I Don’t Just Do Tile!

That’s right…although I started in tile, and really enjoy tile work, I’m also skilled in a number of other areas, including driveway paving.

I recently completed this West Vancouver job which demonstrates well how much detail goes into a successful and high-end completed driveway paving project.

If you’re thinking about a project involving driveway paving, or any of my other listed services, feel free to give me a call at 778-322-ETNA (3862) and let’s chat about it.

-Tonino Patane’

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Happy Holidays!

Wishing all of my customers, colleagues, and friends a safe and happy holiday.

I hope you all can spend time with your loved ones and enjoy the festivities of the holiday season…but be careful not to “shoot your eye out!”

And if you don’t know what movie that’s referencing, rent “A Christmas Story” immediately…it’s a classic.

See you all after Christmas!

-Tonino Patane’

Textured Tile…Do or Don’t?

via Houzz.com

I came across this photograph today and it brought me back to a question I frequently find clients asking me: Is textured tile a good idea?

The answer, in short, is “it depends.” Of course.

Textured tile makes a really great statement in any room as it brings another dimension into play and automatically creates a focal point. The question is, does the space you’re looking at tiling require a focal point?

For instance, using it in a bathroom might not have the greatest effect, as opposed to using it as a fireplace tile as I’ve shown.

J. Weiss Design via Houzz.com

The other consideration is the cleaning…all of those grooves and dips are magnets for dust. Are you prepared to keep it clean? This is especially true if you’re considering a textured tile for a kitchen backsplash. While it will absolutely look stunning, the additional cleaning isn’t always worth it for clients.

This is why you most frequently see it installed in low-use areas like fireplace features or small feature walls.

Venegas and Company via Houzz.com

In commercial applications, it is a great idea. It adds an extra “oomph” that a coat of paint just can’t.

I’ve seen it used to great effect in restaurants, offices, and product showrooms. It’s always the “wow” factor in the space in which it’s installed.

Paul Anater via Houzz.com

So when you’re considering textured tile for your project, just ask yourself if you’re looking for a tile that will steal the show, and if you can deal with a little extra dusting. If the answer to both of those considerations is yes, it’s probably a safe choice for you.

And if you need help installing it, you know who to call!

-Tonino Patane’

Best of 2011: Top 5 Tile Trends

As we approach the end of 2011, it is time to reminisce on the top trends of the year. And I’m not talking about the Royal Wedding or Jersey Shore. I’m talking about the tiles that we’ve seen all over the place, again and again in design magazines and online blogs.

Let’s break down 5 of the most popular trends in tile for this past year (in no particular order).

Calacatta marble flooring is a very popular choice for bathrooms. (Houzz.com)

1. Marble anything.

Be it floors, backsplash, counters, etc. marble is still all over the place. Not just any marble though, calacatta and carrara are still vying for first place. They are beautiful natural materials that add elegance to every application: kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, flooring…it really doesn’t matter. A bit of marble takes a nice room up to a whole different level.

Subway tile reinvented with a silvery sheen. (LDa Architecture & Interiors via Houzz.com)

2. Subway tile.

Ah, the classic 3×6 tile. This trend really has blown up everywhere. It is extremely versatile and can be really inexpensive, which is likely why it’s become so popular. It’s now manufactured in virtually any material under the sun, from glass to stone. Yes, even marble. While the trend is beginning to die down, I don’t think it’ll really be going anywhere for quite some time.

A mosaic comprised of recycled glass & slate. (Oceanside Glasstile)

3. Mixed materials.

Maybe you don’t just want stone on your backsplash…maybe you also want some glass? Or perhaps glass with travertine? Or slate? Or why not with marble? In 2011, these are all possibilities. Mixing materials has been a huge trend, with mosaic blends being offered comprising of virtually anything you could think of!

Large-format floor tile is extremely appealing for those who hate grout lines. (Veranda Estate Homes & Interiors via Houzz.com)

4. Large-format floor tiles.

Gone are the days of the once-popular 12×12. Now, it’s 18×18 and up. 2011 was the year of 12×24 tiles, my guess is 2012 will be the year of 24×24 tiles. The bigger the better it seems. Why? My guess is that the minimal grout lines are quite appealing to the homeowner who prefers a more clean and contemporary look.

