Frequently Asked Questions
I'm seeing a lot of your tiles for sale on eBay - are you authorizing these sales? No, we are not. We urge you to use extreme caution when purchasing a Motawi tile on eBay, because we can't guarantee its quality or authenticity. Any tile that is marked on the back as "JNGETBAF" ("Just Not Good Enough To Be A First") is a second-quality tile, which means that it did not pass our rigorous quality-control inspection. We have reason to believe that some eBay sellers are covering up, Photoshopping out, or sanding off the second-quality stamp.
I have discovered some beautiful historic tiles in the old home we purchased. Some are damaged and need to be replaced. Can you reproduce these tiles? Unfortunately, this isn't our area of expertise - but we do have some friends who might be able to help you. If your tiles are from the Victorian era, we recommend L’Esperance Tile Works. If your tiles appear to be from the Batchelder Company, check out Tile Restoration Center.
I just bought a tile to match one I had at home, they are the same tile and same colors, but the glazes don't match. Why? Our glazes vary in color and surface quality due to variations in glaze thickness, temperature during the firing process, and variations in the raw materials. This natural variation is intrinsic to their beauty. To avoid misconceptions, we require that all customers approve a 3- or 6-piece range sample that shows the full variation within each glaze color. You may view these glaze ranges at your local Motawi showroom or order a set for yourself. We also recommend that customers order extra tiles for their installations; tiles added later are not guaranteed to match exactly.
What's your lead time? Nearly every tile we produce is made to order. Therefore, our production times vary and are not guaranteed. We make every effort to adhere to the following guidelines:
- In-stock tiles take 1 to 2 weeks to ship.
- Made-to-order or out-of-stock tiles will 4 to 6 weeks to ship.
- Custom-designed tiles and exceptionally large quantities will be quoted on an individual basis.
Our Warranty: Motawi tiles are warranted to the original consumer purchaser to be free from defects in material and workmanship for one (1) year from the date of installation. Where inspection by Motawi Tileworks, Inc. discloses any such defects occurring in normal usage within one year after installation Motawi will, at its election, repair or replace the product or make appropriate adjustment. Motawi is not liable for any direct or indirect costs associated with the repair or replacement of Motawi tiles including removal, installation or reinstallation. Motawi tiles should be inspected prior to installation and any defects must be reported at that time. Installation constitutes acceptance.
Damage caused by inappropriate installation, accident, misuse, abuse, or improper maintenance is not covered by this warranty. Variations in color, shade, flow, grain, tonality, crazing, veining, and texture are inherent characteristics of Motawi Tile and are not defects. Variations in facial dimensions and thickness will be allowed as per industry standards. No warranties are made against crazing, scratching or wear due to: improper installation (including improper alteration of the surface with sealers or grout), falling objects, abuse, misuse, exposure to extreme temperatures, using improper chemicals or compounds, non-foot traffic wear, or other similar incidents.
To obtain warranty service, contact Motawi Tileworks, Inc. at 170 Enterprise Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48103, (734)213-0017, email@example.com, www.motawi.com. IMPLIED WARRANTIES INCLUDING THAT OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE LIMITED IN DURATION TO THE DURATION OF THIS EXPRESS WARRANTY. SELLER DISCLAIMS ANY LIABILITY FOR SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES. Some states/provinces do not allow limitation on how long an implied warranty lasts, or the exclusion or limitation of special, incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitations or exclusions may not apply to you. This warranty gives you specific legal rights. You may also have other rights which vary from state/province to state/province. Any action for breach of this warranty must be commenced within one (1) year from the time the defect occurs or should have been discovered. Some states do not allow such a limitation on the time in which to sue, so the limitation may not apply to you. THIS IS OUR EXCLUSIVE WRITTEN WARRANTY.
I want to use your tiles around my fireplace. Are they heat-resistant? Our tiles are fired in kilns at temperatures of approximately 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. They are designed to be used in fireplace applications and will not be damaged by heat.
Can your tiles be used in shower, tub or pool (wet) applications? Yes, our tiles are suitable for wet applications. However, we recommend that your installer follow the guidelines set forth by the Tile Council of North America for these specific conditions.
How do your tiles perform in direct sunlight? Do they fade? Our tiles do not fade over time in direct sunlight because the color of the tile is fired into the surface.
Can your tiles be used in exterior applications? We have had our tile installed outside on vertical outdoor surfaces for several years now with no issues. The best outdoor applications are those that have some protection from the elements or an overhang to keep moisture out. We do not recommend using our tile outside on horizontal surfaces in cold climates. Testing has determined that Motawi field tile is semi-vitreous, with a water absorption rate of approximately 6.47%. Motawi polychrome tile is non-vitreous, with a water absorption rate of approximately 8.11%. Because Motawi tile is not vitreous, its performance is not guaranteed for any outdoor use. Please contact us and we will help determine the suitability of Motawi tile for your exterior application.
Can your framed tiles be used as trivets? We don't recommend it because they aren't designed for that purpose. The lovely, hand-rubbed wax finish of the frames will not withstand any heat or moisture.
What is the actual size of your tile? Tiles are nominally down-sized by 3/16 to accommodate for grout on all sides; for example, our 2"x2" tile is actually 1-13/16"x1-13/16" and our 6"x6" is 5-13/16"x5-13/16".
What is your tile's breaking strength and surface hardness? The average breaking strength for both Motawi field and polychrome tile is 2264 lbf (foot-pounds). Motawi field glazes are a 6 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, with 1=talc and 10=diamond.
