Tile Floors

Parent Q&A

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  • Tile installation and grout repair.

    (2 replies)

     We have a 1935s home and are interested to re-tiling the wall around my bathtub in master bathroom. And second bathroom need some grout repair. Any recommendations ? Thank you .

      Don't  search anymore..!!!. I highly recommend John ( Bay Full Construction ) for any tiling you need. John tiled our bathroom floor & wall , kitchen backsplash and I was completely satisfied with his work. Professional ,friendly, attention to detail and fair with the price.He was neat and always cleaned up at the end of each day. If you need to use a professional company call now (510) 265-9399  Bay Full Construction. https://www.bayfullconstruction.com/

    I have used The Grout Doctor for many years to repair as well as regrout whole bathrooms in my rental properties. His crew always does an excellent job and the renters are universally pleased. Charles can be reached at 510-530-3104.

  • Re-tile fireplace

    (1 reply)

    Can anyone recommend someone to re-tile our fireplace?

    I cannot say enough good things about Bay Full Construction.The owners and employees its very friendly , professional and cooperative. They installed tile on the fireplace and two bathrooms in my house. I highly recommend them to anyone needing any tile work.

    Call now (510) 265-9399  or  bayfullconstruction [at] gmail.com  Aaron

  • tile installation

    (1 reply)

    I'm looking for tile installation in a new bathroom. Anyone recommend ?Thanks.

    This company was great (Bay Full Construction) I had a backsplash installed and tile planks throughout my whole house. He quoted me a great price and finished the job in a timely manner.All in all this company was professional, honest , dependable and did quality work. If you are looking for an honest contractor who provides a quality job at an affordable price this company is for you.!!! bayfullconstruction [at] gmail.com   510 265-9399.

  • Hello Humans, we are updating our tiny kitchen, and have always been drawn to the nice, rustic look of Salitllo tiles - these are the terra cotta looking tiles that are popular in Spanish and Mexican style homes.  Our contractor insists that these tiles are very fragile and will break, and that they require maintenance.  I know they need to be sealed - my question is, has anyone had these in your homes, and what are your thoughts, aesthetic, functional, positive, or negative? 

    We're also dreaming of some pretty talavera tiles for the backsplash.  Have you had any experiences with these, and do you have suggestions as to where to buy them - online or local.

    Thanks very much for your insight!

    Import Tile in Berkeley has a wide range of the tiles you describe.  Some are appropriate for indoor/kitchen use; others are not - Import Tile reps can walk you through the selection.  We successfully integrated some talavera and terra cotta tiles into a sun room floor and it has held up well over 10 years (but a low traffic area).  I would definitely *not* recommend buying tile online, especially with such great selection locally.   

    Hi. I'd talk you out of it. We have these tiles at our vacation home. Yes, they look nice but I want to change them out to a wood laminate.  Several reasons:  (1) they are very, very cold in the winter, we have to wear socks or slippers at all times; (2) they can crack or the grout can crack; (3) they are very slippery when wet and my son has slipped several times coming from the pool or the shower; (4) there are stains on them that wont come off.   In order to remove them, they have to be broken apart.  Laminate can not be installed on top of them because they aren't level to the ground and some of them wobble because either the floor underneath is not level or because they came loose from the grout.  Grout is also difficult to clean and repair.  

    I can't speak to durability but for the most beautiful Mexican tiles and other homeware, go to Talavera Tiles in Berkeley. We have a number of items from the store - love them, and are appreciative of the knowledgeable service.


    At the risk of stating the obvious - Talavera Ceramics on University has a great diversity of Talavera tiles. They're great to work with too. 

    All Natural Stone (previously Import Tile) just off the freeway has a small but nice selection of decorative tiles of Mexican/Spanish and other (Persian) designs too. 

    I've had Saltillo tiles in my kitchen for about 25 years and none of them have cracked.  The underlayer is pine wood (not concrete) so I don't know if that makes a difference.  They are difficult to keep clean.  Perhaps they wouldn't stain as easily if I had re-stained them every couple of years.  I also find that it's far less forgiving than linoleum or wood, and glass and ceramics shatter easily when dropped.  But they are rather pretty.

    My mother put these tiles in her kitchen in Tucson. It was post-kid, but here's my 2 cents. In the 20 years she has had the tiles, none have broken. However, the are not care-free. My mom is always worried about too much water messing up the seal. While that might seem like a contradiction, in a home with retirees and no kids, she has been able to maintain them just fine. If your home life is more chaotic, you might keep that in mind. They do look very nice in her Spanish Colonial home 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Replacing 1930's kitchen counter tiles

April 2013

We have a cute little 1930s kitchen with very worn tile countertops. I want to replace and am looking for a good recommendation for someone to do the work. I've considered going with a non-tile option and have heard Sullivan's is great but I don't want to ruin the 1930s charm. Does anyone still do tile countertops? Any help/recommendations are greatly appreciated...thanks! nicky

If you are looking to replace the vintage tile, I found NOS vintage tile at World of Tile in Springfield, NJ. I sent them a piece of my worn tile, and they matched it for me. Just google 'world of tile vintage' and you can read other people's experiences with the place. Happy with old stuff

