Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


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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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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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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.


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Craftsmanship – out of style? Not to us.

We are in the process of tearing out and re-doing a very nice couple’s steam shower. The tile work they had was horrific, the ‘waterproofing’ was non-existent, the framing was a joke, and the ‘finished’ product leaked all over their house. It wasn’t our work – it was the work of someone who claimed to be a ‘contractor’ and who has taken advantage of these unsuspecting homeowners.

This was one of the worst excuses for construction we’ve seen in a while. (Though last week’s shower with 8 nails through the pan liner was bad too!!)

There’s no way this ’tile installer’ thought he was doing a sufficient job for these folks– he stuck cardboard in behind tile as a ‘filler’ in one area of the shower! Yet, he was recommended to this couple by a plumbing manufacturer, so they thought they were hiring someone who would do a good job.

He didn’t; and he’s doing his best to give our industry a black eye. But, to this couple’s credit, they realize he is an exception, and they’ve maintained a positive attitude meeting their adversity by educating themselves. Before they signed on with us to tear out and re-tile their steam shower, they got references, researched the products we suggested, and even came by a steam shower installation in progress to see our guys at work.

Good for them! When you’re not in the construction business, it’s hard to know where to start to find a reputable and experienced craftsman. Certainly, referrals are a good resource, as is doing some research on-line. Other valuable places to get information on potential contractors are their trade associations (ours is National Tile Contractors Association); a certification body (for us its Ceramic Tile Education Foundation); the local Home Builders Association; local business groups; and other people in similar fields. Your money and your home are too precious to entrust to someone who would stick tile to cardboard.

We wish we had met this couple before their bad experience started, and we’re doing our best to create the steam shower they had in mind when this project started many months ago.

In the meantime, we’ll keep reminding everyone how important it is to find a reputable and experienced contractor who will stand behind their work. (Longevity in the business DOES matter, especially in today’s economy.) If you have any suggestions on where else we should be spreading the word, feel free to share.


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‘Quality’ tile install means what?

     Our industry trade journals have been filled lately with professionals and manufacturers talking about the importance of using a “quality tile installer.” We’re thrilled that this conversation has finally come to the forefront, so we take a step back to ask –what does ‘quality’ mean and why does it matter to you?
     No doubt every tile installer will tell you he or she does a ‘quality’ job, so how is a consumer or contractor to know? How much does ‘quality’ matter anyway, since HGTV makes it look like anybody can install tile with some rented tools and those plastic-spacing gizmos?
     For most, the finished look of a tile project would define its value, but, for true ‘quality’ two 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? are you sure the setting material will 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?
     The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) is updating its handbook this year to include specification language that will help architects and design professionals recommend a level of installation quality, but, in the meantime, homeowners can follow the direction of TCNA executive director, Eric Astrachan:
        “The Tile Council of North America 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. There are excellent programs to help you find those installers: the NTCA Five Star program and the CTEF Certified Tile Installer program are two… For a tile installation with permanence and artistry, find installers who are passionate about their craft. For a permanent finish, the issue should never be who is cheapest, but rather who is best.”

     Neuse Tile Service was the first NTCA Five Star installer certified in North Carolina, and is one of only two NC companies which is both Five Star certified and an employer of  CTEF installers.


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Best tile tool? Cell phone.

One of our favorite remodeling contractors likes to tell his clients that his favorite tile tool is the telephone — where he’s got our number stored!
He’s a great contractor, a master at pulling a project together, and a skilled trim carpenter, but he’s tried a few small tile jobs and is smart enough to know what he doesn’t know.
As current economic times have pressed down upon our business, we’ve discussed branching out to do other types of flooring, but we keep coming back to the same answer. We know tile. We’re good at it; we’ve been doing it a long time, and to branch out to other trade specialties would no doubt diminish the quality of what we do. We’re tile specialists, people call us because they want their installation to be beautiful and to last. It’s all we can do to keep up with the ever-improving world of tile products and methodologies.
Our basic guidebook, the Tile Council of North America‘s handbook for ceramic, glass, and stone tile installation, is 296 pages with 204 different tile and stone installation methods. A committee of industry professionals is constantly reviewing methods and updating this guidebook to the proper installation of tile.
Though home & garden TV may make it look easy, construction requires skills and craftsmanship. And each specialty trade has complex requirements and systems that make the final project work as a whole. Truly, the ‘jack-of-all-trades is master of none.’ We plan to stick to what we do well.


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Low-bid for tile can be costly

The current economic climate is driving customers to make decisions based solely on short-term savings. On the construction site, ‘bargain hunting’ can prove to be a costly mindset. What a consumer may have to pay after the contract is closed can cost far more than any up-front savings from using the lowest bidders.

On two recent projects, we’ve been called in to repair or complete jobs that were mishandled by the very contractors who took the original project with their ‘low bid.’

On one, we were asked to find a solution because when the cleaning crew mopped the restaurant’s kitchen floor, it ‘rained’ into the space below. The improper installation of trowel-able waterproofing caused the application to fail, and the customer to spend a lot of money paying us to repair an installation that ‘looked OK’ on the surface but failed to stand up to on-going use.

In another case, we were asked to come in at the last minute and install tile on a university project that turned out to be beyond the capabilities of the ‘low bid’ tile subcontractor. The dollar value of the change order issued for us to complete the job was the same amount our original bid differed from the price of the ‘lowest bidder’ originally chosen.

In this era of price shopping, remember that you still usually get what you pay for.