The first thing you need to ask yourself is just how big is this project and just how much do you really want your tile installer to do. Yes, there’s tile, but are there repairs that need to be made? Plumbing that needs to be coordinated? Electrical? These are all important things to consider when starting your search for a tile contractor. Maybe what you need isn’t a tile contractor, but a full service remodeling company or general contractor who will have access to people in several specialties. By really looking at the size of your project and what needs to be accomplished, you’ll be more likely to hire a person or company who is appropriate for the level of your need.
As with any contractor doing work in your home, you should ask for a business license, proof of insurance and the most important, references from recent completed jobs. Get at least two or three names and numbers and make the calls. It is important to get recent referrals because things change over time and a job done 5 or 10 years ago may not reflect on the tile installer’s current practices. It is also important that they be finished jobs, not in process ones so you can get a sense of how they left the house, how the finishes touches were dealt with (baseboards, appliances, toilets, etc).
When meeting with a potential tile installer always get a quote in writing with as much detail as can be provided regarding the work to be done. There are many steps to preparing a job and finishing it. Make sure you ask about:
- Tear Out
- Removing/Replacing Appliances
- Disconnecting/Reconnecting Electrical appliances
- Standard practice should they find any water/mold/insect/rot /general damage during tearing out
- Amount of time expected and standard practice should the job take longer than expected
- Warranty policy for the work performed
Many companies will give quotes with line items for everything involved including moving kitchen appliances, returning appliances to original location, tear out of current flooring, disposal of current flooring. If they give a general cost with no details, definitely ask about these items and ask what is not included in the quote. It’s important to know that an installer will remove your stove to tile your floor but that he can’t hook it back up and you have to call an electrician to do that. Or if they plan five days for your job, have another one scheduled behind you, and any extra time for your job may require an additional trip charge. Knowing these sorts of things ahead of time can save a lot frustration.
TCNA (Tile Council of North America) has certification classes that can also provide a sense of confidence in your choice of installer. There are websites that will allow you to search for a Certified Installer in your area. However please do not allow the fact that the installer is certified to take the place of getting client referrals.