The benefits of tile surfaces are many: not only are they incredibly durable (with a good tile installation, they have a lifespan as long as their building’s), but they lend a timeless beauty to any room or area. Porcelain tile, because of its impervious nature is one of the few surfaces that doesn’t harbor bacteria in tiny crevices. That, along with it’s low water absorption, make it an ideal candidate for any wet area – whether a bathtub, a steam room, or rooftop patio. When considering a bathroom remodel, tile is almost a must-have, but let’s explore some other places that might also be appropriate for tile coverings.
Large Format Tile Specialists
Large-format tile is becoming especially popular as designers and homeowners avoid the look of a lot of grout joints. While Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels take the clean lines to an extreme, many homeowners are also choosing regular large format tiles in such sizes as 48″x48″, 24″x48″, and 36″x36″ for their homes and bathrooms.
The best stone and tile floors are really beautiful! Think of the centuries that cathedral floors have lasted. Think of the stone in the skyscrapers in Chicago.
Everybody knows what bad tile floors are like, they’re cold, the grout is all dirty, and they always are coming loose and developing cracks.
Unfortunately, it seems that most people’s tile experiences have been those as part of poor installations, whether in gas station bathroom, or in home with the original builder’s grade installation. While the tile industry as a whole has made a massive effort to educate contractors on the installation of tile, unfortunately there are many situations where time pressure or lack of experience results in less-than-stellar results.
Because one of our principal aims is to make our projects last forever, we warranty every installation for a lifetime. In order to offer such an extensive warranty, we make sure to stay on top of new technological developments as well as constantly honing our abilities in the vein of old world craftsmanship.
Bathrooms are the most obvious candidate for tile installation in a home. While plastics and resins have made their way into the bathroom as a low-cost alternative, nothing quite competes with the beauty and easy-cleaning of a well-built tile job.
Depending on your budget and design, the tile work in a bathroom could be as simple as tiling the floor. Or we could build a tile shower or tub surround. For a highly luxurious finish, many or all of the walls could be tiles, large format or GPTP being particularly luxurious options.
Tile Showers and Wet Areas
Tile showers are the most obvious example of a tiled wet area. Beyond the simple tiled shower, though, there are many other ways you can incorporate tile:
In contemporary bathroom designs, the wet room is a popular option. These involve having a shower and a free-standing tub in the same area. This gives the space a luxurious and open feel, but at the same time creates a challenge for keeping the water from escaping. Having a detailed plan for waterproofing the entire space is absolutely essential.
Somewhat related to this, are barrier-free showers. Barrier-free, or curbless showers are those where the shower floor and the bathroom floor meet at the same level. These are especially helpful for aging-in-place homeowners or those who are having mobility difficulties. An option like this provides a safer environment to navigate.
Another luxury to consider for tile would be a steam rooms or sauna. Many homeowners find that their health benefits greatly from having access to these amenities. While you can read about the benefits of steam here, know that these are extremely specialized applications and need a very exacting attention to detail. Many stories of property damage have been reported where unqualified contractors were building steam showers. Don’t let that be your experience! Built correctly, however, steam showers/rooms or saunas will greatly improve your health, well -being, and enjoyment of life.
Dog Washes: sick of bending over the tub, or getting dog hair stuck in your tub drain? We can build you a beautiful dog wash raised off the floor. This improves accessibility and removes the main frustrations of washing the dogs. Often, homeowners opt to build cabinetry into it as well, creating extra storage space. Your dog might even like it too!
Don’t you hate that sticky mess on the wall from when you were frying last weekend? Tile is easy cleanup, heat resistant, and the ideal candidate for surrounding cooking appliances. Backsplashes are comparatively quick to install compared to other tile installations, and lend a certain classiness to a kitchen.
Ever wondered whether you could put tile outdoors? As the industry moves towards more advanced manufacturing of tougher and more flexible materials, it’s becoming more and more possible to install tile on decks, patios, and even the exterior cladding (siding) of homes!
