The counter and tub surround selection took a very circuitous path. I love the look of tile and had a lot in our first build in Boca Raton, but I really (really) hate grout. So we went with concrete floors and priced out anything-but-tile surfaces.
It wasn’t until we began working with granite and solid surface fabricators that the possibility of using tile came back into the picture. As the trade-offs became apparent, tile seemed a viable, beautiful surface again. We got tile installation bids and talked to some local tradesmen. We have now selected an installer and begun installation. Here is a rundown of our selection process:
European Accents LLC
We chose Emil Danila of European Accents LLC to install our tile. There were three main reasons we went with Emil:
- Showed up on time to meet with us — actually, he got there even before I did — and very clear and responsive
- Honest, fair pricing — he didn’t give us any song and dance or nebulous pricing scheme, just straightforward, specific numbers and a great price
- Expertise — he does gorgeous tile work and had very specific questions about our requirements
Olympus Marble & Granite
Juan Camacho, of Olympus Marble & Granite was great to work with. Very cordial and usually quick to respond. I’ve seen some of this company’s work and it is beautiful with attention to detail. In the end, their prices were higher and less clear, but I think you would be pleased with their work.
You can reach Olympus Marble & Granite at 801.331.8828.
Because of the initially great price offered by Raul Baizabal of Pibi Tile, I almost contracted with him. He met us at the house to go over final items. He had given a tile allowance of $2 per square foot. This was significantly lower than Olympus, but given the lower installation, it still seemed like a better deal overall. Ultimately we didn’t choose Pibi for the following reasons:
- We wanted to get very inexpensive tile in some places and more expensive in others. Raul said that if we did so, we would not be able to shift any of the allowance. In other words, if we got 99¢ tile for some areas, it would cost us $2, and if we got $3 tile, it would cost us $3. He finally agreed to give some level of credit if we cost him less on some areas, but never specified what that would be.
- At our last discussion, a number of prices changed to his advantage. Some seemed reasonable to us, but others were random. For example, there was one shower that he had priced out completely on his own. Yet when we met, he acted as though he had no idea where the price came from. I showed him the email from him with the price and he said he couldn’t do it for that. With the tile allowance, I had to, again, remind him by showing him his own emails to me.
- When measuring out a tiny laundry room backsplash, we had this bizarre exchange (obviously reported from memory):Raul: OK, this is 2.6 feet.
Alison: No. It’s 2.5 feet.Raul: It’s 2.6, look at the tape measure.
Alison: That’s 2 feet, six inches. 2.5 feet.
Raul: No, it’s 2.6.
I take the tape measure and show him inches. I explain that decimals are base ten, feet and inches are not. I was tempted to ask him to just charge me for 2 feet 10 inches — using the Pibi Tile method of measurement — but I refrained.
Raul: I’m not going to change it. That’s the way we do it. That’s the way everyone does it.
Alison: What, wrong?
Raul: Go get your general. He’ll tell you. That’s how everyone does it.
Apparently only men understand how to use measuring tapes, so I go upstairs and get Brad and Sam. They explained the same thing I had. Rather than correct the mistake, he insisted that it was, indeed, the correct way to calculate needed tile.
Need I say more?
Work has begun and we’re pleased with our selection. When the tile work is completed, I’ll add a post with pictures and a final review of European Accents.