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Click here For more detailed answers and help ordering samples please see our FAQ blog
Q. HOW ARE YOUR PRODUCTS SO CHEAP?
This was a really common question 5 years ago but not so common now as consumers have become used to the lower prices that the internet offers. However still worth answering, I will try to be brief which is not easy considering how many areas of business and economics this question touches on. Companies hate the word cheap, well not companies but marketing execs, they like inexpensive or good value - no matter what we call it the question is still the same. How can we sell a product for 50-60% lower than everyone else and because of that is it inferior?
First lets remove the "cheap" issue with an example. Our brick metal 1.5" x 3" we sell for $14.95SF boutique retailers sell for $50SF. Metal has a high "price feel" to it, it looks expensive and is relatively new so retailers will charge what they can (marketing 101 if it looks expensive make it expensive). But the reality is this is not the case while it is not as cheap as ceramic technology has driven down the production costs of stainless steel mosaics. Additionally traditional boutique retailers have 2-3 steps in their supply chain each one adding 50% so very quickly the price goes up. We ship directly from the factory to our warehouse then ship out direct to the consumer, we skip 3 steps in the supply chain and pass the savings along to you. This explains how we can sell for $15.00SF.
Now quality (related to cheap) - here is brick metal mosaic product installed in a $2m house click here to see. Cheap does not get installed by professional architect firms. (This is one of many examples we have). Then there is our marble. Italian Carrara and Calacatta Borghini the best we can import. Again we import direct missing out 3 steps in the supply chain that our boutique tile and stone retailers have to suffer, why? Because a retailer cannot buy 28 pallets of 6x12" Italian Carrara at a time - he does not have the 'wholesale' sales to support it. We import direct and then ship onto you. Big savings. Big savings we pass along to you. We do make a profit but no where near the same as a tile store. We do not need as much profit because we operate a low cost business (Strategy #2). No frills marketing is our mantra pictures taken with a $50 camera = no advertising cost. We are in magazines and on DIY network but we do not pay for this we are such good value (or cheap) that our customers want to tell their friends, TV shows wants to tell their viewers and magazines their readers. We operate with minimal staff, so minimal that answering the phone can be sometimes be a challenge (sorry I know that can be frustrating). I could go on but you get the idea.
Direct import, minimal operational costs and premium products (word of mouth is our marketing). Certainly the products themselves are not cheap (inferior) we just offer a really, really good deal. So good we understand the skepticism. To help alleviate the skepticism you can buy a sample to check it out for yourself or look at the reviews online from EBay and Amazon. We are proud of our business model this economy needed something new and we offer just that. We receive a constant stream of happy emails from our customers who create a fabulous bathroom buying $4K worth of marble and adding $15K in value back into their home price.
We are probably one of the few online products that offer an instant profit once purchased and installed. I hope I answered the question and did not go off on too many tangents. If I failed please let me know firstname.lastname@example.org if you liked it please let my boss know email@example.com. Thank you :)
Q. HOW DO I INSTALL NATURAL STONE?
Is there any special care for natural stone? Natural stones—especially calcite-based stones such as our carrara marble, crema marfil, travertine, limestone, and many slates—have a delicate chemical composition that may interact in “strange” (damaging) ways with the cleaning solutions that are not specifically formulated for the task.
Some spills will turn out to be detrimental to stone if unattended. Orange juice, lemonade, wine, vinegar, liquors, tomato sauce, yogurt, salad dressing, perfume, after shave, the wrong cleaning products and so on, through a long list, most likely won’t damage “granite” and “green marble” surfaces, but will ETCH polished carrara marble, travertine, limestone, onyx, alabaster and many a slate. To prevent this from occurring, remove spills as quickly as possible. DON’T rub the spill, only blot it. DON’T use cleaning products on or near your natural stone unless the label specifies that it is safe on natural marble (cultured marble is man-made, and it’s basically a plastic material). This includes glass cleaner to clean the mirror over a marble vanity top, or a liquid toilet bowl cleaner when the toilet is set on a marble floor.
Do you have any suggestions for maintaining stone shower stall installations? DO monitor your grout and caulk lines periodically and address any problem immediately. DO clean your shower stall daily. The easiest and most effective way is to spray the walls and floor of the stall with a diluted solution of water and spray cleaner, then squeegee.
Removing Soap Scum If you notice an accumulation of soap film (especially on the lower part of the walls and on the floor pan) DO use a soap film remover specifically formulated to be effective at doing the job of cleaning soap scum and hard mineral deposits, while not negatively interacting with the chemistry of natural stone.
Treating Mildew If mildew appears on the grout lines of your shower enclosure DO clean the mildew stain with a mildew stain remover that has been formulated to be safe on natural stone, while being very effective at removing mildew and other biological stains.