I higly recommend Andy Frasheski for your project. He does tile work and he is very clever, creative and resourceful. He has great designing ideas and suggestions. and he is always looking for ways to save his customers money without cutting on quality materials and job satisfaction. Andy has a great eye for detail and solves problems effectively in a very creative manner. His rates are very reasonable. Andy can be reached at 510-644- 3711 or afrasheski [at] frasheski.com Ana

I wanted to recommend a tile contractor who recently redid our old, dark, totally unattractive bathtub/shower area. Gullu Li(510-506-5073) understood the exact type of tile that I wanted. The guys at Import Tile knew him by name and told me that he could easily handle any tile we chose. He has a good eye for what looks good and works with very little supervision. He also spent a lot of extra time finding a missing part for my shower mechanism. That was easily hours and hours above and beyond! Aileen

Tile installer for small bathroom

April 2012

I'm looking for someone to install tile on my small bathroom floor that presently has sheet vinyl. Not sure what condition the subfloor is in but there's the possibility that it's not in great shape and may need to be replaced. I usually like to work with someone who is licensed. Thanks. Need new flooring

Tiler - Laura Pfaendler, 415-261-2087. She did a great job on our little bathroom. Tell her Rebecca on Chestnut in Berkeley recommended her. Rebecca

We have used two very good tile persons over the years. Both are excellent, reliable and have an artistic eye if you need assistance with the design of your project. Jay Hamann is one at 510-635-5526. The other is Sarah Young at 510-450-0250. Roger

In 2006 we had Al Ozalp tile our bathroom. He did a great job and I immediately recommended him to a friend who was pleased with his work also. Al built a shelf at the end of the tub that has been very useful and he recommended a special epoxy grout that resists mold much better than other products. The grout has held up very well. His contact informtation: al [at] constructionrepublic.com Cell: 510-978-2343. Good luck, Judy

Zee at Innovative Tile is an affordable, experienced and amazing tile setter! I have had him do a small bathroom and he has done work for many people I know and they have all been really happy. His website is http://bayareatilesetting.com or give him a call 510-730-1719

Tile installation expert for bathroom

May 2011

I am looking for an expert in laying tile to install plain, square white tiles on my bathroom walls (floor to ceiling). I am looking for someone who is really good at putting the tile in precisely, and in a way that aesthetically goes around all of the 'obstacles' along the wall, such as the plumbing for the toilet, the mirrors, the light fixtures and the edge of the vanity. I want a very nice, clean finished look. Oh yes, and I'd like that person to also install a few new towel racks on the walls for me, if possible. Castro Valley resident

Anthony Sueuga (510-301-8482) is your guy. The work he and his crew produce is impeccable.

He has done two shower remodels for me with incredible results. The first shower needed to match the rest of the tile in a 1920's style bathroom and the tile had to incorporate the pattern in the room. Not a simple job (tile on the ceiling!) but it was done perfectly. The second shower involved tiling that was a fairly straightforward job but the beautiful tile work sets it apart.

Anthony and his crew are extremely competent, fast, and all around nice guys to work with. I found his rates to be in the ballpark of others but it is his work that sets him apart. Best of luck to you! - picky about my tile too

Hi, I would like to recommend Kermit Franks of Native Sons Construction for tiling your bathroom. He has several references and does beautiful tile work- he has been working in the bay area for over 30 years- He can be reached at 707 537 7632 or at natvsons [at] yahoo.com

Experienced Tiler Needed

March 2011

Looking for a very experienced tilesetter to re do my bathroom floor in Walnut Creek. Current tile floor will not retain grout -- we have regrouted it numerous times and the grout crumbles away within days, so I need someone who can diagnose what the problem is (subflooring, floor joists, etc.) -- need someone who knows more than just laying tile on the floor. Thanks in advance. Erin

Cathy Raingarden has done two excellent tiling jobs for me. A floor and a bathroom. She does an excellent job. She lives in Berkeley and has kids at Berkeley High. Berkeley Landlord

Sorin Feraru and his crew did an amazing job with our bathroom remodel, so I'm thinking you can contact him for the tile job. Sorin is very knowledgeable, straight forward and honest. His crew had great respect towards our property and the tiles in the bathroom, as well as the bathroom itself, turn out great. We are planning to hire Sorin again to remodel our kitchen in the near future. You can reach Sorin at 510-228-7366.

Hello, if you haven't already found someone, I highly recommend Jose Maravilla (510) 381-0399. He's really great. He's a perfectionist so I'm sure he'd do a great job for you too. He's done all my outdoor work from building pergolas to laying flagstone. He even helped with my bathroom remodel. He's fabulous and reasonably priced. Best of luck love my garden

Re: Bathroom designer and contractor needed

Jan 2011

We just finished a new bathroom - tiled tub surround, floor and vanity top and want to recommend the tile contractor, Tessera Tile and Stone. We got a quick reply to scheduling the estimate, work and coordinating the plumber. We had some previous water damage, and they really know their water proofing. We were also impressed that the work passed inspection easily. The installers were friendly, professional and left the work area neat at the end of each day. The finished bathroom is beautiful and we highly recommend them. The owner's name is Bruce Freedman. 510-237-2018 Carroll

