Answers

  1. I am a home owner, Can I install a stainless steel backsplash myself?
  2. Installing stainless steel tile is similar to installing regular tile, with a few notable exceptions. In many ways, stainless is easier than stone or ceramic tile. Many people choose to install our tile tightly together. This way, you do not need spacers and will not have to grout. Not grouting will shorten the job by at least two days. You have to let regular tile cure before grouting, then the grout has to cure before sealing. You skip those steps if you choose not to grout. If you are using the standard hardboard backer, the tile is installed with a construction adhesive (like Liquid Nails) instead of Thinset. You apply the adhesive using a standard caulk gun, directly to the back of the tile, and press it on the wall. Cutting metal is probably the most challenging part of the process. However, if you are comfortable cutting regular tile with a wet saw, you should have no problem mastering stainless tiles. There will be less waste as well. You will not crack our tiles, but you may have a bad cut or two. Typically, we do not recommend getting a lot of extra tile (10% to 20% for regular tile). So if you are moderately skilled and have the right tools, this project is well within the capability of many homeowners. We are just a phone call away and enjoy working with our customers to achieve a great result.

    We also have an installation guide available here: How To Install

  3. Should I grout stainless steel tile?
  4. That depends on where you install the tile. In most cases, grout is not required. It is only required if you are installing in an area that gets soaked frequently (like in a shower or outside). In those cases, you must grout to protect the underlayment and the adhesive. For other locations, even those that get somewhat wet, like behind the sink, you do not need to grout. In those cases, it depends on the look you are going for. Some people choose to grout when they are mixing stainless tiles with other media, such as stone, ceramic or glass, and they want a more homogenous look.

  5. If I choose to grout, what kind of grout should I use?
  6. There is a wide range of grouts that can be used with stainless steel tile. For most applications, standard un-sanded grout is used. Use a grout with latex added. In areas that are going to see a lot of dirt or grease (like in a commercial kitchen or public restroom, consider using a urethane or epoxy grout. They are more resistant to staining, easier to clean and do not require sealing. As for the color to use, that is a matter of taste. I like Deloreon Gray, which can be found in bags and in tubes to be installed with a grout gun.

  7. I see you have two choices for backers. What is a backer and which one do I need?
  8. When the tile is formed, it creates a void on the back of the tile. By applying a backer inside this void, the tile gains added rigidity and provides a suitable surface to bond to the substrate. The hardboard is the standard backer and works great in most situations. It is not affected by occasional splashing, like behind a sink. It has the lowest profile, as it makes a tile that is about ¼” thick. It installs easily using construction adhesive. If you are going to use the tile in an area that gets soaked frequently, like in a shower or outside, you will need to use the Fiberock backer. It works great in areas that see a lot of moisture. Because it is a little thicker and makes a tile that is about 3/8” thick, it is sometimes chosen when mixing stainless tiles with other types of tile, such as stone, ceramic or glass, to better match their thickness. It is typically installed with Thinset, like regular tile.

    More information on our backers is available here: Tile Backing Options

  9. Where are the tiles made?
  10. We are the manufacturer. We make the tiles in Tyrone, Georgia. We are about 30 minutes southwest of Atlanta.

  11. What kind of steel are the tiles made of?
  12. We use only U.S. produced stainless steel. Our steel is a ferritic stainless (430 series) that offers a wide range of properties that make it suitable for decorative and functional walls and backsplashes. It is one of the most common stainless steels used for decorative and functional purposes (like commercial sinks, outdoor gas grills, architectural trim, etc.) There is an ongoing debate on what type of stainless steel is best for a backsplash. The two most common types of stainless are 300 series and 400 series. While the 300 series offers slightly better corrosion resistance (primarily because of its nickel content), 400 series offers excellent corrosion resistance and we have never had a complaint of corrosion with our standard 430 stainless. It has a couple of other advantages that makes 430 our choice. It is a little less expensive because it uses molybdenum for corrosion resistance and ours is annealed to further improve corrosion resistance. 300 series is more expensive because nickel is not a raw material that the United States is a significant producer. Because the nickel is imported from competitor countries (like Russia and China), it adds to the cost of production and comes with a political cost. A further benefit of 430 series steel is that magnets will stick to it. That makes sticking your menus and notes on the backsplash with a magnet possible, just like on your refrigerator (also usually made with 430 series stainless).

