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Is ARTO right for you?
WESTERN QUARRY handcrafts rustic products that are distinguished by their color variation and irregularity and made with natural ingredients that can vary over time. WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware tiles will wear differently depending on whether the surface is glazed or unglazed.
Glazed tiles will change very little due to the protection offered by the surface glaze. Unglazed tiles will have more porosity and will change over time as they absorb the environment around them (unglazed tiles can be sealed to protect the surface from staining but will still change as they wear and patina).
Of course, our customers and we love the way the tiles age and patina over time but it is not for everyone. If you are looking for a product that is perfectly consistent and uniform or will not change over time WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware does not make these products. We strive to make all our customers happy but realize that realistic expectations are the key to appreciating our unique, rustic products. If any of the above makes you uncomfortable you are definitely better off ordering a machine made, impervious material like porcelain.
What style is right for me?
While all WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware tiles are made from the same basic raw materials, the sizes, surfaces, edging, and appearance may vary from one style to the next as detailed below. WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware tiles are deliberately rustic and may include variations in sizing, thickness, surfaces, and edges. These characteristics will vary depending on the particular style so make sure to order samples to ensure the style selected is appropriate for your needs. **Keep in mind these characteristics are not defects – they are what make your floor beautiful**
- Classic – pressed with pillowed edges and rounded corners; 5/8” nominal thickness
- Monrovia – extruded and wire cut to the appropriate size, features flat surfaces and sharp corners and sides; 5/8” nominal thickness
- Villa – pressed with flat surface and square edges; 5/8” nominal thickness
- Oleson – slip cast (hand packed) with uneven surface, pillowed edges and rounded corners; 3/4” nominal thickness
Why is there size and color variation?
WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware makes tiles the old fashioned way and there will always be slight variations in product color, thickness and overall dimensions from piece to piece. Surface imperfections are characteristic and inherent to our rustic look. Variation is what we do and it is what makes your project ageless & timeless.
How long does it take after I place my order to receive material?
ARTO produces most products to order so there is usually a lead time of 4-6 weeks. We find this is the most efficient way to manufacture as it helps us to minimize waste and to keep prices low for our customers. If you need materials sooner for a rush order or job completion, your local distributor can call and ask for a lead time specific to you. Although we keep a limited quantity of our most popular products on hand we operate on a first come first served policy without discrimination. When your order is placed check with the distributor and ask them what is the estimated time of completion date given by ARTO. Every order has one but keep in mind it is an estimate and we make a natural product that has some mystery involved (also we do not pad these estimates; they are our best guess when the material should be ready).
How and when can I pick up material?
Usually the order is picked up at the factory by your distributor or shipping can be arranged using a third party carrier. Keep in mind the order is not ready for pickup until ARTO sends a confirmation fax to the distributor. This confirmation will also include exact weight and pallet count so the distributor can send the right sized truck or arrange shipping. Customer will call is available as long as the distributor provides ARTO with a simple release form.
Can I order in any color?
All WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware styles, shapes and sizes are available in any of our standard colors plus custom glaze colors are available.
How do you determine coverage, am I paying for grout?
WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware tile coverage is based on installation with ½” grout lines for an authentically rustic look and to compensate for variation in tile sizes. Some folks complain we are charging for grout but calculating coverage without grout joints may lead you to purchase more material than you really need.
If you choose to use a smaller grout joint you will need to order extra pieces and multiple size patterns should be laid out to ensure they still work with the new grout sizing.
Grout joints should always be included because substrates are in motion even when installations include required membranes, movement joints, and other techniques to compensate for this movement. Tiles installed with no grout joints by butting the tiles up against each other can result in chipping, buckling, cracking and debonding.
Should I order extra?
You may have read 10-15% overage is an industry standard when ordering tiles.
At ARTO, we pack every job as though our lives depend on it and in fact our lives do depend on it. We want to ensure you will enjoy your tiling experience and our goal is that when you order 100 pieces you receive 100 intact pieces upon delivery.
We package every job the same as if the tile is going around the corner or around the globe. We get very few calls on damage and if we do….we do what ever it takes to get the job done!
If you are using one of our more intricate patterns or you are creating one on your own you should probably order extra due to the fact you will have many more cut tiles on the project. It is also a good idea to keep an extra material in storage – individual tiles may be damaged over time or occasionally it may be necessary to remove material to access utilities or sewer lines.
Job completions or small add on orders are costly and time consuming and can often be avoided by ordering extra material. Tile is often the last thing on a job to be completed so any delays at this point could be costly – not to mention the color of your add on order may vary significantly compared to your first batch (it is a good idea to provide a color control sample if possible).
How do I order a sample or place an order for a project?
WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware makes samples at practically no charge. After narrowing down your selection visit your nearest distributor or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request your sample. Remember color variation is inherent in what we do and the actual product may differ from the sample. Multiple samples can be ordered to give a sense of color range.
When you are ready to place an order you can also provide an approved color control sample to the factory. The factory will use your approved control sample as a guideline but please remember there will always be color variation.
How can I ensure a proper blend?
To achieve optimal results, tile should be selected from multiple cartons with the shading arrangement planned and laid out prior to installation. One of the characteristics of our handcrafted tiles is strong random shading and that is what enhances its natural beauty.
