light of tile’s long life-cycle and the increasing movement toward industry-wide sustainability criteria, the Tile Council of North America has announced the establishment of Green Squared SM, the world’s first consensus-based sustainability standard and certification program developed exclusively for tiles and tile installation materials.
     “With the recent approval of ANSI A138.1, the standard upon which the Green Squared certification  program is based, our industry now has a means by which to define and certify the environmental and social sustainability attributes of tiles and related installation materials,” remarked Griese, TCNA standards development and Green Initiative manager.
     ANSI A138.1 is a multi-attribute sustainability standard which was written by an ANSI Accredited Standards Committee, ASC A108, representing ‘green’ building stakeholders, tile consumers, manufacturers, distributors, installers, and many other relevant interests. Encompassing ceramic tiles, glass tiles, setting materials, grouts, backer boards and membranes, this standard allows the tile industry to offer installed systems of conforming sustainable products – the first offering of its kind by any building material industry.
 developed the Green Squared program as a way for tiles and related installation materials to be certified as meeting ANSI A138.1. Products evaluated by an independent, third-party certification agency and verified to meet ANSI A138.1 will appear in the marketplace beginning in April 2012. These products will bear a single, easily recognizable Green Squared Certified mark that will give architects, specifiers, and consumers the confidence that these products are truly sustainable.
(Neuse Tile’s Nyle Wadford serves on the ANSI ASC A108 committee which approved this exciting new standard for the industry.)


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Tile specifications to net best results

To raise the level of integrity and professionalism in the tile trade, and to present project owners, architects and design professionals an opportunity to demand installation excellence, two major tile associations have come together to help ensure project plans are carried out by qualified installation contractors.

The National Tile Contractors Association(NTCA) and the Tile Contractors Association of America(TCAA) have come together to mutually promote their associations’ recognition programs. This unprecedented partnership provides a way for project specifiers, contractors, and owners to ensure tile is installed with excellence.

As architects and designers create plans for their projects, they write ‘specifications’ to make sure the details of their vision are understood by all concerned. In the tile category, these specifications have traditionally only included types of tile, setting materials, and method of installation. As the two associations have come together, they have provided a means for also including the specification of a quality installation company.

Both NTCA and TCAA have recognition programs which feature companies that demonstrate a proven track record of success and ethical business practices. NTCA’s Five-Star Contractor and TCAA’s Trowel of Excellence programs will now be promoted together to provide “an unsurpassed level of comfort that projects will have the highest levels of quality at the national, regional, and local level,” said TCAA president John Trendel.

Specification language will be further developed in 2012 so that it can be considered for inclusion in several important industry installation methods and standards. “This unified language will make it easier for specifiers and owners to feel confident that their material is being installed by a company which has the expertise and integrity to do the job correctly. It will also assure manufacturers that their quality products are being installed by knowledgeable craftsmen who will stand behind their work. We are proud to be part of this historic effort,” said NTCA and Neuse Tile president, Nyle Wadford.