Frequently Asked Questions

  Care and Maintenance
  What's the difference between a sealer and an impregnator?
  Should natural stone be sealed?
  How should I clean my stone tile?
  Over time, I notice that it seems that the ''fill'' is popping out of my stone?
  How do we clean the metal tile?
  Can you suggest how to maintain and clean our mesquite wood flooring?
  General Product Info & Recommended Installation Specs for “Greenwich” Glass
  Can this glass be used for interior and exterior installations?
  Any other suggestions to consider for a good installation?
  Can you give an example of how to install this tile?
  Can this glass be cut?
  How do you suggest keeping the glass clean?
  General Questions
  What do some of the terms mean regarding natural stone?
   
  Can you tell me more about your metal tile?
  Can you make suggestions for installing glass tile?
  Installing Products
  How do we install the metal tile?
  Can you install glass tile in a swimming pool or water feature?
  Selecting Products
  Why select natural stone and what should I consider?
  What stone finish should I select?


  Care and Maintenance
  What's the difference between a sealer and an impregnator?
  A sealer is a topical application that adds a coating to the surface of the tile. This is normally done to protect against water, oil, or other contaminants. An Impregnator is designed to penetrate below the surface and acts like a repellent. Again, it is suggested that you speak with a tile care professional or installer as to what appilcation makes the most sense. Generally, topical sealers aren't recommended in exterior applications, becuase they can trap moisture within the stone which may lead to problems during freeze/thaw cycles. In some resined stone products, impregnators can cause dicoloration or fading. As a general rule, always ask the stone professionals if the stone needs to be treated in the first place?

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  Should natural stone be sealed?
  Generally, a properly sealed stone will be protected against everyday dirt and spills. However, a careful review of many factors should be considered when determining how to protect your stone, such as type of stone, its finish, its location etc. UBC recommends consulting with a knowledgeable installer before adding any sealer or impregnator as to the pros and cons.

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  How should I clean my stone tile?
  Natural stone is sensitive to harsh cleaners, vinegar, or strong alkaline agents. UBC recommends sweeping or vacuuming prior to wet-mopping with warm water or a pH-balanced neutral cleanser. If you spill acidic juices or alcohol on the stone, immediately blot dry the area. Don't place any hot items on any stone, but rather use coasters or privets. Please remember that natural stone is subject to natural wear and tear, scratching, and dirt, so a licensed professional stone care company can be used to return the stone to its more pristine condition.

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  Over time, I notice that it seems that the ''fill'' is popping out of my stone?
  The fill doesn't come out of the stone, but it is really just subterranean holes being exposed. Normally, during the first year, some number of voids may be exposed which can be touched up with grout but usually stops over time as the tile and foundation settle. Also, in new construction, stone can crack due to naturally settling of the foundation of the home and isn't a defect in the tile. UBC suggests allowing this to settle down before replacing any stone as it could crack again.

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  How do we clean the metal tile?
  It can be as simple as using a damp soft cloth with soapy water, or a light application of a non-abrasive cleaning compound pH neutral. Carefully follow any cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer. Never use any acid or corrosive solutions, soft scrubs, or vinegar. In restoring the Copper to its original lustre, you can use a liquid metal polish following the instructions closely. However, this process may stain the grout joints if the grout hasn't been properly sealed, so selecting a very small section as a trial test is advisable.

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  Can you suggest how to maintain and clean our mesquite wood flooring?
  We suggest regular sweeping or vacuuming. However, the manufacturer recommends the PoloPlaz lines of products out of Arkansas, and their hardwood cleaner for maintaining your floor's beauty. This cleaner can be ordered over the Internet or by calling them directly @ (800) 421-7319.

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  General Product Info & Recommended Installation Specs for “Greenwich” Glass
  Can this glass be used for interior and exterior installations?
  This glass can be installed in a variety of areas such as on the floors, walls, swimming pools, fountains, and showers. This glass can be scratched so keep that in mind where it is being used. When installing glass tile, using a proper substrate is extremely important such as a flat concrete surface clean of any contaminates. There should be no cracks, and any water application should have proper waterproofing or installed mortar bed for pools and fountains. Lastly, as glass tile is reflective or sometimes transparent, any inconsistencies in the substrate could show through the tile after it is installed.

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  Any other suggestions to consider for a good installation?
  UBC suggests installing this glass over a properly cured concrete surface, cement backerboard, and gypsum or green board. We don’t recommend installing on particle board, plywood, masonite, etc. Glass tile is a beautiful, durable material but often is only as good as how it was installed, so all installation materials need to be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. We have used Laticrete 254 Platinum Thin-Set Mortar, and either sanded or un-sanded grout making sure not to scratch the glass surface, and selecting a color that you find desirable. Lastly, consider using silicone caulking in all corner joints instead of grout, and that only white setting materials are used for any installation. While UBC provides general product info and some recommendations, installation procedures, and maintenance issues aren’t in our control and UBC doesn’t assume any warranty or responsibility for these procedures, or any install issues. As always, customers should only use licensed, knowledgeable professionals that are experienced in glass tile applications.

