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Two Yes or No Questions for Hiring a Tile Setter

Two Yes or No Questions for Hiring a Tile Setter

As you might imagine, knowing how to hire the right tile setter is a big deal for homeowners and commercial owners. That's why we developed the homeowner's guide to hiring qualified tile installers, and we'll soon have one geared toward architects, designers, and other tile installation project specifiers. 

In fact, it's such a big deal that it regularly comes up as a blog article topic - for example, Mark Heinlein  NTCA Training Director and Presenter shared with us how to Qualify Your Tile Installation Contractor With These 5 Questions - as well as in comments and conversations. That's why we put together this blog article about two questions to ask.

Two Yes or No Questions for Hiring a Tile Setter

More specifically, we received the following comment and suggestion from one of our readers:

"I can appreciate several of your documents that assist homeowners in hiring a tile setter, but the 10 things listed to look for in a tile setter is pathetic... I’m being 100% honest. I myself coach homeowners to ask the bidding tile setter “Two Yes or No Questions.” 

1.  Can you reference the most recent TCNA Handbook?

2.  Can you give me the cell phone number of the local manufacturer’s rep of the products that you use?

And be honest here!

Why Ask These Two Questions?

You might wonder, why these two specific questions? Here is the justification.

Referencing the most recent TCNA Handbook

Referencing the most recent TCNA Handbook

The first, asking about TCNA Handbook references, dovetails with the first point Mark Heinlein makes in his article; Mark also brings up the ANSI Standards. He writes,

Ask your tile contractor candidates if they own and use the TCNA Handbook and ANSI Standards.  The TCNA Handbook and tile industry standards are the recognized publications that guide successful installations for all tile contractors.  

The tile industry standards found in ANSI A108 / A118 and the methods published in the Tile Council of North America Handbook address the acceptable details and best practices for installing ceramic, porcelain, glass, and stone tile for all types of installations.

>> The TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation

>> ANSI Standards: A Tile Installer's Best Friend!

Ask them which Handbook method they will use to construct your project.  This will help you determine if the contractor you are interviewing owns and uses the recognized industry standards that will produce a great-looking and long-lasting installation for you.

Does your tile setter have the phone number of local manufacturer reps?

The Cell Number of Your Local Manufacturer Reps 

We found this question particularly interesting.

Although Mark brings up how manufacturers’ instructions are valuable resources that guide savvy installation contractors, he didn't specifically mention direct communications with manufacturer representatives. 

However, for those of you actively involved in tile installation Facebook groups, you're aware of how valuable it is to be able to ask a question and receive an expert perspective from the manufacturer's representative specific to the proposed tile installation products for your job.

Why is this Question Important for Hiring a Tile Installer?

Here's the justification for the second question:

"Question #2 wouldn’t overburden any one particular manufacturer’s rep. The reason for question #2 is that very few contractors would care enough to be able to provide that phone number."

By establishing a regular conversation with the local rep, the tile installer candidate reassures the homeowner that s/he has the knowledge to properly use the products in question.  Knowing the installer is asking the right questions speaks well of your candidate.

"Question #2 is in no way intended to intimidate local manufacturer’s reps but to cause “tile installers wannabes” to appreciate the “hoops” that one must go through to be successful in the trade."

Additionally, unqualified tile placers and wannabes will not have this type of relationship with the local rep and most times will not have the wherewithal to install these products as directed by the manufacturer.    

Conversely, the well-connected installer will do what it takes to get the necessary installation information and follow those guidelines to the letter for a high-quality installation.

This reader adds,

There is nothing wrong with my 2 Yes or No questions."

No, there isn't anything wrong with these questions for finding installers. In fact, we found them thought-provoking and worth sharing here on the CTEF Blog. 

What's Your Reaction to the Two Yes or No Questions for Hiring a Tile Setter?

Do these two questions capture the essence of what makes a qualified tile installer? Have you found others that are particularly relevant in your local market?

Let us know in the comments.

Thank you for reading and sharing with us your valuable perspective.


Explore the Homeowner's Guide  to Hiring a Qualified Tile Installer

Note: We originally published this article on 09/11/2018, and have updated it.