Beltile Stone and Tile Blog

Commentary on tile and stone design

  • 5 things to consider when buying tile and stone online

     

    Buying tile and stone online can be a nerve wracking process.  It is important for you as a consumer to understand if you are suited for purchasing this type of product online.   Some folks are very visually oriented and need to see the product installed.   This is difficult in the online environment.  Your local tile dealer will be a better match for this individual.   Here at Beltile we won't feel bad as we also had a brick and mortar for many years and recognize the importance of supporting your local dealer.   However, for us, we are still a mom and pop, just online, and will bring our years of experience to you along with our down to earth approach to our business.     To help you with your online purchase, we have identified 10 things you must consider when purchasing tile and stone online.

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    1. Sizes can vary.  Natural stone is cut overseas in factories geared towards the metric system.   There will be variances in an 18"x18" tile from factory to factory depending on how the tile is cut.   The tile may be cut 45 cm or 45.7 cm or 45.5 cm.  So as you are planning your layout, it is important to plan for these variations.    Usually, your installer or architect will be familiar with these potential variances and account for them.
    2. Dye lots and stone production lots can vary.   With regard to tile, whether it be handpainted, glazed ceramic, unglazed porcelain or a glazed porcelain, colors can vary from lot to lot.  For example our unglazed white hexagon sheets do not exactly match the same unglazed flower hexagon sheets.   The white hexagons are fabricated at different times and the colors can vary, so you cannot always combine these products into the same floor pattern.    This is also true with the glazed materials and handpainted.   Colors can vary from production lot to production lot.  It is always good to order samples to see the precise colors, especially if you want to match something.    Stone tiles are produced at different times and in different areas of the quarry.   Depending on the lot, you can have different colors/movement in the material.   Usually we can email you lot photos of many of the materials.   If lot photos are not available, it is always good to order a sample.  These issues are true whether you order online or not but in order to ensure you know what you are getting, order a sample online if you have specific color requirements.
    3. Lead time from order to shipping.   If you are in a hurry for materials, the amount of time before an order ships can be critical.   Tile is heavy so it generally takes a couple of days to get it packaged properly and ready to go out.  When ordering materials that are time sensitive, be sure to check with your supplier when materials are expected to ship along with the estimated transit time.
    4. Samples should be representative of the current lots.   Make sure that the samples you are ordering reflect the current size and color of the material that is presently shipping.
    5. Website security.   It is not easy for the average individual to really know which sites are secure.   It used to be simply looking to see if there was a lock icon in your browser which was indicative of SSL.   Today, many sites will redirect to you to another site to complete the order or credit card processing.   Or there may be things going on in the background which may not be transparent on your end.   Some folks like to see a merchant using Paypal, while others like to see Authorize.net badges on a site.   These can be hints but do not necessarily ensure that the site was built with security in mind.   We use Sucuri to monitor our site daily and all credit card processing is done by Paypal on their servers whether you pay with a card or via Paypal direct.   We never have access to your card information.

    We hope this helps you navigate the shopping experience of buying tile online.   You can always call us as well if you have any questions.   866-925-TILE or email sales@betile.com.

  • How to Clean Marble

    Cleaning marble in the shower

    As many of you already know, most cleaning products purchased at your local grocery are not geared for cleaning stone.  Most have harsh abrasives and bleach, which is damaging to natural stone.  There are many lines of stone cleaners that can be purchased from your local stone retailer to deal with soap scum and such or look for ph neutral cleaners, which you can sometimes find at your local grocery.  You may also consider using a diluted mixture of Downy and water described here: http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/lv_household_tips/article/0,2041,DIY_14119_2275101,00.html

    In addition. maintenance is the key to preventing problems in a marble shower.  You should keep a squeegee nearby (one with no metal parts which could damage the stone) and dry the walls daily after your shower.   This will reduce the potential of mold and mildew build up and mineral deposits.   Today, there are grouts on the market which are mildew proof.   You will pay a hefty premium for this grout but it will represent only a tiny fraction of what you paid for that beautiful marble.  See without water, it is very hard for mildew to grow!  If you do encounter mold and mildew in the shower,

    Polished marble in the bathroom has become dull?

    Many ask how to polish marble to bring back the shine of when it was first installed.  If your polished marble is now dull it could be related to a variety of reasons.  Sometimes you just need to remove the soap scum, which can be done with professional stone cleaners.  Perhaps mineral deposits have built up and etched the stone or general use has dulled the surface.  You can first try a color enhancing sealer with a gloss.   If this does not bring back the shine then you may need to have a professional repolish the marble.

    Professional re-polishing involves the use of a polishing machine which grinds and sands down the surface.   Although, you see the polished marble in hotels, malls, and office buildings, keep in mind that alot of maintenance goes into keeping those surfaces shiny and new looking.

  • The Schinasi Mansion Tile

    Designed by architect William Burnet Tuthill, the Schinasi Mansion is the only private freestanding home left in Manhattan.   You can see the marble wall carving which is exquisite itself, coupled with these intricate Turkish mosaics inlaid into the walls, is a luxurious choice then as well as now.

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    You can see a close up of the marble panels here with a beautiful mosaic pattern next to the solid marble column.   It appears to be made out of a blend of glass, onyx, marble and gold

    schinasi-mansion schinasi2-copy

    The hallway prominently features a Greek marble.  Note the use of the carved marble framing on the walls.

