Tips to Hire a Marble Contractor
We look to hire a marble contractor that is experienced and responsible. When a marble contractor is hired to restore marble floors, marble counter tops, statues or other natural stone surface, owners are often brought to understand that the previous marble contractor who did the marble job originally did not perform a quality marble installation. At that point, it is too late to complain. The best time to have concerns for a tile setter or marble contractor is before the work begins and right after the marble project is completed.
Marble contractors who restore marble see all the mistakes and poor workmanship that comes from installers who aren’t properly trained or do not have the exacting standards necessary to be good tile setters. A job that a re-finisher may have thought was just cleaning and resealing can become much more involved based on the marble contractor’s performance who preceded them.
What Causes a Poor Quality Marble Job
A good marble floor installation starts with a structurally sound, leveled and flat sub floor. An experienced school trained marble contractor understands the requirement for preparing a floor for marble installation.
Most experienced marble tile setters will insist on a flat surface in order to begin the marble installation, specially in older homes, where floor joists and supporting walls and columns have settled. Such problems should be made evident to the owner or end user as to what can be expected after tiles are put in place if they are installed on the existing surface as is.
Neglecting to take proper sub floor preparation can lead to excessive lippage requiring grinding, honing and polishing the floor after installation.
Recognizing problems is key when selecting a tile setter, and seeing other work they have completed is recommended.
Some common problems in a marble installation are:
- Grout line spacing – grout line should be 1/16 to 1/8 inch grout line
- Type of Grout – For polished marble, an unsanded grout is a must. Ensure that the grout being used is from an unopened container and if several containers of the same color grout are going to be used, premix all the containers to obtain consistent grout color.
- Lippage – Occurs when some tiles are higher than the others and some cases create a trip hazard
- Thinset or thick set application – Too little thinset can cause the tile to come loose and break. Ensure that a white thinset is use when setting natural stone tiles
- Color and pattern coordination – For large floor or wall areas, the marble tiles should be dry set to ensure that a consistent look is achieved.
Selecting a Marble Contractor
One of the best ways to choose a marble contractor is to start with a choice of at least three who are recommended by someone knowledgeable in the industry. The recommendation might be from a marble materials supplier or a local contractor who builds homes or commercial buildings and has marble contractors they use regularly.
Be wary of considering a marble contractor based only on second hand information. If at all possible, visit some locations where the marble contractor has installed tiles and gather your own opinion of the workmanship.
Ask for references of satisfied customers and follow through by calling or meeting with them. Don’t be afraid to ask about any problems that might have transpired after the work was done, especially if callbacks were necessary.
If you get a chance to inspect work performed by marble contractors, look for chipped or broken tiles that might indicate improper bedding. Also check grout joints as well as high and low corners. Seeing the tile project in person is preferred over the viewing of pictures if possible.
If you are looking to hire a marble contractor with a tile setter who is supplying both labor and material, check on the cost for materials independently to be confident that the price you are getting is competitive. If you have three marble contractors pricing the marble installation job, be sure that each one prices the same thing. If there is demolition to do prior to the marble being set, make sure it is addressed in the bid.
Choose a tile setter based on price, satisfied customers, quality of previous work, and your own judgment of character. If you make the right decision, you shouldn’t expect to hear what the marble contractor did wrong when you need restorative marble work done in the future.