Designs in Tile
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Find the answers to your questions

What's "hand-painted" tile?
The phrase "hand-painted tile" can mean different things when used by different tile suppliers.We don't use so-called "china paint" or low-fired decorative glazes, because they wear away over time.

We do create a product that's individually hand-decorated, glazed, and fired at temperatures from 1700 to 2200 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on our decorating technique), ensuring great beauty, vibrant color, and long-lasting durability.

Our tile meets the industry's durability standards for Decorative Special Purpose Tile.

You'll see slight variations in shade, color, and brush strokes due to the inherent characteristics of fired ceramic tile. We recommend that you order all tiles for your project at one time, to avoid the variations in color that naturally occur from lot to lot.

Our Studio is often booked 6 to 12 months in advance for these high-quality made-to-order tiles.

Where can we use Designs In Tile products?
Traditional tile installations include fully-tiled kitchens, baths, fireplaces, walls, and floors.

More unusual historic applications for our custom hand-painted tile include wall and floor murals, fountains, pools, spas, custom furniture, window frames, phone niches, and stair risers.

All of our hand decorated tiles are high-fired for permanence and durability.
Our white-bodied subway-styled tile is suitable only for interior vertical installations.

Contact the Studio for information on tile suitable for kitchen counters, hearths, floors, pools, fountains, or exterior use subject to extreme freeze/thaw conditions.

Contact the Studio for proper specification of materials and installation methods.

Do you sell to individuals, or only to contractors/designers/architects?
We sell direct to homeowners, interior designers, architects, and builders alike. If you enjoy our tiles and designs, you can purchase them!

Can you help me plan my project?
Yes! See Working with Designs In Tile for specific information.

Can you install your tile for me as well?
You provide your own installers, and we can provide experienced project supervision to safeguard the spirit of our Design Work, ensure accurate placement of patterns, and eliminate the chance of mis-cuts – helping to ensure you have the final result you expect.

Once you receive your order, all tiles and murals should be laid out prior to installation to verify spacing and fit.
We offer consultation services for materials and installation specifications for your project, or you can find general information on installation procedures in the current edition of the Tile Council of America's Handbook of Ceramic Tile Installation.

What tile do you carry in stock?
Field Tile and Trim: The Studio currently has limited stock quantities of plain, undecorated Historic White tile and trim. The Historic White glaze is a historically accurate, translucent glaze matched to tiles produced from the 1880s to the 1930s. High gloss, smooth (not crackled), and translucent, it "reads" as a creamy off-white.
Our Historic White tile is a square-edged, true-sized tile in four sizes:
✓ 3" x 6" by 5/16" subway-styled tile
✓ Square tile in 6" and 4 ¼" sizes
✓ 4" hex
(See Notes: Plain Tile & Trim for information on lots currently available.)

Decorative Tile: Decorative tile is generally made to order for each individual job, but we currently have some limited lots of overrun and clearance, which are posted on the Store page.

Can I buy stock field tile and trim even if I don't purchase decorative tile from you?
Yes, absolutely.
✓ Plain Field Tile is sold in full-box increments, with a minimum order of one box.
✓ For every size, there are 10 square feet per box. Each box weighs 40 lbs.
✓ 6" x 6" tile contains 40 pieces per box.
✓ 3" x 6", 4¼" square, and 4¼" hex tile all contain 80 pieces per box.
✓ Trim tile is sold by the piece, with no minimum.

How much extra tile do I need?
We recommend you order the following overage percentages.
Lots vary, and our products are currently limited in quantity.
Overage helps you allow for mis-cuts, breakage during cutting, and changes or miscalculations.
10% overage for Field Tile
15% overage for Trim Tile
5% overage for Decorative Tile

What size grout joint should I use? What color grout is appropriate?
Victorian-style installations using square-edge 3" x 6" or 6" x 6" tile require a nominal grout joint of 1/16".
Arts & Crafts-style installations using hand-crafted, faience stoneware tile requires a larger grout joint of nominal 3/16".
✓ We recommend unsanded grout for joints under 3/32".
✓ For grout joints over 3/32" in width, use a sanded grout.

For walls: White grout for walls is the historic precedent, although a light complementary color to minimize tile staining is acceptable.
For floors: Natural grey grout for floors is the historic precedent.
✓ Dark-colored or black grout is not historically accurate, nor advised for use as it can stain your tile!

