About me

Education
I graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, majoring in education and art. I built a giant tile mural from the raw clay stages to the finished glazed stage for my final project. I currently use my training in education on a daily basis; communicating with my customers, answering questions and tutoring my tile assistants. I use my art, color and lay-out back ground when I help my customers with their design decisions.

Training
I began training as a union apprentice tile finisher in Sacramento in 1979. My first project was cutting 64,000 pieces of tile for the California State Capitol Building restoration. This quarry mosaic floor is located on the second floor rotunda of the state capitol building and will display my touch for decades to come!
I moved to the Contra Costa county area in the early 1980's to work during a tremendous housing boom. I attended union training school on Saturdays and Tuesday evenings for five years. I "journeyed" as a tile setter by completing my tile apprenticeship installing all kinds of difficult tile "mock-ups".
I have also taken Building Construction Inspection courses from Consumes River College in South Sacramento. Knowledge of building code helps bring attention to code compliance issues.

Experience
After working for various tile installation shops in Contra Costa county and Sacramento County, I established Stoddard Tile Company in 1988. From 1996 to 2007, I took a break from operating my own business to become the warranty manager for two medium sized tile installation companies. It was during the "boom time" in the building industry so I had my hands full. This invaluable experience taught me communication skills, up to date proper setting and grouting techniques, how to keep detailed files and all that could go wrong if proper procedures were not followed. Throughout my work for other companies, I kept Stoddard Tile Company in a licensed position, planning to go back to my own company some day.

Volunteer Work
I used my inspection skills as a volunteer inspector for a local non-profit, Sacramento Mutual Housing Association. I inspected SMHA's portfolio of low income properties, wrote reports, took photos and generally assisted the Asset Manager by documenting the conditions of their extensive properties.
Over the course of many years I have mentored scores of tile assistants in proper mixing methods, setting techniques and grouting. I have advised friends who want to try their hands at tile setting on their own projects.

Installs, repairs, inspections and consultations: I've worked in the tile installation business for over 30 years. I combine my education experience, inspection skills, communication training and overall knowledge of the building trades to educate consumers and advise them about complicated job problems. My warranty training assists me in providing the best possible installations. I use cutting edge knowledge of installation methods and high quality materials to provide my customers with the best installations in the business. My installations hold up for decades.

Q&A with Kim Stoddard


What do you like most about your job?

Setting the tile of course! It's like putting together a puzzle and I love jigsaw puzzles. I am proud of my day's work, can see what I've accomplished and know the installation will be in great shape decades from now.
I enjoy seeing the happy faces of my customers gazing at their new tile installation.
I also like educating the consumer about tile, stone and products to use. I use my back ground in art to help the homeowner with their selections and designs if they want advice.

Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
I recently tiled an entire master bath shower to the ceiling, vanity splashes, tub surround with silver-veined crackled glass. There was an intriguing granite accent placed in the walls to match the granite pan tiles. The decks were all granite slabs, installed by others, which matched the glass tiles. The floors are made of sturdy ceramic tiles that look like travertine without the needed maintenance or softness of stone. The customer was so happy with the job she sent me a card months later thanking me. The general builder wants the homeowner to submit before and after pictures to home and garden magazines.
I recently completed a guest bathroom for the same customer. She was so pleased with the master bathroom that she had me replicate the same complicated design in her other bathroom.

Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
First of all, I have 30 years of experience setting tile. Eleven of those years I worked as a repair manager for two large tile companies, so I know which methods cause problems and which techniques and products are the best to use.
I know from bumping into my old customers that they are happy decades later!
I take the time to set the tile in a layout that looks best; I don't take sloppy shortcuts. I take hidden and knowledgeable steps to insure my installations are strong and lasting. My tile floors over a wood-subfloor always contain cement board laid down with premium thin set underneath and special gripping screws above. My floors over slab are laid with premium thin set; for just a few cents more a foot you get better long-term adhesion! My grouting has uniform texture, color and depth.
I go to workshops and use the internet to keep up with the latest products and methods.

What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
I am on several well known web rating lists of contractors. I did not pay to be on these lists. My customers put me on those lists and gave me the highest ratings and compliments.
I care about the growth and reputation of the tile and stone industry; for the appropriate areas I want customers to choose tile over other products.
Tiled pans don't have to leak. It's just that some uninformed tile setters don't take care with the sub-structure underneath the tile. Consumers need to go to my website to see instructions and pictures of how they should have their tile contractors treat their shower drains.
V-cap trims at kitchen and vanity decks don't have to crack if the tile setter gives the trim tiles the proper foundation.
There can be less grout at kitchen counters by selecting larger tiles and narrower grout joints.
Slate tiles are not so difficult to grout and keep the crevices clean of grout if a pre-seal is applied before grouting.

What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Make sure you get 3 recent references and one reference over 5 years old before deciding on a tile company. Make sure they are licensed. Ask how long they have been setting tile. Try to see pictures of their work.
If you have a shower installation, ask them how they will treat the drain before and during an installation. If you have a kitchen countertop to install, ask them if they use real mortar or cement board under the tile (real mortar is much better). Ask them what material they use to attach the V-cap outer trim to their vanities and kitchen decks (thin set is problematic here). If it's a floor ask them which thin set product they will use (be sure it is premium thin set). If it is large format floor tile (16 x 16 or larger), ask them which size notched trowel they will use to set the tiles (to get a flatter smoother floor, you want a large ½" notched trowel, even though it uses more thin set).

What are your most common types of jobs?
I install kitchen backsplashes over granite slab decks. I install floor tile up to 20 x 20. I am setting a lot of glass mosaics currently. I float mortar walls and set tile on tub surrounds and shower stalls. I can clad over existing brick fireplace to change the look to marble, stone or tile. I install mortared tile kitchen counters and vanities.
No job is too small. I clean old grout, touch up missing grout and seal grout and various types of stone. I use high quality sealers to help maintain the beautiful look of a job. I re-caulk various areas in a home. I can stain grout with an epoxy colorant to completely change the look of an installation.

What questions do customers most commonly ask you?
How do I clean and maintain my grout? Which sealers should I use for slate? How do I care for my granite slab counters? Why is my shower (installed by others) leaking? On my truck, I carry a briefcase full of hand-outs with information answering many common consumer problems. My website has answers to some of these questions as well.

Kim Stoddard - owner

(916) 454-2896
Sacramento, CA 95820
Contact me

30 years experience in
tile installation

Licensed and Bonded
References available

License #536338

Past Member: Ceramic Tile
      and Stone Institute

Ceramic Tile in Sacramento

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