Do you create a tile installation mockup for your customers? If you don't, we strongly encourage you to consider doing so.
What is a Mockup?
Wikipedia defines a mockup as follows:
"In manufacturing and design, a mockup, or mock-up, is a scale of full-size model of a design or device, used for teaching, demonstration, design evaluation, promotion, and other purposes. Mock-ups are used by designers mainly to acquire feedback from users.
Mock-ups address the idea captured in a popular engineering one-liner: You can fix it now on the drafting board with an eraser or you can fix it later on the construction site with a sledge hammer."
Mockups for Installing Tile Help Gain Owner and Specifier Approvals
How true that last sentence is, especially in today's fast-track world of construction. It's equally true for installing tile.
In the tile world, mockups should be used as a tool by the tile contractor to obtain the approval of the owner and possibly also the architect, designer and general contractor - all important specifier constituents for the end project.
Establishing how the finished tile installation will appear before the work begins is a wise choice which can save time and money.
How ANSI Refers to Tile Mockups
Although mockups are not an ANSI requirement, they are mentioned as follows:
"ANSI A108.02-126.96.36.199 Running bond/brick joint offset: For running bond/brick joint patterns utilizing tiles (square or rectangular) where the side being offset is greater than 18 inches (nominal dimension), the running bond offset will be a maximum of 33% unless otherwise specified by the tile manufacturer. If an offset greater than 33% is specified, specifier and owner must approve mock-up and lippage."
This tile mockup demonstrates what to expect from installing tiles with strong pattern and shade variation. It also provides perspective on the joint offset.
The TCNA Handbook Calls for Mockups
The TCNA Handbook also calls for mock-ups in several sections of the book.
In both the Ceramic Tile and Glass Tile Selection Guides, the Aesthetic Classes in both the V3 and V4 categories, share this language:
"It is recommended that the range (of color and texture) be viewed before selection and that a mock layout be made."
Similarly, the Natural Stone Selection Guide in the Viewing/Inspection Distance sections states,
"It is recommended that samples, range samples, mockups and finished work be viewed for inspection at a distance of 6-1/2' from a position normal (perpendicular) to the stone face, and with natural lighting."
Mockups Demonstrate Exactly What to Expect From a Tile Installation
Ultimately, the use of a mockup is a really good idea that can demonstrate to the end user, who may have difficulty visualizing the final finish, exactly what to expect.
The mockup shows the range of color and/or texture within the tile, the pattern or offset (if applicable), the size, texture and color of the grout joint, the appearance of the sealant joints, and any accessory items that will be used on the project. This way there are no surprises, unhappy customers or unfulfilled expectations upon completion of the project.
One special note on sealant joints –
Always educate the end user that the sealant joints will complement or coordinate with the grout color. Since the 100% silicone sealant is a different product and texture from the grout, using the word matching is not appropriate.
Finally, be certain to obtain the signatures of all interested persons including, the owner, architect, designer, decorator, and general contractor.
>> See Thin Tile Installation Expertise Creates Clubhouse Bar & Lounge where CTI Dan Welch describes how important detailed drawings were for executing the project correctly.
Ready to Create Installation Mockups?
Are you ready to create mockups for your tile projects? I hope so. Mockups demonstrate expertise and professionalism, not to mention respect for the project owner, something in which Certified Tile Installers take great pride.