Tile, or…..

Why, I wonder, do people choose to have tile in their homes or businesses? I have a few ideas, but let me just say that personally I’m very glad they do! It has helped keep food on the table and a roof over my family’s heads for lo these 17 years. In the past, I could imagine that tile was more of a necessity, a durable, low maintenance surface for a variety of climates, before much of our space-age materials that are used now were even dreamed of.  So, here are some of my thoughts, ok, maybe even arguments, about  the choice to use tile over other available surface choices.

First of all, I believe that tile makes a statement. Sometimes very BOLD, and sometimes very subtle, but it says something about who we are, where we are, and where we are going. Tile choices reflect our personality (as evidenced by my blog about my own personal shower). Tile is color. Tile is pattern. Tile is texture. Tile protects, it facilitates. It plays, as a fireplace surround in a family room, or is dead serious, as a germ resistant surface in a laboratory. Tile can be a lifelong feature in a cherished family home, or can be changed out after a time, when a new vision about your living/working space has taken hold.

We all put great import on our freedoms, our freedom to choose being a big one. Tile is the epitome of choice. Size, color, layout pattern, natural stone or durable ceramic or porcelain, it is almost literally endless. Tile can be applied almost anywhere. Floors, walls, ceiling, counter tops. Wet or dry areas. Cold or hot areas. Don’t get me started on grout color choices, it’s like the menu at Denny’s. Some clients agonize for days about grout, some say “whatever you think is best” (I like it when that happens.)

So you see? Tile reflects you, your lifestyle, your unique you-ness.

Can I close by saying why I like tile? Because it looks awesome. I still, after all these years, stop before I leave a job and admire the tile. I love all the pieces that I put in one by one,  coming  together to create this fabulous surface. I get ribbed by some of the guys for this, but I think tile smells good. A curing sand/cement floor in a shower is one of my favorite smells in the world. But for whatever reason, for all that I love about tile, I HATE getting thin set on my hands. It really bugs me.

Lastly, one of my favorite things is making new friends on the jobs.  This is my new friend Tony the Cat.  I think he likes tile too.


Finally got around to my OWN tile shower!

This is a project that’s been on my mental to-do list for a LONG time. Our 13-year-old fiberglass surround had served us well, but was really showing its age. The time had come for me to unbox the 4 1/4″ Dal Almond wall tile that’s been in my garage, patiently waiting for this day, and construct for my wife and myself a shower the likes of which I have done more times than I can count for our valued customers. So if you’re still reading this, and I hope you are, I know you are at least somewhat interested in tile. You may have even asked yourself, “I wonder what kind of shower a tile guy would build for himself?” Well, wonder no more.

This first picture is, unfortunately, a little farther along in the project than I would like. I wish I would have thought to begin chronicling this whole thing sooner so you could really get the low down and dirty behind the scenes look at the genesis of a tile shower. Oh well. Here you see the old fiberglass is gone. The vapor barrier is up over the studs (trust me), the vinyl pan is in, the Wonderboard is up, the final float coat is done, and I’m working on the curb, or dam, depending on which side of the tracks you were born on.


Now I am almost done with the floor, just the fiddly little part where I make the curved cuts around the drain are left. Hard to tell but the floor tile is really cool. They were 6×6 tiles given to me by a friend that were, like the 4×4’s, sitting around my garage for some time. I cut them into fours, to better hug the slope. 


Hey, making progress, right? Right. As you can see I have been VERY busy. No good shows on TV, so I got all the walls up (except for the special surprise tiles! Ssshhhh..it’s a secret) as well as the two cantilevered seats (a specialty of mine), and two matching corners. Hey, we like setting stuff in our shower, OK? Jeeez. 


Oh my, the secret”s out. Random color tiles! My wife and I love our colors. Of course being the happily married couple of 22 years we haggled and fussed over exactly which colors, but I think we are both very happy with the outcome, unless she is lying to me. Props to her for figuring out the layout on graph paper. You go Snook!


We are SO close now! I can almost feel the tingle of my dandruff shampoo. I did something on my shower that I had never done before. I made the corner shelves, seats, and curb top out of a totally different material; in this case, Absolute Black granite. I did this for two reasons. One, we had some laying around, and two, I liked the idea of less grout joints on the horizontal surfaces. Because I thought the black granite might look out of place and an after-thought, we used black as some of our accent color tiles. I know black is not a color but you get my drift, right? Let’s move on.


Ta da! My gorgeous, if I do say so myself, tile shower. We LOVE having a tile shower. You may notice no sliding glass door? Nope. We’re going with a shower curtain. So in the picture you see here it’s about 99 percent done. I just have to put the plumbing fixture back on and install the curtain. We went with one from Ikea; they’ve got cool ones at great prices, plus the day we were there they had 50 cent beef hot dogs. Score!


So there you have it. One happy tile guy’s shower in his own personal master bath. It was a long time in coming, but it was well worth the wait. We are about a month into using it, and we are still squee-gee-ing the water off the walls. At least I am. I think my wife still is. At least that’s what she tells me. I tried not to get too technical on you or bore you to death with facts. If you would like more detail, give Syverson and Son a call or e-mail, and we’ll answer all the tile details you would like to know but have been afraid to ask.

Market Trends

Some interesting stats in this month’s edition of Tile Magazine.  As a percentage of total tile usage in the USA, floors are at 57%, wall tile 19%, back splashes 12%, trims and decorative tile 6%, counter tops 4% and exterior 3%.  I have to say that the percentages hold true with us also, with the exception of decorative tile, which for us is higher. Some other interesting data, more domestic tile is being sold in the USA than Imports 54% to 46%- Steve


Yuletide Greetings!

And just what does Yuletide mean anyway? Just for a moment I’m going to pretend that I don’t see the word Google even as I’m typing this, and say I’m not EXACTLY sure. But I am sure that you probably get the idea that it means Merry Christmas in an old-timey sort of way. Hey, one of my very favorite Christmas songs just started playing on my ipod

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year

Do you recognise those lyrics from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”? For me Christmas would not be the same without hearing it. Do you have holiday traditions too? Things that others may find silly but mean the world to you and your family? Well I hope that this year is, in many ways, the same as all the other years as far back as you can remember, and your traditions will once again draw loved ones close. We at Syverson and Son Tile are all enjoying the Holidays with our respective families too. We could all talk your ears off about what our kids are up to, and how proud we are of  them. Kids are always a work in progress and even though some of us are closer to empty nest-hood than others, you never stop being a parent and loving those little rascals with all your heart.  Merry, merry Christmas from Syverson and Son Tile.  Maybe we’ll see you in the New Year.