“…if installed properly.”
It’s a phrase we use frequently in our business. We manufacture porcelain tile right here in the U.S. with adherence to highest quality standards, ensuring our porcelain products have superior technical properties to perform everywhere from residential to commercial environments. However, our porcelain tile products will only perform to their fullest potential “if installed properly.”
Tile can be a lifetime choice. Porcelain tile will last for decades, looking as beautiful and requiring as minimal maintenance as it did on day one…if installed properly.
How can you make certain the porcelain tile you’ve painstakingly selected to meet all required technical specifications for your space is, indeed, installed properly? Work with only experienced, proven tile installation professionals. Qualified tile contractors have the knowledge and know-how to handle your porcelain tile installation so that it looks great and performs beautifully long term.
Follow these tips for finding the best installers in your area.
1. Cull your list of tile contractor options by referring to lists provided by trusted industry resources. Don’t blindly search Google or open the Yellow Pages and start calling down the list of tile installers. Turn to organizations like NTCA and TCAA to trim your list and find the professional you need.
National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA)
The Five Star Program recognizes NTCA members who have demonstrated a track record of providing successful installations. Earning Five Star recognition includes customer recommendations, peer reviews, and participation in continuing education and training.
Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA)
The Trowel of Excellence Program recognizes TCAA members who have demonstrated a track record of providing successful installations. Earning the Trowel of Excellence designation includes reference letters, detailed project descriptions and photos, and employee participating in educational programming.
The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation
The Certified Tile Installer Program is a comprehensive testing of the skills and knowledge of experienced tile installers, including a multiple-choice exam and a hands-on test. Both are based on current industry standards and best practices for producing a sound installation that exhibits good workmanship. Consumers and designers can access the CTEF directory to search for certified installers, and the CTEF provides a Contractor Questionnaire to help evaluate and compare contractors.
2. Compare the list(s) you find with recommendations from your distributor or retailer. Your porcelain tile supplier is also a great resource for determining who’s who for tile installations in your area. Bring the lists you find through the above websites to your sales representative to see who on the list matches the recommendation of your supplier.
3. Review portfolios and outside referrals/recommendations. Once you pinpoint the installer or installers you want to consider for your job, ask to see portfolios of their work with a particular focus on projects that are similar to the one you need completed. It’s important to know your installer has “been there, done that” in terms of the specific and unique needs your installation might entail. Additionally, request referrals and recommendations from their customers, as well. Don’t hesitate to call the contacts they give you to get a firsthand perspective on how the installer worked, the timeliness of the project and how the installation has performed since completion.
4. Maintain a working knowledge of tile installation. It’s always helpful to be able to “speak the language” of porcelain tile installation well enough to ask intelligent questions. Though you don’t need to be an expert, it is helpful to be familiarized with the basics of the tile setting process, setting materials, etc., so that you can feel confident about your project and the work that’s done to make it happen.
Remember, porcelain tile is great choice for your home or workplace…if installed properly!
Look for another #TileTuesday Tip, coming your way next week!