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

Thursday, April 12, 2018

4:48 AM

Top 10 Most Useful Websites for Homeowners


Top 10 Most Useful Websites for Homeowners 

Top 10 Most Useful Websites for Homeowners
Tile Excellence offers DIY hints and how-to's. We thought sharing some other professional home makers and designers would be a nice addition. Here the author has collected what she felt was the TOP TEN useful websites for homeowners, much like the links we have on our LINKS page to help consumers with the tough stuff, like how to clean cat urine out of grout lines! Hey, it's life. Hope you enjoy. Let us know! Diana Smith, AskTileExcellence 

1. Home Fair -www.homefair.com

Home Fair provides city reports, school reports, salary calculator, cost of living standards, and a multitude of other useful tools and information for a new homeowner, or any person looking for more information tailored to a specific location.

2.How to Clean Anything Clean Anything www.howtocleanaything.com

The name says it all. When you own a house, you have multiple rooms, and possibly a yard, to keep clean and up to sanitary code. This site gives great, specific tips on all kinds of cleaning tasks.

3,. Etsy.com, an Independent Marketplace - www.etsy.com

Sure, there are countless other stores to find home goods and appliances, but if you're looking to add a handmade or vintage touch to your home, check out Etsy.com, an online marketplace where you can shop for all things vintage and handmade, from artwork, pottery, clothing, furniture, gifts, and more,

4. FreeCycle - www.freecycle.com

Freecycle is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. Search for where you can donate those clothes you don't need and those old pieces of furniture you don't have room for, to someone else who can use them.

5. AC Doctor's Energy Calculator -http://www.acdoctor.com/cooling_calculator.php

Ever wonder exactly how much energy you are using (and paying for)? AC Doctor's online Energy Calculators help you determine what effects high-efficiency cooling and heating solutions can have on your finances and your environmental footprint.

6. Heating Oil Shopper - www.heatingoilshopper.com

If you're like a vast majority of homeowners, you're probably not only looking for ways to save money on home energy spending but also how to do so with the least harmful impact on the earth. Home heating oil is both a cost-effective and eco-friendly home energy option, and Heating Oil Shopper makes it easy to find how to upgrade your home to heating oil.

7. Insurance Finder - www.insurancefinder.com

Owning a home is a large, and expensive, undertaking so it would be crazy not to ensure your home and any other valuable items that you own. www.Insurancefinder.com makes finding and comparing insurance options as easy as pie.

8. Epicurious - www.epicurious.com

One great perk of owning a home, rather than perhaps a small apartment, is having a full kitchen where you can cook up a storm. Epicurious is one of the best resources for delicious meals you can make in your new kitchen.

9. Stepcase Lifehack - www.lifehack.org

Stepcase Lifehack is a great website covering technology, workplace productivity, home productivity, habit-forming, and other tips for a more efficient lifestyle. This is a must-see for new homeowners embarking on the new and exciting (and daunting) world of home-ownership.

10. House Directory - www.thehousedirectory.com

If an empty house could talk, what would it say? "Decorate me!": that's what we think. House Directory searches more than 3500 sources for home furnishings for your home, and it is conveniently categorized into appropriate and easy-to-navigate topics, such as Kitchen's & Tableware, Bathrooms, Artwork, Lighting, Fabrics, and more.

Friday, March 30, 2018

9:50 PM

From tile to masonry transition stone work and how to build a masonry pond

Tile to Masonry Transition Stonework

How to Build a Masonry Pond

If you've been following tile excellence blog for some years now, maybe you've felt comfortable and tried your hand at doing some tile work. If you've successfully done some tile work then stone and masonry work will be easy. Tile has straight lines and precise cuts needing  a lot of careful planning to keep it straight and clean.  Natural stone on the other hand is more like a jigsaw puzzle without straight lines and an abstract pattern. Its installed with concrete like tile and leveled flat in the same way, just no lines to keep straight and an all natural stone finish.  I built a Koi pond in my backyard from concrete with stone around the edge and a brick paver patio around it.  Here's a series of pictures, taking you through, step-by-step so you can DIY

Click on my Facebook Page to see the pictures from start to finish! Then build yourself a Koi Pond!

Here's other masonry and stonework I've completed and posted here for your pleasure 

I have always created these blog posts to inform  and educate folks with confidence and info so as if you have it done or do it yourself  you will know what it takes to get it done. As always I am available for you to ask questions get advice to get it done! 