Can I order a sample?
Yes! Individual sample tiles of both decorative and plain Historic White field tile and trim may be ordered for a fee plus shipping and handling. Please contact the Studio.

How do you schedule my order? 
✓ You or your contractor can provide take-downs (quantities of sizes and shapes of tile and trim). We'll quote the project and provide a time estimate for delivery. Once we receive your written approval and deposit, your job is scheduled and produced.
✓ If you are ordering made-to-order material and selecting our Advanced Design Solution, when you approve the design, budget, and schedule, your 50% deposit holds your place in our production queue.
✓ You'll be advised when the job is completed. Upon receipt of the balance due, we'll ship your tile to you, ready for installation.
✓ Many of our project commitments are large, complex, and long-term, and we handle all orders on a first-come, first-served basis. That's why we strongly recommend that you contact us as early as possible as you begin planning your project.  
✓ See also Working With Designs In Tile - Scheduling for more information 

What do I need to do when I receive my order?
✓ Review the shipment for accuracy, including quality, quantity, and color.
✓ Check for any shipping damage.
✓ Once you receive your order, all tiles and murals should be laid out prior to installation to verify spacing and fit.
We offer consultation services for materials and installation specifications for your project.
This should be done early in the planning process, as it will probably affect your choice of materials!
You can find general information on installation procesdures in the current edition of the Tile Council of America's Handbook of Ceramic Tile Installation.
✓ Contact the Studio immediately if any problems occur.
✓ During Installation -- plain field tile should be pulled from a number of boxes when the tile is being installed to ensure optimal blending of shade variations.

Once the tile is installed, what care do you recommend?
Clean glazed tile surfaces with hot water and a diluted natural, non-acidic, non-abrasive cleaner.
Wipe down with a microfiber cloth to dry.
Cleaning tile floors. Regularly sweeping or vacuuming tile floors (without using a beater bar) is the best way to keep the glaze in good shape. Dirt and sand particles get ground into tile with foot traffic, which wears on ceramic tile.
Damp mop your tile floors weekly with hot water and a diluted natural, non-acidic, non-abrasive cleaner or something mild like Murphy's Oil Soap (which also helps to seal and keep the color in the grout). Be sure to rinse the floor well. 
Removing mildew, lime deposits, and soap scum from shower stalls. Because bathroom surfaces -- particularly showers -- are exposed to water, soaps, and body oils, you can reduce the amount of cleaning you do by "squeegeeing" the shower tile after each use.  
✓ Clean the tile once a week to prevent the build-up of soap scum. A good cleaning solution is 1 cup of white vinegar to a gallon of hot water. Use a squeegee or microfiber cloth to dry the surface.
✓ Never use a cleaner containing acids or ammonia. Acids can damage both the grout and the glazed surface of the tile, and ammonia can discolor the grout.
✓ Avoid abrasive materials that might scratch and dull the glazed surface.

Do you accept returns?
Yes, within the limitations described here.
✓ Be aware when reviewing your tile order that, due to the inherent characteristics of hand decorated ceramic tile, certain tolerances as to sizing, color, and shade variation are normal to the industry.
✓ We strongly recommend that you inspect all tiles prior to installation, because we cannot honor claims made after the installation is begun.
✓ All requests to return an order must be first accepted in writing by the Studio. Returns are subject to a 35% restocking fee. You must pay the return freight and insure the return shipment for the full value of the order. Tile must be in its original boxes.
✓ All returned materials will be inspected for damage; credit cannot be given if the material cannot be resold.

We cannot accept returns on overage tile.

What warranties or guarantees do you offer?
All our tile meets industry standards for Special Purpose Tile. We have no control over the materials used to install our tile – including the method of installation, backing, skill of the installer(s), type of maintenance, or usage and amount traffic. Therefore, we cannot guarantee our tile against chipping, cracking, spalling, etching, discoloring, wearing, or scratching.

We will replace (if available) or pay only for materials proved defective from one year of the date of shipping. This does not include labor for removal or installation. Beyond the purchase price of materials supplied by us, we assume no liability for damages of any kind.


Our mission is to create a unique synthesis of art, ornament
and architecture in every installation. 

We look forward to working with you
to create the tile installation of your dreams!