Things to Remember:
- Before Hiring a Contractor: Visit an independent tile supplier
and get pricing for the tile you want to use. A potential contractor
may recommend a supplier or provide a material allowance in their
Remember, most tile installers get a discount on tiles, so if they want to use their own supplier, you will probably be paying less for the tiles than if you purchased them yourself. It's not a bado move to ask if you can share in the discount he or she received when they bought the tile and material wholesale. Also, if there are any problems with the material, it will be his responsibility and that should be included in the contract. Failure of tiles is rare. If you plan to have patterns on floors or surfaces, decide what kind and draw out the design to show to contractors.
Make your pattern and color choices early, because you do not want to have to stop the work once it has begun because you don’t like the pattern or color. Although you can do this, it will cost you double the installation fee, as well as labor to remove whatever has already been done.
If you are tiling a high-traffic area, you want durable tiles. In a kitchen, you might want to choose something like granite or ceramic tile that’s easy to clean and maintain. Small tiles are mainly used for decorative purposes because they are more labor-intensive to install and harder to clean, while larger tiles are more practical for floors.
Natural tiles such as marble, granite, limestone and slate will last forever. That doesn’t mean it will look like new forever, however. Marble scratches and stains easily and must be sealed. It will still be more vulnerable to damage than granite. Granite comes in tiles and slabs. It is one of the strongest stones but needs to be sealed as well. It is less susceptible to staining, and less expensive, than marble.
Consider that true professional tilers will want a solid, even flat surface. If you're "guy" doesn't seem interested in the quality of the sub-strate (what it's going on) be concerned.
When tiling around a shower be sure the tile contractor uses a "rubber" sheeting or specialized material in the event moisture penetrates the tile and runs down the baack side. Be sure this barrier runs up beyond the local code requirements. Why? Because water pays ZERO attention to the code. Protect yourself before the tile goes up.
Marble and granite are more expensive than tile because the slabs are customized and take more time to install. They are normally used for countertops and around fireplaces. If you are installing either one, make sure the contractor is experienced in these stones.