FAQ

[Tile] [Natural stone] [Health & Environment] [Design] [Installation][Trends][Buy Local — Buy Smart][Price Match Guarantee]

Tile

Q: What are the functional advantages of ceramic tile over other floor covering materials?

A: Tile is the most durable flooring and facing material available. It is water resistant, abrasion resistant and color permanent. It will not cut, tear, gouge, puncture, warp, rot, burn or require refinishing. Therefore, it is the surface of choice for bathrooms, mudrooms, foyers and kitchens.

Q: Will my tile floor be too slippery?

A: Many tiles have a textured surface or are available in different finishes. We have tiles appropriate for every kind of application requiring increased slip-resistance.

Q: What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain?

A: Porcelain tiles are clay-based, just like ceramic tiles, but they also incorporate the harder minerals found in granite, making them more durable and the most popular choice for high-traffic floors. Ceramic tiles come in many more varieties and provide homeowners the widest selection in terms of design, color and price.

Q: Will my tile floor be too cold?

A: In-floor heating products are available for new and remodel applications, and tile is a great thermal conductor. For barefoot rooms such as the master bath, products like Warm Touch™ are a simple solution. Experience Warm Touch™ in our showrooms.

Q: How do I maintain my ceramic tile?

A: There is no need to wax, polish or buff your tile installation. A damp sponge or mop is all that is necessary for daily maintenance. Special problems? Each of our locations carries a full line of maintenance products developed specifically for ceramic and stone.

Q: What products can I use in a steam shower?

A: The most commonly used material is porcelain tile. Glass, granite and some marbles are also durable choices.

Natural stone

Q: Why should I select natural stone?

A: Natural stone has been preferred by architects and builders throughout the ages because it offers strength, beauty and something unique: no wall, floor or counter will ever be the same as another. Color, texture and markings vary from shipment to shipment, so you should make every effort to view multiple pieces of stone before selection as well as to view your order before it is installed.

Q: What is the difference between limestone, marble and granite?

A: Limestone and marble show subtle veining and movement. They are sedimentary rocks composed primarily of calcium carbonate and are sensitive to acids. "Marble" derives from the Latin “marmor,” which means “to shine,” so marbles are hard limestones that accept a polish well. Limestone and marble are often selected for the master bath but many also perform well on high-traffic floors when a honed finish is specified. Granites are harder rocks of volcanic origin and are not acid-sensitive. Frequently they display artistic veining and movement. Granites are generally selected for kitchen counters and high-traffic floors where performance is the priority and a polished finish is desired.

Q: Where is the best place to purchase natural stone tile?

A: Most showrooms display and special order their stone. Direct importers like Tile By Design can offer more competitive pricing, more experience with the unique characteristics of each stone and more conveniences (see it before you buy it, take it home today and returns made easy).

Q: Is natural stone hard to care for?

A: When the correct stone type, finish and sealer are selected for your application, natural stone is simple to care for and maintain. Sweeping and wet mopping are all that is normally required. Consult us for recommendations unique to your stone and application type.

Q: Can slate be used in a shower?

A: We don’t recommend multi-color slates for shower areas because of the oxidation that can occur. Consider a quartzite or a digital-glazed porcelain tile that looks like slate.

Q: Can I hand pick my natural stone?

A: The beauty of natural stone is that no two pieces ever look the same. You are welcome to view the current lot when you pick up your stone; however, you cannot hand select or return individual pieces.

Health & Environment

Q: What are the health and environmental benefits of ceramic and stone?

A: Ceramic and stone are:

pure, hygienic and hypoallergenic – neither a primary nor secondary source of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs – toxic chemicals that can damage your health and contribute to the growth of mold, fungus and viruses

durable – not needing to be replaced within the life of the structure, thus reducing resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, demolition and installation energy requirements

low maintenance – not contributing to the level of toxic cleaning products being flushed into our ecosystem by alternative materials requiring chemicals, waxes, strippers, solvents, shampoos, etc.

energy efficient – excellent thermal conductors, especially when combined with radiant heat systems

plentiful –
made of 100 percent natural and plentiful raw materials

constantly improved – Italian manufacturers, for example, have increased production 10 times while energy consumption remains stable and gaseous emissions have been reduced

salvageable, recyclable and easily disposable – having a favorable health and environmental impact throughout their life cycle. Ask for Eco-tech tiles manufactured from recycled raw materials.

Choose sustainable surfaces. "Live Green" with ceramic and stone.

Design

Q: What should I bring to the showroom with me?

A: Feel free to bring blueprints and samples of paint colors, carpet, wallpaper, fabrics and cabinet finishes with you.

Q: Do I need an appointment?

A: Make an appointment, if possible, to ensure that you get the attention you deserve. If this is your first tile project, RELAX and let our showroom design consultants assist you. If you're experienced and knowledgeable, we invite you to take a more hands-on role in the design. We hope you share our passion for tile, have more fun with the process and even greater satisfaction with the results!

Q: Should I select neutral colors of ceramic and stone?

A: This is a good idea if you are considering resale or remodeling in a few years. If this is your “dream home,” then let us help you make your project one-of-a-kind.

Q: Are samples available?

A: Samples are available for checkout and most are no charge. Others require a refundable deposit. Please help us RECYCLE by returning samples you don't need.

Q: Why do you recommend that I complete a Tile Selection Sheet?

