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The finish of an inset box can change the look of a shower.

In the photo below, we used the same tile, but edged the inset box in a different manner. As the title of this blog post states, it changes the whole look!

My goal here is to let you know you do have options!

On one side of the photo is an inset box ‘picture framed’ with the ‘bull nose’ tile on the outside of the box.

On the other side is an inset box with the ‘bull nose’ on the inside of the box.

Everything else is the same!

What looks better to you?

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Wrapped vs. Mirrored corners: What does that mean?

Ah, the everlasting question! Mirrored or wrapped.

I want YOU to decide, because ultimately it is personal preference and it is YOUR shower, so YOU should make the decision rather than leaving it up to us. Mind you, sometimes we have to do what works best for the lay out, trying to minimize small pieces, but if it is possible I like to let my customer have the final word.

Hypothetically, if you are working with a 12” tile and your corner tile works out to be 8” on one wall, the corner tile on the corresponding wall will be 4” to give the illusion of the 12” tile “wrapping” around the corner.

If you want to “mirror” the corner, if the tile in the corner works out to be an 8” tile, the corner tile on the corresponding wall will be 8” to “mirror” the corner tile next to it.

A small detail, and very esoteric, but something to pay attention to. I’ve illustrated photos below to help visualize. Neither one is right or wrong, better or worse. Just personal preference.

Wrapped Corners:

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Mirrored Corners:

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A master bath heavy on planning with the consistent execution you expect.

A recent master bathroom made with a experts touch. This was an enjoyable collaboration between Jason and the homeowner. We were all on the same page for the entirety of the project. We try to keep our process simple. From the first phone call, I asked a few questions to determine if we were a good fit for the homeowner’s needs. This particular client found us on Google and looked at our online content pretty extensively. I loved that so it was a great start to the relationship. We had a couple meetings, sent a detailed bid, figured out what we were going to do and put them on the schedule. They ordered their cabinet and tops, they handled the painting and we took care of the rest. That’s the advantage that we offer. Jason is a four year trade school grad, so he can handle pretty much anything we run into and not to a minimum standard, fly by the seat of your pants style, “good enough from my house” but by the book. Above standard, built to last. So, as a tile company, we seek to guide you. These people trusted our expertise and we listened to their needs. In cooperation we were able to put the pieces together and attain an amazing finished product at a great value for their money, adding distinction to their greatest investment and most personal space, their home.

The Five Star Google review:

“You owe it to your project to consider Hamilton Tile. Out of all the companies that we received quotes from, the professionalism, experience, and cost effectiveness provided by Hamilton could not be beat.

Our master bathroom remodel turned out absolutely perfect, and Hamilton Tile exceeded our every expectation.”

 Chattahoochee Glass Doors with the amazing installation.  Notice the wall tile pattern is “wrapped” throughout the entirety of this shower. Details!

Chattahoochee Glass Doors with the amazing installation.

Notice the wall tile pattern is “wrapped” throughout the entirety of this shower. Details!

 Subway tile is popular right now. Many different sizes and colors to pick from. I don’t foresee it ever going out of style. We use extremely high end building material. Silicone caulk, the best grout and thin set…Why not? Tile is a permanent finish, but it’s long lasting qualities depend on proper installation and the utilization of quality building material. With 25+ years of experience and a specialist’s mindset, we know what works and what doesn’t.

Subway tile is popular right now. Many different sizes and colors to pick from. I don’t foresee it ever going out of style. We use extremely high end building material. Silicone caulk, the best grout and thin set…Why not? Tile is a permanent finish, but it’s long lasting qualities depend on proper installation and the utilization of quality building material. With 25+ years of experience and a specialist’s mindset, we know what works and what doesn’t.

 12”x24” porcelain tile set 1/3 offset.

12”x24” porcelain tile set 1/3 offset.

 A custom 12”x28” inset box with custom hard surface shelves. Edged with Kerdi profiles.

A custom 12”x28” inset box with custom hard surface shelves. Edged with Kerdi profiles.

 The custom made pan, created to fit the space.

The custom made pan, created to fit the space.

 How do we know it’s water proof? We tested it.

How do we know it’s water proof? We tested it.

How ignoring the urge to say "it's just a basement" can really pay off.