  13. Why are the tiles shipped with a plastic film?
  14. The PVC film that is on the face of the tile serves an important function during production, shipping and installation. It protects the brushed finish of the tile and reduces the chance of nicks and scratches. It is recommended that the film be left on until after the tile is installed. Once the tile is adhered to the wall and cured, the PVC can be peeled off. There will be a little adhesive residue on the tile and it will need to be cleaned. We recommend a cleaner and polish combination like Sheila Shine, which we carry on our website. However, there are many other products available to you locally. There is a discussion on our blog with great tips on cleaning and a good list of products.

    Before leaving this topic, I want to mention that the PVC film can be a little tedious, but it really works well to protect the tile. Prior to adhering the tile, we recommend that you begin peeling the film off all sides and just leave the face covered. This will make peeling the PVC off easier. Some people report good results with peeling the PVC while installing and use extra care to avoid scratching the tile. If you are going to grout the tile, you definitely want the PVC clear of the joints so that you don’t ruin the grout when peeling or get the film trapped in the joint. Also, instead of floating the grout, you may consider using a grout bag with a thin bead tip to apply the grout directly to the joint and smooth with a wet finger. In any case, you want to avoid using a sanded grout, unless absolutely necessary.

  15. How do you clean the tile?
  16. See cleaning directions (link at bottom of all landing pages on website), or cleaning discussion on our blog (link at bottom of all landing pages).

  17. How do you cut stainless steel tiles?
  18. CAUTION! Cut tile may have sharp edges. Always use safety glasses when cutting any kind of tile. Read and understand all safety warnings associated with any power tool.

    There are several ways to cut stainless steel tile. First, the primary concern while cutting stainless steel is to avoid generating a lot of heat that may discolor the steel. Until recently, we have recommended that tile be cut with a tile wet saw with a diamond blade. That is still a very acceptable method to cut tile; however, there is a method we found recently that is easier and less expensive. Stainless can be cut using a band saw or jig saw using a fine toothed blade with 17 or more teeth to the inch. The trick is getting a straight cut and protecting the tile. There are two relatively new products that solve these issues. First, Rockwell has a tool called Blade Runner X2 that is essentially a small table top tool that has a jig saw blade mounted from underneath the table. The upper end of the blade is supported between two rollers. This tool was purchased on Amazon and delivered to our shop for right around $100. Jig saw blades are cheap while diamond blades used on wet saws are not. This tool could pay for itself the first time it is used. There is also a table made by a company in Germany (Neutechnic) that you can mount your jig saw on, with the same advantages as the Rockwell tool. We are in the process of evaluating both tools and will provide more information and instructions in the near future. Meanwhile, the tile wet saw works well for straight cuts. When you have to notch a tile (like around an outlet), you can make the straight cuts with the wet saw and the inside cuts with an abrasive cutoff wheel in a Dremmel rotary tool. Stay tuned for video on cutting stainless steel on our website. You can Google cutting stainless steel tile and you can also find videos on YouTube.

  19. Do you offer a tile cutting service or make custom tiles?
  20. Yes, we do offer those services. Because of the variety of possibilities, please call and ask about your specific requirement. We enjoy helping with your projects.

  21. How do you deal with cut tiles when the edge of the tile will show?
  22. Because the tile has a turned edge, when you cut it, you lose the factory edge. The best way to deal with this issue is to work your layout so that cut edges only go into a corner or against a cabinet or trim work. The cut edge will not show. If you can’t make the layout work with ending an area with full tiles, you can use J-Trim to cover the edge. We offer J-Trim in 6” and 12” lengths. Give us a call so that we can offer suggestions on your layout so as to avoid the need for using J-Trim.