Are all Motawi glazes suitable for all Motawi tile? No. Some glazes are recommended for the wall only. Some of our glazes are not suitable for use on our architectural moldings. Check for usage information in the "Field and Relief Tile Glazes" section of our catalog.
INSTALLATION AND CARE
Can I install my tile myself? Yes, but we don't recommend it unless you are an experienced tile-layer. While there are no extra special techniques or materials required to install Motawi tiles, we recommend installation by a trained and knowledgeable tile installer. A tile installation is only as good as the installer, so find someone you trust and, if possible, check their references. Installation should follow industry guidelines, which can be found in the Tile Council of North America publication "Handbook of Ceramic Tile Installation." Contact the the Tile Council of North America for more information.
What type of grout do you recommend? We recommend and use sanded grout for all Motawi installations. Sanded grout is used for tiles that require a grout space of larger than 1/8". Other grout types may be used for special applications; please consult with your installer or give us a call to determine the correct grout for your installation.
Where can I buy your recommended grout? The majority of the grout we use in-house is TEC brand. You can contact the TEC Product Service Department at (800) 832-9023.
Should I seal my tile? Sealant won't harm our tile, but it may alter the tile color. Because of this, we don't recommend that you use sealant unless it's required to protect the grout.
How should I hang my gift tile (tile with a hanging notch)? We use a drywall screw, flat-headed nail, or picture hook. In earthquake-prone areas, we recommend the addition of ‘quake putty’ or double-sided tape to help keep the tile from jumping off the nail or hook. For plaster walls or thin panel walls, expanding or specialty anchors may be required, especially for larger framed items. Most anchors come with a weight rating to help determine suitability.
What size do you recommend for grout spacing? Motawi tiles are sized to accommodate a 3/16” grout space.
How do I clean my Motawi tile? Start with regular soap and water. We recommend any non-abrasive cleaner, such as Soft Scrub. For more difficult jobs, we have used "green" scrubbing pads and lots of elbow grease. We do not recommend the use of any acids to clean our tile and it is always wise to test any other cleaning methods in an inconspicuous area of your installation if you can.
How do I remove pencil marks from your tile? Try using the pencil eraser first. If that isn't successful, then we recommend a small amount of Soft Scrub cleanser. You might also try a "green" scrubbing pad.
Can dark grout stain light matte glazed tile? Yes, some dark grouts may stain light-colored glazes and some light grouts may stain dark-colored glazes. Test a sample before grouting. Installers will find that taping off relief tiles can dramatically reduce cleanup time and prevent staining.
Inspection: Inspect your tile immediately upon delivery. In the event that tiles have been lost or damaged in shipping, you must make a freight claim within 5 days of delivery. Installation signifies acceptance and no post-installation adjustments will be made.
How can I affix tile to the exterior of my home? For semi-permanent installation of a gift tile (tile with a hanging notch), use drywall screws and anchors. For un-notched tile, use a construction adhesive such as Liquid Nails. For homes with a stucco finish, the tiles may be embedded directly into the surface during installation.
HOW TO WORK WITH MOTAWI
Do you provide design services? Yes. For an installation project, it works like this:
- For a nonrefundable fee of $400, our designer will provide up to 5 hours of design time on a single project, based on measurements you provide; for collage style projects that incorporate a variety of tile sizes, glazes or styles in a random layout, the fee is actually $500 per project. This does not include site visits, which start at $150 for Washtenaw County and are priced based on location, or time spent beyond 5 hours which is charged at a rate of $80 per hour. Final dimensions are required to begin the design process; if dimensions change after we’ve begun our work, it is considered a new project and additional design fee is required.
- Our fee provides for a mix of some quick sketches and one or more fully rendered scale drawings of design options. The exact number of drawings varies, depending on the project. Designs will include our recommendations for details such as custom cuts, edge glazing, glaze color and decorative tile selection. Once a final design is selected and an order is place, we will also prepare an installation diagram for use by your contractor.
- Each design is accompanied by a quote detailing the costs.
- The scope of our work in this process is limited to tile layout design services only. Use of proper installation methods and adherence to structural guidelines are the customer’s responsibility.
- Projects are scheduled for production upon receipt of a 50% deposit and a signed copy of our Glaze Sample Approval. Lead times vary, but an estimated ship date will be determined at the time we receive a deposit.
Where do I buy my tile for installation? If you happen to live close to us in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we invite you to give us a visit. The first meeting with our designer is free and we have a gallery full of options to look at. If you don't live close to us, visit our showroom locator to find the closest installation retailer to you. Give them a call and make an appointment for a visit.
There isn't a tile showroom close to me. Can I still purchase tile for installation and get design help? While it is always best to visit a showroom to make your tile purchase, if there isn't one near you, we are happy to work with you directly. We can ship samples and communicate design details by fax, phone, and email.
I am working on an installation project. Can I purchase tile samples? If you are working with a tile showroom they will provide you with samples. Otherwise, we offer our standard glazes in 3-piece range sets that show the full potential of variations that naturally occur in our glazes. These sets of 3x3 tiles can be purchased for $15 plus shipping and handling. You may return them for a refund, less shipping costs. Samples of our decorative tiles may also be ordered at full cost of the tile plus shipping and handling.
Can I return my tile? Because we make our tile especially for you when you order returns are not accepted on made to order tile unless they are defective or damaged in shipping. Cancellations are not accepted on tile already in production.
Should I order extra tile? Yes. We recommend that you order 5-10% extra. This overage allows for the possibility of breakage during installation, for greater range selection, and extras in case of damage in the future. (Make sure to keep all extra tiles from your project.) Ordering proper quantities is essential, as matching tiles exactly to previous batches can be difficult.