Staff culture at Tile Town based on supported growth

Jason Makowski will soon celebrate the seventh year of his Tile Town career. 

“What inspires me is that, I know coming to work every day, it’s not just coming to do my job and leave,” says Makowski. “I’m working towards a greater goal of moving up and taking on more responsibility.”

Makowski was only looking for a paycheck to get by when he first started working – initially applying as a labourer lifter at Tile Town for what he assumed was going to be a temporary job.  “I kind of just needed a job, I didn’t know about tile or anything,” he admits.

To his surprise, Makowski found purpose. He was encouraged by a supportive, growth-promoting team environment to think about his potential and change the course of his future.

“Tile Town breeds a culture of what you’ll put in, you’ll get back,” Makowski exclaims. “A couple of years in, I realized I could make something of this and grow.”

Makowski worked his way up from the warehouse to the sales floor, and eventually, into management and in the distribution centre. His motivation: helping and improving people’s lives.

“It’s not just about tile, people come in and we give them good service,” says Makowski. “The reward is they come back.”

Makowski’s managerial style is to provide his staff with as much support as possible – modelling his approach after a boss who took him under their wing.

“We just try and have fun. We all realize life is bigger than just work itself, so there is freedom if we can get the work done,” explains Makowski. “I’ve also worked in every position, so when I do have a message to get across, it resonates more because I know how my staff are feeling in those situations.”

Jason Makowski at work in Surrey's Tile Town Showroom

Makowski notes his store has seen slight changes in tile-picking trends.

“People are getting more exotic with their tile. They’re are coming in and adding more pop and style to their rooms,” Makowski says. “There was a 3-to-4 year period where all people cared about was reselling their house, so all they wanted to do was white. Now people want to enjoy their spaces a bit more and are planning to be there a bit longer.”

Makowski is excited about his future and looks forward to continue growing his career with Tile Town. When in the Cloverdale neighbourhood in Surrey, be sure to visit Tile Town say hello to Jason and his team.

Coats for Kids Means a Brighter Holiday

Coats for Kids Means a Brighter Holiday

It’s that time of the year again when we collect coats at our Tile Town locations throughout BC and Alberta.

At our Richmond and Surrey Tile Town locations, we’ve partnered with HAVAN’s 26th Coats for Kids campaign, in support of the Lower Mainland and Surrey Christmas Bureaus. We invite you to drop off warm winter items until December 3.

Our Tile Town location on Vancouver Island is accepting donations of new or very gently used coats (all sizes from infant to youth large) on behalf of the Victoria Coats For Kids Association, a non-profit organization serving local families for the past 22 years. Coats can be dropped off at our Victoria showroom during regular business hours.

If you’re near our Edmonton West or Edmonton South showrooms, we’re collecting coats on behalf of the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. Their Coats for Kids & Families initiative has been going strong since 1992!

Thank you for helping us create a warmer winter and brighter holiday season for families in need.

Tile Town staff at the Richmond showroom invite you to drop off coats (left).
Staff in our Edmonton location are ready for your warm winter donations (right).

How to Heat Tile Floors Using Schluter DITRA-HEAT

Nothing compares to stepping on a warm floor when waking up on a cold winter morning. The feeling of heat travelling up from your toes is the perfect start to the day.

Installing a floor-heating system doesn’t have to be an expensive addition or tedious process to your renovations. It can even be a DIY project using the Schluter DITRA-HEAT Uncoupling Membrane, or Schluter DITRA-HEAT DUO Uncoupling Membrane.

Both membranes are specifically designed for DITRA-HEAT-E-HK heating cables to be easily installed. The heating cables are responsible for transferring heat from the membrane up through the tiles. The membranes are made out of the same waterproof material as other Schluter products,  making them ideal for bathrooms and other floors around the house that will see high traffic activity.

The differences? The DUO membrane is better suited to be placed over concrete floorings, such as basements, whereas the Schluter DITRA-HEAT Uncoupling Membrane is suited well to be placed over wood. 

