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How to avoid mistakes when installing ceramic countertops E-mail
Laying tiles and grout, and creating mosaic designs all by yourself can be some of the most stressful, most tiring do-it-yourself work. This is why the simplest way to avoid mistakes when installing tiles is simply to have someone else do it for you. Off-center tile arrangement and protruding pieces of grout – the most common tiling mistakes – can ruin the sheen and texture of a ceramic countertop.

However, hiring a contractor can be a complicated business in itself. To steer you in the right direction, this article will provide a guide to selecting a good contractor.

Before installation

Before you sign a contract for the installation of your ceramic countertop, there are certain questions you ought to ask your contractor. Find out the contractor's credentials, and make sure he or she has obtained the required building licenses from the state. All states require one.

Ask about the contractor's insurance policies. Usually, contractors will offer insurance on items in or near the installation site. This may increase the contractor's fee, but if anything gets broken, you will be glad to have it.

If you can, interview other clients who have worked with the contractor. Ask them questions about how fast the contractor works, and how well he or she does the required job. If you can find someone who had a project done that is similar to yours, ask job-specific questions such as how long it took and what to look for.

Agree on contract terms before you sign anything. The contract should contain payment terms, due dates on payments, project deadlines, and other particulars. If your contractor agrees, ask for a penalty clause in your contract. This clause will entitle you to a discount if the project is not finished by an agreed-upon time. You should also discuss the disposal of your previous countertop surface with your contractor. Most of them will agree to dispose of it free of charge.

Finally, set a convenient date for the installation of your countertop. Usually, installing a ceramic countertop takes two to three, to allow the cement to dry.

During installation

While your countertop is being installed, keep small children away from the work site. They may hurt themselves on tools or sharp tile edges. They can also distract contractors from their work, resulting in off-center tiling.

Contractors will usually recommend staying away from the house while the tiles are being installed. However, if you have to be around while they work, always wear a safety mask and goggles, and insist that anyone entering the house do the same. Grout and finishing chemicals are toxic if inhaled and deadly if swallowed.

After installation

Make sure your contractor cleans up once the project is over. Dried-up grout and dust ought to be swept away. Most contractors will also offer to buff a ceramic surface once the cement has dried. Your contractor should also provide you with care and maintenance tips for your ceramic countertop.

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