Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


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Parading the possibilities of last-minute construction

Subway tile with styleThe Parade of Homes sometimes brings out our hidden talents as 2nd story men, parking attendants, and temporary tile magicians. Every year, local home builders showcase their talents, and those of their subcontractors, as they open newly ‘completed’ projects to the public for 3 weekends of touring.

The dates aren’t a surprise, but construction schedules compress, and changes happen, so it always seems there’s a rush to meet the deadline for upcoming Parade entries. WHandmade tile on vent hoode do love working with our builders, so we go to great lengths to help them meet their goals.

We’ve gone up and down a ladder to grout a second-story floor while hardwoods were being finished downstairs, joined other trades to jam 50 work trucks in one cul-de-sac, and worked late nights redoing more than one design because of actual site conditions. And, we’re certain other trade contractors have plenty of similar stories.

So,Bath tile feature in honor of this year’s Parade, we’re sharing these photos to celebrate the impossible achieved on so many beautiful projects again this year! Go out and visit some Parade homes and feel free to offer a cup of coffee to any tired-looking contractors you see on-site.  🙂


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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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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.