Picking the right tile
Like other Schluter products, tiles can be installed directly on the DITRA-HEAT membranes. However, not all tiles are the same and there are some specifications to be aware of when finding the right type of tile. Be sure to refer to the Product Specifications Guide to learn more.

You can also visit any Tile Town location to speak to an expert about tiles that are best suited for the DITRA-HEAT membranes. Our experts will also provide a helping hand in choosing the latest designs and trends that will give your home an elegant, modern look.

These videos guide you step-by-step on how to use install DITRA-Heat.

Featured Tile: Formwork Series

Classic shades offer a versatile tile option for designers seeking continuity between the floor and the wall.

Formwork Series

Colours: Anthracite, White
Size: 12×24 

The mass-coloured porcelain tiles of the Energie Ker Formwork collection best represent the minimalist and urban flavour of industrial reinforced concrete floors. Two classic shades – White and Anthracite – with a thickness of 9 mm, make Formwork extremely versatile in furnishing projects also in continuity between the floor and the wall.

Featured: Formwork White 12×24 Italian Porcelain tile.
Featured: Formwork Anthracite 12×24 Italian Porcelain tile.
Featured Kitchen Floor Tile: Formwork White 12×24 Italian Porcelain tile.

How to Design a Multi-Tasking Home

The new norm for most of 2020 and 2021 became doing everything from home – going to work, working out, staycations, and spending quality time with our families. The way we use our homes transformed – somewhat permanently – teaching a clear lesson that staying at home is not as easy as it could be – especially for people living in smaller spaces. 

It’s no surprise then, why designing multi-tasking spaces in homes has become a large home renovation trend in 2021 – everyone wants to make the most of the spaces they’ll spend so much of their time in.

Furniture and storage solutions

Making the most of any space calls for mindfulness of the furniture that goes into it. It needs to work with and for the room, not against it.

Foldable furniture that sticks to the walls, like Murphy beds, is intentionally designed for a minimalistic approach. They free up the floors and provide the perfect flexibility to switch the purpose of the room. Now a make-shift office space can also be a yoga room, guest room, or any other kind of room it needs to be. Couches that can convert into beds, stackable storage units, and other pieces of furniture will help make the space multi-functional.

Flooring for different rooms

The flooring is just as important as the furniture it supports. Handling high-traffic activities mean the floors have to be strong. 

For most rooms in the house, the two best types of flooring, which are also the most traditional types, are porcelain tiles and vinyl. Their durability, scratch and dent resistance, and diverse looks make them the best choices. 

Home-office spaces

Consider the desk, chair, and shelving items that will go into the home-office space.

Hardwood or wood-look tile are two very popular choices; however, hardwood floors are more prone to damage. Wood-look tile is less expensive and easier to maintain than real wood. In the spirit of multi-tasking, this also gives the home-office space flexibility to adapt to purpose. 

Missing the comfortable, cozy feel of a carpet? A good rug can fill that void while complimenting tile well. 

Home gym spaces

As seen on HGTV, any room can be converted into a home gym or studio space. The best floor support for heavyweights and equipment by far is rubber flooring tiles which absorb shock and save floors from damage.

Beneath that, vinyl and wood are popular options. Considering the equipment being used and the amount of sweat equity, vinyl is a safer bet. It’s easier to clean, won’t damage as easily, and is still a nice feature to have for future uses of the same room.

Kitchen and living room spaces

Traditionally, wood or wood-looking floors are preferred in family living rooms and dining rooms. Luckily, this is very achievable with vinyl and porcelain. Hardwood floorings are high-value in terms of aesthetics and style, but their durability is less than vinyl or tile. Pre-finished wood will provide strength, but wood-looking vinyl meets both strength and durability at once.

Tile Town has a wide range of high-quality porcelain and vinyl tiles to pick and choose from, and our visualizer tool is a great way to see the big picture and test out what works and what doesn’t. 

