Frequently Asked Tile Questions

We’ve compiled questions and answers about grout cleaning, eco-friendly tile and more in order to provide you with all the information you need when choosing your tile.

Go to FAQs About:

Tile design appointments
Tile color variation or shading
Tile orders, returns & delivery
Grout cleaning, tile installation & materials
Eco-friendly tile & LEED Certification

Tile design appointments

  • Is it necessary to make an appointment before visiting the showroom?
    Customers are always welcome to visit without an appointment during showroom hours. It is recommended that customers who have not been to the showroom before come in to browse prior to their design appointment, as there are so many tiles to choose from.
    When you are ready to make tile selections, call Byrd Tile to schedule an appointment with a design consultant. This allows our designers to block out time to give your project the attention that it requires.
  • What should I bring to be prepared for my design appointment?
    For new construction and renovation, it is necessary to know the ‘per square foot’ tile budget, as well as allowances that have been made for decorative tile and trim pieces. Drawings with basic measurements, blueprints, and/or photographs of the space will be helpful, too. Any selections that you have made up to this point may include: countertops, cabinets, flooring (other than tile), paint colors or wallpaper. Please bring in samples of any or all of these, as well as any inspirational pieces or pictures.
    Who will determine my quantities? Although a design consultant will help you with your tile selections and design, she is not responsible for quantity takeoffs. Copies of the Tile Selection Sheet will be provided to the builder and/or tile installers, who will then provide quantities, based on their final measurements, to the design consultant for ordering.

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Tile color variation or shading

Please expect your tile to have a slight difference in color or shade from the showroom sample. The production of ceramic and porcelain tile is more art than science, which can lead to color and shade differences from lot to lot.

Expect large variation in color and shading in hand-made products and natural stones. Porcelain tiles that replicate stone can also have large variations.

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Tile orders, returns & delivery

  • What is the recommended waste for a tile order?
    This will depend on your tile layout. Standard waste for tile that is laid out with no pattern is 10%. For a diagonal layout or other more involved patterns, anywhere from 14 – 20% is recommended.
  • What is the typical lead-time for special order tile?
    Lead time varies depending on the material chosen for your project. Special order tile may take as few as five days, while some may take up to 4-6 weeks. Lead times will be indicated at the time of tile selection.
  • Does Byrd Tile Distributors stock tile?
    Yes! With a warehouse at both the Raleigh and Greenville/Winterville locations, Byrd Tile offers a wide selection of readily available ceramic, porcelain and stone tiles as well as installation materials.
  • Can tile be returned if unopened?
    This will depend upon the tile that is chosen. Stocked materials that are unopened may be returned within 30 days with a 15% restocking fee. There are no returns on discontinued or sale items and absolutely no returns of non-stock special order materials.
  • Does Byrd Tile deliver?
    Absolutely! For a minimal charge, we will be glad to deliver your tile to your home or jobsite. Please contact our customer service department or warehouse to arrange.

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Grout cleaning, tile installation & materials

