Can You See The Problem With This Marble Floor?

Crappy Material

This material came from a bad supplier


Can you see any problems in this photo of a guest bath marble floor installation? The customer hired Queen of the Tile to install granite on her kitchen countertops and 3 different floors in her home. I encouraged her to visit my preferred natural stone importers that can be found on my website. She found her granite at a yard from my list, but found her tile at a place I like to refer to as a “trailer park tile store”. You’ve seen them…..on I-45 South and North…with a sign out front saying “$0.59/SF Tile” and “Countertops Installed for $ 12.99/SF”. Oh, and they also install car stereos and sell doors!!

So I told my customer that I wasn’t comfortable buying from this place. I also told her about another customer of mine that had spent $9000.00 on Travertine from a large box store. When we started installing it, none of the grout joints were lining up. It turned out that none of the tiles were cut square! And it took that customer 2 weeks to finally get his money back!

Well, she wanted to save money, so we bought the tiles anyway. The travertine material turned out that 1 out of 5 tiles was about 1/32″ larger than the rest(not too bad considering…), but the marble tiles were a different story. We only purchased 3 boxes and I couldn’t believe that each box was a different shade! Unbelievable!!

So like our Mother’s always told us, “You get what you pay for!”. Often, saving a few dollars on material turns into spending more money in the long run. So please use a trusted granite and tile installer for all your remodeling and construction needs. It will be worth it in the long run, bringing you a beautiful tile or granite countertop installation with much less stress for everybody.

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Before and After For a Garden Shower

Demolition Picture

Before Picture of Garden Shower


These customers had a sunken tub installed but wanted a shower installed instead. The customer removed the tub, but Queen of the Tile had to pour in about 8″ of concrete to raise the bottom of the floor.

This was a unique installation because of the raising of the floor and the large picture window on the main wall. The customers did an amazing job in their material selection, choosing multi-colored pebbles for the floor and face of the bench. On the walls, their selection was gorgeous vein-cut travertine planks that came in 3 different sizes. The planks were installed vertically, visually adding to the height of the shower walls. These materials were purchased from La Nova Tile, one of the best tile importers in Houston.

Beautiful Garden Shower Picture

Gorgeous Garden Shower Installation


Please take note of the shape of the shower bench. The window sill was incorporated into the bench for a very attractive and unique design. “Earth Glitter” granite was used to cap the bench, tying in the vanity top where it was also installed by Queen of the Tile. The granite slab was purchased from Master Tile/Colours of the Rainbow in Houston.

I commend these customers for having amazing taste and putting together all these materials for a beautiful bathroom remodel. Please visit the Queen of the Tile website for more examples and information of our projects.

Marble In The Kitchen

Currently, one of the latest designer trends is having marble installed for your kitchen countertops. This has always been discouraged due to the fact that marble is softer and more porous than some other materials like granite, Silestone or Cambria. But many designers and homeowners are doing it anyway.

Below is a photo of a beautiful kitchen we installed a few weeks ago. The island marble surrounding the sink is inlaid in a large butcher block piece of wood. This homeowner also chose to have a large piece of marble installed behind her stove as her backsplash. The look is simple and and very elegant.

Carrera White marble in the Kitchen

Carrera White Countertops

If you are tempted to use a marble in your kitchen, there a few things to remember. Marble is more porous and softer than some other choices. Even though it will be sealed after installation by Queen of the Tile, you will probably end up staining it at some point. Some foods like lemon juice or wine, and many cleaners are acidic. If left on your marble countertops, the acid will etch the surface. You may probably drag a large pot or cookie jar across it or drop a heavy item from the cupboard. You will end up “beating” it up a bit. These things are to be expected and will only add to the vibrance and character of your marble as the years pass.

As I like to tell my customers, your countertops will be like your favorite pair of leather shoes. The more you wear them, the more you love them as you break them in.

This kitchen remodel, along with the pantry, guest bath and laundry room were all done by Holliday Interiors of Spring, Tx.

Elegant Vanity in Powder Bath

Gorgeous Vanity with Marble Top

Lammax! 1/8″ Thick Porcelain Sheets

1/8" Porcelain Sheet Countertop

The lastest in countertops

The latest trend in countertops is using a new product called Lammax, 1/8″ thick porcelain sheets. Lammax comes in 13 different colors (no patterns yet) and the sheets are 147″ x 48″. The sheets are very fragile until they are installed on a solid plywood or cement board substrate.

So far, Queen of the Tile has installed Lammax in a laundry room (including 4″ backsplashes) in a beach house on Boliver, some table tops at a Westheimer Plumbing showroom in Houston and the restaurant installation you see in the photo. Next week we will be installing more lammax in a tile showroom for La Nova Tile in Houston. I’ll be posting some of those pictures soon.

As far as cost compared to other materials like granite and silestone, lammax is comparable to a mid-range granite. If you are looking for a clean, contemporary look, you may want to come by Medusa Tile in Galveston, TX. We have a small vanity with an U/M sink hole in the showroom and all the colors available.

Cracks in your New Shower!!

I had a previous customer call the other day that she had cracks in her shower wall corners. Thank God we installed her kitchen countertops and backsplash, not the shower!! So I went over the other day to take a look.

