Posts Tagged ‘tile advice’

  • All About Grout

    Date: 2012.04.10 | Category: Custom Tile, Tips and Advice | Response: 0

    Grout, the colored mortar between the tiles, has been drastically improved in recent years. Grout helps hold your tiles in place as well as seals the space between them. It also acts as a frame around the tile and should complement the color of the ceramic tile. Numerous colors are available to coordinate with your tile choice.

    A few things to keep in mind when it comes to grout:

    * The Grout Color. The actual finished grout color in an installation is affected by moisture, temperature and installation techniques. Because of these variables, the installed shade may differ from a showroom sample. Choose grout color to blend rather than match.

    * Proper Maintenance.Today there are grout formulas that contribute to stain and mildew resistance. Good maintenance procedures that remove surface soil always improve the appearance of any ceramic tile installation. For tile cleaning tips click here.

    * Using a Sealant. Improved sealers can assist in keeping the grout at its best.

    * A word of advice for the DIY-er: Grouting can be a difficult task and requires a level of skill to ensure the look of your tile for years to come. When it is properly applied and maintained, your tile will have a fresh look for many, many years. However, even just one wrong move in the application process can cause the grout to crack, become dry, and hold stains for years. Here are some tips for a good grout application. 

  • Floor Construction For Ceramic Tile

    Date: 2012.03.28 | Category: Custom Tile, Tips and Advice | Response: 1

    A common question we hear when it comes to ceramic tile installation is , “Does ceramic tile require a special floor construction?”

    In answer to this question: Standard floor construction of 2″ x 10″ floor joists spaced 16″ on center with 5/8″ plywood underlayment is suitable. However, more than 20 years experience shows that rigid cementitious backer board is superior to plywood as an underlayment. Whether consisting of a double layer of plywood or a layer of plywood with cement board on top, the total thickness of the subfloor must be at least 1-1/4″. A clean, structurally sound concrete slab is suitable and does not require additional underlayment. In some cases 1/4″ or 1/2″ thick cement board can be laminated directly over existing floor coverings without having to remove them.

    If you have any tile questions, we would be more than happy to answer them! Please leave us a comment.

  • An Important Tile Resource

    Date: 2012.03.15 | Category: Custom Tile, Tips and Advice | Response: 0

    Tile Council of America provides valuable information on the proper installation of ceramic tile in virtually any condition. They research all the installation methods and conditions and annually publish industry standards for the installation of tile.

    Any reputable Ceramic Tile Contractor will be very familiar with their publication. At Garretson Tile Company it’s our “bible”.

    Visit for endless amounts of resources and tips.

    The Garretson Tile Showroom

    One particular example is this great article called “Ceramic Tile for Geniuses and Dummies”  presented by Robert E. Daniels, Executive Director Emeritus of TCNA. This article discusses the intricacies of the tile business and how important it is to work with a reputable Tile Contractor. There are so many variables when it comes to tile. The article also details the basics in ceramic tile. Here is an excerpt:

    Ceramic tile itself can be a complex subject. Let’s slice down the layers of complexity and make it simple. There are two major types of tile, quarry tile: that is tile that is made by extrusion from natural clay or shale and tile that is made by the pressed dust method. This category includes wall tile, mosaic tiles, and floor tile. Either type of tile can be glazed or fired as unglazed. Glaze is a ceramic surfacing material that is used to provide a certain appearance. Let me restate this point: any ceramic tile type may be glazed or unglazed. This includes porcelain tiles. Read more here.

    Bottom line is: Do your research and be sure to speak with a tile expert. A general flooring expert and tile expert are two very different things.

  • Creative Idea Using Decorative Tile

    Date: 2011.09.21 | Category: Bathrooms, Custom Tile, Ideas and Inspiration, Tips and Advice | Response: 1

    Tile has so many wonderful uses in the home. Not only is it a functional, but it also gives an artistic touch to many applications. Decorative tile is most often seen surrounding around a fireplace or on a kitchen backsplash, but there are many other ways to use decorative tile throughout your home. The next thing you might be thinking is “that could get extremely pricey” and in some cases you would be correct. There are ways, however, to get the beautiful tile you desire and keep your budget in mind at the same time.

    Let’s take this example from Bill Buyok on  (Bill Buyok is the primary contributor for Avente Tile and has been publishing Tile Talk since 2008)

    This beautiful glass tile would make a stunning shower, but the price tag was high.

    Glass Tile $40 per square foot (photo courtesy of Click photo for original post.

    The option instead was given to create a “waterfall” design that appeared as if the glass tile was pouring onto the floor.

    glass mosaic waterfall effect. (image courtesy of Click for original post.

    The tile actually became a focal point and used $280 worth of the glass tile as opposed to the entire shower, which would have been roughly $3,600.

    The moral is: Don’t say no to a decorative piece of tile that appears to be out of your budget! A professional tile designer can assist you in implementing the tile you love at a price you can afford.

    Click to read Bill Buyok’s full post.  

  • Shopping for Ceramic Tile – Knowing the Guidelines

    Date: 2011.08.30 | Category: Tips and Advice | Response: 0

    When it comes to choosing ceramic tile, there are many things you should look for regarding performance and quality levels. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) together with the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) establish guidelines for tile manufacturing in the United States. These standards will help you choose the right tile based on your different projects.

    ANSI 137.1 (1988) presents standard specifications for ceramic tile. It lists and defines various types, sizes, physical properties, and grading procedures for ceramic tile, including mosaic tile, quarry tile, pressed floor tile, glazed wall tile, porcelain tile, trim units, and specialty tile.

    This standard also provides quality criteria for considerations such as these:

    Visual Inspection: Establishes whether a tile is classified as standard or second grade. Standard tiles pass the minimum inspection when viewed at 3′, second grade passes at 10′.