Once an idea comes to mind about the way a room should look and come together, visit a Tile Town store near you for more help to pick the best flooring to suit the needs of your multifunctional room.

Featured: Aspen Grey Ridge 8X48 Wood Look Porcelain Tile.

Scratch & Save is Back This Fall

We’re celebrating our big birthday year with Fall’s 50 Days of Savings Event! Visit any one of our five locations (Victoria, Richmond, Surrey, Edmonton South, Edmonton West) and you might be one of the lucky customers to scratch and save up to 50% off your purchase.

This year our 50th Anniversary Scratch & Save events put smiles on many customers’ faces (trust us – everyone below is grinning from cheek to cheek under those masks!). Our Fall event runs until November 30.

Browse our Tile Collection and start your project today.

Best Tile Flooring Options for Dogs

Whether they’re told to sit, stay, or rollover, our pets are always on the floor. So is the dirt caught in their fur or the hair and dander that sheds off of them. Not to mention the scratch marks they can leave when their nails grow or the accidents that can happen when still being house trained.

We love our furry family members, and our floors need to love them just as much. A strong, durable floor can keep pets comfortable and homes clean.

Tile and vinyl are the most popular flooring choices by pet owners. Luckily, those are part of Tile Town’s specialties. 

Dog napping on a rug on a durable faux wood vinyl floor.

Porcelain tiles, in particular, are durable, long-lasting, easy to clean, water and scratch-resistant, and provide timeless looks that can add value to your home. A cold tile can feel good on our pet’s paws on a hot day, helping lower their body temperature to keep them cool. Equally, on a cold day, pets can be just as comfortable if an advanced under-tile floor heating system is installed before tiling the floor. The heating system warms up tile from underneath and adds heat to your home.

In-floor heating with Schluter®-DITRA-HEAT.
In-floor heating with Schluter®-DITRA-HEAT.
Avant Garde Piombo, Taupe and Zeeland White 8x48 Wood Look Italian Porcelain tiles.
Featured: Avant Garde Piombo, Taupe and Zeeland White 8×48 Wood Look Italian Porcelain tiles.
Geotech Grigio and Utah Granite 12x24 Italian Porcelain tiles
Featured: Geotech Grigio and Utah Granite 12×24 Italian Porcelain tiles.

Our wide range of luxury Italian tiles and vinyl reflect heat, and are comfortable for all pets, no matter what’s on their fur, where their paws have been, or how far along they are in their house training. 

Versa 7.5 Aspen 7x48 Click Vinyl
Featured: Versa 7.5 Aspen 7×48 Click Vinyl

Visit a Tile Town location near you to view a variety of options suitable for your pets.

Find Camaraderie and Creativity at Tile Town’s Richmond Store

Mark Gantly is no stranger to retail management – he’s a veteran in the industry with more than 30 years of experience who has worked his way up the managerial ladder.

“The companies I worked for were good companies and I certainly learned a lot that I took with me. They had excellent management training programs, I gained lots of experience in customer service, retail management as a whole, merchandising, inventory control, all that,” recalls Gantly.

For the better part of three decades, Gantly became very used to working late nights, last-minute schedule changes, and sacrificing family time over weekends and holidays.

“I was looking for a different challenge, as well as something new with hours that suited my lifestyle and lent me more time to be with my family,” shares Gantly. “We started a family a little later in life, and I really wanted to focus on them.”

Gantly jumped at the opportunity to become the store manager of Tile Town’s Richmond location in 2012 – giving him exactly what he was looking for.

“Being able to have Sundays off, and a set schedule where I know when I’m working week-in week-out, not working any late nights or holidays, it gives you a better quality of life.” he professes.

Coming up on nine years as the store manager this October, Gantly describes his management style as one to always establish a team environment. “We tend to have a fun atmosphere. Part of the fun is working in a smaller group of 4-5 staff and developing a close bond,” he explains. “We also develop relationships with our customers and it’s fulfilling when we help them out from start to finish on a project.”