Tiler needed for bathroom remodel

March 2010

I'm looking for a tile person for a bathroom remodel. I need someone who understands backing materials, who can get the room ready for tile as well as lay the tile, and can figure out some of the intricate complications of the design. I don't mind if they are slow as long as it gets done correctly. And of course, I want to pay as little as possible for this.:). Please don't respond if you are the tiler - I'm looking for recommendations only. Also, if you do respond and could allow me to come over and see the tile work it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance! mwg

A good friend recently had his bathroom remodeled and added a large tile shower. He loved the person who did the tile work and says he highly recommends her. I saw it last week and it is just beautiful. Her name is Jo Bauen (mjbauen [at] sbcglobal.net). She can be reached at (510) 418-1959. kb

For those looking for a tile setter: I found Wen Lin's name on the Berkeley Parents Network. After getting a bid from him - which was literally 1/3 the cost of some of the others I received and which he was willing to do without actually seeing the job (I sent photos) - I called several of his references, which were good. So with some trepidation I hired him to tile my bathroom floors and a somewhat complicated bathtub surround. Wen was AWESOME! It turned out that my contractor had left a number of problems that many other tile setters would have used as an excuse to raise their bid price. Not Wen - he reacted to every obstacle - and there were several - with equanimity, good humor and suggestions about how to deal. He also had a very good artistic sense and made some changes that improved upon my design. His mantra was: ''The most important thing for me is for you to be happy with the job I do.'' And I was -- in fact, I was so happy that I voluntarily paid him more than his bid because he had to drive so far and do so much extra work.

Wen also lays floors, installs counters and does kitchens and baths, but not having used him in those areas I can't speak to his work there. He's still young and doesn't have 25 years of experience behind him but if you're looking for someone with the old-fashioned values of honesty, hard work and giving the customer what s/he wants in the most economical way possible, Wen's your guy. Working with him was a delight and I'm very happy with the final product. Harriet

Phylece Snyder (510-444-8103) did an excellent job on my bathroom remodel, for which I acted as the general contractor. I sought a licensed tiler, rather than a contractor who did tile work among other tasks, and one who did the work themselves, rather than supervising an employee. Phylece has years of experience and provided rare service. For instance, I used limestone tiles and wanted the grout lines to be as thin as possible so that the seams would be inconspicuous. Phylece was not only experienced but enthusiastic about doing this, and the results are beautiful. She made up sample boards with several different grout colors, so that I could select the one I liked best ? it made an enormous difference seeing the actual grout on the actual tiles rather than going by those sample sticks the grout manufacturers provide. I could go on, but the bottom line is exceptional quality and attention to detail, and a collaborative process. optimoms

I highly recommend Mircea Ilie Construction and his tile guy Gelu Ilie. We did a complete bathroom remodel. The tile looks beautiful thanks to Gelu, and Mircea's men worked tirelessly to get the job finished. No detail was overlooked and Mircea's price was extremeley reasonable. We would use Mircea for any type of remodel and would definitely use Gelu for any tile work. Mircea Ilie Construction: www.mircea-construction.com; Gelu Ilie: www.gelu-construction.com Pam Ellman

While it is true that Mircea Ilie Construction did a nice job on the tile floor when they redid our bathroom, they did a terrible job on the rest. I think the guy was over-committed, and the people working for him did not know what they were doing. He did not come to do the job when he said he would. They installed the shower backwards. Some of the fixtures are still not installed correctly. One of his workmen FELL THROUGH THE FLOOR to the floor below while working on the project. The shower they installed leaked through to the floor below, and we had to call them back to fix the leak, but they left my husband to patch the ceiling. Beware. been done

Kitchen Tile Installation?

March 2010

Hi there... I'm looking for new tile for our kitchen. Anyone know someone good and affordable who will also help me select the tile? Thanks! Melanie

I highly recommend Paul Gilbert for tile work. He has done kitchen and bathroom floors, kitchen backsplash and bathroom tiles for us, and his work is perfection. We had picked out a tile for our kitchen floor that he told us would cost a lot more than another alternative to install, so, with his recommendation, we were able to get basically the same look a lot less expensively. He also helped us design our kitchen backsplash and it is lovely. We still have a couple bathrooms to do and I would not consider hiring anyone else. I have recommended him to friends and coworkers and everyone has been very pleased with his work and his price. He can be reached at 510-839-7926. Good Luck! Lynne

I highly recommend Idan Bearman -- his work is superb and he is fair, honest, reliable, and reasonably priced. I've been delighted with the work he's done for us. You can reach him at 510-830-7927, or bearmanandsons [at] yahoo.com. Shoshana

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Stone tile installer for bathroom remodel

Sept 2009

I'm looking for someone with expertise working with stone tile - probably limestone - for a bathroom remodel. The project involves floor and shower. Experience tiling over a floor heater mat is a plus. optimom

Hi, I would recommend LaMorinda Tile and Stone in Concord. They are pretty professional and do good work. Also, they are really fast and very accommodating to your needs. Their number is 925.680.1510 camille

Sorin Feraru took care of the remodeling for the two bathrooms in our home.He did such an amazing job, that words are not enough to describe the good quality of the work.We also had stone tiles installed in both bathrooms, and we could not be happier with them.Sorin is trustworthy, reliable, he always picks up his phone, or calls you right back if he misses the call from you. Also, he took really good care of our house using plastic barriers to prevent the dust spreading, left the work site broom clean at the end if each day, and he was very nice with the kids.You can reach him at 510 228 7366 or check out his website at www.feraru.us.

