Your Contractor Selection 

Your Installation: 

Basically the only protection that a consumer has against a tile job that is inferior or substandard is talking with the references your contractor should supply. Word of mouth is the best advertising a contractor can utilize. This is not always foolproof because you might have a different situation such as bathroom walls, backsplash in your kitchen, the major tile failure of shower pans, etc. and the referral may be for floors, which are somewhat easier and cosmetic.

 You should always check with your local Better Business Bureau first to determine if the contractor has a habit of leaving his customers in the lurch when a job needs to be corrected. If you have a hard time getting him to return your calls or meet an appointment with you at the onset, those personal habits generally spill into his professional work habits and you probably will be stood up more than once.

 You should also check with the local licensing bureaus to determine whether or not a license is required and subsequently, if he is licensed.  Geographical areas are not uniform in this respect, so you will have to determine this for your area. Locally in our area, the codes are sorely lacking enforcement and having a license doesn’t carry a lot of weight in determining the contractor’s credibility. A little known fact is that an unlicensed contractor has very limited recourse if the homeowner refuses to pay him.

 Remember that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is and you generally get what you pay for. If the price is too cheap, you will get a cheap job.  Remember also that everyone doesn’t finish at the top of the class.  Someone has to finish in the bottom 10% whether it is a doctor, lawyer, or tile contractor. A little research is very helpful.  Get the proposal in writing and remember to compare apple to apples when you compare pricing. Tile contractors are not all alike. Some take a lot of shortcuts.  Discounted setting materials, insufficient floor prep and trowels that are too small and do not put a sufficient amount of setting materials on the floor.

  The background and experience is of utmost importance. Some have “picked it up” working for a builder and the finished job will show it. Some, and they are very few, have had formal training from a trade school or program, they have the basics but lack the experience or on the job training.  Others have learned from the master tile setters from the old school, have been in the trade several years, and if he is dedicated, he has attended seminars and various tradeshows to stay abreast of the new trends, products, materials and tools. This trade is considered cosmetic so there are very few opportunities for continuing education in the installation field. Coverings is a trade show held in Orlando each year during the month of May is an excellent source of information with displays and seminars.

 Do your homework ! !

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