Tiling is an easy option to boost your home's appeal and resale value on a budget. Apart from the aesthetics and its cost effectiveness, properly installed tiles stand out among other options for its durability, low maintenance, water resistance, and eco-friendliness. Tiling is a delicate task that involves careful calculations, heavy liftings, and exposure to harmful substances including asbestos. Typically, an amateur tiler will far exceed the 10 percent allowable wastage in the cutting and setting of tiles. And asbestos is known to cause cancer and several lung conditions. As such, it is essential to take your health and well-being into consideration while saving money on your tile installation by leaving the task to certified professionals nearby. These tile flooring contractors are trained to complete your installation in strict accordance with industry specifications and national safety standards. To ensure you are hiring the best tiler near you, ask your flooring contractors the following questions:
Are You A Licensed Tile Flooring Contractor?
A license is a government guarantee of the proficiency of a contractor. Licensure requirements for tile flooring contractors vary by state and locality. States such as Arizona, California, Maryland, Michigan, and Tennessee require job-specific licensing -a home improvement license- for tile flooring professionals. On the other hand, Florida, Minnesota, and North Dakota are some of the states which require only general building contractors licenses. In some other states such as Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, and New York, only a local-level license is required for tile flooring contractors. Brevard County in Florida and Denver City in Colorado are such counties that issue professional licenses to tile flooring contractors. You may contact your state licensing board or consumer protection office to determine the licensing requirements for tilers.
Tile flooring contractors who are members of professional associations such as, the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the Tile Contractors' Association of America (TCAA), the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC) may also carry licenses or certifications offered by these associations.
Request to see a copy of the tiler's license or certificate before you conclude on hiring them. You can call the licensing authority to determine the validity of such a license.
Are You Bonded and Insured?
Common workplace hazards for tilers include musculoskeletal disorders from heavy-liftings, falls from height, struck-by cutting machine injuries, and health issues caused by exposure to noise, carbon monoxide, silica and other dangerous chemicals. In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 7 work-related fatalities among tilers and other flooring installers. The Bureau recorded 320 occupational injuries among tile and stone setters in the same year. The probability of such incidents occurring on your site informs the need to require insurance cover from your contractor.
Liability and worker's compensation insurance plans are the least that any contractor near you must have. A general liability insurance policy covers property damages, physical injuries to persons, and other liabilities that arise from the job and for which the job is the proximate cause. Workers compensation insurance, on the other hand, provides for worker's medical bills and a portion of wages in the event of a work-related injury.
Ensuring that your work is not left unfinished in the event of an accident, for example, is what a surety bond is for. This type of contract coverage mandates the company that issued the bond to cover the cost of finishing your project.
It would be best if you asked to be shown original proof of insurance and bonding. You can verify these documents by contacting the companies providing the coverage.
What Kind of Tile Flooring Work Are You Specialized In?
Tiles come in different designs, size, make and grades, with some being more luxurious and expensive. These include ceramic, porcelain, glass, marble, granite, and natural stone tiles. Inquire of your flooring contractors if they are conversant working with all or some of these tile products. Also, you should determine if the contractor has experience in the installation method required working the available floor surface in your home. Some of these methods include:
- Thin Set Method: This method involves directly placing tiles on a concrete surface. This will normally require applying treatments that will eradicate contaminants, and curing the surface of cracks. This method is applicable on concrete slabs that are not subject to bending stress, such as post tensioned concrete and structural concrete.
- Double-Plywood Floor Method: This method is used for plywood floors, especially when there is a restriction on floor thickness. When done correctly, the tiles are more deflection-resistant compared to when cement backer boards are used. It is suitable for light traffic interior floors that are not exposed to any form of moisture. Proprietary membranes such as Schluter Ditra can also be used with this method.
- Residential Mortarbed Method: This type of method is applicable for wood subfloors with sound structural strength. A mortarbed is typically installed over the wood subfloor, using float strips and deck mortar, for reinforcement. A reinforced duplex asphalt paper or polythene sheeting is also fixed tightly to the wooden subfloor directly.
Who Will Do The Work?
Tile setting involves a lot of physical activities such as kneeling, bending, moving the hands and legs, and handling several materials. As such, your contractor may require more hands on the job. It is your responsibility as a property owner to ensure that all parties involved in your job are qualified, licensed, and insured.
Request to see valid proof of licensure, insurance, and bonding covering every extra worker working on your project. However, if they are your contractor's employees, they may be covered by your contractor's license and workers compensation insurance. Make efforts to verify all proof documents. Doing so will save you from trouble with local regulatory authorities and costly lawsuits.
Do You Offer A Warranty?
Contractors typically issue Warranties on products and services, to assure their customers of the quality of the said products or their workmanship, and commit to rectifying any defects. Highly proficient contractors near you will not hesitate to give you a warranty for their workmanship. For tile flooring work, a warranty must be obtained from the tile manufacturer and the tile installer.
If you are making the tiles purchase yourself, look out for products that bear warranties. Typical tile product warranties cover a year from the date of purchase. However, certain conditions may apply, such as professional installation, residential application, and use by the original purchaser.
It would be best if you allowed the tile flooring contractor to purchase the tile, with the instruction that only tile products that bear warranties may be considered for purchase. The experience and expertise of your contractor will help to select top-quality tiles from reputable manufacturers.
Service warranties, on the other hand, which may be oral, documented, or implied, provide cover for events such as: loose grout or tiles, cracked tiles or grout, and grout discoloration. However, each of these must be found to have been directly caused by poor installation and not poor maintenance or negligence on the part of the user.
Will This Job Require A Permit?
