Search This Blog

Showing posts with label mason. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mason. Show all posts

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Do's and Dont's of Choosing a Tile Installer to do Work in your Home

Tile installation is a very specialized trade and most tile after installed is in effect a concrete like product and can't easily be changed. In most cases if change is needed then new material will have to be repurchased. So it is imperative to hire a qualified professional tile installer to do your work. But How do you know who to choose?

Here are some basic guide lines that can help you make an educated choice.

1. Its always nice to find someone one of your friends has had in their home and has had experience with the installer's work, so start with friends and family to see if any one knows a quality tile installer
2. If none of your friends or family knows of a good tile installer , then the newspaper or numerous internet classified sites are your best bet, the most known of course is craigslist.
3. Always get at least 3 quotes  and if they seem like high prices  they probably are and continue looking until you find something comfortable for you.  The most economical way to go is to find a labor only installer and supply the materials yourself.
4. ALWAYS  get and check as many references as possible  the best reference is a completed tile job somewhere in public  that you can go out on your own and see for yourself.

For instance,  I have 2 jobs in the public mall here in Boston on the North Shore that anyone can just go into the store and see the work.
5.  Longevity and durability of a job is very important  if you can talk to a customer of your installer who's job was done some years ago  you will know the job is still in tack and done in a quality manner and you will get a lasting installation
6.Ask questions of your prospective installer before committing to hiring him. NEVER let ANY installer tell you its ok to lay tile on top of a wood substructure, It will not last half the life of tile laid on Hardiboard or Durock your grout can crack and tile break  from wood movement and any water ever on your floor will cause failure . make sure any tile laid in a wet area such as shower or bathroom is installed with thin set concrete and NOT tile mastic as mastic does not do  well in a wet environment. Never install tile in a shower on Sheetrock  or green board use only Hardi board or durock.
7. Always insist your installer use spacers and if he tells you he doesn't need them he can do well without them  then  don't hire him  period. I've been installing tile for over 37 years  and can lay a floor without spacers  but the finished product is  NEVER  as clean and straight as the one done with spacers.
8. I personally would never want any bench in my shower built out of wood, wood in a wet area makes no sense. Cement blocks are much less costly and will last forever.  I would insist on a concrete block bench in my shower
9. Finally your installer  will be in your house for some  days make sure your choice for a installer is one you feel comfortable and at ease  with.

I hope this advice has given you some inside information and thoughts from a professional tile installer that will make your choice for a tile installer easier and less stressful   

Remember, tile installation is a very hard and physical trade right up there with stone masons, sheet rock hangers  and roofers many years of work can take a real toll on the body. I myself have had both my hips replaced,  my knees are sore, and my back hurts as i step out of the truck first thing in the morning. We deserve to make a good wage,  not outrageous , but fair and honest working pay. If you have any question about your job  as always I am here and accessible by phone to answer any questions from anyone who needs  guidance    chris lawson  Tile Excellence  978 471 9127

Friday, October 31, 2014

Tiling and Grouting in Same Day

Tile and Grout in the Same Day? YES!

The live feed blog written the other day focused on a backsplash that was completed in about 4 hours. The blog post walked the reader through the backsplash installation from start to finish. It was installed and grouted within this 4 hour time frame. Now there are some installers and manufacturers of tile and tile products who will tell you  that you have to wait 24 hours before grouting tile. In some instances this is completely true. Whenever using tile adhesives the time required for the premixed stuff is 24 hours .
However I am a mason and all tile I install is set and installed with concrete. And I know from my years as a stone mason and tile installer that concrete is concrete no matter  grout or thin set it is still concrete. If  you use the correct thin set and the weather allows your tile to dry beyond the phase of still moving then applying the grout is not a issue again as long as the tile is set enough not to move. Now I must also be clear that NEVER at any time do you walk on tile before the 24 hour drying time because this WILL weaken the bond of the tile to the floor. In this instance it was a backsplash so walking on the tile to grout it was not a issue. IF you have questions or comments about this post FEEL FREE TO COMMENT WE INVITE ALL COMMENTS AND LOVE TO HEAR ALL POINTS OF VIEW  HERE SO OUR BLOG READERS GET ALL THE INFO POSSIBLE   regards   chris

Wednesday, January 1, 2014



My grandfather was a stone mason and his son after him,  now me as a tile mason. It is so hard now to find young folks who want to learn this trade and many others because of the labor intensity of the crafstman trade. Many young people comming into the service trade industry choose to do computer related services and real HANDS ON service is fading fast. Furthermore  finding a  fair priced honest ethical HANDS ON service professional is becoming harder and harder to find. There are several prominent reasons for this, one being all the immigrant service providers who do such work at prices American one family providers cannot match. Most of the immigrant workers live in groups together and have very low living expenses coupled with the value of thier money sent home(out of the country) they can make a profit on much less then any american craftsman.