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    This dining area is said to feature Numedian Marble (Giallo Antico Marble usually from Tunisia), along with Indian Mahogany wood panels.   Both of these would have been an expensive choice then as well as now not to mention the intricate designs covering the walls.

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    To learn more about this impressive home visit this link:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/05/04/realestate/the-marble-manor-that-turkish-tobacco-built.html

  • Cuban Heritage Tile Collection

    These tiles recreate an atmosphere of days long ago: speckled light filtering through curtains undulating in the breeze; patios and terraces bathed in the sun; tile floors fresh under bare feet; buildings with majestic marble columns and great halls adorned with showy tile designs; ballrooms, once inhabited by a frenzy of laughter and rhythm, covered with smooth cement tiles where talc was thrown so that feet would glide as if almost floating. Lead time on this collection is a short 4 weeks. Most cement tiles are often all special order, however this collection is ready to ship. If you need expedited shipping, please inquire.

    The Cuban Heritage Collection revives these almost forgotten memories with a set of designs recovered from antiquated houses and crumbling regal buildings in Havana.  In some cases, these structures were in such a state of disrepair that debris had to be removed in order to find the beautiful antique floor of intact tiles underneath. A shock in contrasts, but a fortunate discovery, since many of the old buildings are being destroyed or renovated and these tiles will soon be lost forever.

    Some of the tiles are whimsical and others are modernist, reflecting Cuba’s heyday in the designs. The Cuban Heritage Collection differs from other cement tiles by having more elaborate patterns, using stronger colors, and prominently using double borders to enrich the designs.

    The collection introduces ten historical designs, each one is available in three colorways: one with the original color combination found in Cuba, and two others with more modern and subtle colors. Each piece is handmade by expert craftsmen, just as it was a century ago. While the materials and tools used have changed slightly, this has only improved the tiles’s finish and resistant qualities.

    As with all Aguayo tiles, the manufacturing process and materials used to create the Cuban Heritage Collection result in a green product. The Cuban Heritage Collection is the newest product addition of Industrias Aguayo, a Dominican company, a leader in the cement tile market currently exporting to the United States and the Caribbean.

  • Wonderful Kitchen from “Practical Magic” Movie

    The walls and cooktop are surrounded by this wonderful handmade tile and note how the tile goes from wall to ceiling.   What is wonderful about this kitchen is the way that the rustic paint on the ceilings matches so well with the tile.  The wood beams also give an element of color and frame the space.   Although, I am not sure I would want to figure out how to use that stove.

     

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  • The Devil Wears Prada Glass Mosaic Backsplash

    Everyone was in love with Miranda’s office, while I was looking at the backsplash in the kitchenette.   This gorgeous glass mosaic covered the entire wall as well as the backsplash above the countertop.   Plus,the color choice of "Emily's" dress is perfect for this backdrop.   You can see hints of bronze in the glass which work with the olive green dress.

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  • “Sex in the City” Kitchens and Bathrooms

    Miranda’s countertop is a very interesting color choice, considering her back splash.  I am really inclined to say that it does not really work together.   Perhaps, Steve found the tiles at a rummage sale and they did not want to pay for a new countertop.

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    Samantha’s bathroom is a no nonsense, hip modern color scheme featuring most likely a grey limestone.   Many new condos throughout New York feature this contemporary design these days in either a beige limestone or a grey limestone.

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    Miranda's bathroom is a classic New York bathroom style with basic white subway tile and hexagon or perhaps it is a penny round floor.

    miranda_bathroom
  • Luxe Kitchen from Mr. and Mrs. Smith

    Industrial/commercial style kitchens are all the rage.  Here the impressive cold stainless steel is complemented by the glossy Iridescent mosaic tile.    Although we don't know what type of tile is on the counter top, it would be a concern if it is glass as it would tend to scratch if using it as a production surface.   It is beautiful and sometimes design choices may not always be the most practical.  The dark grey floor keeps with the theme.   May be a limestone.   Will have to watch the movie again to get a closer look to see what it is.

    This kitchen is actually in a private home in California.    You can find more on the house here.

    mr_and_mrs_smith_kitchen
  • Amazing Tile Installations from Movies

    Perfect Murder,” with Michael Douglas and Gwenneth Paltrow.   The amazing ceramic tile in the kitchen is so Mediterranean with a Moroccan feel.    The floor tile is below:

    tile_a_perfect_murder floor_tile_movie

    Also, ”Ocean’s Tweleve” showcases some beautiful marble floors.   They remind me of the Giallo Antico marble from Tunisia or Giallo Sienna from Italy.   I absolutely love the unique shape of the half hexagons combined with the black marble.   The best flooring scene is during the laser dance later in the movie.

    oceans_twelve_marble_flooroceans12
  • Mission Impossible III Bathroom in Vatican

    This is yet another beautiful tiled bathroom, albeit a movie set.   Would love to see the inspiration photo.  Again, the walls reminds me of Giallo Antico Marble although I am sure all of this is painted faux marble.    Looks like the floor was intended to be a Rosso Verona border with White Carrara with Bardigilo in a checkerboard pattern.

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