Permits are typically issued by local agencies authorizing the execution of a contract of a job. It is an effort to ensure that professionals comply with local ordinances and regulations. Permits are more about safety and compliance than licensure.
Local authorities generally exempt minor home improvements such as tile flooring. However, it would be wiser to research what applies in your locality. Contact the local building regulatory agency office near you to determine if your tiling project will require a permit.
Will You Provide References?
Proven tile flooring contractors will be eager to show you their past works. Not only do these references help you evaluate the quality of their job, but it also gives you the opportunity to get an overall review from the past client. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends asking for at least three references to past projects.
References also help you decide if their expertise matches your job's requirements. Suppose your tile flooring contractor has a business website, check out the portfolio section to assess past work. For independent reviews of clients near you, internet sources such as Better Business Bureau, Google Business Reviews, and Yelp provide unbiased business feedback.
Do You Have A Business License?
A business license is quite different from a professional license and a permit, both in requirements and purpose. Some of the general requirements for a business license include business registration, business incorporation and certification, tax filing, and valid professional license. State and local departments of revenue are usually in charge of issuing business licenses. A business qualification may be required in addition to a professional qualification to issue a business license.
Contact your state's Office of the Secretary of State to verify your contractor's registration and licensing claims. It is easier and safer to deal with a registered business than an unrecognized one.
What Are Common Tile Flooring Problems?
In general, some of the most common problems of tile flooring include:
- Unstable tile subfloor
- Grout breaking, usually arising from wrong grout mixture and application
- Uneven horizontal tile alignment, resulting in lippage
- Inadequate tile spacing for expansion, leading to pops on the tiles' surfaces
- Loose and cracked tiles arising from wrong selection and usage of substrates and adhesives
- Permanently stained or tainted tile surface, as a result of poor cleaning and workmanship
How Much Does Tile Flooring Cost?
The cost of tile flooring is not fixed and varies from state to state. Tile flooring contractors near you may charge prices depending on their level of expertise, type of building, and the worksite location. Nonetheless, standard fees are charged within an affordable range and do not necessarily go outside the industry pricing range. Below are some tile flooring cost estimate:
What Are The Factors Affecting The Cost of Tile Flooring?
The most important factors that influence tile flooring are the cost of tile and the cost of labor. The cost of tile is affected by:
- Type of tile material (ceramic, stone, cement, etc.)
- Tile grade or manufacturing quality (High, medium, and low grades)
- Tile design and pattern ( Herringbone, Step, Straight set, Ashlar, etc.)
- Water Absorption rate (Vitreous, Non-Vitreous, Impervious, etc.)
The cost of labor, on the other hand, is affected by factors such as:
- Location of worksite
- Level of expertise
- Type of tile to be installed
- Size of area to be tiled
- Level of preparatory work required
- Type of building
Note, hiring contractors near you may help minimize the cost of labor as travel time is reduced.
Other factors which also affect the total installation cost include:
- Tile subfloor requirements: For new houses under construction, the cost will usually be lesser relative to adapting an existing flooring for tile laying. In some cases, tile installation may require tearing up the existing floor and installing a more appropriate one.
- Tile grouting: Different tiles have different grouting materials, and as such, the cost of a tile's grouting materials may substantially affect total installation cost.
What Qualifications Should A Tile Flooring Contractor Have?
Tile flooring contractors do not typically require a college degree or any other extensive formal education. The job of tile flooring involves a more hands-on and technical training approach. Therefore, a high school diploma, apprenticeship and a technical school certificate will suffice to practice in the industry.
While further certification is not required, it demonstrates tile flooring contractors' mastery of their craft. Your tile flooring contractor may hold a certification from any of these organizations or and programs:
- The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF)
- The International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI)
- The International Standards and Training Association (INSTALL)
- The Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT)
Do You Need A Tile Flooring Contractor or A Handyman?
While you may bet on a handyman near you due to the initial cost saving on a cheap fee, you may end up paying more for expensive mistakes committed by an amateur tiler. The industry average for wastage by a professional installer is 5 percent, the cost of this wastage becomes weightier when your tile is installed by an untrained hand.
Also, do not forget that an uninsured and unbonded contractor working on your site exposes you to the risk of greater financial liability if an injury or damage occurs, or the project is not completed satisfactorily. Professional installation of your tile is a guarantee of durability and long-term cost savings.
What Are Common Post Tile Flooring Expenses?
Not much is required after a professional tile flooring job. Of course, you will need to clean your flooring surface appropriately. The cleaning may be charged to your original contract with the tiler or negotiated with an independent cleaner. A thorough cleaning to remove cement stains and droppings of cement grout or other materials used during the job is essential.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Tile Flooring Expenses?
Homeowner insurance provides coverage for property damage or loss caused by events such as fire, storm, or vandalism. If your former tile flooring was damaged by an event you were insured against, then your homeowner insurance plan will cover the tile flooring expenses.
However, none of these events must have been caused by your negligence or misconduct, as this may void your right to claim indemnity. It would be best if you had your insurance terms clearly explained and spelled out between you and your coverage provider. This will further remove any ambiguity in the event of an accident.
Can I Use Digital Payment To Pay My Tile Flooring Contractor?
Yes, you can. Today, more and more small businesses, including tile flooring contractors near you are accepting electronic cashless payments via bank transfers, eWallets, eChecks, and debit/credit cards. Digital payments do not involve handling physical cash and are reputedly safer, more secure, more convenient, faster, and cheaper. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends not to pay cash to contractors and to keep payment receipts securely. Discuss with your contractor your option to pay their fees electronically before finalizing the paperwork.