Bob at California Rebuilders does beautiful stone tile work. Give him a call at 843-1800 and tell him what it is you need. He will be more than happy to help you achieve the look you want. Cindy

Small tile job

Aug 2009

I have about 10 4x4 white tiles missing from my shower surround. Any recommendations for someone who is willing to do a small job? I have read archives but they appear to be for BIG jobs. dana

I can recommend a person who did a few small jobs for me - including shower tile replacement. His name is Pablo Perez and he has pretty reasonable prices. His number is 776-3062. Note - Pablo's English is not great (his native language is Spanish), but he understands the work and if there are any translation issues, he has a high school son and daughter who can help with translation. Frances

I can't speak to whether she can do such a small job, but I was very happy with Iva Walton, who just tiled my newly remodeled bathroom. She does meticulous work and offered some very successful solutions for some tricky issues. If she's available, she does great work and I found her hourly rate quite reasonable. Her # is 914-0860. Claudia

Need a quick tile layer for a very uneven floor

June 2009

We are remodeling our house, and need a good tiler who can do the floors and the bathroom in record time. We're not picky, we want a professional, durable job done on time (and on the double). The concrete floor needs to have the substandard tile ripped out, be leveled and have tile put on the floor and in the 3 x 3 shower. Any leads on someone who works fast???

We just had new tile installed in our kitchen and entryway and slate installed on our outside walkway. We used Hector Garcia at Bay Works Tile & Stone and couldn't be happier with his work. He is extremely professional and responsive (returned my call on Thanksgiving Day when I had a concern about the color of tile we had selected)and his work is beautiful. We checked out several of his references before he started work on our project and they were all glowing. Feel free to email me if you want more info. Mary

The general contractor that I worked with is a licensed tiler too and he does a really good job and fast. I had a really pleasant experience with him. His name is Constantin with C G Builders and you can contact him at 510-305-5680 or info [at] cgbhome.com Jessica

Constantin did a very good job at my house. He is a general contractor and also a licensed tile contractor so he knows what he is doing and he works fast and clean. His company is C G Builders and you can contact him at 510-305-5680 or at info [at] cgbhome.com diana

Nov 2008

Can you recommend anyone for tiling my bathroom floor? sk

A few years ago we had a second bathroom built which included a tile floor and tile walls. We used Cathy Raingarden (Raingarden Tile and Design at 510-665-4304 or 206-6481). We are extremely happy with the quality of the work, which looks great almost 3 years later. Cathy has years of experience laying tile, and it showed - she was extremely organized and logical in carrying out the work and completing it on time, all for a very reasonable price. DA

May 2008

Hello I am looking for a bathroom tile contractor for a shower & shower pan- just shower or also plumbing, wall fixing... thank you debbie

Our experience with Phylece Snyder of Snyder Tile Company has been successful every way. Our major house remodel involved many, many contractors, across all the trades. Working with Phylece was a joy - not something we can say about many other individuals or teams we worked with. Her work is superb (spoken by a perfectionist - not said lightly) in both planning and execution, she's patient and attentive, allows her clients the space and freedom to work out aesthetic and design issues asthe project progresses, and delivers tremendous value for the money you will spend.
Snyder Tile Company Lic. # 720265 510 444-8103 Oakland, Ca

Nov 2007

We want to install a tile floor in our bathroom. We currently have carpet over subflooring. So any experience with installing tile floors - great tilesetters to do it, and best places to purchase tile - would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! jessica

I've recommended a dear friend and excellent tiler once before here, but I think I'll do it again. His name and number: Andres Jara, 510-693-0007. His work is exemplary, and his prices are still (I hope) reasonable. He is really a love, and he's a perfectionist. The downside of that, predictably, is that he may take longer than he estimates. Not always, but it has happened. He generally charges for labor only, and gives his best estimate for materials cost, but adjust accordingly if you are looking at very high end stone or tile. He grew up in Chile, but his English is excellent. Lisa P

April 2007

Re: Bathroom remodel
If you are having ANY tile or stone work done in your bathroom, I can highly recommend Nicole from Ascension Tile. Here is her email address and phone #. Bashezo Nicole Boyd [ascension22[at]hotmail.com]. 510.469.6252 Her work was very professional and meticulous. She is reliable, hardworking and creative. She and her helper were always courteous and friendly to our two curious little boys. They always consulted us when necessary and they even did a great job cleaning up at the end of each day. They worked in our new bathroom by tiling the floor, walls and around a window. They also installed a marble floor. It looks awesome! We couldn't be happier with our choice. I could email you a photo of our bathroom, if you are interested. gay

April 2007

I want to recommend Posch Tile (510-932-5895) for laying tile. They did our very complex bathroom tile job efficiently and beautifully. They were polite and a pleasure to work with as well as affordable. They did a great job with our complex design layout and our handmade irregular tile! Oliver Posch is the owner and is great to work with. Feel free to contact me should you want to see pix of the bathroom job or with other questions Jenn

