Hello and Happy Friday!

Well friends, we’ve made it 4 weeks. It's been wonderful to hear from so many of you that you’re doing well and staying healthy, which has been my biggest concern during this time. Some days the gravity of this unprecedented health crisis seems heavier than others, especially with the epicenter in our backyard. Most days I’m just grateful for the health of my family and friends.. and hopeful I’ll be able to hug, cheers, and share a non-virtual meal with them soon. 😊 In normal circumstances this would be a weekend that I host Sunday brunch, complete with egg hunts and a likely failed attempt at a family photo (toddlers.. amirite?). Since I seem to have mastered the art of throwing together an impressive LOOKING spread, without any actual impressive SKILLS or ingredient list... I thought it might be a nice week to share my upcoming brunch recipes. And while we’re in the spirit of cookin’ things up, I’ll outline 2 key ingredients to set up a recipe for success in your tile installations. As always, starting with your Live From Home Tip, here’s what’s on my Sunday Brunch menu:

LVH (Live From Home) Tip – Brunch without champagne is just a sad breakfast:
  • The only things you’ll probably need to buy and don’t already have laying around are coconut flakes, a box of vanilla pudding mix and dark chocolate chips. Unless you’re like me.. and those are a pantry staple like salt and pepper.  
  • You literally only need to do 3 steps. Mix the wet ingredients, mix the dry, and then mix those both together.
  • If you have a bundt pan, awesome. It looks like you slaved away on some old passed down family recipe. If not, Amazon has this for $12.97.
Eggs Benedict
  • YOU CAN POACH EGGS! Yes, you. You can totally do it. It’s not as intimidating as it seems (insert chuckles from you who have mastered this a long time ago. But for the rest of us non-chefs, this seems like a heavy lift).
  • Just boil water and add 2-3 tablespoons white vinegar. Key steps are: (1) put the egg in a small bowl first, don’t just crack it into the water. (2) Swirl the water around to create a whirlpool before pouring the egg in. (3) Reduce the heat to medium and cover immediately, and then don’t touch it. For 5 min. *note* if you don’t reduce the heat it will boil over. I know from experience. (5) Then just remove with a slotted spoon and voila! Instant chef cred.
  • You can up the ante with whatever you choose to accompany your benedict. Meaning, what you put on top of the toasted English muffin, and under the poached egg. For this Sunday, I’m just buying crab cakes and heating them up, for crab cake benedict. Otherwise, lox, spinach, Canadian bacon or turkey bacon works well. If you’re feeling extra fancy I like to cut sweet potatoes into wide circular slices, and roast them for 25-30 min at 450 degrees.
  • Here’s an easy-to-follow video of poaching the egg and shortcut hollandaise sauce:

  • What makes it easy? The crust bakes in. There’s pretty much one step. Mix everything together and pour into quiche or pie dish.
  • The only thing you’ll probably need to buy is the biscuit baking Mix, and whatever you want to put in your quiche.
  • I don’t do the broccoli and ham this recipe calls for, I use leeks and gruyere cheese, but follow the recipe just the same.

  • Step 1, fill a glass with champagne.
  • Step 2, take a droplet of orange juice with a dropper applicator and add the smallest amount possible into your glass.
  • Step 3, cheers. And take in allll the compliments of your impressive brunch spread.
Tile Tip – Recipe for Success:

1. Make sure your design includes expansion joints.
  • One of the most commonly overlooked components of a tile assembly is the absence or improper placement of expansion joints and movement joints. With any “hard finish” product, the entire system needs to be able to move and flex with the contraction and expansion of the substrate it is bonded to. Follow the TCNA guidelines and reference specific methods for expansion and movement. 
  • Oftentimes these are considered after the layout and design are finalized, so the architect/designer can be hesitant to add these in for fear of compromising the aesthetic. But trust me, a purposefully placed expansion joint will look much better than a crack.
  • You can read more about it on our “Tile Talk” archives from our Quality Assurance and Technical Team Lead here.

2. Make sure your tile subs are not spot-bonding.
  • What is it? Spot-bonding is placing globs or daubs of mortar on the back of the tile. Typically, at the corners and the center of the tile – five spotting.  Spot-bonding is not a recognized method of installing any tile (no matter the size). This method has become so prevalent, it’s considered one of the leading factors when large tiles crack, break, and de-bond.
  • Why is it happening? It’s a shortcut. As tiles have become bigger and bigger, large segments of the labor force have struggled to keep up with the technical installation skills that are required. To spot bond, they just place daubs of mortar on the backside of the tile and push into position until it’s flush with the adjacent tiles. This shortcut allows for the contractor to eliminate the substrate prep in most cases. In addition, this method makes minimizing tile lippage a breeze.
  • What’s the problem? Excessive voids under the tile reduces the overall strength of tile installed, significantly lowering the overall breaking strength. Any concentrated impact loads will compromise the structural integrity. It also doesn’t fully bond the mortar to the substrate. In wet areas there’s the added concern that these voids will also trap mold and mildew growth.
  • See more detail about this growing problem, and how to combat it, on our archived “Tile Talkhere.

Now you’re set up to look like a hero in the kitchen AND the jobsite! I’m only here to make your lives a little easier in any way that I can.

Cheers to a healthy and happy weekend 😊 from your Tile Girl, 
Creative Materials Corporation
120 E 23 rd St, New York, NY 10010
Mobile  551.202.9047 Office 929.372.7294