  • Does Byrd Tile Distributors install tile?
    No. Byrd Tile Distributors does not employ installers; however, we have an extensive list of reputable, certified tile contractors who are fully-insured and do excellent work. We are happy to refer you to those who best meet your needs.
  • How do I care for grout?
    Grout is basically made up of portland cement with color pigments added. Due to the porous nature of cement, grout was, until recently, very prone to staining. Recent enhancements in the production of grout and its raw materials have made grout a much denser product. The addition of latex additives in the mixing of the product will also increase the density of the grout. There are also a large variety of penetrating sealers that can be applied to the grout as soon as 72 hours after installation. Though the initial cost for epoxy and urethane grout is more, these products provide a stain-proof and color-consistent grout joint.
  • What is the difference between glazed and unglazed tiles?
    Glazed tiles are coated with a liquid glass which is then baked into the surface of the clay. Glazes come in an unlimited array of colors and designs and protect the tile from staining. Unglazed tile is basically the same as glazed tile, except that the surface is not coated. Unglazed tile does not show wear because the color extends throughout the tile, making it ideal for heavy traffic.
  • Why does white grout turn yellow?
    Too much bleach in the cleaning product can turn grout a yellow color.
  • Why does a white powder form on shower tile?
    There is salt in the mud bed (underneath the tile) and when excessive amounts of water reach the mud bed, the water evaporates through grout lines pulling the salt with it, depositing the salt on the tile surface.
  • Why does grout mildew?
    When the surface behind the tile stays wet, bacteria grows. When the water then evaporates through the grout line, the bacteria flows with the water and stays on the grout. No amount of cleaning will ever get rid of the mildew as long as the surface behind the tile is not draining through drain weep holes. In extreme cases, the wooden studs and framing around the shower become saturated with water and bacteria and the shower has to be torn out and rebuilt. Consult a tile contractor.
  • Why does grout crack?
    Cracked grout may be caused by improper installation or movement of the underlayment beneath the tile.
  • Can you install tile over tile?
    A tile contractor should be consulted but generally, yes. As long as you have a way to cover the edge of the old tile, if needed, and the additional weight is not an issue.
  • Can you install tile over Formica?
    A tile contractor should be consulted but generally, no. The surface of the Formica needs to be rough so the thinset will bond, the countertop edge could be a problem to cover and the sub-surface might not be sturdy enough.
  • Can you install tile onto drywall?
    Yes, if mastic is used to bond the tile to the drywall. Thinset is used in all other applications because it is rated for floor (foyer) and wet areas (shower).
  • Can you install tile onto plywood?
    Yes, 1½” of exterior plywood or one ¾” board of plywood and one ½” board of backer board. Note: Do not use interior plywood because water from the thinset will be absorbed by interior plywood and swell up, destroying the tile surface.
  • What types of tiles are used for outdoors?
    Any tile that is frost-resistant may be used outdoors. For safety reasons, only unglazed tiles with a slip-resistant surface should be used on patios, walkways, pool decks, etc. Glazed tiles should only be used on completely covered outdoor areas.

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Eco-friendly tile & LEED Certification

  • How can tile help a building earn LEED Certification points?
    Today, almost all of Byrd Tile’s tile manufacturers have earth-friendly factories. These factories capture the heat from their kilns and re-circulate it into their drying rooms or use the heat to warm the factories in winter. Their clay and glazes are recaptured and recycled into new tile products and the tile manufacturers use 100% lead-free glazes. Most of Byrd Tile’s manufacturers also recycle their water, keeping the sludge and impurities out of our water supply. Also, stone left on the cutting room floors is recaptured and cut into smaller pieces to form beautiful mosaic borders. Even the boxes used for shipping the tiles are made from recycled cardboard. When those boxes arrive at Byrd Tile, we also recycle the boxes, keeping them out of our landfills.
    Technically, these earth friendly processes are good for our environment but these processes do not qualify for LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – a rating system created and administered by the US Green Building Council).
  • So, specifically, how can tile help a building earn certification points?
    If the raw materials to create the tiles are harvested, produced and delivered within a 500-mile radius, the US Green Building Council considers the product to be more environmentally friendly and awards points toward LEED certification. Byrd Tile has several tiles that are manufactured within a 500-mile radius; Seneca Tiles in Attica, OH and The Green Co. in Clarksville, TN, just to name a few!
    Also, if the content of the tile has 10% – 20% or more post-consumer re-cycled product, then the US Green Building Council considers it to be environmentally friendly and awards points toward LEED certification. Byrd Tile has many tiles that are made with recycled post-consumer materials like Vihara Glass tile, Green Tech porcelain tile and Mizu Crackled ceramic tiles just to name a few!

Tile: A green & eco-friendly remodeling product

You know that tile is a beautiful and durable product, but did you know that it is also environmentally friendly? Here are a few reasons why tile is the green choice for flooring, walls, backsplashes, showers, patio, fireplaces and more:

  • Long-lasting. Because of its durability, tile flooring has better longevity than other flooring products, minimizing waste.
  • No VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Unlike many other wall and flooring products, tile doesn’t diminish indoor air quality or release dangerous VOCs.
  • LEED certification – Some tile may help your project obtain points towards LEED certification. Visit our FAQs to learn more.
  • Recycled materials. Many of our tile brands take every opportunity to recycle throughout the tile manufacturing process. Visit our FAQs to learn more.
  • Local availability. Interested in buying local? Browse our list of tile vendors to see countries of operation, and contact us to determine the most local options.

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Client Testimonials

Dealing with Byrd Tile was a great experience. We renovated an older home and, with the help of our design consultant, made our visions into reality. Often times, she would make recommendations that would actually improve what we envisioned. Sketches of each space were given to our installers who always commented on how great the drawings were and how easy our job was to install. We were so pleased with our new home, we chose to renovate another home and have gone back to Byrd again! And again, we were thrilled with the results!

Mr. & Mrs. Charles Winston Jr., Raleigh, NC