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What You Need to Know When Hiring a Tile Installer

What You Need to Know When Hiring a Tile Installer

Are you looking for a professional tile installer? Installing new tiles in your home is an investment, so you want a professional installer who takes care when they install your tiles. Whether you want a subway tile backsplash or a mosaic tile backsplash, your tile should last for many years from high-quality installation.

So how do you know where to start when it comes to hiring a contractor? We break it down and make it easier for you to find the right installer for your project.

tile flooring in the kitchen

Things to Ask Prospective Tile Installers

The interview process is a must when searching for the right tile installer. During this process, there are certain questions you should ask. These questions include asking about their employees, qualifications, and experience installing tile.

Even if you are satisfied with their answers, you need to go further. The tile installer is doing a major project in your home so you want to know what kind of insurance they have and whether they are in compliance with local codes.

Here are some example questions to ask your contractor:

  1. Do you have an insurance policy for property damage?
  2. Do you have an insurance policy for third party injuries?
  3. Are the workers covered by worker’s compensation?
  4. Are the workers employees or subcontractors?
  5. Do you belong to any professional industry organizations?
  6. Do you have references from previous jobs?
  7. What is your safety policy or program?

Depending on the answers to the questions above depends on whether you will need to ask some follow up questions. For example, if the contractor answers yes to insurance policies, a good follow up is to ask for a copy of the certificate of insurance, the coverage amount, and the policy expiration date. If the employees on the site are subcontractors, then they also need to provide proof of insurance, worker’s compensation, and property damage liability insurance. You want to make sure you are protected in case of an accident.

Check References and Certifications 

Next, ask for the contractor’s references. Call the references and ask questions to get a better understanding of how the contractor communicated, their quality of work, how they handled the job site, and if the references were unhappy with any work the tile installer did. 

Some warning signs to watch out for include:

  • The contractor does not provide references
  • Slow to deliver their certifications
  • They only have family members as references
  • The references only have negative things to say
  • They disappeared on past projects
  • The contractor constantly missed deadlines

Ask whether the tile installer is certified. If they are not certified, ask what tiling experience they have. A quality tile installer will have two years of experience as a lead installer. Watch out for a contractor that only has experience as a grouter, helper, improver, or a similar entry-level role.

View the Written Agreement 

Once you decide on a contractor and get an estimate, a professional will follow up with a written agreement. Make sure the agreement is in writing. If the contractor refuses a written agreement, it is best to find a new one because written agreements are standard.

The agreement sets the expectations when it comes to scheduling and payments. Check to make sure the completion date is reasonable and there is enough room for changes if something unexpected happens during installation. In case there is an unexpected delay, the agreement should note who will pay for the extra work.

How to Tell if Your Tile Installer is High-Quality

Now that you know the basics when it comes to hiring a tile installer, let’s take a look at what makes a professional tile installer superior to other contractors.

kitchen backsplash being installed

Works With Premium Materials

Premium bonding materials are worth the extra money. These materials should be used on all your tiling projects, from the subway tile backsplash to the mother of pearl tile in your bathroom. Even though the premium bonding materials may seem like it costs more, it is just only a few pennies per square foot. 

Using premium materials prevents future problems and ensures the tile is installed correctly. Talk to your contractor about what types of materials he works with. Keep in mind that if you do have to pay a little extra for premium materials it is worth it in the long run. 

Confirms Installation Surfaces are Flat

Tile installers must meet the industry standard for flatness tolerances. If the floor is slanted or crooked then it needs to be fixed before tile installation continues. If these surfaces are not corrected, the tile installation will be slanted and end up looking bad and fail in a few years.

Incorporates Movement Accommodation Joints

Temperature and humidity variations move the joints and tile, which is why it is so important for professional tile installers to put expansion joints in to accommodate the movement.

Even if the tile is properly installed otherwise, if the expansion joints are not placed correctly then the tile will pop up in the middle of the floor. This will cost extra money to fix and is an overall headache because you will essentially be doing the same project twice.

Allows for Proper Cure Time

The tile should cure per the manufacturer's recommendations before you can walk on it or use it as normal. If you start walking on the tile too fast, the installation may fail and you may need to pay to repair it. Talk to your contractor about how long the tile should cure and listen to them to their recommendations.

Find a Quality Tile Installer

Hiring a quality contractor is essential to making your project go smoothly. Ask questions and make sure to check their references. No matter what type of project you are doing, from a mosaic tile backsplash putting in a mother of pearl tile floor in your bathroom, it is important to find the right installer for your needs.

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