A: Your Tile Selection Sheet itemizes and verifies all your choices: price, availability, trim, decorative accents, layout, accessories, grout color, etc. Completed Tile Selection Sheets are copied to your builder or designer and tile contractor to coordinate your purchase with us.

Q: Does Tile By Design provide design services?

A: No, but many of our clients are design professionals, and we would be happy to make some recommendations. Our showroom has consultants who are trained and experienced with the products we carry and can advise you on which products best complement each other and are appropriate for your particular project.

Installation

Q: Is tile installation expensive?

A: When compared to other coverings, tile installation is expensive. However, tile installation can be permanent and less expensive in the long run after replacement and maintenance costs for other materials are factored in. For this reason, select the tile you love and will not be tempted to replace. We are sorry, but claims concerning color, shade, texture and markings will not be allowed after products are installed.

Q: Should I have my tile professionally installed, or can I do it myself?

A: Some products (e.g. marble, limestone, granite and glass) and some applications (e.g. stall showers with water-proof pans and “warm floors”) are projects for professional installers. Remember, your professional installer provides many value-added services (e.g. take-offs, deliveries and warranties). If you are considering do-it-yourself, pick up one of the many books or videos available. Some products and projects lend themselves well to do-it-yourself

Q: What is the best way to calculate the quantity of tile I will need?

A: Multiply length times width of the area to be covered to give you square footage. For most installations, add 5-7 percent for cutting loss and attic stock. When installation is diagonal or you are using a multi-size pattern, you should add 10-15 percent.

Q: Do you recommend contractors?

A: We will give you at least three names. You should get references for your project type, discuss what you want in detail and ask for suggestions.

Q: How do I make sure a contractor is qualified?

A: The tile contractor plays a critical role in the quality and longevity of your installation. Require a portfolio and references that reflect the contractor's experience with projects of similar size, scope and complexity as yours. Ask the contractor if he or she has completed any industry-recognized training and certification programs. Then, do the legwork of checking references and qualifications. The common practice of using the low bidder means quality contractors are always competing against contractors who cut corners on materials and workmanship.

Q: What is the narrowest grout joint I can use?

A: Not less than three times the variation in facial dimension of the tile to be used and never less than 1/16”. To butt joint tiles does not provide sufficient accommodation for building movement or variations in thermal expansion.

Trends

Q: What are the latest tile design trends?

A: Current design trends include:

Larger formats, especially rectangles;
Linear and textile looks;

Wood and stone looks;

Digital printing technology, which provides unprecedented pattern variation and realism;

Green features, such as recycled content;

Glass, glass, glass – more varieties, sizes and styles;
Porcelain slabs for wall, countertop, and furniture applications;
Porcelain tiles in 3/4" thickness for landscaping applications; and
Bold and artistic collections from innovative European designers. 

Q: What are the latest trends in stone selection?

A: Current stone selection trends include:

Larger formats, especially rectangles;
Vein cuts for a linear look;

Subtle and practical honed finishes;

White- and earth-tone colors;

Accessorizing with artistic accents and trims; and

Mosaics incorporating glass and metal.

Buy Local — Buy Smart

Q: You are not the closest tile shop to me. Are you worth the travel time?

A: Tile By Design is not a box or a chain or an ordinary destination. We are a locally owned business that offers an inspiring showroom, a large menu of personalized services and a unique experience. Our work partners are committed to a variety of environmental, social and community causes. See About Us.

Q: What is your return policy?

A: Stocked products may be returned within 30 days in full-box quantities. They are subject to a 25 percent restocking fee. Custom and special order materials require a 50 percent deposit at the time of order. The deposits are non-refundable.

Q: The tile delivered for my project does not match the sample I received. Now what?

A:  This happens more often than you would expect, because variation is inherent in all fired ceramic and natural stone products. Now is the time to consider your alternatives! We are sorry, but claims concerning color, shade, texture and markings or other alleged defects will not be allowed after products are installed.

Price Match Guarantee

Q: How does your Price Match Guarantee (PMG) work?

A: Guaranteeing a competitive price is an extension of our mission: to provide the best possible ceramic and stone shopping experience. If you find any of our products advertised elsewhere for less, simply bring in a copy of the advertisement or price quotation, and we will match it. A quotation should include relevant criteria such as product description, unit of measurement and freight cost (if applicable).

Q: What are the limitations to your PMG?

A: Eligible items must be the same brand and include the same features (i.e. size, finish and edge detail). In the case where one feature is different and immediate delivery is desired, we will try to make a mutually agreeable accommodation. The PMG is also not extended retroactively. Prices are finalized at the time of your purchase.

Q: You gave me a 25% discount to match an internet price and then my contractor increased his labor bid.  I didn't save much money.  How come?

A: We are wholesalers, so it is easy for us to match internet pricing.  The problem arises from differences in contractor bidding methods.  Some contractors will extend their wholesale pricing to you and then attach all their business expenses to their labor bid.  Other contractors will attach part of their overhead to their labor bid and recover the other part by reselling the tile to you at list price.  The bottom line is about the same, but it is also a negotiable item.  If you are willing to finance, pick-up, and deliver your own tile, you will normally save a little money.

You made a good decision when you bought local.  You ran short of tile and were able to get more in the same shade and same size that same day.  Internet buyers have many tile horror stories to tell.