FAQ

Following the pdf attached, please read through our "What To Expect" brochure to see the process we recommend in order to make the most out of your time with us. 


http://www.architecturalceramics.com/Marketing/Website/What_to_expect.pdf

The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) grading system is used throughout the world for grading floor tiles according to the resistance to wear and tear of their finish.  

Grade 1 - Light residential use.
Grade 2 - Moderate residential traffic..
Grade 3 - All residential use.
Grade 4 - Tiles suitable for domestic and commercial use where moderate to heavy traffic occurs.
Grade 5 - Tiles suitable for all types of use whether domestic or commercial areas of very heavy traffic.  

079c11a9a7edfe37c76aa7019dfd26f0

V1 – Uniform Appearance  V2 – Slight Variation V3 – Moderate Variation   V4 – Substantial Variation

Unfortunately we have no control over Mother Nature. Natural stone such as marble, granite, and limestone may exhibit shade variation not only between production lots but within the same lot and even within a single carton.  Hand-painted and handmade ceramic tiles are specialty lines that also may have considerable shade variations and are created in limited production runs. A difference of only 2 degrees in a kiln during the firing process can affect the color of the glaze.  Always inspect your tiles before installation. Suppliers are not liable after installation occurs.

Prior to any installation, a range of tiles should be approved by the customer.  Please note that shades of color are seen differently on computer monitors, so customers should request a sample before making a final selection or purchase.

Status: STK:Stock; DS:Drop Ship; OVST:OverStock; SO: Special Order

Shade and Size Variations. Architectural Ceramics, Inc. (“AC”) shall use reasonable efforts to have representative samples of our products on hand in our showroom, however, shade and size variations are normal and to be expected from stone, manufactured and handmade tiles, and wood species. All natural stones are a product of nature, thus AC offers no guarantees on variations in color or vein. The customer understands and accepts the nature of the materials being sold.

Samples. Loose samples can be checked through the reception area for a deposit fee equal to the Retail price. Boards are not to be checked out under any circumstances without written permission from the owner/management and require a minimum deposit of $100.00 per board. Regular samples must be returned within one week of checkout, and boards must be returned within 24 hours, in order to receive a full return of deposit. If samples or boards are not returned within this time frame, at AC’s discretion, your deposit may be forfeited.. Loose samples and decorative pieces that are not readily available can be ordered as a sale and are not returnable.

Takeoffs/Installers. Construction projects change during the process. Take offs (measuring and providing quantities needed) done by AC will be for the purpose of a general estimate for the project, and not for ordering. AC accepts no responsibility for quantities and measurements. It is the responsibility of the purchaser and/or you to ensure the quantities are accurate. AC is not a contractor and does not contract with or act as an agent for installers . When AC recommends a licensed contractor to work or install a product we sell, it is a recommendation only and AC shall not by virtue of its recommendation of a contractor be deemed to be a contracting party or an agent of the contractor. . The client is solely responsible for hiring or contracting with contractors or laborers for the installation of products sold by AC.

Ordering. All special orders and stock orders require a 100% deposit at the time of the order. Only approved licensed trade house accounts may order without a deposit if within their credit limit. There will be a 1.5% per month finance charge for balances due over 30 days and you shall be responsible for all costs of collection, including attorneys’ fees up to 25% of past due balance plus additional costs incurred by AC in collecting any overdue amounts. All payments made will be applied to the oldest invoices.All order cancellations must be received within one business day of the initial order to ensure that the order may be cancelled. Any orders cancelled thereafter, including materials in transit, may only be cancelled at AC’s sole discretion.

Lead Times. AC shall use reasonable efforts to expedite the manufacture and shipping of your order. However, there are many circumstances outside of AC’s control in producing and moving product. Our quotes, which are in business days, are based on quotes that the manufacturers and trucking companies provide to us and cannot be guaranteed. Please do not schedule installation until you have received all your material and inspected it. No materials may be returned, for any reason, 30 days following the date of the invoice.