Feb 2007

Our fireplace face and hearth were prepped for tile years ago. We intended to do the finish work ourselves but...well, you know how it goes. Two children later we still have concrete and metal. At this point, we need someone to (1) put the detail touches on the design -- for which we have a concept and did pick out some tile, but that was long enough ago now that we don't know the same stuff will still be available -- and help us order the right quantities; and (2)install the tile. Experience with Arts & Crafts style handmade ceramic tiles would be great but mostly we want someone meticulous and responsive who will do this smallish project well. The recommendations on the website are kinda old. Anyone hire a great tile person recently? Holly

My perfectionist tile guy is Andres Jara. He has done a great deal of work (not just tile) for me and various friends and acquaintances. In particular, he has tiled my kitchen counters, backsplashes, several bathroom floors, bathtub enclosures, front porch and steps, the list goes on. He does beautiful miters when appropriate (when other tilers would just abut tiles). He has also done a lovely limestone slab fireplace surround and hearth with wood mantel for a client of mine. Not exactly tile, but great work nonetheless. He's from Chile and his English is excellent. His *time* estimates are on the optimistic side; I've been more relaxed when I've mentally added about 30% over his estimate. Not a licensed contractor though, if that is a concern. He used to be unreasonably inexpensive. Over the years I've used him he has gradually upgraded to a range from inexpensive to reasonable. When his prices go up to what he pretty obviously deserves I'll still recommend him wholeheartedly, but I'll selfishly be sad. His info: Andres Jara 510 693-0007. (if you would like to contact me email me at lap @ gmoregdonuts.com but remove the G's from the address before you send. Lisa

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

August 2006

Tim Eriste has done several tile jobs for me over the past year and I have always been exceptionally pleased with his work. He is prompt, efficient, clean and always has great ideas and input if he thinks we should modify a job. I highly suggest you give him a call, he works all over the bay area. For the quality of work you receive, his prices are very reasonable. His phone # is (617)823-6371. Christina

May 2006

I want to post a recommendation for people who need tile installation in their bathroom or kitchen: Mike Rudd does great work at very reasonable prices. I highly recommend him - he is fair, honest and trustworthy to boot. Please contact me with questions... His contact info is: Mike Rudd ph. 510-703-1657 fax 415-824-2684 email handyman[at]lmi.net

May 2005

We recently had Ron van Leeuwaarde re-tile one wall of our bathroom (above the tub/shower) after we had our plumbing replaced. I don't know how his cost compares to other tilers, but he charged (if I recall correctly) $40 per hour. He did a great job on a challenging project -- he had to line up the new tiles with the existing tiles that were a fraction of an inch larger. He communicated well with us and accommodated our shifting schedule. He is a really nice guy, too. Ron van Leeuwaarde (The Flying Dutchman), 848-6996 robin

April 2005

Hi - we hired Nicole Boyd of ASCENSION TILE AND STONE to do both of our bathrooms and our kitchen back-splash. We LOVED her work and I would call her again for any other tile work. In the bathrooms, she laid stone tiles on the floor and did the shower stall in one and the bathtub in the other. In the bathroom with the shower stall, she also created the shower pan because it was an odd size. We have an old house with quirky floors and walls but she was able to work with them and do a great job. She is extremely professional, easy to work with, artistic, etc. She gave us some great ideas and suggestions that we would not have even thought of. I'd be happy to email you some pictures of the work we had done if you'd like. She can be reached by email or VM - 510.469.6252 or ascension22 AT hotmail.com Lani

March 2005

We can't say enough about Deborah Buckley, whom we hired to install our antique marble tile floor and marble and glass mosaic backsplash in our recently remodeled kitchen. She is really helpful in all aspects, from ordering materials (without a lot of excess), to helping with grout colors & sealants, to accomodating special requests. She works out of the City of Paris Studios in Oakland and can be reached at 655-5454. Good luck! proud owner of a gorgeous kitchen

Feb 2005

I searched for a while to find a good tile guy. I was given Rafael's name by a contractor friend and Rafael was amazing. As hard as I looked, I thought I should make it easier for the next person. He is skilled, polite, considerate, on time and affordable, or was (he has his license now). He did my bathroom, including the floor, three walls around my shower, a niche in the shower and a tile apron for the tub all in a week and all for about 3K. He floated everything, including the walls, the sign of a true pro. I would strongly recommend him for any tile job. His name is Rafael and his cell number is: 415-793-5014. I would be happy to show you pics if you'd like to see his work up close. Hunter

Nov 2004

We recently sold our house and wanted to make the front entrance a WOW!. We picked out tile at Import Tile (in Berkeley) and they were incredibly kind enough to make contact with a tiler (as we had had zero success getting anyone with short notice). We used Aesthetics and they did an incredible job. Kathy

June 2004

I cannot recommend Jim Zwaal highly enough. He does excellent work at an affordable price, works with you to get the look you want and will also let you do legwork (if you desire) to cut down on the cost. He is an independent contractor, so he can get quite busy. Once he begins the project however, he is very good about getting it done ON TIME, even if he needs to come in extra days, weekends, etc. Jim can be reached at his home number: 652-8258

I am currently tiling a bathroom and the young man who is doing it is wonderful and very reasonably priced. $12.00/Sq feet for the floors and 11 for the walls. He is very reliable. Depending on the project, you may get a lower price. He is not licenced but he is REALLY talented. I live in Crocker Highlands if you want to visit and see his work please feel to send my an e-mail and we can arrange for that. Maria

March 2004

I highly recommend Kathleen Curry. She did a wonderful job on the tile work in the bathroom that we put in during our remodel in last year. She was reasonably priced and pleasant to work with. She was a building contractor for 20 years before she became a tile setter, so she knows all the ins and outs of a remodel. She worked with us in an often awkward situation, as we sub-contracted the work ourselves and she had to fix some of the initial carpentry work in preparation for the job. She handled the whole thing with grace and aplomb. Her number is 510-528-1219.

