Adding A Variety Of Tile Styles To Your Custom Home

Adding A Variety Of Tile Styles To Your Custom Home

Welcome to this edition of the Louisville Custom Home Builder Podcast series brought to you by Louisville’s leading luxury construction team, Artisan Signature Homes. I’m Greg your host, and for today’s episode we are joined by Louisville’s best known and most accomplished custom and luxury home builder, Jason Black. Jason, thanks for having me back today. How are you?

Jason:    I’m doing very well this morning Greg. Good to see you again.

Greg:    Thank you. We are continuing on our series of how you build a custom home here in town. I think last week we talked about the trim work, the custom trim work and finished trim work in the house. You were saying next up, we’re probably going to talk about paint and tiling in the house.

Jason:    Yes. The trim work is always one of my favorites, it really sets the house off. What better to continue setting the house off than bringing in some cool tile work.

Greg:    I going to interrupt there before you go. If anyone doesn’t believe Jason that he really loves trim work, you should follow his Instagram feed, there are a lot of cool pictures of trim work on there, I’m surprised we forgot to say that on the last episode.

Jason:    Yes. Trim work is one of those things that people like certain things, and some people like cars, and some people like boats or whatever, I love trim. I’ve had the unique opportunity to be awarded many, many years over from our Homearama houses as best award for best use of interior trim. After you get that award a couple of times I guess people really understand that you like trim. Maybe you’re all right at it. It’s interesting because you’re really taking flat, one by pieces of material, it’s kind of an artistry of how you can transform a house as a drywall box into really a home, and I think trim really helps do that.

Greg:    Absolutely, as does our next topic, we’ve talked about tile before in some of the episodes in your Homearama homes, it seems like tile and paint also give you a great opportunity to really make the home yours and really define it and change it into something that’s not just sort of a two dimensional flat …

Jason:    That’s right. Once we had the trim work in, and usually I like to get the trim guys in to start for a few days or a week or two before the tile men come in. Why that’s important is because we need to set the doors in the house because the tile man has to know exactly where to stop and start his tile, so you have a good transition from, say a bathroom floor where you’re going to have tiling that’s going to go into a hallway that may have hardwood or carpet or some other type of materials.

Getting those transitions just right is pretty key because I like to have it when a door closes, it really covers the middle of that transition. Sometimes you never even think about where the door closes or what, but we transition it so when you’re on one side of the door you’d see carpet, on the other side you’d see tiles. I know a little more than you probably bargained for, but hey, we’re talking about why we do certain things.

Greg:    That’s funny. We talked a couple of weeks ago about doing drywall and I kind of think that that’s a skill that everyone needs to try at least once just to see how hard it is. I think tile might be another one because when you get to the transition, it’s something that most people don’t think about and it’s so hard that, I think … I’ve tried once or twice, it’s so hard to do well that when someone does it well it’s like, “Wow, nice job.”

Jason:    Well it is funny, you see a lot of DIY-ers and home shows and people try to lay tile. You can lay the field tile or the vast majority of the big tiles fairly easily, but once you get into those small cuts and cuts around the toilet, and the plugs, and where the backsplashes are going to go… It’s funny, one of the … I can’t remember the name of the show on HGTV, but the homeowner starts their project and then they bring in an expert because they just can’t finish it, and they’ve got a half laid backsplash. Again, they’ve left out all the hard stuff.

Greg:    Exactly. It’s harder than you would think.


Jason:    That’s right. It just takes time and it takes experience, and that’s why we use professionals. Our tiling guys, that’s all they do is lay tile. They don’t lay trim, they don’t drywall, they’re exclusively tile installers. That’s why we’ve repeatedly get the finest finishes out there is because we are using professionals that specialize in tiles.

Greg:    It seems your guys would have to be pros because you use so many different kinds of tiles, it’s not a consistent “we’re going to use this kind of tile throughout the house.” You go through some of your Homearama homes and I don’t know what the number is, but 10, 12 different tiles, different sizes, different patterns.

