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Tile School: 5 things You Should Ask Your Tile Installer

By Kali

Tile School: 5 things You Should Ask Your Tile Installer

Asking your tile installer questions will set you and your tile up for success, so we think it's pretty important you know the right ones. Bay Area tile installer, Frank O'Reilly, has been installing tile for many years and we talked with him about his tips and tricks, along with the questions homeowners should be asking their tile installers to ensure the best result. He also shared that it never hurts to be involved throughout the installation process. By communicating with your installer and knowing your facts, you can avoid potential mistakes.

Below, we're sharing Frank's top 5 questions homeowners should ask their tile installers (also, don't forget that you can always ask us questions too).

1. Have they worked with our tile before?
First things first, you should ask if they’ve worked with Fireclay tiles before or handmade tile like ours. Our tile is non-modular, meaning it is not rectified, so grout joints might need to be wider than what your tile setter is accustomed to. Feel free to share our installation guidelines on our website or put them in touch with us if they have questions.

Jen Pinkston's perfectly installed straight set bathroom below illustrates a job well done. Clean cuts, careful planning and placing makes for the best results.

Tile Shown: 2x8s in Flagstone and Calcite

2. What materials are they planning on using?
It is important that you follow rules when installing tile. Depending on the material of tile, where it is being installed, as well as what type of grout is being used can all affect how the installation will be executed. For example, if you have chosen to use a light-colored tile paired with a darker grout, make sure your installer knows to use spacers and grout release to avoid staining (more on that here).

Tile Shown: Our 6" Triangles in Frost, Iron Ore, Salton Sea, and Sea Glass during the installation process; our installer used spacers to keep consistent grout joints.

3. Ask to do a Dry-lay.
A great way to set yourself up for tile success is by asking to do a dry lay with your installer. This can ensure a happy outcome as this is where aesthetics come into play. This is especially true if you are doing a blend of colors, an intricate pattern, or if you've opted for a specialty shape. A shape and pattern dictate how you start the installation and how the tiles should be cut.

Tile Shown: Pickets in a braided pattern; this is an example of a pattern that would benefit from a dry-lay.

You can see in the installation below how important it was to start from the lip of the tub and work upwards:

Tile School: Ogee Drops in Crater Lake.

4. Have they checked the surface you are installing on?
Your installer should check the walls before installation. Check with a level and then proceed, tile should not be set over a curved wall.

5. Ask about Water Proofing.
Always ask your installer about waterproofing, especially if you are setting your tile in a wet area, i.e., bathroom, shower, floors, pools, mudrooms, etc. We seal any of our materials that require it (our White Clay Body for example), but your installer will also need to waterproof the backing, as well as the grout. Grout is getting less and less porous, but it is still the weakest point of the installation where water can penetrate.

Tile Shown: Small Diamonds in White Wash

Lastly, If you are in the Bay Area and need tile installed, Frank O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly Tile Design, does wonderful work and is very familiar with our tile!

Do you like any of the featured colors? Order samples online now. Still have questions about tile installation? Simply call, chat, or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly.

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