We've been busy building showers for CreatingSpace.com. A basement bathroom is something one can think of as unimportant. "It's only a basement." I hear it all the time. I'd like to convince people to think of their basements as extensions of their living space, something that adds considerable value to their home. 

I received news that a recent client for Creating Space sold their house for a considerable wind fall partly because of the amazing design features and improvements in, you guessed it, the basement.

No one lives in their home forever. On average Americans stay in their houses for 7 years. If you're putting money into your house, think of the future sale. Put in the extra money, do it right, think about design. It will pay off.

These showers are amazing, and will impress everyone that sees them. You'll never regret improving a bathroom, and if you do them right by hiring professionals, you can have the centerpiece that will prove to be a game changer.

 A very classic shower with hand made 4x12's and a penny round shower floor. An inset box edged with decorative pencils. The outside floor is a patterned tile that is very fashionable.

A very classic shower with hand made 4x12's and a penny round shower floor. An inset box edged with decorative pencils. The outside floor is a patterned tile that is very fashionable.

 Love this combination. Penny Rounds and embossed 4x12's. Dark grout Brushed nickle with solid curb. The shower is edged with brushed nickle Jolly profiles. Notice the drain! A lot nicer than a basic builder grade piece! Tile purchased from Traditions in Alpharetta.

Love this combination. Penny Rounds and embossed 4x12's. Dark grout Brushed nickle with solid curb. The shower is edged with brushed nickle Jolly profiles. Notice the drain! A lot nicer than a basic builder grade piece! Tile purchased from Traditions in Alpharetta.

 This one is a beveled tile shower. A very bold look. We have hex wood look tile on the floor with a hard surface curb matching the top on the vanity. This is a 12x12 soap niche edged with Quadec brushed nickle profiles. Tile purchased at Traditions in Alpharetta.

This one is a beveled tile shower. A very bold look. We have hex wood look tile on the floor with a hard surface curb matching the top on the vanity. This is a 12x12 soap niche edged with Quadec brushed nickle profiles. Tile purchased at Traditions in Alpharetta.

 Basic 3x6” subway tile with the small professional grade details to make it really stand out. White kerdi profiles on the tiled curb, an inset box edged with mitered bull nose. Contrasting dark grout with the white tile. Another professional detail: Single component grout for the dark grouts, so it’s sure to dry a consistent tone!

Basic 3x6” subway tile with the small professional grade details to make it really stand out. White kerdi profiles on the tiled curb, an inset box edged with mitered bull nose. Contrasting dark grout with the white tile. Another professional detail: Single component grout for the dark grouts, so it’s sure to dry a consistent tone!

A Woodlands neighborhood in Woodstock, GA time lapse bathroom remodel.

A Woodlands neighborhood in Woodstock, GA time lapse bathroom remodel.

This one had the added heated floor for good measure. If you've never experienced a heated floor, let me tell you, they are AMAZING.

Read the 5 Star Google Review of this project:

"Hamilton Tile did an excellent job on our master bathroom -- new shower, heated floors, toilets, and tub surround. We had a shower leak and searched for a company that could do it right. They went above and beyond every step of the way -- even doing a leak test pre-tile. They were friendly, professional, and we will use them again for any future projects."

Tile base - Why I love it.

I'm a tile guy, so I regularly sing the praise of, you guessed it, TILE. I love tile because it is a permanent finish. Long after wood has swollen and rotted, tile will still be standing tough, ready for whatever you throw at it. No where does that ring more true than when you have tile base.

Tile base is an added feature that we always recommend to our customers. Why not? You have us at your house installing a bathroom or a floor, you mine as well go all the way and have us install the creme de la creme. Most homeowners never think of this added feature and here are my reasons why you should!

1. The ease of cleaning. No matter how tough they say paint is, nothing cleans as easily as tile. If you splash something on it, wipe it off! We all know about the ugly black scuff marks on wood baseboard from your shoes, with tile...you just buff it off!

2. Great for in a wet area. Wood and water do not mix! Tile will always be superior to wood in a bathroom or a laundry room. It's just common sense.

3. As mentioned above, you're already having tile put in, go the extra mile! If you have tile installers at your house, buy a little bit more tile, pay for the extra labor and while they're on site, have them install tile base.

4. The ascetics and individuality of tile base. Your friends and neighbors have wood base, be different and get the ultimate finish.