Why is it important to seal your stone? Sealers for stone are all below-surface products and will not alter in any way, shape or form the original finish produced by the factory. They will not offer protection to the surface of the stone, either. They will only penetrate the inside of the stone by being absorbed (assuming that the stone is porous enough to allow this to happen), clogging the stone pores, thus reducing its natural absorbency rate. Sealers will help prevent possible accidental spills of staining agents from being absorbed by the stone. Carrara marble and travertine are NOT very porous. Should you spill a few drops of water onto a polished travertine tile it will take a while for it to be absorbed (the area under the water will become darker). On the other hand, all granites must be sealed. Granite is more porous than marble and will stain if not protected with a good-quality impregnator-type stone sealer. Sealers for stones, which are below surface, penetrating-type sealers (better referred to as impregnators), are designed to do one thing and one thing only: clog the pores of the stone to inhibit staining agents from being absorbed by it.
How are stone tiles installed? Stone tile installation is very similar to ceramic tile installation. The main difference is the greater size and weight of the marble tiles. For detailed information on installation, please click here.
How do you cut stone tile? To cut stone tiles, use a wet saw, which you can rent at most equipment-supply centers. After cutting; should you need to sand the edges, do so with a power sander. Start with coarse 80-grit sandpaper and gradually work up to extra-fine 400 grit. Then polish the edges with a polishing wheel and buffing compound.
Finally Shade variation is inherent in all-natural stone materials. As a product of nature no two piece of natural stone are alike. Colors and finishes may vary, which adds to the rustic all-natural appeal of the stone. We make every effort to ensure that samples are representative of the material we ship to you. However, as the samples are typically 6x6" pieces, it may not be possible to show all the variations that are inherent in the material. It is important to have a basic understanding of the product, color range, and possible natural variations that are inherent in the material that will occur and are beyond our control.
Natural stone is not for amateurs it takes skill in laying the product to make best use of the variations in color. We cannot pick through every box, photograph each tile to give you the exact look you need. What is a good idea is too slightly over order that way any rogue pieces can be discarded and you will end up with a beautiful finish.
Q. HOW DO I INSTALL METAL MOSAICS?
Can metal tiles be cut? Yes, cut tile face up. Minor fraying of metal on underside can be sanded with 180 grit wet/dry sandpaper. When cutting Earthworks Metal Mosaics there will be a lot of shavings generated from the cutting process. Locate the cutting area away from living areas, traffic paths and pets. The shavings will have a static charge so they will cling to most surfaces. Wear goggles, gloves, and a dust mask. A jig saw may also be used to make curved cuts using a metal cutting blade, tape off the finished side of the tile to protect the surface from being scratched.
Is there a special float I should be using? Use a smooth faced professional silicone grout float when grouting. Do not use a textured rubber float. Work in no more than a 10 foot square at a time. This will allow you to properly remove the residue from the surface.
When do I remove the vinyl coating? The vinyl covering is removed just before you are ready to grout.
How close can you install tiles to stove tops and fireplace openings? Maintain a minimum of 4 1/2" from the back splash tile surface to the burner elements. There should be a minimum of 6" from fireplaces on all open sides.
Is there a specific pattern for laying out the tile? Yes, Brushed Stainless Steel tiles have light grain patterns. When installing Earthworks Mosaics, peel back a small corner of the protective film to ensure the grain patterns are going in the same direction. Make sure all the tiles are the same batch numbers. Ensure that the fixing surface is clean and even.
Do you recommend installing metal tiles on the floor? Earthworks Metal Mosaic tiles are for wall installations only. Floor installations are not recommended. Tiles are durable but will scratch and can be permanently damaged if used on floors.
Onto what kind of surface can I install metal tiles? Install only on a stable, flat and clean substrate. Do not install on particle board, wood of any kind or drywall. If you have these surfaces to work with, attach a cement backer board to the substrate to establish a flat, solid surface.
What if a tile falls off the mesh mounting or plastic facing before I install it? Individual pieces are easily fit into the grid once the mesh mounted sheet is laid. You can reset the piece with PVA (Polyvinyl acetate) non water soluble glue, such as Weldbond.
What should I use to clean the Stainless Steel tiles? They may be cleaned with warm soap and water or a mild detergent. For a more thorough cleaning diluted vinegar solution or any stainless steel spray cleaner. Wipe with a soft clean cloth. Do NOT use abrasive products, brushes or heavy scouring pads.
How do you finish the edges of Stainless Steel tiles? This is probably the most frequently asked question, as our stainless steel tile have a cap that raps over it is easy to understand why. The answer is to use a common edging strip that can be found in any home center. The edging strips are shaped like an 'L' which is perfect to end the edge of the installation at - a stainless steel edging strip would be ideal. All that you need do is install the edging strip using the same grout or mortar that you are using then grout up to the edge of the 'L' and you have the perfect finish.
Disclaimer The Builder Depot does not manufacture installation products or tile cleaning/maintenance products. Builders Depot provides the information contained herein to its customers as an information source only. The products identified in this website may have chemicals that cause reactions in certain individuals. Builders Depot strongly recommends the use of safety glasses, masks and gloves in handling any materials that contain chemicals, recommends the proper disposal of any scrap tile/stone, installation and/or maintenance products discussed herein. Please contact the manufacturer directly, PRIOR to usage, to obtain proper handling instructions, application instructions and warning concerning potential health hazards for any product contemplated for use.