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  Can you give an example of how to install this tile?
  Once the proper prep work and substrate are ready, make sure to wipe the back of the glass and installed surface clean with a damp sponge. Then apply the thin-set adhesive to the surface to be tiled, using the flat side of a trowel working the adhesive over the surface to be covered. With the notched side of the trowel, go back over the setting material making sure that there is even setting bed, and then smooth over any notch grooves or inconsistencies. Remember to make sure that your adhesive is still wet and tacky and only apply as much adhesive as can be covered in about 10 minutes. Set your Greenwich glass tile in place, gently tapping the tile into the mortar bedding, making sure that you have 100% contact and aligning all the sheets and grout joints. Then after tile is set properly begin grouting. When grouting, make sure that all voids and pits are fully packed, and that any grout is cleaned off the tile before it hardens. Don’t scratch the glass when applying grout, or test grout smaller section of the tile to make sure that there will be no scratching. You can use a sanded or un-sanded grout but we suggest a grout that is latex modified. Remember that glass is impervious and will take longer to begin setting up, and to use only a damp sponge for final cleaning or the smoothing of grout joints. Don’t use acid for a cleaner, or to address any possible grout haze as it will harm the glass. We suggest a minimum of 24 to 48 hours to allow the grout to dry, and keeping the area free of additional construction traffic.

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  Can this glass be cut?
  UBC suggests using a blade designed for cutting glass, and a quality wet saw with a diamond cut-off or carbide blade. This glass must be cut very slowly, and rough edges can be stoned or sanded smooth. Please remember that the glass is mesh mounted to also help with cutting and install.

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  How do you suggest keeping the glass clean?
  Sealing the grout joints can help to add a layer of protection against stains. Also, a neutral ph-based cleanser or soft cloth can be used to keep the glass tile clean, but a very minimally abrasive cleanser with a soft bristled brush can be used for more stubborn cleaning issues such as soap scum or excess water deposits. For tougher maintenance issues, or for professional cleaning, UBC suggests using outside companies that are experienced in cleaning or maintaining glass tile.

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  General Questions
  What do some of the terms mean regarding natural stone?
  Marble, travertine, limestone, slate, quartzite, sandstone are products of nature, and no 2 pieces are exactly alike. All stones can have shading variations, veining, fissures, pitting and color variations which are part of the beauty of natural stone, and normally will not affect the function of the stone. As with any purchase, we recommend fully inspecting the product, using only licensed installers/contractors, and that these are natural products that can require routine maintenance to preserve their beauty. Honed finish- this is a smooth, almost satin type finish of the stone which is usually applied at the factory. Polished finish- this refers to a high gloss finish which is applied by machine grinding and buffing the stone. While this can greatly enhance the beauty and color of the stone, it can scratch. Tumbled- this is achieved by tumbling the stone to create pitting, voids, and more rounded edges creating an old-world, time weathered look. Unfinished- this is the stone in its natural finish which can contain pores, cavities creating an open texture. Please remember that natural stone is unique, highly durable, and has a timely charateristic that never seems to go out of style. It is important to ask questions if you have concerns, and remember that you should look at several different pieces and not just 1 sample when making your decisions.

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  Can you tell me more about your metal tile?
  The Antique Copper tile is made from solid copper, and can oxide over time. This beautiful patina gradually stabilizing over time, and is caused by airborne sulphur particles reacting with the copper. However, you can help return the original luster by using a liquid metal polish, following the product's instructions closely. While the Antique Copper isn't sealed, we do suggest using a penetrating grout sealer to help reducing grout staining, and making it less porous. We don't recommend outdoor installations becuase of the patina, and as for wet applications, use appropriate adhesives and grouts for waterproofing following the manufacturer's recommendations closely. The metal tile can be slippery on floors, and Arizona's hardwater build-up can cause staining which can affect the beauty of the tile.

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  Can you make suggestions for installing glass tile?
  It has often be said, ''that the beauty of glass tile is only as good as the installation.'' UBC recommends using only licensed, knowledgeable contractors that have experience installing glass tile. Often a beautiful job is in the details such as proper setting materials, properly preparing the surface (substrate) that the tile will be laid over, laying out the tiles before installing to inspect any possible variations and creating a gameplan on how it will be installed, making sure grout lines are properly aligned,and lastly using a proper grout color. It is important to remember that lighting and location can play an important role in the look of the finished product. In pools, spas, and fountains there are many other variables that need to be addressed for a proper installation. UBC recommends a marketing piece that has been prepared by Laticrete entitled, ''Pools, Spa and Fountain Systems,'' or refering to www.laticrete.com for more information. Laticrete Platinum 254 is an excellent bonding material for pools, as well as most interior and exterior applications. Also, Laticrete SpectraLock Pro Grout and Latapoxy Sp-100 come in a variety of colors and are ideal for water applications as well as most interior and exterior applications.