  23. Do you offer tips on design and layout?
  24. Yes, we enjoy working with you to help you get the best result possible for your project. In the future, we will be offering videos to address some of the more common layout issues. In general, work to create a design and layout that fits your space best. A couple key considerations are: 1) how the pattern fits within openings and 2) how the tiles end, both in corners and the ends of the pattern. By fitting in an opening, we are talking typically space above the stove and below the vent or microwave, and the area above the sink. If possible, we want the pattern to be symmetrical in these spaces. By that, we mean that the pattern is centered within the spaces. After that, we want to see how the tile will end in the corners and on the sides. On small walls, it is good to make both sides end with the same size tile (symmetrical). Also, we don’t want to see a pattern end with just a sliver of a tile. The very small tile will be distracting. When the tile is to continue around a corner, experiment with how that transition is best made. There are two good methods. One is to make it a continuation of the pattern around the corner. Let’s say we are using 4”X8” tile and when we reach the corner, we have to cut a tile to 6 inches to fit. Take the 2 inch leftover and turn the corner with it. This makes for a nice flow. Another option is to make the opposite walls mirror each other. So in the above example, if you finish with a 6 inch tile, make the next wall start with a 6 inch tile. Both patterns will be symmetrical and produce a contiguous look. With any type of tile that you install, it is not likely that every consideration will be accommodated. In that case, you choose the most visible element to make right and the least visible element will require some compromise.

  25. How many tiles do I need?
  26. You can use our Tile Calculator , call or email for assistance with determining how much tile you will need. While determining how much tile to order, you generally order extra for mistakes. However, with stainless tile, you eliminate the most common problem with ceramic, stone and glass tile…..breakage. Stainless steel tiles do not break or crack like regular tiles, so you will not likely need as many extra tiles. Usually, just a few extra tiles are needed to allow for the occasional bad measurement or cut.

  27. What is your return policy?
  28. If you ordered too many or you simply change your mind, we will refund the purchase price of the returned tile, not including shipping, as long as the tile is returned to us in the same condition you received it. The tile must still have the PVC cover in its original condition and we are able to put the tile back in stock for sale. Call prior to returning.

  29. What methods of payment do you accept and is it secure?
  30. First, we take the security of your personal information very seriously. We never record your credit card number. We do not write it down or store it on our computer. We process all payments through PayPal. The link is either through our website, via encrypted transmission, or through PayPal’s virtual terminal. Again, credit card information (except the last four numbers) is not recorded on our system and is encrypted for transmission. We accept all major credit cards: Master Card, Discover, Visa and American Express. You can also pay using your PayPal account directly on our website.

  31. Can I setup an account so I don’t have to input all my information when I reorder?
  32. Of course. That option is available anytime you are entering information to order or just click on “Login” in the upper right side of the home page and register.

  33. What is your privacy policy?
  34. You can view our full Privacy Policy . There, you will find our policy and explanation of what information is collected and why. If you ever have any question or concern about your personal information, please call 404-655-6719 and ask to speak directly to the owner.

  35. Do you have a sample program?
  36. Yes, we offer 3 free samples of our tile (except the 12”X12” and 12”X24” tile). Because of a vulnerability offering them completely free, we charge you just for shipping. You currently pay $5.97 for delivery by USPS Priority Mail.

    Order Sample Tiles here.

  37. What is your minimum order?
  38. One…there is no minimum order.

  39. How long will it take for you to ship my order?
  40. We strive to ship the same day as we receive the order. If the order is received too late, the order is prepared and shipped the next business day. For very large orders, it may take longer to produce and ship. Call if you have any special requirements.

  41. How do you ship?
  42. Most orders ship via UPS. You can select the type of shipping, from ground to next day air. For large commercial orders, we can also ship using LTL freight. We have good relationships with excellent shippers and always work to get the best rates for our customers. The free samples are delivered by USPS Priority Mail.

  43. How long will it take for the tile to arrive after you ship it?
  44. It depends on where you are and the shipping you select. Here is a basic overview of ground shipping for UPS: