I was actually looking for a carpentry apprenticeship after school but there weren’t any available. I was offered the opportunity through a friend to trial tiling so I gave it a shot and really liked it. That was around 12 years ago. I went out on my own a few years back with the support of local builders and contacts I had made which gave me a good base. I have gradually worked my way into more high-end designs with builders.
To be a great tiler you have to love what you do. You need to take pride in your work and pay attention to detail. You get a lot of satisfaction from doing a great job and seeing how happy your clients are. It feels really good. Over the years there have a number of trends, and today there are so many different tiles available that there’s a real mix of styles to choose from.
I can’t believe that I have made it to the top 10 Finalists for the Tiler of the Year Awards. I’m really proud. I think it’s great for the industry because it can really encourage tilers to try their best and do a great job so they can enter next year.
I’m a third-generation tiler. My grandfather started the business. I did my apprenticeship with my father and three of my uncles and my cousin who are partners in the operation. That all began when I was 15 and I was qualified at 18 and at the age of 21 I went out on my own. That was eight years ago.
It’s really rewarding to see the finished result of your tiling work. We get to turn concrete and plaster into something that looks great. There’s a great deal of satisfaction when clients are happy with the completed space. Attention to detail is so important and taking pride in what you do. It’s a very physical job but I love it – even with the sore knees and sore back.
I work with homeowners as well as designers and do a lot of commercial work too. We’ve done a lot of major projects from apartment blocks and retirement villages to project homes and custom builds which keeps it interesting. The subway tile trend is really big and in particular herringbone layouts for splashbacks and feature walls. I love working with external tiling as well – anyone can lay stone but to do it properly, so it stands up to the elements, takes knowledge and expertise.
The Tiler of the Year Awards have been so interesting – getting to see what other tilers are doing so you can appreciate their work and get inspired by what they are doing is great.
Through school I tried out a few different trades like cabinetmaking and plumbing, but I didn’t find anything that really suited. I was always into design so I wanted to do something more creative. When I started working with a tiler I found it really rewarding so I started an apprenticeship around 12 years ago.
I have been working for myself for nine years now. At the time is was a big leap and a bit risky but I was lucky enough have the support of some great local builders and that carried me until the business grew and my reputation expanded. I really enjoy the more difficult tiling jobs where I am challenged from a design point of view.
To be a successful tiler you need to be patient, to work clean and to have a great vision about what the end result will look like. And you have to be very fussy and make sure all of the lines are square and that the finish is perfect. It’s a physical job, and after a big day you really feel it on your knees and your back. But when you know you have executed a job to perfection it’s all worthwhile.
Everyone’s loving herringbone at the moment, for feature walls and floor. Tiling in a herringbone pattern is difficult, people don’t understand how much time it takes to lay out the design and cut it in and make it perfect. Mosaic feature walls are popular too.
The Tiler of the Year Awards have been great for the industry. Any sort of publicity that acknowledges tilers and what we do and shows people what we can create with our work is fantastic.
Voter Prize Winner: Tom Royal
"Curves curves curves! Impeccible workmanship from epoxy glued mitred and honed natural stone to the ever challenging mosaics, and his instagram content is quality!"
A word from the judges...
"As a designer who works with tiles and tilers throughout the year, I was so inspired and delighted to see so many talented tilers putting forward such a high standard of work. The quality of the tile set outs, the waste positions and the full height tiling was a joy to see, and I was so impressed by the degree of difficulty displayed in a wide range of tile installations. Being fastidious about quality and attention to detail, I was really thrilled to see such a wide variety of tiles and tiling layouts executed with such precision. Congratulations to all who entered, and well done to the finalists and of course the winners!"
Kate Walker - Kate Walker Design
"The response we have had from the tilers and public around Australia was amazing! I was really blown away by some of the stunning projects using tiles to create world class living spaces that will stand the test of time due to the dedicated work of the tilers involved. A big thank you to all our entrants from around Australia well done to all!"
Camron Whittaker - National Tiles
"I was seriously impressed with the standard of the entries in the competition. The range of different designs and styles showed such imagination and finesse, and close-up it was clear the attention to detail was incredible. It’s great to see so much fantastic tiling work going on around the country, upholding these traditional skills that deserve our respect."
Angela Young - Grand Designs Australia
For Tiler Of The Year Terms & Conditions click here