Structural porcelain in particular has changed the way we think about outdoor tile. These 2cm thick porcelain pavers can be installed in such a way that they need far less structural integrity backing them up. While tile itself is very abrasion-resistant, it is also brittle and each installation relies on the structural integrity of what lies behind. With structural porcelain pavers, this is no longer as big a concern. Porcelain pavers can be installed atop pier systems for decks and patios, or even like concrete pavers would be installed.
Have you considered tile on the exterior of your home? Stone has long been built into the facades of buildings, but only recently has mounting porcelain without mechanical fasteners become possible with the advent of very advanced mortars.
Specialty Tile Installations
Medallions and Inlays
Flooring inlays are a nice way to set off an entryway. Furthermore, you can set spaces apart, like a dining room or a bath area with a custom tile inlay. These can be a simple or highly-decorated as you like.
Do you love old-world craftsmanship? We do too. In fact, in order to faithfully be able to reproduce these styles, we have carefully honed our abilities to use the same old-world tile installation techniques that were used 100+ years ago. We are one of only a handful of contractors in Chicagoland who have these techniques at their disposal. Our intention is to have not only historical knowledge, but also use our knowledge of modern materials and techniques to make improvements for longevity and environmental considerations.
Mosaics are hard to get right. They are often installed not quite flat, or maybe the grout job wasn’t careful and there’s bits of grout left on the surface. Especially glass mosaics which can be so beautiful with their reflective surfaces, are too often messed up with poor surface preparation or impatient grout work. These mosaics really shine with old school prep work. While it’s a lot more work overall, the effect and beauty are staggering at the end.
Speaking of glass mosaics – considering building a pool? Tile and plaster are the two most popular finishes for in-ground concrete pools. If your budget allows for it, everything tiled in glass is as luxurious a look as you’ll get: it will transport you to warmer locales every time you swim.
Fireplace Surrounds and Hearths
Many builders grade fireplaces have a thin-brick surround with concrete hearths. We can always bring a bit of modern class, or historical hints by tiling the fireplace surround. Consider especially Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels for a contemporary, seamless look. Or, in the other direction, consider historically reproduced tiles in various colors to give some of that turn-of-the-last-century charm.
Tile Repair and Restoration
Tile and Grout Repairs
Often, customers will call us when they notice grout cracking or discolored, or when cracks appear in their tile. Based on how extensive the issues are, we will consult and decide whether a tile repair or replacement is the better path forward.
For commonly, we see customers having trouble with tile in wet areas. It’s unfortunate that poor workmanship has led to a spate of showers that leak. Homeowners that contact us have are frustrated and often don’t know who to trust. While not every shower is reparable, sometimes we are able to rebuild only a part of a shower to make it leak-free. These sorts of experiences are why we offer lifetime warranties on our workmanship and materials. Customers know we have their backs if things do go wrong.
We love antiques. We love historic homes and buildings and want the details of these treasures to last for generations to come. For this reason, we do offer historic restorations of old tile work, whether just cleaning or repairs are needed. In the cases where restoration isn’t possible, we can offer historic reproductions of old tile work.
Consultation: not everyone is looking for someone to fix their problem, but sometimes just need an expert to consult with. We’re happy to help, just give us a call.
Tile is one of the most technically-challenging flooring/wall covering installations. As such, it takes a comparatively long time to install. On the floors, expect it to take several times longer than any laminate or hardwood. On the walls, it takes even more time.
Because of the high amount of labor and limited number of skilled tradespeople who install to industry standards, a good tile installation costs more than many homeowners expect.
Tile installation standards are determined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Tile Council of North America (TCNA). Standards are available in the TCNA handbook for purchase on their website.
It’s best to clarify with your contractor what their cost includes. A good estimate should be detailed in its scope of work so the homeowner can make accurate comparisons between estimates.