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