brick pattern tile

Tricks of the Tile Trade- Three Simple Steps To Ensure a Beautiful Tile Installation!

Blog By Jennifer Oliver (Co-Owner of Sticks & Stones Custom Tile & Hardwood LLC)Building a new home? Under taking a kitchen or bathroom remodel? If so, then there are lots of details to consider. Design, budget and functionality all play a part in the decision making process for every aspect of the project. While we can’t direct you on every aspect of your new space Sticks & Stones CAN share some great pointers to help you get the most out of your new tile floor, shower or backsplash!So we have decided to share with you some tips and trade secrets that will ensure you end up with the end result you truly want.Consult a Good Tile ShopI know, this seems like a no brainer. But really, visit a shop or two that specializes in tile. Spend some time looking at samples and talking to the designers. Ask the experts at the tile shop about product selection, application and the newest installation techniques. Be sure to ask about specific tiles durability and stain resistance. Gather ideas and bring samples home, if possible, to see if you truly love the look and color with the light at your home. When you are finally ready to make your purchase, remember “don’t cut quality, when quality counts”. Inexpensive tile can be a great find, but poor quality tile can be odd sizes, have glazing that can wear off quickly and may even not be consistent in color. If you find a great deal, make sure it’s a good quality tile and purchase all you need from the same dye lot. Just because the tile looks the same at multiple locations doesn’t mean it’s the same quality tile, so be sure to ask!tileshowernicheConsider Your OptionsWe want all our customers to love the end result of their project. That means more than just loving the tile they picked. It’s also about picking the RIGHT tile and RIGHT method. For example, if you’re doing a renovation in an older home, you may have floors that are not level like you find in a newer home. Smaller tiles accentuate those slopes and pitches, so you may want to consider picking a larger tile. Custom showers are increasingly popular. Will this bathroom remodel serve as your retirement home? Then perhaps a built in seat is a good choice, or considering a zero threshold shower where you can roll into it in the case that someone needs a wheelchair. Do you hate shower clutter? Consider extra built in shelves (or niches).There are also lots of new products on the market. Some of our favorites are:

  • Electric Floor Warming Systems. These heat “mats” are installed by the tile installer under the tile, usually in the bathroom. It allows for completely customizable heating zones. A great feature that warms your tile floor, keeping bare feet amazingly happy! Our favorite is Ditra-Heat by Schluter Systems.
  • Adorne System by LeGrand. You have chosen a beautiful backsplash…and you realize you will have wall outlets all over the place. Fear not! The Adorne System is a modular unit that mounts under your cabinets. Chose from outlets, speakers, iPad docks, lights and more. This system clears the clutter off your counter and makes that new backsplash look even better by hiding those unsightly outlets! Check it out at
  • Schluter Profiles- Want an option other then rounded bullnose tile? Have no fear! These Schluter profiles are a great way to “finish” your look and offer edge protection without bullnose. They come in a variety of colors and are a great design option. (Shown below on a shower curb)

TileshowercurbKeep It ClassicWe like to guide people and help them make a selection they love, but we try to steer people away from “trendy” tile installations. The last thing you want is to pick a tile that will be out of style in a few years or that you will grow sick of. Unlike paint colors, tile is not cheap or easy to change. We recommend sticking with classic looks that are timeless. Lucky for us, the most popular looks of today really ARE timeless!

  • White subway tile in a brick pattern is very popular and very versatile.
  • “Wood look” plank tiles are amazing and come in lots of finishes. They give the impression of wood flooring but are much easier to maintain.
  • Large format tiles are all the rage (think 18”, 24”) and can be very elegant.
  • Herringbone patterns (or the similar Chevron pattern) are a very classic, popular choice.