    Coefficient of Friction tell us how much effort it takes to move an object across the face of the tile dry or wet. This plays a huge role when choosing floor tiles and minimizing slipping injuries.

    Water Absorption: Does the tile absorb more than 7% water (non-vitreous) 3%-7% water (semi-vitreous) .5%-3% water (vitreous) or less than .5% water (impervious)? This is important when selecting tile that will belong in a wet environment.

    Breaking Strength: the tile’s minimum acceptable breaking strength

    Abrasive Hardness: The higher the number, the harder the tiles surface.

    Chemical Resistance of the tile.

    Impact Resistance: Using an 1/16″ diameter striker, the tiles resistance to chipping is tested.

    This is just a sample of the guidelines that are established under this standard. Read more here. 

    Be sure your ceramic tile is manufactured in accordance with the standards outlined in ANSI 137.1 1988.



  • Caring for the Surfaces in Your Home

    Date: 2011.07.20 | Category: Tips and Advice | Response: 0

    Real Simple posted a fantastic resource as a guide for knowing how to clean and care for the different surfaces in your home. The surfaces range from butcher blocks, to granite, limestone, ceramic tile, slate, marble and more.

    We wanted to share some of the helpful tips with you on our blog! To read the full article click here. 


    From the Garretson Tile Gallery

    Ceramic Tile:
    Use: For glazed tiles, one capful of isopropyl alcohol in one gallon of water. For unglazed tile, like terra-cotta, a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
    Tools: A cloth or mop.
    Tips: Rinse with water and a clean cloth. Avoid oil soaps or ammonia, which will yellow grout. Avoid vinegar, which will damage grout.
    Tough stains: Use a scraper or putty knife to remove stubborn debris. Use a nylon scrubbing pad dampened with dishwashing liquid to remove stains from grout. Apply grout sealer twice a year to prevent stains.

    Use: A few drops of dishwashing liquid and warm water.
    Tools: A cloth, sponge, or mop.
    Tips: Sweep or vacuum stone floors regularly; stone surfaces are susceptible to damage from grit. Rinse with a clean, soft cloth. Apply a penetrating sealer, available at stone dealers and home centers, every two to three years to prevent deep stains. Avoid abrasive cleansers, which can scratch, and ammonia and nonchlorine bleach, which can dull the surface.

    Use: A few drops of dishwashing liquid and warm water.
    Tools: A cloth, sponge, or mop.
    Tips: Sweep or vacuum floors regularly. Wipe up spills with a clean, soft cloth. Apply a penetrating sealer, available at stone dealers and home centers, every year to prevent deep stains. As with limestone, don’t use abrasive cleansers, vinegar, and lemon-based cleansers.
    Tough stains: Use a ready-made poultice, available at stone dealers.

    Use: Plain water.
    Tools: A microfiber cloth.
    Tips: For extremely dirty windows, make a solution of one part vinegar to one part warm water and use a squeegee. To reduce streaking don’t clean windows in the heat of the day.
    Tough stains: Rub tough streaks with crumpled newspaper and the vinegar solution.

  • Tile Next to Hardwood?

    Date: 2011.05.31 | Category: Custom Tile, Tips and Advice | Response: 1

    We get asked questions about placing tile next to a hardwood floor and if it can it work. Sure! The key is to make the transition seamless. If the heights are the same you will just leave a small expansion joint and fill with color matched grout caulk. Be sure edges are clean when using this method.

    Hard Surface Reducer Molding (image courtesy of

    If the two are not at the same level, the best option is a hard surface reducer (metal, wood, stone etc.) This floor trim will nicely transition down to adjoining floors. Either way, do not let using two different materials deter you from creating something very visually appealing in your home.

  • How to Replace a Broken Tile

    Date: 2011.05.19 | Category: Tips and Advice | Response: 0

    Maybe there is that one tile in an otherwise perfect floor that draws your eye. We are talking about a chipped or broken tile that needs repairing! With these steps you can have you tile floor looking like new again.

    1. Remove the Surrounding Grout
    2. Loosen the Tile
    3. Chisel Out the Pieces
    4. Set the New Tile
    5. Fill the Joint with Grout
    6. Allow the Grout to Dry

    If you need help with your chipped or broken tile, please don’t hesitate to email or give us a call. We are here to help.

  • Advantages of Ceramic Tile

    Date: 2011.05.18 | Category: Custom Tile, Tips and Advice | Response: 0

    There are many reasons to choose ceramic tile for your floor or wall. If you are considering using a ceramic tile, here are just a few of those reasons…

    • Durability
    • Fire Resistance
    • Moisture Resistance
    • Resistance to Abrasion/Tread Wear
    • Slip Resistance
    • Thermal Shock Resistance
    • Stain Resistance/Easy Maintenance
    • Chemical Resistance
    • Color Permanence
    • Hygiene

  • Talking Tile Trends

    Date: 2011.03.21 | Category: Custom Tile, Ideas and Inspiration | Response: 0

    As if there weren’t already enough options of tiles to choose from, there are two new types of tile that are becoming increasingly popular.

    You can find glass tile in a limitless amount of colors and sizes making it ideal for people who really want to customize a specific look for their home.  Another benefit of glass tile is that it is easy to mix with various other styles and looks, so don’t feel intimidated to mix and match it with different appliances, cupboards or counter tops!

    photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

    Another new trend is stainless steel tile! This modern look is not only meant for appliances anymore. As seen in the picture, it goes great in kitchens and brings a classy style to the decor.

    If you’re interested in seeing what other kinds of tile are out there, visit our website or stop in at our store to check out your options!