We like to top ours off with Kerdi Profiles to protect and cover the raw tile edge. As always we fill our bottom gap where the plane changes (between the floor and the base) with silicone sealant. Use a single component grout, like Mapei's Flexcolor for stain resistance and color consistency!

So, on your next tile remodel --- If you aren't presented with the option of tile base, you aren't getting a Hamilton Tile finish! Think about forever and request tile base for that one of a kind, functional finish!

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A tub surround's moisture management... Don't skip it!

When we are putting tile in a tub surround we focus on problem areas that we have seen traditionally have problems with water penetration and moisture resistance. Where your tub meets the backer board and along the edge on the outside corners of the tub are problem areas. In your minds eye imagine using this tub, imagine a child playing in the tub, the splash, the waves...there will be a lot of water action in those spots. We mitigate these issues by installing waterproof Kerdi band and also using a water proof sealant to manage the moisture in these areas. This is a full Schluter Systems product, we're not just throwing up cement board or sheet rock and calling it good. Don't skip out on the water proofing even though "it's just a tub surround." Tile is forever, so think like a rain drop!

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If you put quality first, you'll never lose and other updates.

It's quite difficult for us to book tile floors. It's more than likely because our prices are not competitive compared to the basic builder grade special. To do a floor to a high level, to a lasting finish...the most important aspect is before any tile is even set. Our prices are higher than the competition because of the amount of time we put into floor preparation. Making sure old finishes are ground off, making sure everything is flat. In this particular video we put an uncoupling mat down as a crack suppression. I have to say 80% of companies would have installed right over the concrete. Our business model is long term though, so we're going for 50 years down the road. Let's face it, you pay for that.

My main message to you while you watch this video is, if you've seen tile work done before, do you notice a difference? I could sit here and with skillful rhetoric have you believing wow, those guys are the best there ever will be! That's not what I'm trying to do on this web site. Our world is full of empty words and slogans...I want you to see it with your own eyes and convince yourself. My favorite customer remains the one who takes in some of our content and decides to take the plunge with us! One of my very first qualification questions when people call me is, "Have you researched my company?" It's almost a signal that that particular person cares, and a weight is off my shoulders and they've invested some brain power into the process. A client like that, we can work with!

So, thanks for being here....I value that fact that you've chosen to put some mental juice into your project ----and I want to be the guy who builds you a lasting, beautiful space.

I also received my CTI certification. It was a 9 hours hands on test and I failed it the first time! The first time around I was over 300lbs. Put on a lot of weight during my wife's pregnancy and my body and mind just couldn't hack the brutal test! So I lost 50lbs with the help of Cross Fit 3 days a week and a healthy diet ---and passed it my second go around.

In the tile world this certification is a big deal. There are only 1500 certified tile installers in the whole United States. The hands on test is extremely difficult, not to mention the extensive written test as well. It's a huge accomplishment for me and one that I am very proud of. I could have just gave up the first time, but I chose to come back and try it again. 

We're trying to separate ourselves from the pack. I want credibility in this business, I want people to know they're dealing with a serious tradesman and not a basic laborer. There are a lot of the basics in this business and it hurts us all...I'm hoping to see the tradesmen valued again, like a doctor or a lawyer, because we are quite rare in a throw away world, in a "just get it done" world. 

 

 

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We are both certified, ask the competition --- "Are you certified?" 

Learn more about the Ceramic Education Foundation and what it means to you by click HERE.

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Here's a hot take from my Twitter account where I'm constantly posting about the trials and tribulations of a professional tile guy. If you're a trades person, you know what I'm talking about with this post!

 

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We all have heroes in life ---My tile hero is a local guy named Kris Nardone. Be sure to follow him on Instagram @k_nardonecustomtilework . This guy is the real deal! Visit his website at knardonecustomtilework.weebly.com/ He's a fellow certified tile installer and if all tile installers were like him, it'd be a better industry. Guy inspires me! Here's a picture of me wearing his hat in the Smokey Mountains! I'm a bit of a fan! :P

 

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Better safe than sorry...Flood test your shower!

So, you weren't able to hire us for your big shower build. You weren't willing to wait three months for the craftsmen, the specialists at Hamilton Tile.  You had another one of those "tile emergencies" we always hear about... That's fine, but be sure to have the alternative company building your shower do a flood test!