It's nice if you ask  HERE ON THE BLOG  so others can learn along with you, but if need to, you can always call me direct  chris 978 471 9127

completed pond with pavers


shot of pavers installed


a natural stone border around the pond


pavers and stone border


large koi fish in the pond


my dog junior helping me lay pavers


paver outline ready to fill in field


 making cuts just like you would tile


pavers and stone on the right side of the pond


pavers around tree

garden tub with stone work on the front


natural stone shower floor


more river stone shower floor


stone archway above garden tub


Saturday, June 3, 2017

5:10 PM

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

11:59 PM

Ceramic Tile Repairs | Floor Tile Replacement | Shower ReGrouts

Ceramic Tile Repairs Floor Tile Replacement 

and Shower ReGrouts


MA Reality persuaded us to rewrite several of Tile Excellence's blog posts for their publication, including contractor "Guides" and "Expert Contributors". Nice gig!

This "Guide" is on Ceramic Tile Repairs: Floor Tile Replacement and Shower Regrouts. The article is about the controversial issue of Copper Pans vs. Rubber Membrane in shower installation. Catch them all on ask tile excellence, or read a couple here! Read Chris's Profile on MA Reality.


Links to his profile and articles. 
http://www.massrealty.com/experts/chris-lawson

Saturday, December 17, 2016

12:03 AM

Copper Shower Pans vs. Rubber Membranes

Copper Shower Pans vs. Rubber Membranes 

shower head
I always want to give my customers and blog followers the best advice on the most economical yet highest quality tile-related installations. I've learned this information from years of hands-on doing of the jobs myself. As you may know from my actual web site I do all my jobs personally and have over 34 years of experience.co

In all those years out on the job I have pretty much seen it all. So when I make a recommendation on what's the best way to go, it's because I've weighed 
out the best options for my customers out there on he job. I also do repairs and always have: many in my industry overlook the repairs as not being lucrative enough to warrant their time, so I do get a lot of repairs.

The most costly repair is the leaky walk-in shower panwhich can sometimes be in 

excess of $500. I've done well over 100 of these repairs in my career and only 1 or 2% of these were rubber membrane repairs, while the other 98% were copper pans. In the instances of the rubber membrane repairs it was always improper installation by nails being nailed below the waterline. As we have all heard from the eco criers, it takes hundreds of years for plastic and heavy rubber products to deteriorate in the environment, so it only makes sense that a rubber membrane would almost never be affected by water and would surely last past my lifetime when installed correctly.

The copper pan, on the other hand, is metal and starts the deterioration process

almost immediately when in contact with water. We've all seen a green copper penny, and that green on the copper is just like rust on iron and steel. I have removed so many copper pans that were rusted through (for lack of a better word). I've seen it again and again: tearing out a shower floor and 12 inches up the wall because water was dripping into the living room ruining the ceiling and requiring more costly repairs.

Furthermore, copper pans are very costly even without repairs: most have to be 

custom-made and the plumbing labor is very expensive. The cost is $400 to $800 and even more depending on the layout of the shower floor to be dried in. On the other hand, I install rubber membrane to dry in the shower floor at a total cost of $175 and that includes the concrete in the floor to slope to the drain. I have several contractors who used to use copper who now call me to come out just to dry-in showers for them at a huge savings for a much more reliable and longer-lasting product. Using logic and common sense, it seems obvious that for less money and a longer-lasting, dependable shower floor the rubber membrane is the best call.
I don't supply materials on any of my jobs and don't ever gain monetarily on any of my recommendations: I speak only from experience and the desire for my customers to get the most for their money.
For more answers to all of your tile-related questions, visit my "Ask Chris" blog here
.

Monday, December 28, 2015

6:54 PM

Installing Natural Slate Tile | Here's How to do it

Natural Slate is One of the Most Challenging Materials to Install 

because of the variation in the natural materials. Some pieces of slate can be as thick as 3/4th of a inch while other pieces are only 1/8th of a inch. So when installing this beautiful material  it is required to start installing  the thickest pieces first  then build up with thinset the thinner pieces to make your installation flat and flush. As well as being different thicknesses, the slate is also different sizes in square dimension. It is very imperative that you use care and patience to space and keep your lines  as straight as possible. Natural slate tile is one of the most color variant material I install. I often refer to it as rainbow slate because of the wonderful color variation in the material. 

Installing natural slate is most certainly not to be done by the inexperienced tile setter and a slate specialist is a true artist. I love the challenge myself and the slate material is without a doubt my favorite natural material. I hope you enjoy the  pictures below and appreciate the care and patience it took to install the tile in the photos  See previous blog on slate installation on Tile Excellence's Google+ page. THANKS  Chris