Freight. Shipping products from vendors across the country is an expensive proposition. Many companies choose to show only very limited varieties which they can obtain locally or have in stock. Our business has been built on showing a vast array of product that comes from many countries and manufacturers, and therefore most items are not stock but must be shipped. We ship and quote prices only from bona-fide trucking companies that we believe are competitive. Please be aware that in many cases freight is assessed to you and is your responsibility. These charges are from the manufacturers to us, not to your job. unless material is drop shipped .. Delivery to your location is a separate charge payable by you.

Drop Shipments. With specialty products, if the vendor permits and unless otherwise instructed by the customer, we will drop ship directly from the vendor to a location designated by the customer. All drop shipments are curbside only. It is required that the customer or their agent be at the job site at time of delivery to inspect materials for correct quantities and material ordered. If the job site is unattended, the carrier will not deliver the material, the material will be brought back to the carrier’s warehouse, delivery charges will not be refunded, and any subsequent delivery will be charged separately. AC is not responsible for items damaged by the carrier. Drop shipped products will otherwise be governed by the terms and conditions contained herein.

Material Inspection. It is the responsibility of the purchaser or their agent at the time of drop shipment, pickup or delivery to inspect all material as to acceptability, color, size and quantity and to assure that it is correct as per the order. Upon delivery or drop shipment of the product, AC will be released from any and all claims. No guarantees are made with respect to the possibility of the material crazing. All glazed tiles are sold subject to abrasion and wear, and proper use of the tiles is the responsibility of the purchaser. It is strongly recommended that the installer be made aware of the materials and their installation layout before installation. In many cases, particularly where there are shade variations in the materials, a dry lay should be done to ensure proper mixing and layout. Attention to detail by the customer and their agents before installation is crucial to avoid costly mistakes. No claims of any nature will be considered upon the earlier of: (1) the material is installed or (2) 30 days following the date the material was available for pick up at our warehouse or invoice date.

Delivery, Storage. For orders that are not drop shipped or picked up at our warehouse , delivery to the jobsite can be arranged on request. AC requires up to five business days notice to schedule job site delivery. All deliveries are charged at a rate dependent upon location. Most local deliveries can be done in 1-2 hours. All deliveries are curbside only. It is required (or a release needs to be signed) that customer or their agent is at the jobsite at time of delivery to inspect materials for correct quantities and material ordered. If the job site is unattended, AC will not deliver the material, the material will be brought back to our warehouse, delivery charges will not be refunded, and any subsequent delivery will be charged separately. Any product not scheduled for delivery or picked up or within thirty (30) days after notice that it is available at our warehouse will be subject to a storage fee of 1% of the invoice price for each month or partial month after the initial thirty (30) day notice. Product not picked up or scheduled for delivery within six (6) months after notice of availability will be considered abandoned and may be disposed of as AC deems appropriate.

Returns. All items we sell are either special order or stock. All special order merchandise will be marked as such on the invoice at the time of order. Special order material is not returnable. If there are any questions, do not hesitate to ask because returns will not be accepted. Any stock material can be returned without restock charges provided that all of the following are met: (i) material must be returned in full box quantities if sold in that manner; (ii) all returns must be received by AC within 30 days of the date that the material was available to be picked up from AC, as reflected on the invoice; (iii) all material must be in resalable condition; and (iv) the dye lot has not changed for the material. AC may in its sole discretion accept returns of stock material that does not meet any of the above conditions, in which case a restock charge of up to 25% of the purchase price will be assessed. All returns for materials originally paid for by check that are eligible for return shall have a check issued and mailed out within two weeks of return of goods. Returns paid by credit card will be credited back to the same credit card that was used for the purchase within two weeks of the return. Returns made by trade account holders will be credited to their account. The trade account holder may request a refund check if their account has a credit balance. Statements are sent monthly. All returns will only be refunded to the person in whose name the material was purchased originally. Our liability will never exceed the cost of the materials. Installation constitutes full and complete acceptance. Absolutely no claims will be considered after partial or complete installation.