A flood test is when after all the waterproofing is done, you fill the shower pan with a couple inches of water, take a measurement or make a mark, and wait. After 24 hours retake the measurement and see if the level remained the same. Simple as that!

Why do a flood test? The reality is, you shouldn't go backwards once tile work is done. Better safe than sorry, before any tile is set, find out if your pan holds water...

We like to take an opportunity to have some fun and do a photo shoot with floating toys as verification for our customers. This flood test day isn't necessarily expedient for a tile guy, so it often gets skipped. At Hamilton Tile, we do what is in our customers best interest, not what is easiest for us! We've never had a leak, (knock on wood) but you never know!

Hold your installer accountable, be proactive....MAKE THEM DO A FLOOD TEST!

 

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Subway tile in your shower, think about your curb!

Subway tile can look incredible when your installer uses the little details that come along with professionalism. A lot of curbs I see have a full piece at the front of the curb and a small sliver where it meets the floor. Often time, people will want their curb top trimmed with bull nose which adds a lot of different pieces and many different grout joints. I am opposed to that because of the amount of action the top of your curb sees. That's where your shower door will sit and a ton of water will be hitting that spot, so I want as few pieces as possible!

The best option is a hard surface curb (like a piece of granite) but when you may be on a budget or a time crunch, I believe the best option are White Schluter PVC profiles as edging. I also plan ahead and cut the curb to size so there are full pieces on top of the curb. For the front of the curb, instead of a sliver at the bottom where the curb meets the floor, I'll split the distance and use two full pieces.

Doing this takes PLANNING! That's why I always say a good tile guy thinks 10 steps ahead and 20 years in the future....

 

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Schluter Trendline profiles...A better choice for edging.

If you've read my blog before you already know that I'm not a fan of bull nose. Stylistically dated, inconsistently manufactured, addition of unnecessary grout lines to name a couple inherent hindrances of this antiquated edging method.

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In the past when we showed profiles many people would say that they didn't like the metal look of profiles. Well, Schluter has solved that opposition with their new TRENDLINE PROFILES    (yes, you can click the link!) which are a series of colored profiles to match your tile. They come in Quadec, Jolly, and Rondec and they really are a more contemporary look for your shower. Not only that, they serve the same function as bull nose, but do it much better! Less grout lines for dirt to build on leading to a more sanitary space, better quality control coming from the factory leading to a better finished shower! Also, less expensive than bull nose! Who doesn't love that???

Ask your installer about using them on your next shower and add a detail that is sure to impress your neighbors.

Find out more HERE!

 Look at how all the colors and finishes play against each other. Who else in this neighborhood has an inset box like this? Go for originality, forethought and modernity.

Look at how all the colors and finishes play against each other. Who else in this neighborhood has an inset box like this? Go for originality, forethought and modernity.

A new shower remodel in Marietta, GA...We're building security in retirement.

This is our latest shower remodel in Marietta, GA. Attached are the before and after pictures, (which I love) a video explanation, as well as our Five star customer review. Enjoyed this project a lot! 

We're building our reputation based on these three words:

Thorough

Conscientious

Competent

 

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The Five Star Review:

 

Eileen Forrester

Relationship: Client

Project Date: March 2018

Project Price: $10,000 - $49,999

Jason and Ben were a delight to work with. They listened to what we wanted, gave relevant advice (including how to care for our new tiles), and clearly communicated each step of our shower & bath replacement. They were diligent in not creating a mess outside the bathroom, and totally cleaned up the debris and dust from inside the work area. We recommend them highly, and would use them again, if we needed additional tile work. Listen to what they tell you, they know what they’re doing!

Before:

 The original shower...The shower door didn't open correctly, the pan was holding water creating a swamp inside Eileen's pristine home!

The original shower...The shower door didn't open correctly, the pan was holding water creating a swamp inside Eileen's pristine home!

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After:

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Take a moment and feel free to watch my over view video! Lots of information on what makes this installation different from your usual basic, builder grade blow out special...

What other company will provide you with a time lapse video of the most important part of your shower installation, the waterproofing. Here, we love transparency. We are proud of our work and we want you to know what we do will last the life time of your home.

An answer to the knee pad riddle.