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  Installing Products
  How do we install the metal tile?
  When installing the metal tile, UBC recommends using only knowledgeable, licensed installers. Lay the tile flat, removing the protective film. Use a flexible acryllic, white thin-set mortar as an adhesive (such as Grani/Rapid from Mapei) following the manufacturer's recommendations closely. Apply the adhesive to the substrate with a notched trowel, laying the tile directly on to the prepared surface. Press with a clean rubber float firmly into the bed of adhesive, gently patting the tile to remove any voids, and ensuring good contact. Allow the adhesive to cure according to any instructions. When grouting, use an unsanded grout to avoid scratching, spreading the mixture with a clean rubber float. Compact the grout firmly into the tile joints, being sure to remove as much excess grout as possible before it dries. Clean the tile lightly with a damp soft cloth or sponge, using a minimum of water so that you don't overwork the grout joints before they have had a chance to dry. After the grout has dried, polish the surface with a soft cloth to remove any dried grout powder. UBC recommends sealing the grout joints to help reduce staining and making it less porous.

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  Can you install glass tile in a swimming pool or water feature?
  Most of UBC's glass tile collection is fine for swimming pools and water features. However, it is imperative that proper installation protocols are followed and that a licensed, knowledgeable contractor is used. There are some colors that aren't recommended for outdoor or the swimming pool until some proper precautions are followed. For example, our Spice series with the paint sparkles and a few others are baked at a lower temperature with a special paint additive. In direct contact with the blazing Arizona sun, this additive can fade over time causing the glass tile to loose its beautiful luster. UBC also suggests not using glass tile for the waterline becuase the water has a tendency to be hard and can leave hard water deposits due to the evaporation on the glass, but more importantly, the grout lines. This will require ongoing cleaning and maintenance to restore the tile to its pristine condition. Please remember that the intensity of the Arizona sun, chemicals, hard water, and other variables can have an effect on glass tile over time. If you are going to use glass tile in a swimming pool make sure all ses will be used in swimming pools, it is important to let your installer or contractor know. Also, feel free to ask if you are unsure.

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  Selecting Products
  Why select natural stone and what should I consider?
  Unlike many other ceramic or man made options, natural stone is very durable, can be easy to maintain, has many different options available, and has that quality that never seems to go out of style. Natural stone can be a very affordable option as well. Our belief is that quality is very important which is why UBC specializes in more premium or select blends of tile. While everyone claims to have the best stone or the best price, we truly believe you get what you pay for, and getting something for less isn’t always the best deal. Don’t be afraid to ask questions why someone claims that there stone is better than another company, find out if your vendor is willing to stand behind there product if it turns out to be lesser quality or as promised, and always inspect the stone that you are purchasing to make sure it is what you want and were told. Finally, when ordering larger amounts, getting the same lot from the container is important in helping to maintain consistency and if the company is going to be carrying more of the product should you run short. Sometimes it makes sense to order more if you are planning to use more of the same tile at another time like with a remodel, or for your backyard patios. We often have customers coming in to try and match something that they purchased in the past, but the vendor no longer has it. UBC strives to educate our customers about natural stone, the differences in selections, various finishes that might be available, or address potential color or shading variations that are inherent in all natural stone products. When sampling the material for your project, ask to see several different pieces, and look at those samples in different light, or ask to check them out to examine them in your design space. Natural stone isn’t perfect, nor was it made to be perfect, but it certainly has some terrific design opportunities to enhance the beauty of any space.

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  What stone finish should I select?
  This is a personal preference, and often where it is going to be used could be important in helping to determine which finish makes the most sense. Honed: A smooth, satin type of finish that is often applied at the factory Filled or Unfilled: This means does the stone have natural voids or pits, or is it filled with natural resins or cements to make the surface smooth Polished: A high-gloss type of finish that is done by buffing and machine-grinding at the factory, installer, or a natural stone care company Chiseled Edge: A more rustic, old age appearance where the edges of the tile are chipped such in a versaille pattern Versaille Pattern: A look of how the stone is laid in a 3 piece or 4 piece pattern of various size pieces such as a more traditional French design that has 8”x 8”, 8” x 16”, 16” x 24”, and 24” x 24” sized pieces. The pattern could have distressed edges or straight edges to create different design looks. Brushed: A matte-type finish that creates a softer, smoother surface Gauged or Ungauged: Refers to the surface of Slate with its natural clefting, so gauged is more ground to create a more uniform thickness and ungauged is more natural and has varied thickness. Vein Cut: A look where the stone is cross-cut so the natural veins are more linear Tumbled: This is when natural stone is tumbled to create a more weathered, rustic, old age appearance with softer edges, and pitted voids There are other specialty finishes like sandblasted, or bush and hammered but these are more selectively used and can be seen at our showroom.

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