By the way, do be careful about where you purchase tile. We initially ordered ours from at Home Expo. They did not advise us correctly on how much to buy, kept calling us out to the Emeryville store to pick up more tile that was supposed to be there when it wasn't and then finally sent us home with a lot of unusable, broken tile. Kathleen was able to find us additional tile through another distributor at the last minute, thus averting disaster (without it, it would have held up our project by another 3 weeks). In retrospect, we should have gone with one of the two tile shops in Berkeley we had purchased from in the past (there is one on Harrison and one on Hearst--not related to one another). We had good experiences with both of them. Anyway, I can't recommend Kathleen enough. Good luck. sarah

We recently had the unpleasant experience of discovering we had a shower pan leak (resulted in water leaking into our living room). After extensive searching for a qualified, experienced, and personable contractor, we were lucky enough to find Jim Zwaal (510) 654-0654. Jim not only did a fantastic job replacing our shower pan, he also did masterful work helping us choose and design replacement tilework for the floor of the shower. He worked with us to save costs, where we could and was professional, personable, and did the project quicker than expected (coming in on a Sunday so we could have our shower back Monday morning). I HIGHLY recommend Jim, without reservations. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Hilmon

2003 & Earlier

Aug 2000

Can anyone recommend someone to install floor tile in a new bathroom? I have picked out the tile that I would like to use but need someone who can install it, seal it and give me tips on taking care of it. Any advice or leads would be appreciated,
Judi (8/16/00)

I hate to use this forum to plug my husband's company, but I wanted to respond to your search for a tile installer. My husband started Albert Tile & Marble (lic. #699890) over ten years ago. He still does most of the work himself. Most of his clients love working with him because he is great at communicating, and his customers end up knowing more about tile installation just from his estimates. It goes without saying that his work is excellent (most of his clients tend to reside in Oakland & Berkeley Hills, a lot of high-end homes where the material for installation is expensive), and he tends to get the job done in less time than he originally estimates for the client. Prior to starting his company, he worked in general construction, thus his knowledge extends beyond the area to be tiled - he sees the big picture. If you would like to arrange an estimate, feel free to call his office (510) 225-8664 - there is usually someone in the office from 10:00am. - 3:00p.m. Daphne

I highly recommend Debra Buckley. She did an amazing job on our two bathrooms. Her number is 658-0798.

I can recommend Karen of Sun Set Tile (510) 419-0449 She recently retiled my bathroom walls and floor and did an excellent job Andrea

We just had the tile replaced on the floor of our bathroom and can highly recommend our contractors from Sonoma Custom Tile (415-456-5577 ask for Rick). I don't know whether they work in the East Bay, but Mike from Sonoma Custom Tile did a fantastic job. I was especially impressed since they were one of the few contractors to even return my phone calls this summer, and they were very patient with our many questions about tile style, size, color, mortar base, etc. Our bathroom is quite small, so it wasn't a big job for them, but they gave it the same attention as their big jobs (at least I felt like they did). Their estimate was right in line with the one other we could get, so I think price was reasonable. Good luck! Gretchen

Where to Buy Tiles

Retail or website that sells retro tile?

Jan 2010

I have an old bathroom with fantastic foam green tile. The trim tile was a very popular design used in the 20s. We will be expanding this bathroom next year, and I'd like to find tile to match what is there now - it's very retro! I'm having a hard time finding stores or websites that carry retro tile, or reproductions. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Love my foam green bathroom

Art Tile on Broadway near 45th Street in Oakland has an amazing selection of retro tile. You might also be able to find it at Import Tile in Berkeley on Hearst just off of I-80. Recent tiler

I did a retro bath remodel myself, so I know the joys of searching for old tile. Here's a link that promises repro tile in colors from the 20s-50s. Since they are a manufacturer, they may even be able to custom match your color. Click the B Tile link on this page. I don't see their colors on their site, but you can call or email them: http://retrorenovation.com/2009/04/22/where-to-find-retro-vintage-pink-bathroom-til/ Becky

Here's another that sells reproduction tile. Not sure of the age of your bath. See bath 11 on this page for a seafoam colored bath: http://www.calpot.com/portfolio_bathrooms.php They also make to order. Becky

There used to be a place in San Francisco. Sorry I don't remember the name, but it is exactly what you're looking for. You should be able to find it. Marilyn

Decorium Tile and Stone in San Leandro

Sept 2006

While selecting limestone decorative tile for a bathroom remodel, I came across Decorium Tile and Stone in San Leandro. They had the tile I was looking for at a very good price.

When I picked the tile up, the owner had shorted me about 22 pieces. Instead of telling me this, he led me to believe that the entire order was being given to me. I did not find out that I had been sold short until my tiler was half way done with my bathroom. When I contacted the owner he said that he knew he owed me tile and would get me the balance in a few days.

