In the southwest U.S., especially in the hotter areas of Arizona, we install quite a bit of tile. Tile is often the preferred covering on our floors, showers, and backsplashes without a second thought. Tile comes in many different styles, shapes, colors, and textures. If you like tile, there is something for everyone. Homeowners are quick to remove carpet for the durability and easy maintenance of tile, particularly in the common areas of the home. With the desert winds and dust, tile often feels like a cleaner alternative to carpet.
Here are the factors Homeowners need to know before and during tile installations.
Design: We want to obtain your “wow”! The best tile jobs begin with a great design that fits your personal preferences. We take your ideas and help you develop them (tile, color, texture) to meet your goals today, and five years into the future. Our goal for you is continued enjoyment & “wow” for years to come.
Surface preparation: Tile will outlast the homeownership if the subsurfaces are properly prepared. Most obvious mistakes or failures are due to improper or incomplete subsurface preparation. Loose tile, leaks, water not draining, popping grout, tile edges sticking up, crooked corners are insufficient preparation work. All tile projects require some prep work - grinding, leveling, and crack repairing to ensure the integrity of the newly installed tile. This is usually included in the Price per Square Foot.
Good Layout: Centering tile in doorways, hallways, symmetry on walls, around windows, under vent hoods, shower niches, and artfully creating “feature areas” are a major ways to showcase your tile. A beautiful design can be negated with a poor layout, and should not be undervalued during the design discussion. A tile craftsman will automatically include these details during the installation.
Smooth and Flat result: The most difficult aspect of giving you a quality tile installation is to lay each tile so that the overall surface is smooth and flat. With hundreds of tiles in every project, pre-planning and good technique are essential. Square-edged stone, marble or porcelain are the most challenging. High quality tile materials play a part in this result. Discount tile is often bowed, thus do not match the perceived value toward a stellar result. Poor performing mortar products will allow the tile to detach from the subsurface. See our upcoming article on Choosing Tile.
Consistent Grout Lines & Color: Another critical detail of a fine quality tile installation is consistent grout lines. It is unsightly if grout lines bend or are interrupted by tiles out of position. These lines must be straight, uniform and minimal width without any voids or gaps. Grout is not only a visual factor, it is part of the system which stabilizes your tiles through the years. All grout is not created equally, and choosing the cheapest grout to save money may result in grout or tile cracks, tile shifts, gaps, and discoloration.
Smooth Transition Between Adjacent Surfaces: All transitions between dissimilar materials should be appealing to the eye, clean, and seamless. Whether the transition is on the wall from shower to drywall, counter to backslash, or on the floor, all transitions should be smooth and pre-planned based on the final design. Floors in particular, take a beating under even moderate traffic, which make high-quality transitions critical for both durability and visual flow.