The thing with tile is that it doesn’t take much to screw up an installation. One slightly misplaced tile can end up throwing off the whole project. The wrong grout can also doom the project to failure. Tile installation mistakes are hard to cover up and fixing them usually means ripping up the floor and starting over.
Most tile installers are talented, honest, hardworking and financially responsible. However, home improvement is a top source of consumer complaints nationwide. Remember, you’re the boss and your goal is to find the best match for your remodeling project. Hiring a professional installer is a great idea, but locating the right installer may not be as easy as it seems.
Here are some things you should avoid if you want to find a high-quality tile installer. We’ve also included photos of common mistakes made when installing tile.
Beware of the Big Box Stores
Large home centers work with customers like you all day long and generally do not have their finger on the pulse of current installation methods and those educated in them. Instead, go to a tile store that works with contractors, installers, architects, and designers regularly like Tiles Unlimited—we have more experience working directly with qualified installers.
Don’t Assume Your Installer Is Licensed And Insured
Always check to see that your prospective installer is licensed and has current insurance. You can check if the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) licenses a home improvement contractor by clicking here. Any contractor performing home improvement work costing more than $200 must have a DCA license to operate legally in New York City.
Make sure the company you are considering carries general liability insurance. This is the insurance that protects your home from damage or negligence of the contractor, his employees or any sub-contractors he hires. You should ask for a copy of their insurance certificate. Be sure to check the expiration date. It’s a good idea to call the issuing company to verify their insurance is in force.
Make sure they carry workers compensation insurance. It protects you from liability if a worker is injured while on your property. Be aware that if the contractor doesn’t carry workers’ compensation coverage, you will be liable for any injuries suffered by the contractor or any of his employees on your property.
Don’t Skip Asking The Important Questions
You know what they say about enquiring minds. A few well-placed questions can help you find out a lot about prospective installers. Don’t forget to ask key questions:
- How long will the project take?
• How much tile is needed?
• How many people will be working on the project?
• Have you worked on projects like this before (large format tile, wood look, complex mosaics etc.)
Don’t Forget to Learn From Others
Keep an ear to the ground when checking out a potential installer. Ask for testimonials and references, search for reviews online at Facebook or Yelp. Give special attention to reviews with pictures so you can verify their work. Follow up with references. We also recommend you Google their business name to see what information you can find before hiring them.
Don’t Move Forward Without Seeing the Installer’s Work
A picture is worth a thousand words, so ask to see pictures of completed work with an eye for quality. Look closely through the portfolio and you’ll be able to tell the work of a good installer from a great installer.
There should be even spacing between tiles and perfectly straight grout lines. Look to see that the layout is balanced and that any cut tiles are the same size even if they are on opposite ends of the room. Pay attention to windows, doors, and corners. These are the trickiest places to work around and should be a good indication of the skill level of the tile installer. Walk away if you see large gaps, too much grout, or any ill-fitting tile.
Don’t Forget To Get It In Writing
Once you’ve found a tile installer that meets your expectations, ask for a warranty in writing. A good installer isn’t afraid to guarantee their work. You wouldn’t buy a car without a warranty would you? Never accept a verbal warranty of “If something breaks, don’t worry, I’ll fix it.” Always insist on a warranty in writing. The warranty should clearly spell out what is covered and what is not and how long the warranty is good for. A one-year warranty is the minimum you should expect.
Don’t Devalue Professionalism
Even in this increasingly casual and do-it-yourself world, professionalism is still a hallmark of an excellent business. It is important that a prospective installer delivers that bid on time. A simple thing like whether the installer gets involved in the community can say a lot about how your project will be handled. The way they appear, speak, and interact all hints at the experience ahead for you and your project.
Avoid a tile disaster and call in the professionals. With some careful consideration, you can find a stellar tile installer who’ll complete your project with finesse. At Tiles Unlimited, voted Best Tile Store in the 2016 Best of LI competition, we work with tile installers and contractors everyday. We know who specializes in what and are happy to offer recommendations. Before you come in, make sure to grab your tile discount coupon by clicking here.