This bathroom actually utilizes almost every 2011 trend in one: subway tiles which happen to be made of marble, a glass border, and large-format flooring! (Niche Interiors via Houzz.com)

5. Glass features.

The economy seems to have kept homeowners away from doing full walls in glass tile, instead, people have found creative ways to integrate glass into their design. This year, the waterfall feature has been extremely popular, as has the glass border in bathrooms. I think in the coming year more homeowners will opt out of horizontal features and go for more vertical lines for a more modern look.

So there you have it. Did you go for any of these trends this year? Which is your favorite? Any thoughts on next year’s big trends?

Happy Holidays,

-Tonino Patane’

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Busy Tile Done Right

I generally have the mantra that a very busy tile should be used in small doses for maximum impact. Likewise, if you have a large space that you’re tiling, then you generally want to opt for a larger-sized tile to keep it from being overwhelming.

However, I came across the following photo which I believe might shoot my theory in the foot:

Source: Atmosphere Interior Design Inc. via Houzz.com

This is an extremely busy tile, but it doesn’t look like “too much” in this space.

Why not?

Let’s break it down:

1) Neutral tile color. This tile is really just composed of several neutrals. If there had been a color thrown into the mix, this space definitely wouldn’t have worked like it does here.

2) Monochromatic room. Because the designer chose to keep the room relatively monochromatic (save for the dark cabinetry of the floating island and the interior shelving surrounding the stove), this room really just acts like a blank canvas and allows for much more backsplash freedom.

So if you’re considering installing a tile like the one pictured above, these are just a couple of things to keep in mind.

-Tonino Patane’

A Roundup of Christmasy Tiled Kitchens

I’m feeling particularly festive today as I finish up my Christmas cards, so I thought today I would share some of my favorite Christmasy kitchen photos.

Do you have a favorite? While I tend to lean towards the more traditional ceramic 4×4, that bianco carrara slab really does have a “wow” factor.

Now I’m off to help get some West Vancouver’s client’s homes ready for the holidays!

-Tonino Patane’

The Pros and Cons of Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile has been the tile “go-to” for decades. In the mecca of all things tile, Italy, it’s second in popularity only to natural stone.

That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind about ceramic tile before you choose it for your tile installation. I’ve compiled the filing list of pros and cons to consider before choosing ceramic tile for your project:

This backsplash used a hand glazed ceramic subway tile to add a punch of color to the kitchen.


– The price is excellent. Ceramic tile tends to be the least expensive option in the tile world.

– Endless color palette. You can find ceramic tile in virtually any color you desire.

– Lots of shapes and sizes. Granted, fun shapes will cost you a bit more. But you can find ceramic tile in squares, briques, mini-circles (called penny-rounds), hexagons, diamonds, etc.

– Easy installation. If you’re installing tile yourself (obviously, I recommend a professional), this is the easiest material to work with.


– Depending on your project, ceramic is not always very durable. It likes to chip, and because it’s not full-bodied (meaning the color doesn’t go all the way through), they will be noticeable.

– Ceramic tile shouldn’t be used in high-traffic areas for the above reason.

This backsplash was designed with alternating ceramic tiles...an inexpensive way to add a fun pattern.

Overall, it’s a great material and can be extremely versatile. If you have any specific questions about using ceramic tile, feel free to comment, email, or call me and I’ll be happy to help you out.

-Tonino Patane’

“Shaughnessy Golf Course” Tile Job

When I was hired by the Shaughnessy Golf Course to create a dramatic fireplace feature for their lounge, I was thrilled at the challenge. I took photos throughout the process to show the work that actually went into the finished product.

The classic "before" photo

They liked the shape of the fireplace, but it definitely needed some updating. We decided on a custom staggered ledgestone look, to cover the entire wall from floor to ceiling.

Our chosen material

Because we couldn’t find a mesh-mounted tile that was suitable for the look we wanted, we purchased tile that came in separate pieces, as seen above. This meant that I would be piecing together the final design, which actually gave me greater control over the finished product.

