Ask Tile Excellence!: tile

Ask Tile Excellence!

Tile Installation and Tile Repair DIY and How-To Consumer Help Blog |Tile Excellence. Step-by-step instructional posts from Tile Setter and owner, Chris Lawson, a tile layer for over 30 years, the last 15 years spent serving the towns and cities North of Boston, MA, including the North Shore area, Essex County. Gloucester, Rockport, Hamilton, Manchester, Beverly, Danvers, Salem, Newport, Cambridge, Boston, Ipswich, Georgetown and more.

Showing posts with label tile. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tile. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Whiter than White! Architects overjoyed as Developers release the Whitest Ceiling Tile Ever Made.

To the average customer the ‘Tile’ is a mundane and not that particularly interesting aspect of Wall Coverings or Suspended Ceilings. The ceramic component, or occasionally Plywood or even insulated rubber, is simply a tool used to cover plaster in either the Bathroom or Kitchen.

A way of adding decoration or colour to the living space…and that is all!

For architectural planners or professional decorators however the Tile is an enhancement for a special look and mood. It is a manoeuvre of grabbing guest’s attention and an illustrative signifier of the property owner’s personality.
Interiors are enriched with a sense of permanence and timelessness due to the ceramic square or rectangle according to manufacturer’s Heath Ceramics. Tiles can make a room bold and sometimes overwhelming through brash colourations, engraved textures and selected material. In other instances the piece can defy simplification and modernism due to delicate tonal White or pastel swatches with a smooth finish (compared on Figure 1).

They are also a great technique in order to disguise potential moisture, mould and sagged plasterboard.

Regarding the influencers of the Tiling system it is the contemporary White or pastel colours of Blue that the majority of architects appear to favour. The reason behind the favouritism, especially towards Whites, is that they are clean and can act as a canvas in which to personalise. It can either be an endorser of the clinical and futuristic or…

“An installation that feels warm, soft and homey because of reflected light, surface finish and texture”.

Catherine & Robin Petravic, Heath Ceramics

The character White Tile has been adored by professionals for decades. It, as with any ceramic, has the ability to be attached to the surface area and left bare or painted and for the room itself as a barrier or partition to the potential spread of engulfment, thus surrounding rooms are further protected. Of course the little additions the White Tile provides to a social space is important, but it is the durability that is adored.
A component part can be cemented to a domesticated kitchen and bathroom (compared on Figure 2), and for working areas the entrance, refurbished office and washrooms. Within those compartments the neutral visual can influence or even manipulate Office Storage, Space Planning and can realise the authenticity of flexible and moveable Folding Screens.

Figure 1

Architectural firms see the White Tile as the more safer and reliable option. They rely on the supplementation of Tiling manufacturers such as British Ceramic Tile, Johnsons Tiles and Craven Dunnill to name a few. From these they can acquire the gloss or satin Tundra, Chroma, Trace or Hemingway. All basic and selective Whites do the job of implanting freshness and openness to a living or working area, but have a slight issue.

Most White Tiles are not completely White in depth, i.e. there are slight pigmentations of other tones within the mixture, and can consist of additional grain or decors that can masquerade the full benefits of a clean and smooth surface. These attributes can either be a preference or irritant to architects and structural designers and fitters.
Figure 2

Images taken from and     

The majority of professional developers would be jubilant if there was just a smooth textured Tile with pristine White consistency rather than mixing or impressions.
It is evident when either a bathroom, kitchen or office space showcases dominant White tone that the furnishings of sinks, baths and Office Chairs are more highlighted and illusive than the duller Wall, Floor and Ceiling ceramic fittings. This problem however is coming closer to being prevented and architects idealisms closer to reality.

The manufacturing brand Rockfon have launched their new batch entitled Rockfon Blanka. The specially coated matt has been sourced from as far as the US space industry in order to guarantee a high performance wool core. The easily installed Tile is durable as to be fitted in any direction which leads onto saving time and reducing waste. They are also 100% resistant to humidity to prevent the ceramic mould losing its shape.

‘The ‘ultra-white’ Rockfon Blanka tiles feature light reflection and light diffusion properties to maximise the uniform spread of natural light. Independent tests have shown that Rockfon Blanka has a light reflection index above 87% and an L Value of 94.5+’.     
The product is sound absorbent and insulated and finally adjusts ceiling lighting to compete with other Whites (see Figure 3).

Figure 3
To take suspended ceilings to the next level, we asked our customers what the ultimate improvement would be to them. The architects said they want a ceiling that combines aesthetics – especially whiteness and smoothness – with technical performance, such as fire resistance and acoustics’.  Figure 3 Image taken from

Anders Juhl Thomsen, Rockfon Managing Director

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Laying a travertine marble tile floor

seamlessly (i.e., without grout) is a skill that you can easily develop. Only a little bit of knowledge, a few tools, patience, and diligence are required to complete this job successfully.
There is no need to be intimated by this type of project. After all, if the ancient Romans and Greeks were able to do it, why can't you?
There are only a few things besides the tile that are required to complete this kind of home improvement job: a thin-set mortar, notched trowel, a level, and a soft rubber mallet. The difficulty level of this do-it-yourself project is considered to be medium or moderate; however,that is due to the fact that some tiles may need to be reset in order to ensure a level plane across the floor.

