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Frequently asked questions for tile contractors.

Below are some of the questions that I get asked frequently. I’ve tried to give the usual answers as well as the reason.

Why can’t you quote me a price over the phone or list installation prices on your website?

There are simply too many variables to take into consideration with every installation. Some of these are the amount of demolition, the type of material to be torn out, the type of tile you want installed, the type of underlayment you choose, how many flights of stairs between the saw and tile (time), and these are just a few. Four feet of tile, depending on variables, could take three minutes or three hours. I cannot tell this over the phone. To be accurate I have to look at it. Being accurate is beneficial for both of us. What a contractor charges is not a big secret. We just don’t want to quote you a price without seeing the job then, due to one or more of the above, raise the price once we take a look. It is unfair to you as well as us.

To lower the price can I prepare the walls or floor for tile myself and just have you tile it?

Some contractors do, some don’t. I will but I will only extend a very limited warranty which covers only any problems arising from the tile installation itself. Any problems arising from any aspect of the substrate (which is almost always the cause) are not covered. Any tile installation is only as good as the substrate upon which it is installed. If I do not install the substrate I cannot ensure the solidity of it or, in turn, the durability of your installation. I will be more than happy to give you all the resources you need to be able to do this correctly if you choose to do so. I will also prepare full showers if you choose to tile it yourself. With any shower installation it should be waterproof before a piece of tile is installed. I can do that for you if you want to tile your own shower but are a bit apprehensive about preparing a proper shower floor or wall substrate.

Can you install my tile without grout lines?

I can, but I won’t. :)  If you butt tiles to one another in an attempt to limit grout lines it will eventually compromise your tile installation. There is always movement beneath your tile installation – always. If you butt the tiles it will essentially grind the tiles against one another. While these are basically “micro-movements” it will still, over time, have the same effect. The installation will not last. I simply choose not to install things I know will not last. I don’t think you would want me to.

The size of grout lines is dictated more by the particular tile than anything else. I will usually install floors with 1/8″ grout lines and walls with 1/16″ provided the tile will allow for this. If they vary too much I may have to use a larger grout line. With certain tiles and stones, natural granite tiles for instance, you can use as small as 1/32″. Would you rather have grout between your tiles or spaghetti sauce? If you don’t have grout you will have all sorts of unwanted things between your tiles. You should choose grout.

Can you install tile over existing tile without tearing it out?

Once again I can, but I won’t. And once again some contractors will and some will not. As previously stated the durability of any installation is only as strong as the substrate upon which it is installed. I don’t know what is under or behind the current tile and have no idea how long it may or may not last. If something fails with the previous installation it will affect everything else installed over it.