If you need to order more material to complete your installation please do not use all the tiles on hand. Instead wait for additional material to arrive and blend new and old materials to ensure a smooth blend. ARTO recommends blending from all boxes and pallets whenever possible.
Can I store ARTO High Fire Stoneware tile products?
Yes they can be stored but make sure to keep boxes dry for best results.
Can I put WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware indoor or outdoors?
Yes WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware products can be used indoors and outdoors in the valleys or on the mountains and wherever freedom rings and the pursuit of happiness roars. That means commercial driveways, grandma’s back splash or your wine cellar. WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware is freeze thaw tested but deicing minerals can still damage the surface of the tile. In freeze thaw climates it is especially important to seal unglazed tile well (water should bead on the surface) using a high quality penetrating sealer.
Is the tile sealed or do I have to seal it?
WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware tiles are sold both glazed and unglazed. There is no need to seal glazed tile and whether to seal unglazed tile depends on a variety of factors, including location, expected traffic, and application type.
Unglazed tiles can be presealed prior to installation to avoid staining the porous tile with water from the setting material, grout water, and greasy fingers.
In the past we never mentioned presealing tiles because people used to take their time, use clean water, and keep the jobsite tidy and free of debris. We now recommend presealing to protect your investment from the hazards of sloppy and unsupervised work conditions – even if your installer is careful tiles can still be damaged by other trades working on your jobsite.
But do I have to seal it?
Some people say seal it once very well and forget about it.
Some people say don’t seal it and let the tile absorb the environment around it and then seal once the patina desired is achieved.
However, for a kitchen or driveway, I would use a sealer to protect it right away due to the many opportunities for staining in these applications
Sealing the tile right out of the box will keep the tile looking like it is but if you choose to seal after installation you can expect some minor changes to occur due the abrasive nature of grouting.
What do I need to do before the tile is installed?
Tile must be installed over an appropriate, properly prepared substrate. Concrete slabs should be clean and free of contaminants but should also have a roughened surface to encourage bonding. Wood substrates should be engineered or verified to be able to handle the weight of the entire tile installation (including setting materials); otherwise cracking can occur due to excessive deflection of the subfloor.
All installations should include movement joints to compensate for the stresses (settling, thermal expansion, deflection) inherent in and normal to every installation. Movement joints act as a safety valve so these forces can be released gradually and in a controlled manner rather than transmitting through and potentially cracking the tiles.
Do your colors fade?
WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware tiles do not fade but they may appear to fade because of films and residues built up on surface. Using a mild cleanser to remove efflorescence, hard water, and other contaminants will brighten and restore the original color.
Harsh cleaning with acidic or alkali cleansers can permanently affect the color so these products should be used with caution and never on glazed surfaces.
Tiles can be cleaned with pressure washing but make sure to start on a lower setting proceed carefully for best results
Mechanical abrasion using sandpaper, power sanders, or rough bristled brushes should generally be avoided.
It is also important to understand that although your glazed or sealed unglazed tile has minimal porosity is still porous. Being porous means it will absorb the environment around it and will develop a unique patina reflecting those conditions. Thus interior applications may look as good as new for many years while the look of outdoor installations may change dramatically and quickly.
What causes cracks to appear?
There are rare occasions when an individual tile is fractured when it is stepped on or something impacts it. This can occur when tiles are not fully back-buttered with mortar or not well seated in the setting bed. In these cases, the crack is repaired by replacing the damaged tile.
If the crack continues from one tile to another and across the grout joints then the problem lies in the substrate (usually due to subfloor movement or cracks in the slab).
The damaged tiles would need to be removed and a crack isolation membrane and tile reinstalled.
If cracking is seen only in the grout and runs parallel with the tiles this indicates grout shrinkage due to mixing with excessive water. The grout can be removed and replaced but matching the color of new and old grout can be tricky and will require trial and error.
Is the tile slippery?
It depends on the types of shoes you are wearing . But seriously some of our tiles are more slippery than others. Glazed tiles will be more slippery than unglazed tiles but these still meet slip and fall requirements. We can also add rough grit to the glaze for additional grip.
WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware tiles are often specified for hospitality and other commercial floor applications and meet all ADA requirements. But yes, friend to friend, if there is enough water on the surface any floor can be slippery. For a bathroom or pool deck good traction means good times so we suggest ordering smaller sizes or unglazed tiles. There are also floor treatments from sealer manufacturers that can increase traction but these may require regular maintenance
Does your tile scratch? Does your furniture itch?
WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware tiles are very resilient but can scratch if subjected to heavy, sharp objects dragged across the surface. Furniture should have chair glides or felt pads and simply lifting the furniture rather than dragging it over the floor will help. Pets can scratch the floor too so consider rugs and trimming the dog’s nails.
Sealing can help minimize scratching (depending on the product and the quality of the application) but keep in mind that the scratches may occur on the sealed surface itself when a topical sealer is used.
No material is scratch proof but with a little care and a proper job completion scratching will be kept to a minimum. You have to remember your new WESTERN QUARRY High Fire Stoneware tiles may even come with scratches; these are designed into the product as part of its old world charm.
As the tiles age scratches and other imperfections will actually accentuate the old world charm of these rustic tiles. We recommend that you protect and maintain your installation while enjoying the changes to your living tile floor
Where can I get more installation, maintenance and sealing information?