Exclusion of Implied Warranties. There are no warranties which extend beyond the description on the face hereof, including but not limited to any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Electronic Signature/Acceptance. The customer acknowledges and agrees that physical signatures are not required under this Agreement when electronic acceptance is provided. Electronic acceptance of the terms of this Agreement shall be permissible and acceptable forms of acceptance of the terms of this Agreement.

Governing Law. The agreement between the parties shall be governed according to the internal laws of the State of Maryland, without reference to its choice of law rules. Any suit involving any dispute or matter arising hereunder may only be brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Maryland or any Maryland State Court having jurisdiction over the subject matter of the dispute or matter.

No, we do not install tile.  However, we have approved and certified installers that we can recommend which we have been referring for years.  Please contact your sales representative for a referral.

Finding the right installer is very important.  Each material such as glass, stone, porcelain requires a unique installation method.  In addition, the type of installation materials to use with glass, stone, porcelain may vary.  When dealing with glass tile it is important your installer has experience with glass or you can let us work with him before installation. Let the installer calculate the quantity of tiles you will need. The installer should do this for several reasons, including consumption, % waste to factor, shade variations, material characteristics, and site conditions. This applies to floor, walls and any other surface. Even so, quantity shortfalls often occur with the best of installers, causing add-ons, or ordering more tile. Having an extra box of tile at the end of installation is always a good thing. Because tile is manufactured or quarried in ‘lots’ add-ons can potentially cause problems where your new material does not match your installed material.

Your tile installer should do the following prior to installation:

  • Do a dry run on smaller areas by laying the tile out on site. Select any natural stone or ceramic tiles with less pleasing variations for use in closets or underneath cabinets.
  • Discuss your designs and quantities. And most importantly, re-check calculations. Don't allow your installer to have 2/3 of the job installed before informing you of a shortfall. This can cause you to go over budget and lowers the possibility that material in the same lot will still be available.
  • Inform you of installation delays. Because of construction booms even the best contractor may have difficulties with trades people over committing. Ensuring that your installer has ordered adequate quantities early in the process will help you avoid any further delays.

Architectural Ceramics has a large variety of porcelain, ceramic, glass, and stone material in stock which can be picked up from any of our local warehouses.  ACI also offers a large variety of specialty material from over 40 unique vendors such as Oceanside Glasstile and Walker Zanger.  This material we classify as special order and can be ordered at anytime. But remember that special order tiles require delivery and freight charges. Imported items run the risk of being held up in customs and occasionally production and shipping delays can occur as well. Because of this, we recommend you estimate and schedule longer lead times. This way you'll be pleasantly surprised when your tile arrives a week earlier than planned.  Remember to not schedule your installation prior to receiving and inspecting the tile.

Availability of both natural stone and ceramic tiles can change at any time. If our order department informs you your items are on back order, our staff will gladly recommend a similar product if you prefer not to wait.  Tiles can also be discontinued, often without notice. In this event, our purchasing department will search around the country to determine if your tile is available. We will call you if the cost is greater, the lot is different, or delivery times are longer.

We carry a wide range of merchandise in stock.  Next to each product on the website you will see the wording “STOCK” or “SPECIAL ORDER” to differentiate what we carry in stock vs. what needs to be ordered.  Please note that there is a possibility that even though the material is a stock item we may not have enough material in-stock to fulfill your job, so please plan on additional lead time accordingly. Please contact a sales representative to check stock prior to ordering.  Stock quantities will change daily.

Architectural Ceramics offers discontinued or overstock material at great prices which are annotated as Sale items.  All sale items are limited availability and quantities must be checked prior to placing an order.

For regular cleaning, a damp sponge mop and a neutral cleaner works best. Do not use soap. Soap will dull your tile and promote the growth of mildew.

