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Tips to prepare for tile installation

The proper installation of tile assures its beauty and performance. When you visit, a salesperson will ask you few questions, such as: Where will this tile go? What kind of use will this space receive?

Your answers to these questions will help determine the most appropriate type of tile. This is a brief outline, to better prepare you for your visit. All decisions should be made with a qualified contractor and according to the tile manufacturer’s instructions.

Before your showroom visit


Collect images of rooms you like as well as samples of other materials that will be used in the space and bring them with you to the showroom. This will help you to find the tile you want more quickly, and to identify colors more accurately.


We carry tile in a wide range of prices so you are sure to find something that fits your budget. It helps to have an idea of how much you want to spend to narrow down your choices and save time while you shop. Ask your contractor to estimate installation cost so you can factor that into your total budget.

Evaluate the area where the tile will go


Prior to installation, there must be a smooth, level, and stable substrate of surface, clean of any residue, adhesives, and debris.


Where there may be exposure to water – floors in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, entry from outside such as a foyer or mudroom, or a countertop near a sink – some waterproofing is necessary. This is particularly essential iin locations that see water regularly, i.e., a shower or tub area, and pool walls. Your contractor will want to install a waterproof membrane. In areas where water drains, such as a shower base, tile must be sloped to completely drain the liquid.


Will the tile go in an area that sees a big swing in temperature or exposure to moisture? Exterior applications can experience water seeping into the surface of a material, and then freezing and later thawing. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles can cause material to crack over time. All tiles are rated for absorbancy, abrasion resistance, color fastness and tensile strength. Ask your salesperson to guide you to products suitable for the intended environment.


How much and what kind of foot traffic will the tile endure? A bathroom doesn’t typically get the same pounding (or see tracked in grit) as an entry foyer. Tile is rated for traffic, from heavy commercial to residential.


Some stones – marble, limestone, and travertine – are vulnerable to acidic foods like lemons or tomatoes, as well as many cleaners, and contact will cause a dulling of the surface and change in texture. If you want to place one of these materials where food will be prepared, you will need to be hyper vigilant about regularly sealing the stone and using a barrier such as a cutting board while doing food prep.