It Is All In the Preparation

Preparation is key to a seamless installation of this type of natural stone. Ninety-nine percent of all successful home improvement jobs start with proper prepping of the working surface. For any surface--whether it be a floor, countertop, or wall, make the working area as level as possible before you do anything else. Check your work with a level prior to any travertine tile installation.
Application of Thinset On Flooring - Kick It Up A Notch
Working from the middle of the room, use the trowel's notched edge to apply an even coat of thinset mortar to the flooring surface, spreading it evenly in the area where you will set the travertine. Take your time when doing this in order to avoid ridges and/or air pockets which may cause the tile to settle improperly.

Application of Thinset On Back of Tile - Flat Is Beautiful

Now it is time to use the trowel's flat side to apply a skim coat thinset to the back of the travertine marble tile. Ensure it is evenly distributed throughout, taking care to coat the edges of the tile.
Apply the Tile With Gentle But Firm Persuasion
Set the tile in place on the floor, applying pressure, and moving it back and forth in all directions to form a good bond and to eliminate any unforeseen trapped air bubbles/pockets.
Then it is time to set the second tile next to the first, lining up the corners, and moving that tile back and forth as you did the first one.
Make sure the tiles are the same height. Using a soft rubber mallet, tap gently on the second travertine marble tile until it abuts the first tile. There should be a tight fit with no gaps.
Keep a Level Head and Get a Level Floor
Lay a level on the tile floor to ensure that tiles are flat and flush. If a tile is too low, remove the tile and add more thinset on the floor. If the opposite is true and the tile is too high, pry up the travertine and remove excessive thinset. Either way, there is a remedy so you can get a level floor by keeping a level head and doing what needs to be done to get the perfectly seamless travertine marble tile floor.
Working with travertine floor tile [] is not as difficult as you might have been told or think. Laying a travertine marble tile [] floor seamlessly can be completed easily and successfully as a do-it-yourself project.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Affordable Tile Installations are out there...

But shopping around is a must. This  job was a repeat customer who had the exact same kitchen tiled 2 years ago and had a fire  in his home and called to have it tiled again.

All the Hardi board was laid on Tuesday and all the tile laid on Wednesday then grouted today. The total time to install this kitchen was 18 hours at a labor cost of $1475.00.This is a price you will have to really search around to find  but a experienced tile guy can get you installed for this cost and make  really good pay at the same time.
The materials needed to do this tile installation job  were as follows:
  • 375 sq ft of tile
  • 24 sheets of quarter inch Hardi board
  • 12 lbs of 2 inch galvanized roof nails
  • 4 - 50lb bags thin set
  • 3 -25 lb bags sanded grout
  •  1 -500 pc bag of 3\16 spacers

If you need a tile installation in your home be diligent shop around and do your homework to get the best installation at a reasonable cost.

On the first days all the Hardi board was installed. On the second day here you see the tile started

notice whole tiles in each door as the layout is squared and tile will all install off of this layout

Another view of layout with whole tiles in each door

View of whole tile in one door way

View of whole tiles in other doorway

Half of the room laid by noon time

A closer look at half of the room laid

Working in the rest of the room off of the finished half

Completed grouted room on the third day!

Friday, October 31, 2014

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

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hey. Here' s a description of a new tile product that seems kind of cool. I've attached the link to the site you'd need to register on to attend this meeting where the product is explained. I have no affiliation with this company or "meeting", but it came by my desk and thought it'd be helpful to tile installers and companies looking for innovative ideas in their industry. IF you attend, can you share what you learned with this community? We'd really appreciate it!

Thanks. Diana


Thin Tile’ describes a class of tiles that are designed to be much thinner than traditional tiles and much larger in length and width.  Thin tiles are typically either 1/8” or ¼” thick (traditional tiles start at 3/8” on up) and are available in sizes up to 5’x10’.  This makes the tiles lighter in weight and even somewhat flexible.  When these tiles first began appearing in the US market a few years ago, there was a great deal of apprehension about how and where they were to be installed.  Largely through the use of the Universal Floor Tester and the C627 test, systems of installation products and methods of application were developed that have allowed these tiles to be installed with a minimum of issues.  NTCA has also published guidelines for floor installations with thin tiles in conjunction with other industry groups.  This webinar will look at the tiles themselves, best practices for installing them, and discuss where (and where not) to use them.  It will also look into current efforts to develop standards both here and abroad.

(C) All Rights Reserved. Diana Smith SEO Powered Websites & Marketing for Business Member of the Making a Difference Network Content Writer and Google Author

Sunday, July 6, 2014

If you are a small business or a consumer who has experience with online reviews, ie: yelp, yahoo, thumtack, merchant circle, manta, etc., good or bad, please write up your experience,  pro/cons and especially businesses,  if you're received a bad review you thought unfair, please share how you handled it and what the outcome was.