Stone & Marble:
Natural stone and marble have several different finishes, but regardless of whether they are polished, honed or tumbled they all need to be sealed. Stones are porous, some more than others, but they are all susceptible to staining. If cared for properly, stone is simple to maintain. We highly recommend sealing your stone. Sealers are easy to apply and you may need to reseal once a year up to five years depending on how porous your stone is. Never use over the counter cleaning products.  It is recommended that marble restoration or polishing treatment be applied once a year.

Hand Painted and Handmade Ceramic:
Hand-painted and handmade ceramic tiles may also require sealing, especially those with a crackle finish. We recommend applying a high quality penetrating sealer upon initial installation and reapplying another application after six months and annually thereafter.

Glass:
To clean glass, we recommend the use of glass cleaner or neutral soap and subsequent drying with a clean, soft cloth. Improper handling will cause scratching and chipping. The use of detergents and abrasives (cleaning powder) may cause irreversible damage to pieces. Should you have any doubts, get in touch with the manufacturer of the cleaning product.

Chart for Care & Maintenance:
01574aaa02220d89b660f6b1bc5bb6b7

The content below lists our stock installation materials along with some direction on what to use them for and the coverage.

Thinsets, Addmixes, Adhesives, Waterproofing Quick Reference Application Coverage
1Quart White #15 Premium Mastic Ceramic & Stone Wall Tile Mastic (pre-mixed glue) is used for ceramic tile (clay) and stone tile wall install on Drywall, green board, Durock. Not recommended for use in wet areas. 12.5 S/F - 1/8" V-Notch Trowel
(Dry Areas Only) 7.5 S/F - 3/16" V-Notch Trowel
  5 S/F - 1/4" Square Notch Trowel
1Gal White #15 Premium Mastic   50 S/F - 1/8" V-Notch Trowel
  30 S/F - 3/16" V-Notch Trowel
  20 S/F - 1/4" Square Notch Trowel
3.5Gal White #15 Premium Mastic   175 S/F - 1/8" V-Notch Trowel
  105 S/F - 3/16" V-Notch Trowel
  70 S/F - 1/4" Square Notch Trowel
60LB #209 Floor Mud Ceramic & Porcelain Floor Tile, Shower Pans, Leveling Used for installing tile on uneven surfaces. To be used with water or #3701. 6 S/F @ 1" Thickness
50LB White #253 Gold Rapidset Thinset Ceramic, Porcelain, & Stone Mixes with water. For interior use only. Set tile, then grout within 2 to 4 hours. 80-94 S/F - 1/4"x1/4" Notch Trowel
Floor & Wall Tile 60-70 S/F - 1/4"x3/8" Notch Trowel
50LB White Multipurpose #253 Gold Thinset (Interior & Exterior) Mixes with water.  For interior & exterior use (except in submerged areas). 80-95 S/F - 1/4"x1/4" Notch Trowel
  60-70 S/F - 1/4"x3/8" Notch Trowel
50LB White #254 Platinum Multipurpose Thinset Ceramic, Porcelain, Glass, & Stone Mixes with water. For interior & exterior use. Used also for pools, fountains, porcelain, & glass tile installation. 80-95 S/F - 1/4"x1/4" Notch Trowel
Floor & Wall Tile 60-70 S/F - 1/4"x3/8" Notch Trowel
(Interior & Exterior & Submerged Areas) 40-45 S/F - 1/2"x1/2" Notch Trowel
40LB White #255 Multimax Thinset Ceramic, Porcelain, & Stone Mixes with water. Use it as a Mastic Replacement! Showers and Bath tub surrounds.  It is reinforced with Kevlar to avoid sagging. It is good for large heavy wall tiles & stone. 72-88 S/F - 1/4"x1/4" Notch Trowel