For the next several weeks, he told me he was trying to locate more tiles. He would continue to tell me that he had ''ordered them but they were never delivered'', or that ''when they arrived they were damaged''. Piece by piece, I finally had all but 7 tiles but needed the rest to complete my job or face ripping the entire bathroom out and finding a new tile/company.

The last straw was when the owner finally told me that he had the last 7 that I needed. When I came to pick them up, they were wrapped very tightly in cellophane (presumably so that I wouldn't open them up until I got home). Fortunately, I opened them at the store only to find that each of the seven pieces had been old broken pieces that he had tried to glue back together (and not very well I might add!).

I finally got my tiles after pitching a huge scene in the store -- even still, they were a slightly different color. Anon

Seeking recommendations for ceramic tiles

May 2004

Looking for recommendations for ceramic tile dealers. We plan to install the tile ourselves on our kitchen counter and backsplash. I've checked out Import Tile and Art Tiles, but would like to broaden my search. Other dealers you've worked with? Thanks!

I recently bought tile to redo my bathroom and got it from Euro Marble & Granite in San Leandro, tel.no. 614-1790. They were very knowledgeable and gave me great advice on how to get the look I wanted. I highly recommend them. Nancy

Drive over the Richmond Bridge to San Rafael -- there are several tile stores just off 580, a couple on Francisco Blvd (the frontage road) on the south side of the freeway and a couple others on the north on side streets. You can look up addresses in the (paper or online) yellow pages. Although we didn't end up buying anything (yet), having several showrooms near each other made it easy to 'do the rounds' there, and we found some unique things and got especially good service at Tile & Stone on E. Francisco. Needs a fireplace facelift

March 2000

Names of places to purchase floor and wall tiles for a bathroom and kitchen. I already know of Import Tile and Art and Tile but am looking for more choices. Thanks. Sue

Daltile has a nice line of pretty pasic ceramic tiles in good colors and in different sizes. You can call a rep for Daltile directly - 925/356-2323. GirlSwirly

Where to find tile to match existing tiles

May 2004

We have recently inclosed a window that was in our shower and have been unable to match the existing tile. We have no choice but to replace the all of the shower tile. I have checked the archives and there has been no recent postings since 2000. Can anyone recommend a quality tile installer who will not charge us an arm and a leg? Thank you. Katherine

I read the post about being unable to find matching tile. Have you checked Art Tile on Broadway in Oakland. A few years ago I was trying to replace tile in a counter top in our kitchen. Four different places told me there was no way to match it and I had to start over. I went to Art Tile and the 2 guys at the counter took one look at the tile, went behind the counter for their sample books and within 5 minutes pulled up a great match. I was amazed, and they were great to work with- ordered the tile, helped load it in the car, gave me advice, and could probably have recommended a good tile setter if I had needed one. Eleanor

Where to Buy Slate Tiles


We are planning to remove a window seat from a sunroom, only to find that the flooring beneath hasn't been finished out. The room is finished with 8x8 slate tile, which doesn't seem to exist anywhere or requires an unbelievably long time to order. We've tried all the usual outlets but can't seem to make any headway. Does anyone know where I might be able to find some? I only need about 3-4 dozen tiles. I'm researching the color name (Import Tile had African something that was close but too dark). These tiles are medium darkish gray-green with orange/brownish/greenish and come in multi-colored lots. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thank you! Cindy

Check out: American Soil Products 3rd and Bancroft in Berkeley: http://www.americansoil.com/ -Josh

How to Clean Tile Surfaces

Need an efficient way to clean tile floors

Aug 2012

Our home is all tiles, and I'm trying to figure out an efficient way to keep the place basically clean. I do things the ''old fashioned'' way. I sweep with a broom and dust pan, then mop, changing the water frequently. My partner keeps coming home with other tools to try to make things easier. The smell of the swiffer bothers me, the cloth dust sweeper seems hard to clean. I kind of like the idea of a steam cleaner, but will I still need to sweep? I'm looking for cleaning tips! Too much tile

Get a scooba from iRobot. Like a roomba, but for wet cleaning. Eric

Need a good floor cleaner for tiles

Dec 2011

We're looking for a good floor cleaner for a tile floor. We've tried a floor scrubber and a floor steamer and they got the floors somewhat clean but didn't get the stains off. If you've got anything you've used that worked really well, we'd love to hear about it. Thanks! anon

Try oxyclean. I've used it on dirty grout on our floors. I leave it in for 30 minutes an little by little the stains fade. Many tile floors

Mold in shower--how to keep grout clean?

