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Community and Q&A

How to hire a tiling contractor?

faaast | Posted in General Questions on


The two local well known tile person are both tied up and can’t work on our house since the builder didn’t line them up when he should have.

I am in the process of interviewing the tile guys and was wondering what do I need to ask them to see if they know what they are doing?

secondly, also when I go look at their work, what am I suppose to be looking at?

Thirdly, any important tips that I need to know/ask the tile guy for laying down marble/Limestone tiles on the floor and regular tiles in the shower?

Lastly, is Limestone a good choice for floor? we are installing them in the foyer/dinning room and the hallways

My biggest concern/fear is, since I don’t know much about laying down the tile, how would I know what’s latest in tiling business and If the tile contractor is up-to-date or not?



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  1. Emily_Clay | | #1

    IMO, hiring the right contractor can make the difference in terms of safety, budget and stress.Ask these question before hiring someone.

    Are you familiar with basic home improvement projects?
    Do you know how to use construction tools properly and safely?
    Do you enjoy taking on hard labor tasks?
    Do you know how to create a transition between different flooring levels?
    Do you understand the amount of slope needed?
    Do you know how to safely remove old flooring material and prep the subfloor?
    Do you know how to replace subflooring or check for water damage and mold?

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Before I answer Beenash's question, I'd like to provide general advice to GBA readers: It's important to choose a good general contractor (GC) if you are building a custom home. You don't want to be in Beenash's position -- having to perform some of the (valuable) work usually performed by an experienced GC, and feeling panicked because you are in over your head.

    I disagree with Emily, since I think that the answers to some of her questions won't be particularly enlightening. (After all, is there really more than one answer to the question, "Do you know how to use construction tools properly and safely?" How many tile contractors are going to answer "Nope"?)

    My advice:

    1. First of all, you are going to have to spend some time online, researching tile work, and learning how to make tile showers leakproof. If you don't do this research, you're headed for trouble.

    2. Look over the plans and specs developed by your architect -- you do have an architect, don't you? -- to see whether the plans show details for tiling the shower. If these details are lacking, you are in trouble.

    3. Ask prospective tile contractors for references, and call up some clients and ask them if they were satisfied with the work.

    4. Ask about insurance coverage, and ask the contractors to show you their insurance policy. Be suspicious of contractors who hem and haw.

    5. Ask the contractor the most common reasons that tiled showers leak, and how to prevent these leaks.

  3. davidmeiland | | #3

    Go to some of the local tile dealers and ask who the best tile contractors are. Call custom builders in your area and ask if they can recommend a good tile contractor. You might also check the forums and see if someone can recommend people in your area. Once you've done some research like this, you'll probably get a few of the same names more than once, and those are the people to start with.

    If you're concerned about how things will be done, get some specs written by an expert and have your installer follow them, and/or have your installer provide written details on what he's going to do and then have an expert review them.

  4. faaast | | #4

    Interviewed a nice, experienced and a very well mannered tile guy today. Has worked for quite a few local builders and mostly does custom fancy work. Will be visiting his work site soon to look at the work in person but what I have seen in pictures looks great.

    Martin, I am trying to dig myself out of the hole and hopefully I will be just fine.

    Thanks for all the support you guys show us and keep the suggestions rolling

    I am also thinking about writing a book, titled something like, " In's and Out's of building your dream house" or " what builders won't tell you" to educate people like us from getting taken in.

    The book will have every thing from drafting > architect > choosing a contractor > sub-contractor > signing a contract > scope of various contractors work > how to get bids > A,B,C of house building and various stages of a house build from basic foundation > framing > roughing in > dry walling > painting > flooring > to the last few finishing stages

    I am sure If I was to build again, I can save myself quite a bit of money not to mention getting it done in time.

  5. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #5

    If you want to submit a guest blog to GBA at the end of your project -- a "lessons learned" blog -- we would certainly consider publishing it.

    Once you have educated yourself on all of these issues, why not share your new knowledge with other people who are thinking of building a custom house?

  6. BillDietze | | #6

    Before you write your book, read this one: "What Your Contractor Can't Tell You: The Essential Guide to Building and Renovating" by Amy Johnston.

  7. thomasj11 | | #7

    Hi Beenash,

    We wrote an article with 87 questions you can ask a contractor. It's not specific for tile work, but a lot of the questions are the same if you want to check that the contractor does quality work.

    To my knowledge it is still the most extensive one out there.


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