Neuse Tile Service

Tile installation and service tips from professional installers


Coach, father, friend –gone too soon

Scott DeShieldsWe said goodbye to a longtime co-worker and friend this past week. And, judging by the hundreds of people at his remembrance gathering, his life had a powerful impact. The eloquent reflections presented at his service provided a summary of a man who could teach us all a few things.

There was coaching and leadership: Scott ‘Stump’ DeShields was a mentor who made a difference to future generations. We met Scott because he coached our brother in high school in the early ’90s. In more than 25 years on the sidelines, Scott never hesitated to get in a player’s face and order him to “get his head out of his duffle bag,” but he also didn’t hold back with an arm around the shoulders for a player who needed encouragement or support. They knew his booming voice of instruction, but they also discovered that he really cared.

There was a passion for excellence: Scott held us all to the highest standard. Whether it was in tile, football, or being on time, Scott didn’t accept excuses. “Do your job,” meant Scott was calling you to do your best, to do what you were capable of, to not accept less than your 110 percent.

There was loyalty: Scott was the essence of a ‘foxhole buddy.’ If Scott counted you in his inner circle, he’d do anything in the world to back you up, to come alongside – no matter what. He might call you to task later on, but there was no question as to whether he would be there for you. Even when our dad was in his last days and struggling with his surroundings, he frequently asked for ‘Stump’ to come help him.

There was family: Scott loved his wife and kids beyond measure. His face lit up when he talked about their achievements and plans for the future. He always wanted the best for his children, and they are truly excellent young adults. They will continue to be a very proud legacy for him.

There was personality: Scott would agree that he wasn’t always the easiest person to work with, but he was always himself. Our homogenous world has watered down the ‘characters’ among us, but Scott wasn’t really bothered by social norms. He was true to what he believed, to the people he loved, and to his passions in life. He was true to himself.

Nyle’s salute to Scott at the service was perfect: “To you and those like you. Damn few left.”  May we all try to take the best of ‘Stump’ with us into our coming days.

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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:,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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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.


5 million square feet and care with every inch

      We recently tried to calculate how much tile our company had installed in its 48 years in the ceramic tile industry. We came up with more than 5 million square feet, so, odds are that if you’ve spent much time in houses or businesses in Raleigh and the surrounding area, you’ve seen some of our work.
      We’ve worked in many residential neighborhoods, banks, churches, and office buildings, and most of our work is standing strong and beautiful. We’re proud of that, (though it may not be such a comfort to those who live with those ‘perfectly good’ pink or sky-blue tiles of the 70s. 😉  We’ve even seen one of our mud-set showers survive an area tornado when the house that surrounded it was obliterated.
     Tile is meant to last, and, on the residential side, we’ve no doubt installed more of it in our area than any other tile business around. However, quantity doesn’t really tell the story of our business. Others who install commercial tile could easily surpass our numbers with their malls and schools.
     Perhaps quality and technical proficiency set us apart more than volume? Our certified installers are among the most talented in the industry; our superintendents are passionate about the trade; our company leaders are on national boards and committees and help write the tile installation standards used throughout the world. We believe we are among the most capable and knowledgeable installation contractors in the country.
     But our story is not one sufficiently explained by quality either. I think the story of our business is better told by how our staff reacted to an unhappy customer on Thursday. She called us to task for something that went wrong on her job 10 years ago, and our staff reacted with the genuine concern of people who care about what they do. Her statements weren’t dismissed or excused, and the primary point of all the ensuing conversations was ‘how can we make this right now?’ Yes, 10 years later, it still matters to us!
     Most of us have been with the company more than 15 years, and we take our work and the satisfaction of our customers personally. Ours is a family business in that a family owns it, but ours is also a ‘family company’ in that each of us has a personal stake in every job, every customer, and every long-lasting installation.
     In today’s coupon-crazy, commodity-driven culture, it’s hard to know if businesses that care about their craft, their customers, and their people will survive. But it’s nice to know that when it comes to our company– quantity and quality are evenly matched with character.

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Local and national leaders

Our company president, Nyle Wadford, has been elected to lead the largest tile contractors association in the world for the next two years.

The National Tile Contractors Association elected him their president at the Total Solutions Plus conference this year. Wadford has been in the tile industry for many years and been president of Neuse Tile since 1987.

He has gone from hauling mud buckets during summer breaks to representing us as a leader in the entire tile industry. Dad would be proud!

Way to go Nyle!

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From the garage

In 1964, our dad and uncle ran Neuse Tile out of the garage of our family’s home. They had a good friend who was a tile craftsman, and they used their business savvy to help him create a framework for his skills to be utilized.

The early days were all about 4×4 white, sky blue, olive green, gold and pink tiles. Ceramic tile was the ‘low-end’ product installed in housing projects and hotels because of its durability. Everything was ‘mud-set’ (tile adhered with concrete and metal mesh sheets). It was hard work, and would last virtually forever.

When a major tornado came through Raleigh in the 80’s, we saw a house where the only thing left standing was the olive-green mud-set shower.  Dad enjoyed riding through Raleigh and pointing out all the places ‘we did the tile.’ My brother’s kids will have that same memory one day 🙂