In Chicago home remodeling and especially with kitchen and bathroom tile, it’s no secret that trends come and go faster than most people can keep up with. That is why we are constantly being asked by our clients for new tips and tricks that will help their homes withstand the test of time when doing a remodel. In order to give them the most up-to-date advice, we reached out to our friend, Elliot Marroquin from the Tile Shop, to answer some common questions about which remodeling materials you should invest in and how to properly keep up with your investment.
The Tile Shop has been a long-time supplier for many of the design and build projects we do at Areté Renovators, but we are just one of several businesses The Tile Shop has helped throughout the years. Since its opening in 1985, The Tile Shop has committed itself to inspiring and realizing home decor ideas and creating beauty both indoors and out.
Many of their associates, like Elliot, travel across the globe, exploring the latest styles and innovations available in materials such as porcelain, glass, ceramic, travertine, and other natural stones. With a network that comprises more than 100 stores, The Tile Shop offers a wide selection of high-quality tile products, exclusive designs, expert staff, and amazing customer service. We are very lucky to be able to work with such an experienced and friendly staff. They truly are your one-stop shop when it comes to anything tile-related.
If you can envision it, they can help you make it happen. The Tile Shop offers more than 4,000 quality tile and natural stone selections giving their clients virtually endless options to create new rooms or upgrade existing ones. In addition to the tiles, they also offer coordinating finishing pieces and installation materials to put the perfect final touch on any project. Their website offers a wide variety of design inspiration like online catalogs, blog posts, and our personal favorite, the tile visualizer.
The tile visualizer is an interactive tool that allows you to virtually design a variety of spaces like kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, entryways, laundry rooms, and more. Depending on the space you choose, you can mix and match backsplashes, countertops, wall patterns, flooring, and other accents from their extensive list of products. Once you are done designing, you can save your project and refer back to it later throughout the remodeling process. Elliot recommends this feature as a fun and Covid-friendly way of turning your dream home into a reality without having to go in-store to see your tile patterns come to life.
Our relationship with Elliot started off a few years ago at Chicago’s Design Gala. He was there representing The Tile Shop and a couple of our project managers were there connecting with new vendors and clients. We exchanged contact information and have maintained a friendly alliance since. He was happy to sit down with us and go over some of the most commonly asked questions about tiles that we receive from clients. If you have a question about your upcoming or newly remodeled space, our Q&A below will be sure to give some insight.
Although oversized tiles are predicted to be a popular choice in 2021, we have not seen much interest in the 18×24, 24×24, and other larger sizes we sell. Most people are purchasing tile sizes ranging from 4×8 to 12×12. When it comes to bathrooms and floors, 4×8 tiles are the best seller in our shops. It also depends on what tile shape you want for your space. If you want subway tiles, they typically come in 3×6 or 4×12. Penny tiles are measured by the square foot, and flooring tiles can be anywhere from 1×2 to 24×48. It truly does depend on the project and size of the space, and I recommend checking out our selection online with the tile visualizer to see what works best.
I actually prefer to keep backsplashes simple. Right now, installing intricately decorated tile surfaces behind oven hoods are prominent in many designs, and one of the most popular materials used for that is our 13×13 porcelain wall and floor tile. However, for the most part, many of our clients choose a classic design that enhances the look of their kitchen rather than just draw attention to the backsplash itself. Staggered brick and herringbone patterns are pretty common and a safe option for homeowners looking to sell. You can choose a simple tile and still create an intricate pattern if you are looking to add more interest to the space. We have eleven pattern examples on our website that customers can choose from when installing their chosen tiles.
Marble, marble, and more marble. Marble is my absolute favorite because it is beautiful and durable. Some people are afraid to choose marble for their countertops because they are intimidated by the upkeep, but it’s really not as bad as people think. I have a lot of marble in my own home and absolutely love the look and feel of it. It has a way of elevating any space it is placed in. However, if you are not in the market for a marble countertop, I recommend ceramic, porcelain, or quartz slabs instead. We have a wide selection of materials that you can choose from for all of your countertop needs.
Major influencers in the industry always predict the popularity of intricately designed tiles taking over the interior design world by storm, but that is simply not the case. At least, that is not the case at The Tile Shop. Historically, our customers like to consider intricately designed tile surfaces for their flooring and backsplashes, but they almost always tend to choose the safe route with a classic gray or white subway tile. Having a solid, neutral-colored tile is best for resale value and withstands the trends that come and go.
Keeping up with your tiles and countertops is just as important as designing them, but maintaining your space is not as difficult as some people think. An important rule to remember with these surfaces, especially marble, is to never use bleach.
Marble is made of calcium carbonate, which reacts with acidic and alkaline substances like bleach. The reaction happens in seconds and corrodes or eats away the marble essentially destroying the polished layer on the surface. Also, don’t skimp on grout. Cheap grout tends to loosen over time and can damage the materials you are working with. Good grout is always worth the investment.
As long as you are using bleach-free cleaners, quality grout, and never leaving any moisture on these surfaces for too long, your materials will last you for years. Doing something as simple as squeegeeing your tiles after a shower can make a world of difference in preserving them over time.
I am a sucker for high contrast. Any tile that is black and white I am immediately drawn to. I am also a big fan of simplistic designs. Using unique patterns to elevate a simple mute-colored tile combines both classic and modern looks for me. And we can’t forget about my love for marble. I would put it in every room of my house if I could.
As for my own dislikes, I tend to shy away from concrete tiles. It is not that I dislike them, they just require you to do more research before installing due to their heavyweight and porous material. They can stain easily and become brittle over time, but as long as you are aware of these particular issues with concrete, it shouldn’t be an issue.
The Tile Shop has thousands of products that can help you turn your vision into real life. They understand that choosing the right design and style to fit your needs can be overwhelming, and they are there to help you every step of the way. Whether it be the most intricate of designs or the most simplistic of tiles, Elliot and his associates have you covered. From telling you how to waterproof your shower to advising you on exactly how much tile to buy, they will work with you to make sure you get the most value out of your home investment.
And, as always, if you are searching for top-rated home remodelers in Chicago, look no further than Areté Renovators. Our aim is to achieve excellence by providing the best remodeling services in Streeterville, West Loop, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, and Roscoe Village. We work with quality suppliers to make sure each and every product being installed into your home. Get in touch with us for a consultation today!