Selecting Your Tile
I highly recommend visiting some showrooms if you are in the planning stages of your project. It helps to actually see the tile in person, and to speak with someone at the distributor about the quality of the tile. If you need any help with the design of your project, I am happy to work with you to create the tile project of your dreams.
Cheap and poorly made tiles usually yield undesirable results. Lotus Tile cannot be held responsible for a defect in a poorly made tile.
Handmade and natural stone tiles often are different sizes and shapes, creating inconsistent grout joints, and “lippage” (the tiles not all sitting flat, or flush). Usually people who purchase these types of tiles are seeking this “inconsistent” look. If this is not the look you are going for, I would recommended purchasing a ceramic or porcelain tile, and checking consistency of the size and shape before purchasing.
Why 15% Over?
Most tile distributors and installers will request that you purchase at least 15% over the amount of your actual square footage, but why? This 15% allows for the waste tile that will be cut off of pieces and discarded. For example, if you have a 24” long tile, and a cut is needed at 20”, and there is no place in the installation for the remaining 4”, that 4” (.33sqft) of tile is discarded. Installers ask that you purchase extra tile to be sure that there is enough usable square-footage to complete your project. Not ordering enough tile may result in undesirable layouts, or mobilization fees, if more tile needs to be ordered.
The 15% also allows for possible broken tiles in the box. Ideally you should have a few full tiles left over at the end of the job. You want these extra tiles in the event a tile needs to be removed in the future. Tile manufacturers frequently change shades and patterns of tiles, so it will be virtually impossible match tile from an old installation
When you are planning your project it is important to consider all aspects of your tile installation. Often times, people don't think of how the tile will terminate; where will the tile stop and how? For instance with a backsplash, one end of your backsplash may stop at a perpendicular wall or cabinet but the other end may be exposed for all to see. I prefer to use a trim of some sort to cap off exposed edges.
Different types of trim made out of tile include; pencil trim, quarter round, and bull-nose. Because the style and cost of these vary so drastically, I do not include the cost of these style of trims in my estimates. If you would like to use a trim of this type, please mention what kind of trim when requesting an estimate.
A metal trim, such as Schluter Trim, comes in many different finishes and is a very sleek way to finish off your installation. I use this trim in all of my installations (unless the client specifies something different), and the materials are included in my estimate.
Tile Care After Your Installation
At Lotus Tile I work hard to deliver a quality installation that will last you many many years. Over time tile and grout can begin to look dull and dirty, even after being cleaned. This is easily avoidable by sealing the project upon completion. Sealing your tile and/or grout offers stain resistance and makes it much easier to clean. Grout is very porous and tends to absorb dirt, soap scum and mold. Sealing the grout keeps such things from penetrating below the surface, allowing you to wipe it off the surface. Sealer is very important for natural stone as well for all of the same reasons. It is recommended that you reseal your tile and grout every year. I send my clients yearly reminders when it is time to seal. You may hire me to come and do this, or I am always happy to send you instructions on how to seal the grout and tile yourself.
It is recommended that you never use bleach or other harsh chemicals to clean your grout and tile. Warm water and a gentle cleanser will do the trick, especially if your tile and grout has been sealed. Most tile distributors sell cleansers specifically for tile and grout, if the stains have become too much for soap and water. **Disclaimer: If the grout is old and has not been sealed, there may be discoloration due to pigment coming out of the grout. The only way to remedy this is to use a grout stain, or to re-grout the project**
This may seem like a no brainier, but for any installation in a wet area you want the area to be waterproof. Many trypes of backerboards and some types of drywall are water and/or mold resistant, but they are not fully waterproof, and therefore require a separate topical membrane to be waterproof.
No matter who you choose to hire for your shower project I strongly urge you to question your contractor as to their methods of building a shower. Do some of your own research as to what constitutes a waterproof shower. The National Tile Contractors Association is a good resource as to some of the appropriate methods for shower construction and waterproofing.
Having an improperly built shower can end up costing you thousands and thousands of dollars in damage to your home.
I use advanced foam based shower systems such as Schluter Kerdi, Wedi, or Laticrete Hydroban.