Another huge factor that many old school craftsmen will attest to, is the noticable change in the new millinium customer. I can personally tell you after 37 years installing tile the customers have really changed in attitude and appreciation in the last few years, they want more and more for less and less, part of this is certainly due to the amount of immigrants within the work force and the costs of the services they provide.

I will start this analysis by explaining my specialty and talent and how this new milliniam customer effects me. My career started as a stone mason laborer mixing concrete and breaking and providing rock for the masons to install. This is very labor intensive pushing 200lb wheelbarrows of wet concrete through knee deep mud out on the job to provide for the mason to lay rock. Between wheelbarrows of concrete  you hade to break rock into installable pieces with a 25 lb steel sledge hammer, load the rock into the same wheel barrel and then get them to the masons. All
this happened within a time frame so the masons never ran out of  any material or your ass was grass.

So to make a long story short I learned at a early age what real hard work was. I've carried this work ethic until today pushing myself to my limit every day laying tile and getting the work done  in a fast paced production manner. I have at times in my  life laid as much as 500 sq ft of floor tile in one 8 hour working day. I am a production tile guy ,during the Olympics building boom  in Atlanta(94-96) I laid 300 sq ft of tile every day in new hotel construction  for over 2 years straight while running a 10 man tile crew.

My specialty is getting it done within the bounds of the American tile association standards which specifies the boundaries of quality given to what standards fall into a quality tile installation.  I've learned how to get it done with quality , price and ethical practice in mind. I specialize in quality installations for a really good price because i know how to get it done fast and right with the highest quality materials at the most economical price.
Today i do about 100 jobs per year by myself with no helper or assistance, I take great pride in my work and do no less in a customers house than i would have in my own .But over the last few years ive encountered more and more a type of customer  who couldnt be satisfied even if you laid their tile in gold inlay. I try to weed out these customers but they can be very tricky to identify. The mistake of taking one of these customers jobs can be devastating to the reputation  finances and heart of any craftsman who has great pride in their job.  These customers are controlling, arrogant and most of all vindictive and selfish, If you dont kiss their ass, jump through their hoops and bow down to their wishes they will lie cheat and steal  to destroy you and your reputation, and the internet is their most potent weapon.

Now out of the 100 jobs i do each year only 2 or 3 of these customers have bullshited  their way into my daily routine in the last 12 years or so .But  when they do slither their way in  it truly is a "worm in the apple" "hole in the boat""nail in your tire" kind of a moment. Ive came to be very tired and discouraged  over the last couple of years because more and more of these customers seem to be emerging in numbers. These customers will tell you how great you are and what a wonderful job ur doing til about 3/4 of the way through the job then comes the 180 degree turn around then suddenly they are picking every single aspect of you job apart under a microscope. Very seldom do you get paid your money and they trash you on line as if you were pond scum. If you talk to any contractor around you will hear story after story with the same story line about these kind of customers. The policies of the online review sites allow anyone with a computer to say anything they want with no proof or substance regarding the service you provided them more than often just outright lies.
Soon I will retire from personal installations  and probably  transition over to tile art  and make tile art products  from home and sell them here on the web site. We will sometime soon transition over from installations to sales. I will continue to write the blogs and share my experience with others
so they can learn how to find a honest tile contractor or do their jobs themselves.  I love to help people and each day i do tile work for others  I give themquality installations at a price that they normally might not be able to afford. I get great satisfaction from what I do and will continue to make sure I help others learn to install  quality tile or hire a honest ethical tile man in their house. But tile artwork with my hand will keep and maintain my work ethic and skill honed and stone and mortar is in my blood... Thanks for reading  and please make comments about this blog if you've experienced the same things about NEW MILLINIUM customers as I  have. THANKS  


Featured Post

Home Renovation From Gut Rehab in Less Than 4 Months!

Home renovation finished products This house is a gut rehab ¹ job. My team and I started this project in April 2019 and it is now compl...

Our Most Popular Posts