Slight crack in a Backsplash

Very Slight Crack

This is a common occurrence when your tile person does not have enough experience to use grout and matching caulk for your tile project. Let’s face it. All houses move and shift, be it a house on pilings or a house on a slab foundation. All houses move! And where is the first place you will see cracks or movement? Anywhere one plane of material meets another plane. In other words, where two walls meet in a corner, where your ceiling meets your walls, where your backsplash meets your countertop or in the walls of your shower.

Big Crack in the Grout

Large Crack in Grout

As an experienced tile setter, I learned a long time ago that all grouts have a matching caulk of the same color. I rarely buy grout at the box store on the Island because they only carry a few of the matching caulk colors. So I always buy my grout and caulk at Master Tile (now Crossville Tile) since they carry all the grouts and matching caulks. If they don’t have the one you need in stock, they will order it for you.

This is not an expensive step to take, but it is more time consuming on the job site and requires a bit more clean up. If cracking still occurs, there may be more issues at hand since we did all we could to prevent the cracks. If you have cracks after the fact, try and match the caulk as best as you can, scrape out as much old grout as you can and put a nice bead of matching caulk in its place. Caulk clean up is not hard if you don’t cut the caulk tube too far up the nozzle and use a damp sponge for clean up. After a few feet of caulking, you will be a pro. Or just call us at Queen of the Tile and Medusa Tile. We’ll take care of it for you. Happy Caulking!!

Remodeling – Where Do I Start?

I had a customer call the other day and tell me they want to remodel their kitchen and 3 bathrooms! I thought to myself, “Great, that’s a nice job!” Then I thought about all the decisions they will have to make to get to the goal. So I decided to write a “To Do List” for them.

These are My Suggestions Only!
– start with one room at a time. there are many decisions to be made, so focus on one project. you might want to lump your secondary baths together, but probably not so each room will have its own personality.
– decide how much of each room you want to remodel. for example, you may not want to change the layout of your kitchen cabinets because it works for you, but changing the door and drawer fronts will totally change the look, while not hurting your budget as much. even changing the hardware can change the look from traditional to contemporary.
– in each room, pick the focal point. it may be the granite or silestone color you want or that glass backsplash mosaic you have got to have in your kitchen!
– pick the style you are going for: contemporary, traditional, old world, etc. visiting open houses and design magazines will help you with this task. be sure to take pictures of rooms you like or cut out pictures from the magazines so you can show your designer, carpenter or countertop fabricator.

Granite Tub Deck and Glass Mosaic

Gorgeous Granite Tub Deck and Glass Mosaic Backsplash

These are just a few guidelines that may help you on your journey. I think that once you have the style and focal point, other decisions just seem to fall into place. You can expect that some things will not work out perfectly, but if you use quality companies to help you, any obstacles should be easily overcome. And remember…..remodeling should be fun!

Jaw-Dropping Kitchens and Baths: Add Unique Touches to Your Home for Improved Function, Increased Value

Hand Made Subway Tile

As Realtors, we notice that many clients, upon seeing a new home for the first time, quickly inspect the kitchen and bath areas. “The kitchen is the heart of the home”, as the saying goes, and we find this to be true: at parties, family gatherings, breakfast on Sunday-the kitchen seems to have a gravitational pull where everyone wants to gather and mingle.
Additionally, bathrooms play an important role in the eyes of homeowners as well. Certainly, it’s a room originally built for function and that alone, but taking things a step further and adding some creature comforts and eye catching features not only attract buyers, but can add to the overall satisfaction and happiness of the homeowner once the purchase is complete.
An effective method to add a little ‘eye candy’ to both kitchens and baths is through the use of unique materials for countertops, back splashes and showers. There are some breathtaking choices available now for countertops, such as amethyst. There is even a technique your local tile and granite specialist can perform that gives the look of leather, imagine that! They provide a refreshing alternative to the ordinary, and certainly make a room stand out. Another item that recently caught our eye while visiting Medusa Tile was glow in the dark tile. Yes, that’s right, glow in the dark! By day, it keeps its wonderful secret hidden, but when the lights go out….Baby, you’ve never seen an effect like this! Tile your shower floor, add a few accents pieces along the wall, or use your imagination to create a dramatic effect no other home is likely to possess.
The way you install your new choices can add function and interest as well. Rounding out the end of a kitchen island to accommodate a seating area is a popular and sought-after feature in many homes. It provides a convenient area for kids to have breakfast, friends to sit and chat, or even to lay out a buffet style dinner for guests.
Perhaps you’ve even considered adding a mural in either room with the use of glass mosaics? There are so many choices that can be made, we’ve seen much of this work firsthand and it truly adds to the beauty of a room and gives a unique twist to it that will set your home apart from the rest of the block. It is proven that updating your kitchen and baths adds significant value to your property’s value when it comes time to sell.
With so many decisions to make and products to choose from, you should contact a local specialist that can give you ideas and educate you on all the materials available for use in your home. Whichever products you choose, your home is bound to stand out above the rest with a little help from the experts. Let Marisa at Medusa Tile help you with your selections and installations and let our dynamic team, Debbie and Natalie, help you get your property sold!

This article was written by Natalie Clark and Debbie Olsen at Galveston Real Estate. Thanks very much girls!!