FAQs for Homeowners, Builders, Designers, and Dealers

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I bring when I go in to select tile for my project?
Bring any materials that you will be coordinating with your tile covering. This usually includes adjoining surfaces such as paint and wallpaper, possibly exterior siding or brick. If the installation is for a bathroom or kitchen, samples of counter surfaces and cabinet faces are very helpful.
What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain tile?
Porcelain is a classification of ceramic tile. True porcelain is composed of porcelain grade clays fired to extremely high temperatures (2100-2500 deg F). This process creates a very hard, dense product with a very low water absorption rate (< 0.5%). See the American National Standards Specifications (ANSI) A137.1 and the CTDA porcelain certification program for more information on porcelain tile requirements.[/et_pb_accordion_item][et_pb_accordion_item title="Should my tile be sealed after installation? " _builder_version="4.23.4" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}" open="off"]

Ceramic and porcelain tiles don’t require sealing. Cementitious grouts and natural stone products benefit from an application of penetrating sealer after installation. See Care and Maintenance for more information.

What is bullnose?
Bullnose trim refers to the pieces used to finish a tile edge that does not terminate in a wall and is left with the unfished edge exposed. The pieces are typically rounded and may be the same size as the field tile or come in different sizes.
Will repairing cracks in my shower tile stop my shower from leaking?

No. If a tile installation is cracking or leaking either the installation was faulty or there is a problem with the preparation done by another trade (plumber, framer etc.). The functional waterproofing of any tile installation is beneath the tile top covering which must be removed to repair any loss of waterproofing integrity.

If I have a cracked tile can I find a matching tile to replace it?

It depends. Tile trends evolve over time and most lines are only produced for a few years. Once a manufacturer discontinues a product it is usually impossible to find that tile. If you know where the tile was purchased and more importantly have a box or receipt showing the manufacturer and series name of the tile a good tile distributor will be able to get information about the product and possibly locate it for you.

Can I replace or recolor my grout?
Yes, grout can be removed and replaced, there are tools designed specifically for this task. Grout stains are also available and are a very good way to refresh your grout. These products leave a finish that is indistinguishable from the original grout look, very easy to clean and long lasting.
Can sealer be added to my grout during installation to make it more stain resistant?
No. Any installer or tile provider who tells you this has a profound lack of understanding of the composition and chemistry involved with cementitious grouts. There are additives that can be used in conjunction with cementitious grouts to make them less porous, but a sealer can be added after installation.
Should I use sanded or unsanded grout?
It depends. Sanded grout should be used for any joint larger than 1/8 in. For joints smaller than 1/16 in. an unsanded grout must be used. Sanded grouts are harder and resist cracking much better. Some polished stones and glass require the use of unsanded grouts but if unsanded is used the joint must still be < 1/8 in.[/et_pb_accordion_item][et_pb_accordion_item title="Are there standard approved methods for the installation of ceramic tile." _builder_version="4.23.4" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}" open="off"]Yes. The Tile Council of North American (TCNA) publishes an annual handbook for the installation of ceramic tile. All products and methods used should coincide with the TCNA publication. If you have questions about a particular installation method contact a qualified installer or distributor for guidance in applying TCNA methods.[/et_pb_accordion_item][et_pb_accordion_item title="How do I know how much tile to order for my project?" _builder_version="4.23.4" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}" open="off"]

If a professional installer is being used allow them to take the responsibility for the measuring and ordering of your product. Otherwise figure the square foot of the area to be covered along with the linear footage of any trim or decorative pieces that will be used.

How is tile priced?
Tile products are almost always priced and sold by the square foot. This makes it easy to compare prices over different size formats without having to do conversions. Specialty pieces and bullnose are normally sold and priced by the piece.
Should I keep any tile after my installation is complete?
It is advisable to keep several pieces of tile after your installation is completed. Tile lines are generally only produced for a few years. After production ends it is impossible to find that product again. If it is necessary to remove a tile for any reason later on the only way to ensure you don’t have to replace the entire installation is to keep extra pieces.
Can my tile be ordered from the plans provided by my builder?
No. Ordering tile is very different from ordering commodity products such as lumber or even carpet. A qualified installer should measure on-sight to ensure correct economical ordering. Tile is very expensive to ship due to weight. Over and under orders are very costly. Special order items are usually non-returnable and special care should be taken to order correctly.

George Parent


General Manager

George is the General Manager of the Mills River, NC location. Having worked in the commercial tile industry for more than 30 years, he has acquired a vast knowledge of tile material production, sales, project management, and more. He is excited to meet various installers and suppliers and loves sharing the industry tips and tricks he has picked up throughout his career. George’s main priority is always to ensure that he can provide his customers with top quality products and dedicated support throughout the entirety of his customers’ projects.

After growing up in New England, serving in the US Marines for 8 years, and raising his family in Virginia for 28 years, George is excited to explore the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain region of North Carolina.

In his free time, George enjoys skiing, golfing, and spending time with his family and his dog, Penelope.

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Sara Parent


Outside Sales Manager

Sarah is an accomplished Outside Sales Manager based in Mills River, NC, with a distinguished 7-year tenure in the commercial tile industry. Her dynamic career showcases a fervent dedication to engaging with architects, designers, general contractors/builders, and dealers, offering unparalleled assistance in project specifications.

Demonstrating an in-depth knowledge of products, materials, and specification selection, Sarah excels in managing projects of varying scales, spanning from small residential to multi-family and large-scale commercial endeavors.

With over three decades of prior experience in management and sales, Sarah brings invaluable skills in drive, organization, and project execution efficiency to her current role. Her multifaceted expertise ensures a seamless and effective approach to project management.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Sarah is an avid traveler, domestically and internationally, and finds joy in culinary pursuits such as cooking and baking. Above all, she cherishes quality time spent with family and friends.