Starting from the middle and working around and out

I started the project by framing in the fireplace and expanding from there. That way, the focal point (the fireplace) wasn’t subjected to any awkward cuts or lines. Instead, the tile perfectly lines up all the way around the fireplace itself.

To make the tile look like it wrapped around the fireplace, I used the same pieces I cut from to wrap around the sides. This makes the fireplace look like one solid unit.

Halfway through the job

The alcove above the fireplace was set for the television to be mounted, so we wired the electrical for an easy TV install after the tile was completed.

Laying out tile prior to install

Every section had to be designed and laid out on the ground prior to installation to make sure that the tiles had a natural pattern and the pieces fit together nicely and cohesively.

The finished fireplace

The finished product. The attention to detail in the patterning of the tile paid off; the finished fireplace looks like one solid unit and pays tribute to the rustic charm of the Vancouver terrain.

If you like the look of a fireplace focal point, and need help with your installation, feel free to give me a call at 778-322-ETNA (3862) or email me at info@etnatileandstone.com for a free consultation!

-Tonino Patane’

3 Things to Consider When Hiring a Tile Setter

Finding the right tile setter for your home renovation can be a daunting process. How do you narrow it down? Here are three important things to think about before choosing your tile setter:

Concealed lighting at the backsplash effect modern bathroom

1)   Experience

There is no replacement for actual experience working with different materials and working through the problems that can come up. There are challenges with every different type of job, and you are going to want a tile setter who knows and recognizes those challenges and how to tackle them.

Sullivan Conard Architects  kitchen

2)   Specialties

Sure, your tile setter may have 20 years of experience, but if you need a swimming pool tile installation, and your tile setter has never installed a pool, would you really be comfortable having them install yours? As I said before, each type of job (i.e. kitchen, bathroom, outdoor) presents unique difficulties. You want to make sure your tile setter has installed jobs similar to yours to ensure a quality installation in your home.

Powder Bathroom contemporary powder room

3)   Guarantee

It can be frightening to put your trust into someone else when it comes to a permanent fixture in your home. That’s why it’s important to find a tile setter who will guarantee their work. If the final result is not up to your expectations, it’s important to know that your tile setter will fix it and stand by his responsibility to make sure you are happy with the job.

-Tonino Patane’

Welcome to Our New Blog!

Welcome to the Official blog of Etna Tile & Stone!

This blog will be a way to chronicle current & ongoing projects and discuss some of the frequent issues and questions that come up while working on home renovations. I also intend to discuss tile design, how to find the right contractor, and other hot topics in the world of renovations.

For now, as an introduction, I would like to share the history of how Etna Tile & Stone came to be.

Tony's Painting & Decorating

Etna Ceramic tile was established in 1978 by my father Antonio Patane’. He brought my mother, brothers and sister from Catania, Sicily, (the island off the coast of Italy) in 1969 and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

He quickly realized after starting “Tony’s Painting and Decorating” that there was a much higher demand for ceramic tile installers and began to specialize in the art form of tile-setting.

After the family braved several harsh prairie winters, they decided it was time to move to Vancouver in 1977. He started a new company called Etna Ceramic Tile, named after Mount Etna: the tallest active volcano in Europe, also located in Catania, Sicily. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. It was an appropriate choice of names to say the least!

Mount Etna in Catania

He thought it was very important for people to know that we are Italian. After all, the best and most famous tile and stone work has been laid by Italians for centuries…It’s in our blood.

I was born and raised here in Vancouver, working along side my father from an early age. I went to work with my dad and learned the trade the “old school” way. “You godda do da job-a right, oh no do da job ad all” was the mantra that has been drilled into my head since day one.

Working Alongside My Dad

His experience working with general contractors and homeowners seeking unique and custom home improvement has presented him with the opportunity to work on some of the most challenging tile and stone projects in the Greater Vancouver area…. There I was at the tender age of 9, the ‘tool boy’.

“Hey, wake up! Go anna geda the cazzola from a da van” is what I remember the most.

-Tonino Patane’