For one well-known tile installer, the dream of owning his own business has come true.
Corey Yearty has been doing tilework in Charlotte County for a dozen years, and two years ago he decided to go into business for himself.
He called his business Tropical Tile and Stone, and recently he opened the doors to his showroom on El Jobean Road in Port Charlotte.
“I’ve seen a lot of hacks. A lot of terrible stuff is going on in this industry,” he said, which is what prompted him to start his own business “with quality tile and staff who understand what to use, and where.”
There are places where certain products should and should not be used, he explained.
Luxury vinyl plank, tile and laminate flooring should not be used on some surfaces and in certain areas of the home, he said.
“I enjoy educating people,” Yearty said.
He also invests time in educating his staff. His company uses the Schluter system for shower installations, which is considered to be superior and longer lasting than older methods.
He arranges for his installers to continue learning about the Schluter system when classes are held in Florida.
Yearty mostly does residential remodels, and he said he’s seen quite a bit of shoddy work at homes where owners have hired him to redo other contractors’ work.
One couple, who had been misled by contractors, called Yearty for help and a consultation, he said.
Since they were still traumatized by the previous workers, they were reticent to hire him at first. “I spent four hours talking to them about a tub bath,” he said.
They hired Yearty, and he said although he spent half a day just talking with them, he felt good that he could help to get their job done correctly.
“It can be hard to be like that,” he said, as it costs money when a contractor spends a lot of time with customers and then taking the time to do the job right.
“It’s cheap and easy to run a business by cutting corners,” and that’s what some do, he said.
Yearty said although he wants to make money like any other businessperson, his reputation is even more important.
“I’m happy to make enough money to keep my store running.”
Showroom Manager Andy Overton vouched for his boss. “He always stands behind his work,” Overton said.
Although there are few occasions where Yearty is called back on a project, he doesn’t mind and will make sure the job is completed to the customer’s satisfaction, Overton said.
Although Yearty mostly does residential work, he also has commercial clients, the most recent being Millennium Physicians Group.
He said he’s doing all of Millennium’s tilework including offices in Naples, Fort Myers, Charlotte County and Venice.
He shies away from new building construction, saying very few builders “are building houses like they should be.” Yearty said several major companies are building them “as cheaply as possible” and are not using “high-quality materials.”
There are trends in his industry. Currently, tile resembling wood planks is still popular as it has been for about a decade. Also, many are turning to using large tiles for their countertops.
The worst countertop material is marble, and granite also has its drawbacks, he said.
Granite has to be periodically sealed, or it can pit. Also, acidic foods such as lemons and tomatoes will erode granite’s seal.
“If granite is damaged, it has to be replaced. With tile, you just have to replace that one tile,” Yearty said.
And the only place where marble should be used as a surface is in a guest bathroom where it seldom would be used, he said.
It is porous and will stain easily. It, too, can be damaged from acidic foods, Yearty said.
He recommends anyone having work done with tile purchase more than they need in the event that some might have to be replaced.
Colors and designs are periodically discontinued, so there would be no way to match them in the future.
Tropical Tile and Stone is at 1810 El Jobean Road, Suite 1, in Port Charlotte. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, or by appointment.