Simplify tile for us: types, finishes, etc.
Laura Steele (VP of marketing at Artistic Tile): Glass, ceramic, porcelain, stone (which includes marble, limestone, quartz, onyx, slate, travertine, and many more), plus there are innovative materials including leather, shell, and more. Finishes include brushed, honed, polished, antiqued, textured such as split face, bush hammered, flamed, and many more!
Any eco-friendly options?
LS: Handmade ceramic, recycled glass, locally quarried stone, and porcelain with recycled content. Of course, since tile and stone are made to last and will outlast all of us in their ability to stand up to the test of time, they’re eco-friendly in the ultimate way: they never need replacing.
What are some budget-friendly options that still give you bang for your buck?
Lauren Cherkas (president of retail at Artistic Tile): Interestingly, it’s not necessarily product costs that drive prices up, but labor costs; however, for those budget-conscious folks looking for less-expensive material, many stones in the beige family are actually very affordable. Using more-expensive product only in details where they are most noticeable, such as around a mirror, in a panel on the wall, or as a border, can result in a very luxe look for less.
Any trends you're seeing at the moment or predicting for the new year?
LC: More intricate patterns and detail. Just as with clothing, you should choose to be bold with your tile selections. Most spaces are renovated only a couple of times in the life of the homeowner, so make a commitment to something outstanding.
How do you help designers and clients select the right tile for a space? What's the best way to start narrowing the search for the right tile once a project has been started?
LC: I start by asking the customer about their lifestyle, interests, and personal schedule. Beautiful spaces are our goal, but functional ones are key. I understand our clients’ needs for ease of maintenance and lasting beauty. Once we understand their lifestyle and their vision for the space, selecting product based on their personal aesthetic is easy.
Any tips for homeowners looking to do their own installation?
Joshua Levinson (president of wholesale at Artistic Tile): We really recommend that people hire a professional, but if you are skilled and decide to do your own instillation, please pick up a TCNA [Tile Council of North America] Handbook, and carefully read all manufacturers’ instructions; different materials require different installation techniques.
What are some major mistakes you've seen on the job?
JL: Not following the instructions provided by the setting material or product manufacturers! Laying out accent borders without planning ahead, so they run across a light switch, towel bar, or power outlet. Placing a decorative medallion in a spot where it is not balanced. Mosaics installed upside down due to not understanding which surface of the product should be on top. Not removing the clear plastic sheets that cover the tile to protect them during transport. Installers need to take the time to lay the job out, instead of ready, fire, aim.
Thank you, Artistic!