Mark Gantly, Tile Town Richmond store manager, having fun with staff and customers
Mark clowns around with the staff, greets Tyler and a customer at a community event and happily accepts Vancouver Consumer Choice Award.

A large benefit for Gantly has been having direct involvement in many different projects and learning new things every day.

“There’s always something new happening in the industry. There’s been a lot of technological advances and heated floor systems, grouts, thin sets, a lot of improvements over the years,” he says.

“I also really enjoy the creativity I get to do, like putting projects together for a customer, putting colours and looks together for style. In my previous experience, I wasn’t involved in the design aspect. It can be challenging but it can also be a lot of fun.”

Mark Gantly, Tile Town Richmond store manager, helps a customer choose tiles and grout

When customers are looking for help, Gantly’s approach is to walk them through the process of tile installation step-by-step and provide as much support as possible.

“Sometimes customers don’t realize how involved an installation can be. They do appreciate the heads up we give them so that it’s not scary, especially for those doing smaller projects themselves,” he says. “There is also no certification in tiling, but we have worked with a lot of contractors over the years that we can give referrals and recommendations for. It reflects some of our basic principles as a company – being trustworthy and knowledgeable. What we don’t know, we’re honest with the customer and contact the right people to get the answer.”

Gantly sees himself continuing to work at Tile Town for as long as he can, even past retirement age. “Maybe 3-4 days a week because I enjoy the camaraderie and would miss that social interaction,” he says jovially.

When in Richmond, be sure to pop by Tile Town to visit Mark and his team.

Watch Mark take you on a tour of the store.

How to Waterproof Bathroom Tile

Bathroom renovations are exciting projects to undertake. You have the chance to create and customize a mini-spa in your home where you can rest, relax, and completely unwind.

The best part of the renovation process is taking time to pick out the perfect tile that delivers style, feel, and comfort. 

However, before getting to that stage, it’s important to first waterproof your new bathroom to guarantee your spa-like environment does not become the perfect breeding ground for dew and mould. 

Contrary to popular belief, tile is actually water-resistant, not waterproof – meaning it’s not a good idea to lay it down right away because water and vapour CAN penetrate through it and cause many problems down the line. 

Ceramic and stone tiles, as fantastic bathroom tile choices as they are, must be installed in conjunction with a waterproofing system that effectively manages moisture to protect moisture-sensitive building materials and control mould growth.

Waterproofing sounds ambitious and expensive. When using the right product, it can be a fun, cost-effective do-it-yourself project. 

At Tile Town, we recommend using products from the Schluter®-Shower system that together form a fully bonded, watertight assembly for tiled showers and eliminate the risk of failure due to water and vapour penetration.

Not only are these products affordable, but installing them yourself saves you time and money, teaches you a new skill, and can help you feel more confident in the final product that is your new bathroom.

The Schluter KERDI Shower Kit provides all the necessary components to create a watertight shower assembly.

Watch this complete installation video to learn how to fit and assemble all of the Schluter shower components from start to finish. An installation handbook provides detailed instructions.

Tile Collection: Mystone Series

Stone look tiles are practical and stylish. They’re durable, easy-to-clean, and come in a variety of colours, textures and sizes.

Mystone Series

Colours: Bianco, Sand, Taupe, Grey
Size: 12×24
The Mystone collection duplicates and redefines stone. The glazed porcelain stoneware tiles, created using digital technology, offer harmonious veins and sophisticated shades. It’s a beautiful solution if you like the natural stone look tile without the added maintenance and labour costs that real natural stone brings.

Mystone White, Sand, Taupe & Grey mimics the natural look of sandstone. With its subtle contoured texture and lines, it gives the illusion of depth and movement that natural stone gives.

Featured: Mystone Bianco 12×24 Italian Porcelain tile.
Featured: Mystone Taupe 12×24 Italian Porcelain tile.
Featured: Mystone Sand 12×24 Italian Porcelain tile.
Featured: Mystone Grey 12×24 Italian Porcelain tile.