Jason:    You got different sizes, you got different patterns, you got mosaics, but then you also have different materials. You could have a glass tile versus a marble, versus a stone, and all of those need different bits and different ways to cut them. You do definitely want to have a professional when you embark on a tile project. Again, a little more than maybe you bargained for, we’re just putting tile in a house as part of this process.

We’ve set the doors, then the tile men comes in, and he’ll lay the floors. Once he’s laid all the floors and we’ll come in, and we’ll grout the floors in. Again, we’re in preparation, we haven’t quite set the cabinets yet but we’re preparing to set the cabinets. Before you do all that stuff, again, you got to lay the tile. If you have any of those decorative vanities with higher legs and decorative shelves, you want to lay all the tile first as completely as underneath where those cabinets are going to be set.

Greg:    You’re talking about in a bathroom?

Jason:    Yes, bathroom. We don’t do a whole lot of tile in the kitchen but we sometimes still do tile in the kitchen, we’d want to lay that entire kitchen so the cabinets can come in and set directly on top of that tile.

Greg:    If you’re doing a tile backsplash in either the bathroom or the kitchen, when would that go in?

Jason:    That’s going to come back later. The initial tile crew comes in, they’ll lay the floors. When you tile a shower you just don’t come in and tile the shower, you’ve got to come in and you have to do a, we call it a shower pan. You don’t really think about it like this but you’re almost having a little pool in your bathroom shower. You think about some of the long showers that your kids take or somebody else in the family takes, you’re running a lot of water through that shower, so you got to have a good, durable surface.


We put in a rubber membrane all around the shower floor, it runs up the walls a little bit, and then we pour concrete over it, and then we waterproof it once again. We’re really trying to protect the surrounding areas from the water and the moisture. Again, once that shower floor is poured, we’ll then put some Durock or Hardie Board around the shower. We usually don’t put drywall right down by the shower, again, just because the moisture, over time, that drywall could have a tendency to break down.

That’s even true for tubs surrounds. If we’re putting a tub in the kids bathroom, very seldom do we do a one piece tub, we’re doing either a steel tub or a fiber glass tub and then we’re coming in with a tile surround. We don’t just drywall, we’ll usually take out the first row of drywall around the tub and come in with a Hardie Board or a cement board in there, again, just for a long-term durability and you’d want to reduce any chance for mold growing in those situations.

Greg:    When the tile people come, your bathtubs, those are already in? Is that correct?

Jason:    That’s correct. They’re usually in prior to drywall and that’s going to happen during the plumbing, plumbing rough in. We may have touched on that, we may have not, but that’s when the tubs go in. Again, setting the showers, we’re pouring the mud, Durock in and getting ready, so once all that’s done we can then lay the tile around the tub. A lot of times we’re doing a subway tile, a three by six, pretty traditional, but then we can also … Gosh, we won’t get into all the different types of tile that can go around the tub, but if you think of it it can happen.

Same with the shower, a lot of subways, a lot of bigger tile, sometimes we’ll do a waterfall pattern, maybe where the showerhead is going to go. At that point if you’ve got any niches, or corner benches, or shelves or anything like that, we’re going to incorporate those into the shower at this time. Also, if you have a, say a fireplace, we may go ahead and tile around the fireplace surround at this time. Like you mentioned, you wouldn’t quite be ready to do a kitchen backsplash, or sometimes we’ll do a back splash behind a vanity, that’s going to take place in just a little bit.

That’s kind of the tile process, again, lay all the tile, we’ll grout it, usually cover it to protect it to prepare for the painter who’s going to come in next once the trim and tile work has been completed.

Greg:    Perfect. That sounds like that our next episode is already lining up for us. I’m going to guess, I hope I’m right, painters are next since you just said it.

Jason:    Yes, that’s right. We’ll have all these trades out of there and we’ll bring in the painter.

Greg:    All right, well I’m looking forward to it. I’ll see you next week.

Jason:    Sounds good. Thanks Greg.

Thank you for joining us in this episode of the Louisville Custom Home Building Podcast. If you’re looking to build a home and would like to reach out to Jason with any questions about the process or maybe  just your individual needs and desires, please visit the website at We appreciate your time with us today and look forward to bringing you another episode next week.