June 2012

I moved to the Bay Area ten years ago after living in Europe and Asia all my life and there is something about the mold here that really puzzles me. Whenever I have moved into a home, the grout and sealant in the shower stalls looks spotless. Over time, mold grows and does not go away despite regular cleaning and numerous special attempts to remove it with every kind of bathroom cleaner on the market. I am green-minded and prefer to use ''ecofriendly'' cleaners, but have used Scrubbing Bubbles and other toxic brands to no avail. I also have tried plain bleach, soda, vinegar. How the heck do professional cleaners keep grout looking clean? Do they use some kind of cleaner that's not available in the stores? I now see black mold appearing UNDER the silicon sealant at the shower edges. What do I do? Mystified by Bay Area mold

A couple thoughts on mold in showers. Silicone caulk does not support the growth of mold so the caulk you have is likely latex which readily supports mold growth-so does ''siliconized'' caulk. Cut it all out with a razor knife and re-caulk with 100% silicone caulk. Another trick I have seen a couple times is the use of cheap latex caulk over tile grout to seal leaky tile walls. The caulk quickly molds and is just about impossible to remove. An easy way to kill mold is with bleach. Mix a solution with water in a spray bottle and soak the whole shower overnight to kill existing mold. Next scratch all grout lines with a grout tool and re-grout or at least apply grout sealer. The grout must be new or super clean to apply sealer so it must be scratched or etched with acid first. Tilex daily Fresh Shower works great to keep tile clean but has fumes. A powerful steam exhaust fan is critical to keeping mold at bay. Most showers do not have an adequate fan and thus promote the growth of mold via steam. clean shower nut

I can recommend the Clorox Bleach Pen. It's like a fat marker and lets you apply a paste of bleach in a thin line, just right for the grout between tiles. You might need to leave it on for an hour or two and then rinse it off, if you have a lot of mildew. I keep a bleach pen in the shower so if I happen to notice a streak of black while I'm showering I can take care of it right away. a mom

I'm not sure your mold problem is special to the Bay Area. Any shower in the whole world will grow mold if you let it. The more likely problem is that your bathtub needs more ventilation. Moreover, if there was mold growing on the grout and someone grouted over the old mold, then you'll keep getting mold growing. The only way (I'm told) to get rid of the mold is to scrape off the grout and redo it.

I am too lazy to scrape off the grout and I have a bathroom with very poor ventilation, so every 2 weeks or so I see mold spots forming on the edge of the bathtub where it meets the tile. I take everything out of the tub, wipe the edge down with a towel, and spray with Lysol Mold and Mildew Remover. I wait an hour, then shower everything down. Be careful not to get it on yourself or on the towels, as there is bleach in there.

Yes you can just use bleach as well, but I just buy the Lysol as I feel I'm sort of cleaning the bathtub while I'm at it, and it comes with a handy spray. (As I said, I'm lazy.)

As for the mold that's under the silicon sealant, that cannot be treated with bleach. You need to rip off the silicon, kill the mold, and reapply. Also be sure to air out your shower very well after use.

How to clean a ceramic tile floor?

Oct 2011

OK, I give up. I have a big sunny kitchen (hurray) floored with dark red tiles of the type you might see in Mexico. I associate them with Mexico anyway. But I can't seem to get this floor clean. I vacuum, then mop with detergent, but it never really feels clean to me. Any products or methods you can recommend? trying for a clean floor

I use a Eureka Steam Mop on our ceramic tile floor: First I vacuum, then use the steam mop. It works like magic.

If there is something stuck to the floor, just leave the mop in one place for about 10 seconds (not longer than 15 say the instructions to make sure you don't overheat the tile) and it will come off.

I carry an old toothbrush with me to get into the grout lines and to loosen any really stubborn gunk.

The best part is the floor is dry quickly and there is no dirty mop water to clean up. After it cools down, you put the steam pad in the washing machine and dryer. -family mopper

Cleaning tile & grout in shower

Dec 2002

Does anyone know of a product that will get white tile and grout in shower white again?? Any suggestions of how to keep this white tile and grout clean? Thanks, Wendy

I use diluted bleach (I'm not sure, but something like 4 parts hot water to one part bleach.) applied with an old toothbrush. I let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it off. Karen

When we moved into our house the grout in our kitchen and bathroom was almost black. We sprayed bleach let it soak and then scrubbed with a brush... it came out slightly grey but better than it was. We tried various cleansing products and they seemed to work ok, but not much better... and the smells were pretty noxious. We were thinking that replacing and resealing the grout would be the only way to get it clean. Recently we tried Simple Green (straight, not diluted at all) and found that it worked the best, with the least odor. I am guessing that we will need to periodically do this soak and scrub method to keep it white. Rose

Vacuum for Tile Floors

Feb 2008

We have tile floors in our house everywhere but the bedrooms. We currently have a canister vac that we use but are unhappy with so we're looking for a new hard surface vacuum. Our house is small, about 1300 Sq ft of tile that we need to vacuum. As we're shopping for one, we're finding that we know nothing about what to look for! We saw a few small ones that were recharable (therefore cordless) that looked pretty cool but I worry about whether they would have enough power for the whole house. Anyone have any recommendations of vacuums to check out or have any imput on what to look for? Thanks so much! No more dust bunnies!

Miele!!! I would see if you can get an older model (like the Flameco II, my personal fave), and get an old-school rug/floor combo tool (readily available on Ebay; I checked). It has a foot pedal to switch functions--it's not motorized, nor does it have that annoying turbo thing, which doesn't really work, and yet gets gunked up easily. But, because the Miele has awesome suction, you don't need the motorization. I run a housecleaning service, and this vac, with this tool, works sooooo well. I have three of them.

We have mostly tile floors and love the Roomba robotic vac. It is a rechargable that runs by itself. We have a dog that sheds constantly and we run it every day. It does a great job. Easy to clean out. Leaves time to do something else while it is running. Most of the regular vacs we tried on the tile tend to blow small dust around rather than suck it up.