Wall Tile 48-58 S/F - 1/4"x3/8" Notch Trowel
(Interior & Exterior) 36-44 S/F - 1/2"x1/2" Notch Trowel
Latapoxy 300 Adhesive Ceramic, Porcelain, & Stone Latapoxy 300 Adhesive is a factory-proportioned kit consisting of epoxy resin, hardener and chemical resistant silica filler. For interior and exterior walls and floors, wet and dry areas.  Rated for heavy commercial use. 180-200 S/F - 1/16" V-Notch Trowel
Floor & Wall Tile 70-80 S/F - 3/16" V-Notch Trowel
(Interior & Exterior) 60-70 S/F - 1/8" Square Notch Trowel
Heavy Duty Commercial 30-35 S/F - 1/4" Square Notch Trowel
50LB White #317 Floor & Wall Thinset Ceramic, Porcelain, & Stone Non-Modified thinset.  It is mixed with either water or latex admixture for installing ceramic tile and stone using the thin-set method of installation. It must be fortified with LATICRETE 333 Super Flexible Additive (2Gal) or LATICRETE 3701 Mortar Admix (5Gal) for exterior use, porcelain, mosaic, glass and stone tiles, and heavy traffic areas. It is also used to install tile over Schluter Ditra flooring system. 75-90 S/F - 1/4"x1/4" Notch Trowel
Floor & Wall Tile   40-50 S/F - 1/4"x3/8" Notch Trowel
(Interior & Exterior)    
25LB Ultrawhite Glass Tile Adhesive Glass Non sag, polymer fortified specifically formulated for glass tile. Can also he used with porcelain or ceramic tile. 52 S/F - 1/8"x3/16" Notch Trowel
Floor & Wall Tile 35 S/F - 1/4"x1/4" Notch Trowel
(Interior, Exterior, & Submerged Areas) 26 S/F - 1/4"x3/8" Notch Trowel
1Gal Hydroban Waterproofing Waterproofing Hydro Ban is a thin, load bearing waterproofing/crack isolation membrane that DOES NOT require the use of fabric in the field, coves or corners. It is a single component self curing liquid rubber polymer that forms a flexible, seamless waterproofing membrane. It bonds directly to a wide variety of substrates. 50 S/F
(Interior, Exterior, & Submerged Areas)
50LB 4-XLT White Adhesive Mortar Ceramic, Porcelain, & Stone Mixes with water. For interior & exterior wall applications. Non-sag additive for large wall tile installations.  Excellent as a medium bed thinset for floors - up to 3/4" without shrinkage. 80-95 S/F - 1/4"x1/4" Notch Trowel
Floor & Wall Tile 60-70 S/F - 1/4"x3/8" Notch Trowel
(Interior & Exterior) 40-47 S/F - 1/2"x1/2" Notch Trowel
50LB 4-XLT Rapid White Adhesive Mortar   Mixes with water. For interior & exterior wall applications. Non-sag additive for large wall tile installations.  Excellent as a medium bed thinset for floors - up to 3/4" without shrinkage. Ready for grouting in 3 to 4 hours. 80-95 S/F - 1/4"x1/4" Notch Trowel
  60-70 S/F - 1/4"x3/8" Notch Trowel
  40-47 S/F - 1/2"x1/2" Notch Trowel
47oz #1776 Add-Mix Grout Add-Mix Mixed with Laticrete 1600 series un-sanded grout, when used in place of water eliminates shading and blotching caused by minerals and organic particles found in domestic water. Inhibits the growth of stain causing mold and mildew in grout joints. One 47oz bottle per 8 lb. box of unsanded grout.
2 Gallon #333 Super Flexible Additive Addmix Mix with #317 Floor & Wall Thinset. 70-80 S/F - 1/4"x1/4" Notch Trowel
5 Gallon #333 Super Flexible Additive Addmix 175-200 S/F - 1/4"x1/4" Notch Trowel
5 Gallon #3701 Addmix Mix with #317 Floor & Wall Thinset OR #209 Floor Mud.  


Questions? Just ask one of our Design Consultants or contact our technical help email: technical@architecturalceramics.com.