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Leland Decker


Business Development

An alumnus of NCSU, with a bachelor’s degree in interior architecture, I bring more than 30 years of experience in the design industry. My career began at a large commercial firm in Manhattan, and I quickly realized my passion was in residential design. In 2000 I relocated to Washington, DC and started designing in the high-end/luxury market. A few years later I made the move into freelancing full scale design and project management. During this time, I had the pleasure of working on the renovation and restoration of the Hollerith House, built in 1911, in Georgetown.

In 2017, I returned to North Carolina for a lifestyle change, and in February 2023, I joined Southeastern Tile Connection Inc. during its expansion into the western NC market. My role has been focused on developing relationships and establishing our presence within the communities of western NC.

Looking ahead, I’m excited to nurture lasting relationships with industry professionals, bridging the gap between their needs and success. Community involvement is a priority, and I am committed to contributing to the growth and vibrancy of Southeastern Tile Connection Inc. as we navigate the evolving landscape of design.

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Susan Moxley


Showroom Manager

Susan has been working at the Southeastern Tile Durham location since opening day, but her experience in the industry spans over a decade. Susan began her design journey back in 2007 when landing her first tile job and quickly discovered her natural talent for it. Encouraged by her mom, she decided to pursue further education in interior design, earning my AAS degree in 2013. Since then, Susan has been fully immersed in the world of tile. When working with customers, her approach is all about effective listening and bringing their vision to life. She enjoys it when clients aren't afraid to embrace bold colors and patterns. It's also refreshing to work with different clients every day, as it keeps things interesting and diverse. As for her design style, she leans towards the eclectic side. If Susan sees something she likes, she can always find a way to make it work. Susan has attended many trade shows, always eager to discover the latest and most exciting trends in the industry. It's a great way to stay inspired and keep my designs fresh. Outside of work, I'm a proud mom to two beautiful girls and I enjoy spending quality time with them.

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Erica Pippin


Design Consultant

Erica is a Design Consultant who loves collaborating with designers, builders, and residential customers. Her portfolio includes residential, commercial, and collaborative projects. Erica holds a Bachelor's degree in Interior Design from East Carolina University and an Associate's degree in Design from Wake Tech. Her passion lies in working with people and creating a personalized experience that matches their unique style and design needs. With a decade of experience in the industry, Erica stays current with the latest design trends and can accommodate various design preferences. Whether you're aiming for a modern, contemporary look or prefer a more traditional approach, she is here to help you achieve your design goals. Pick out something you love, and she can help you build a beautiful room around it that works for your project requirements. Erica is a Raleigh native who enjoys solving puzzles, exploring new places, and cherishing quality time with her family, friends, and adorable dog, Chachi. Erica looks forward to working with you soon!

“When it comes to my own style, I embrace an eclectic approach with neutral undertones, adding layers of texture and color.”

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Crissy Brown


Design Consultant

My Name is Crissy. I am a native of Durham and have recently returned to my favorite region after living in Georgia for many years.

For the past 25 years, I have been providing assistance to homeowners, designers, architects, and contractors at various levels.

I enjoy meeting with contractors and homeowners about their design projects. My passion lies in transforming bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and outdoor spaces to meet my clients' needs.

Instead of making decisions for you, I'll work closely with you to create a design plan that aligns with your vision, timeline, and budget.

"My philosophy is that the beauty of design has the power to transform and enhance our lives."

Among the many design possibilities, you might need some inspiration and expert advice. Whether you're building a new home or transforming your current living space, I will assist you to make the process smooth. Let's embark on the journey together!

Over the years, I have found joy in receiving calls from clients who are pleased with my results.

In my free time, I enjoy painting, sewing, baking, traveling, and spending time with my children, Kaylee, Zach, and my fur-child, Nylah.

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Michelle D Edwards


Showroom Manager / Design Consultant

Michelle has been a design consultant with Southeastern Tile Connection since 2005. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with a BA in Arts. Michelle works closely with designers, builders, and homeowners throughout the entire selection process. Michelle stives to listen to her clients and guide them in a way that meets their individual needs. She helps her clients create spaces that they love and can live with over time. Michelle’s style is timeless and classic. She loves natural stone tile as well as the prints and patterned tiles done on stone and terra-cotta.

“With tile, sometimes less is more. I don’t think you need to do too much ‘decorating’ with tile. Clean, simple, classic looks that you can decorate around will stand the test of time.”

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Lisa Townsend


Design Consultant

Lisa has been a Design Consultant with Southeastern Tile Connection since 2019. She came to us with over 30 years of experience in the design field – 10 of those in the tile industry. Lisa finds inspiration in nature and all its beauty. Using nature as her guide, she enjoys using natural, timeless bases with subtle pops of color, texture, and patterning. She believes good design can take time, so clear communication between the designer and client is the key to turning their ideas into reality. Her ultimate goal is to help create beautiful, functional spaces that fit seamlessly into her clients’ lifestyle.

When she’s not in the showroom, you may find Lisa repurposing furniture, hiking trails or spending time at the beach with family.

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Alexia Porzio


Design Consultant

Alexia has been a design consultant since 2018. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Hampshire. Alexia likes to say this profession found her after going into Southeastern Tile regularly to design various spaces within her own home. Now, she works to help others design their dream spaces. Throughout the selection process, she will work closely with clients, builders, and designers to create personalized spaces. She strives to listen to her client’s ideas and offers guidance and design layout suggestions that bring a collaboration of ideas and visions to life. She believes classic styles always withstand the test of time and by adding elements of color, texture or pattern to the space, the design will elevate to a custom look which makes it unique and your own. Simplicity is always a great starting point!

“Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style” -Billy Baldwin

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