As a tile guy, I spend a lot of time on my knees. Over the years I’ve tried many variations of the knee pad and none come close to the performance and comfort of the Pro Knee AP-16. Pro knee has been around for a long time and I was first introduced to them by Jason who had a pair of  Pro Knee 0714. I tried them out and found them to be a bit bulky. They were hard to move around in and just over kill for every day usage. So, I forgot about the Pro Knee brand in general.

In the following months I must have tried every kind of knee pad at Home Depot, and all of them caused extreme discomfort behind my knee where the straps were. Man, Home Depot could really make some good money doing two things, selling a high-quality chicken biscuit and also selling a professional grade knee pad! But I digress!

I then started trying out knee pads from the flooring stores. The problem with these were that I would constantly roll out of them. I’d go to kneel, and the knee pad would roll up the side of my knee and my patella would hit the ground! OUCH!

I dealt with that for some time and then the power of Google kicked in. Once I started investigating new knee pad options, Google recommended a new Pro Knee product, the AP-16. The AP-16 was a minimalist version of their main product and it looked perfect for what I needed. At around $90 it was a considerably cheaper than the Pro Knee 0714 which clocked in at $239, and I loved the fact that all the parts on the AP-16 were replaceable and removable.

Speaking of removable parts, another problem with all other knee pads I used was that they started to STINK horribly after a couple weeks of usage, with no way to wash the fabric parts! I can’t go around working in peoples’ home smelling like a locker room, so I liked the fact that I could take the Pro Knee AP-16 apart and wash all the components!

After weighing all my options, (There are many) I decided to purchase the AP-16. It took about a week to get them in and as I took them out of the package I could tell they would soon become my most valuable and trusted tool. They were extremely heavy duty and I loved the flat, gloss leather front surface. Today, when I get thin set on that part, I’ll sand them down with an 80-grit sand paper, so I don’t scratch my customers wood floors. Try that with any other knee pad! I’ve also taken the AP-16 apart multiple times to wash the components! No more STINK!

They are also incredibly comfortable, and I can notice a change in my body after I’m done with a long day of work. The straps that go around your leg are not uncomfortable when you wear them. Most days I put them on when I get to the job and leave them on all day. Walk around, shorts or pants…no problem.

My ankles have always taken a beating in this business, but the difference with the Pro Knee is the actual thickness of the pad. They are about two inches thick, so instead of your ankles having to bend in an uncomfortable manner, your ankles stay at a perfect 90-degree angle which makes all the difference if you are working up and down all day.

Now, occasionally, I’ll get on my knees without my Pro Knees, and I instantly confirm to myself that they are the best because the degree of discomfort I experience is so immense. Another example is when I forget to bring my Pro Knees to a job site or leave them on another job and I need to use the back up pair, what a horrible day that is!

So, on this peaceful Sunday morning, I give a full-throated endorsement to Pro Knee and their AP-16 professional grade knee pad. If you do anything on your knees, gardening, flooring, cleaning….I recommend you spend the extra money and go for quality and performance. If you’re like me, you’ve already spent hundreds on other knee pads that under perform, so this should be a no brainer! Your body will thank you later and tell Pro Knee…Hamilton Tile sent you!

 

Purchase the Pro Knee AP-16 here!

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How to de-construct your AP-16

CTEF has the information you need before hiring tiling professionals!

Time after time after time after time, I receive phone calls from people under stress because they hired the wrong people to complete their tile work.

"O stop, Ben you're just trying to scare me!"

"O Ben, you're just trying to up sell."

NO, NO, NO!

Let me scream it from a mountain top! Beware of who you hire. Tile is a skilled trade, not for the faint of heart.

The only way to "fix" bad tile work is to tear it all out! That's why I wrote a blog post called, "The top mistakes homeowners make when hiring a tile guy"   It explains the ins and outs of recruiting a professional grade tile person.

Another great resource and one that backs up EVERYTHING I say in my blog post is a post by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation by the master himself, Scott Carothers. My only advice for you today is to not take a bathroom remodel lightly, or any other tile work. Follow the guidelines and take a principled approach to recruitment. PAY MORE, RESEARCH MORE, CARE MORE. If you value your time and your emotions, don't set yourself up for a construction nightmare!

Click here to learn more about hiring a qualified tile installer from Scott Carothers, at the Ceramic Education Foundation!