Slate Tile Thickness Variation

Side View of Slate Showing Variation in Thickness of Material

Ungrouted Wall Slate Size Variation

Wall Slate Ungrouted Showing Variation in Size of Tile

Grouted Wall Slate with Design

Grouted Wall Slate with Design Strip

Ungrouted Slate

Ungrouted Wall  Slate

Grouted Wall Slate With Design Strip

Grouted Wall Slate with Design Strip

Show Wall and Ceiling Slate

Shower Wall | Ceiling Slate

Shower Wall Slate

Shower Wall Slate

Slate Tile in Wall Soap Box

Slate Tile in Wall Soap Box

Wall Slate and Sink Backsplash

Wall Slate | Slate Backsplash

Slate in Wall Soap Box

Slate in Wall Soap Box

Wall Slate and Floor Slate

Wall Slate and Floor Slate

Floor Slate and Wall Slate

Floor Slate | Wall Slate

Design Strip Slate Meets Shower Wall Slate

Design Strip Slate Meets Shower Wall Slate

Wonderful Color in this Slate Floor

Wonderful Color in this Slate Floor

 Slate Shower Curb Shower Floor | Outside Bathroom Floor

Slate Shower Curb Shower Floor | Outside Bathroom Floor








Friday, December 31, 2010

12:40 PM

Building Community Resource Based on Sharing Tile Experience

Hi Everyone!

And yes, I said welcome to OUR blog because that's what I hope this becomes.-a shared community resource.   I hope to share experiences and opinions based on my 30+ years experience as a tile guy, to hopefully help consumers from expensive or disastrous mistakes. I'll answer some tile questions from yahoo, like this one on installing tile over linoleum, or a customer looking to find the average cost of tile installation in the North East. I'll try and keep a running list of topics answered. If I run across a good tip or resource for other hard-working small business owners, I'll post it here.

But mostly, I am hoping to here from you people-the potential tile installation or bathroom remodeling customers who need honest, free, no-strings attached, professional advice to their upcoming projects.  And hopefully, we'll build a useful database for others to search for answers. I am open to suggestions or feedback on this site too. I can use the help!

Oh, I did want to mention, anything I say here is intended as an opinion only. I suggest you get lots of opinions, then come to your own conclusion.  I do not endorse or recommend YOU do anything...I am just sharing what I would do.

Thanks!
-Chris


UPDATED MESSAGE: November 30, 2014

This was the first blog entry from Chris back in Dec. of 2010. I thought it appropriate to re post this initial entry as a reminder of the intention of this DIY and Consumer Tile Help Blog. Chris shares his 30+ years experience as a tile installer. He tries to do so honestly and without selfish motivation, and as he is a passionate southern, he sometimes says what he thinks without concern for ruffled feathers. That's how he rolls, and so he makes it clear, His is but ONE opinion, one perspective, one tile installer's experience. He doesn't claim to know it all, and we have made this blog open to other's feedback and perspectives. Sometimes people disagree, and that's fine. We invite respectful feedback, even invite it sometimes, and we even like a little controversy-shaking it up a bit. 

I put one of Chris's recent posts on hold after initially publishing it and getting responses pointing out some potential misinformation on our part. I take the blame for that because I had not done my research before Chris posted it. I came a little late on the scene, so I do apologize to everyone, especially Chris, and I thank the tile guys that kindly pointed things out so we could catch ourselves just in case. I will have Chris go through it when he has a minute, and I will do what I should have done prior to posting. We'll keep you posted.  Thank you. Again, my mistake; I apologize. Diana
12:12 PM

Tile Installation- Time Vs. Price

Hello,

First of all, let me apologize. I'm new to all this technology stuff, but I guess my "Welcome to Our Blog" post was supposed to come before I shared stories. However, I thought the following information might be helpful, and save some people some money, so it took priority. I'll try and post the first entry, but we'll see. Hang in there with me folks!

So, onto the information I wanted to share. I wanted to share some insight with people out there that need tile work done. Unfortunately, many people within the industry are out to get as much as they can for installation jobs. One of the most common ways to increase the charges for the installation is to drag the job out. Here's a good example I recently came across.

I recently installed a kitchen backsplash where the customer had gotten several estimates and done his research. Quotes were anywhere from $500-$750.00. Time frames varied from 2-4 days. As soon as I talked to him on the phone, I knew this was an installation that would take me a matter of hours. So, I priced the installation accordingly, which happened to be considerably lower than the above mentioned estimates because I knew through my 30+ years experience, that the job would take only half a day-and it would be flawless.

After our phone conversation, the potential customer checked out pictures of my work and references on my website, http://www.tileexcellence.com/  and quickly  scheduled the job. The bottom line here is, there are installers out there who will drag out the job to justify the price or are too inexperienced to do the job in a reasonable time frame, thus charging more. To save yourself from this situation, be sure to get three or more quotes for any installation and get references.  Check out their work if you can.

Tile Excellence, Inc. did the job in about 1/2 a day, and it costs the customer only $350.00 in labor. To see this project, before and after, and/or to see what Scott from Wakefield had to say about his new backsplash and the quality of the work, click here to visit our customer testimonial page.

Next blog post, I'll talk about hardyboard vs. durock. Stay tuned, and send me your questions or share your experience. Thanks.

-Chris
Owner, Operator
Tile Excellence, Inc.
Gloucester, MA
http://www.tileexcellence.com/
tile_excellence@yahoo.com
(978) 471-9127