LICENSED TILE INSTALLATION CONTRACTOR SAN DIEGO CA
Hello, My name is Will Arnzen and I am a licensed tile contractor and tile installer working in San Diego, North San Diego County, East San Diego County, and North & South Orange County Ca including La Jolla, Del Mar, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach, La Costa, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido Ramona, Poway, Cardiff, and Chula Vista . I have 20 years of experience in tile & stone installation and restoration. Working with ceramic tile, porcelain tile, saltillo tile, slate tile, flagstone pavers, glass tile, marble, tile, travertine tile, and granite tiles. and other natural stone tiles involving residential remodels and new construction. Tile installation applications include floors, shower walls and pans, tub enclosures,countertops and backsplashes, fireplaces, patios, concrete block barbeques, and jacuzzis. I also am a licensed general contractor so we can handle complete bathroom, kitchen, and patio additons and remodels from start to finish. Thanks, Will
Obviously the first thing people think of when considering a tile project is what kind of tile to install. Most projects will usually use at least 1 of 3 types of tile, ceramic, porcelain,or natural stone. The most common is ceramic tile which has a clay base that is pressurized and heated to harden it and give it strength. The top finished side is then color glazed normally a glossy or matte finish.The glossy finish is generally used on walls because it can be slippery especially when wet. The matte finish can be used on floors as well as walls. Porcelain tile is fired at a higher temperature and compressed with more pressure making porcelain tiles, heavier, stronger, more durable, and more resistant to water damage. Porcelain is made with a white clay base which allows the whole tile to take on the same color of dye giving the tile a "thru body color". So if you chip the top of a porcelain tile, instead of seeing the red clay body as in ceramic tile the chipped area will remain close in color to the finish color. Because of the manufacturing process porcelain is generally more expensive than ceramic tile. Natural stone tiles come in different varieties. Limestone, marble, travertine, granite, and slate are the most popular.Travertine and marble were first limestone before undergoing transformation to their present state. Limestone is a mix of sediment and the leftover bones of animals that lived in the sea and has been compressed over millions of years by the their own weight and the weight of the sea water. The variety of shapes and colors in limestone are fossils captured in time. When limestone is heated by the temperature and pressure of the earth to the point it becomes a molten liquid the resulting solid state is marble. While still in molten liquid state other patches of liquid minerals mix with the liquid limestone giving marble its characteristic veining. The newly formed solid marble is harder than limestone allowing it to be polished more finely to a mirror like finish. Travertine is limestone which formed the bottom of hot springs which have dried up over the years. The heat of the water would dissolve the calcium of the fossils in the limestone into the water leaving holes in the resulting stone similar to piece of swiss cheese. After quarrying and cutting the travertine the voids are filled in with a similar color putty and the stone is honed to a satiny looking finish. The difference between polished and honed is more sanding with finer grits which is the process for polishing marble. Limestone and marble are generally more expensive than ceramic and porcelain tiles and travertine can be found comparably priced to ceramic and porcelain while still having a natural stone feel and look. The main drawback with these natural stones is that they are porous and can be stained if not sealed and maintained properly. Depending on the tile sealer brand you use, they make recommend resealing every 1 - 1 1/2 years, which is a good idea anyways to help reseal and protect the grout at the same time. Granite comes in many and beautiful varities and is harder than marble because of the longer cool down time from its liquid state. This allows for more polishing making it much more difficult to stain or scratch making it a popular choice for countertops in kitchens and baths. Because these are products of nature there will be some variation from piece to piece. So if it is possible you might want to get 2 or 3 samples of the stone you like and take them home and put them on the floor or wall to see they are a good fit. By the way when sampling tiles and grout colors put the tile and grout samples on the floor or wall depending on the application because lighting plays many tricks at different angles. Slate is another popular natural stone used for walls and floors and generally has the most variation in color from piece to piece. Some other things to consider when selecting tile are color, size, and to see if the tile you choose has accompanying finish pieces you may need for your project. There are so many different colors and mixtures of colors it is difficult to give any advice other than to go to more than 1 tile store to get a broad selection and maybe better price. As for the size of the tiles 12"x12" tiles are the most common but there are many different sizes also. For floors the bigger tiles seem to be gaining in popularity because they make a room seem bigger and there are less grout joints. 18"x18", 20"x20", and 24"x24" are common sizes. It costs a little more per foot for the bigger tile purchasing and installing, but is usually worth the effort. Smaller tiles are usually used in bathrooms and showers, especially tile shower pans where the tile has to have a slope to the drain. 2"x2", 4"x4", and 6"x6" are common sizes for smaller tiles. Showers usually require the most specialty finish pieces. Bullnosing, domers, cigars, and v-caps make for clean finished edges. The primary finish piece for flooring is to use ceramic tile base instead of wood base. In wet areas it is better to have tile base because it water resistant and if you clean the tile alot for a business or busy household it would probably be better to have a tile base instead or wood or wood composite. If you really like a particular tile and they don't have the appropriate finish pieces in that line it is a good time to be creative with a different color or different sizes. They also make accent pieces for borders and insets, the only problem is narrowing down the selection. Recycled glass tiles are becoming popular decos and accents for walls and showers. Or you can cut down the tile you already have to give a more subtle contrast in areas or bordering diagonally laid tiles with a straight border. This is where a tile installer should be enthusiastic to help out. The specialty pieces will cost a little more to purchase and install but your tile installer can give you some suggestions on ways to keep the price down while enhancing the tile job. Some final thoughts. For grout it is generally better to get similar colors for the grout and tile unless you want a more dramatic effect. And generally speaking it is a good idea to have your grout and tile sealed at the end of the project because the bettter sealing products do a good job in helping to keep the tile clean and more importantly grout clean. Ask your salesperson or installer about what products will work best for your particular product. Natural stone products use different sealers than ceramic and porcelain products. And if you do wash your floor with a mop and water, its a good idea to use clean water to rinse with and dry with a clean towel so dirty water doesn't dry into the grout joints leaving dirty grout joints. Good luck and have fun.