Tile Excellence,  Inc.  (owner/operator of asktileexcellence-THIS BLOG) continues to encourage readers to contribute their experiences,  opinions, niches and stories relating to all things tile related as well as small business/contractors issues.

The goal is to continue to become a consumer,  DIY, small business and contractors resource for all. We offer honest, ethical tile businesses the opportunity to share their specialty or niche,  and to offer exposure by opening up discussions and encourage feedback on posts written by Chris Lawson, Owner of the Cape Ann, MA company, Tile Excellence,  (and part of Tile Excellence, Inc. -which is the "umbrella" company responsible for all content and all non-blog post data and related sites for tile contractors and other small businesses). and others - locally and even across the globe. Chris continues to provide his day-to-day experiences with pictures and DIY instruction plus answers to reader questions. Due to this exposure here and referrals/repeat clients, he is unable to write posts as often as he'd like, and has personally invited other tile related businesses to contribute to this blog to share other perspectives and niches.

We are still looking for guest bloggers who work in the tile installation/supplier/designer/contractor field. Please consider contributing to this valuable community resource.

Send any questions/concerns/suggestions/advertising and affiliates requests to:

To share any posts on items mentioned above, please feel free to post it here on asktileexcellence blog.

To ask any tile related/contractor/DIY/consumer related questions or things you would like to see here, again, use this page here to enter your post here.

To be considered as a guest blogger please send Diana a brief note telling me a little bit about you, your company,  your niche, what you'd like to write about, etc. All considered will be contacted with further questions/information.

Finally, to book chris for a tile installation project in Cape Ann and North of Boston,  you can call him directly at 978 471-9127 or email him at

Sunday, October 13, 2013

 How to create a simple hot tub, jacuzzi motor access panel door during tile installation

Hot tub / jacuzzi access panel doors are essential to being able to get to your hot tub motor for replacement or repair as needed.  I've been asked many times what is the best way to do this while still using being able to use tile on the front of the garden tub. On this post I will go through a simple, inexpensive process, step by step with photos showing how to build an access panel door while being able to both tile and access the motor.

Pic # 1  shows the raw opening just studded out and ready to Durock then tile.

Raw opening picture of motor
Raw Opening

Pic #2 shows the product of Velcro I used to adhere the Durock so it could be removed after it is tiled. I chose the extra strong type of Velcro as the weight of the tile will put a lot of stress on the rock to stay in place.

Extra strong Velcro
Strong Velcro Product

Pic #3 shows the placement of the Velcro on bottom stud. 

Placement of Velcro on bottom stud
Placement of Velcro on bottom stud

Pic #4 shows same placement of Velcro on bottom stud.

Different view of same placement of Velcro on bottom stud
Same Placement of Velcro different view on bottom stud

Pic #5 shows placement of Velcro on the Durock piece cut exact to the opening .

Exact Placement of Velcro at opening
Exact Placement of Velcro at opening

Pic #6 shows Durock in place closing access door ready for tile.

Durock in place and waiting to be tiled
Durock in place; ready to tile

Pic #7 shows access door tiled yet to be grouted.

Access door ready to be grouted
Tiled but not yet grouted

Pic #8 shows handle installed so door can be pulled out  .

Easy Access Handle
Add handle for easy access

Finally pic #9 shows completed door ready to grout . If motor ever needs to be replaced or repaired then simply cut out grout lines and remove door for motor access, replace motor and re-grout door again

Finished door ready to grout
Completed door ready to grout!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bathroom Tiled Floor
Shower Tile Floor
Shower Curb

Custom Shower Bench
Mosaic Tile Shower Soap Box

Mosaic Tile Shower Soap Dish



pic #9

Tile Pattern Walls
pic #11

Shower Wall
Shower Bench
Shower Floor
Last week in Georgetown Ma. I completed 450 sq ft of tile in a basement and 120sq ft of tile in a adjoining new bathroom.Was a pretty simple job for me and the labor cost to the customer was $1350 for the 450 sq ft of floor tile and  $1000. for the bathroom. These customers were younger hard working first home owners.They used 18 by 18 porcelain tile on their basement floor and 2 ft by 6 inch tiles on the wall.The 18 by 18 floor tiles were what I would call a "real tree"pattern after the "real tree" line of clothing I love it !!I thought it to be the most natural soothing tile I EVER installed .The 2ft by 6 inch tiles on the shower wall looked just like wooden walls.The whole job screamed Chris Lawson!

This job was really enjoyable to me and I hope you enjoyed me sharing it with you.I give examples of my work and what I charge for such work as a reference for you the home owner and the consumer to know what costs for such work should be and how to know when you've met a reasonable tile man and when your being taken for a ride. I appreciate every reader and hard worker out there hope this benefits you and makes your tile choices and contractor shopping easier :) chris