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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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Growing up in the industry

Joe DiMeola

Joe DiMeola, owner, Envy Flooring LLC Flooring & Tile Artisans, Peoria, Ariz.

With a father who was a carpenter, Joe DiMeola couldn’t help growing up around the home remodeling industry. When he was 18, DiMeola’s family moved to Arizona, and he began working with and learning from his dad. Lessons passed down from his father were the extent of his knowledge until he joined NTCA two years ago.

 “I kept hearing about the NTCA and all the CTI [Certified Tile Installer] training…so, I started researching. I saw the free training and support,” DiMeola said. He learned about NTCA through various flooring Facebook groups.

NTCA has changed DiMeola and his business – Envy Flooring LLC Flooring & Tile Artisans in Peoria, Ariz. – for the better by providing him with resources to improve his tile and business knowledge. He said the support has helped a lot with bringing him up to industry-standard speed, and when he needs help in a pinch. 

Envy Flooring mostly focuses on residential construction. His custom tile work and artisanship sets him apart from his competition. He said NTCA has “affected my business, because now I am following industry standards through the training that I’ve gotten from the NTCA on things that I was never taught from other professionals in the field.” He also values the technical support from NTCA. “If you’re on a job and you come across a question you can call support and they respond automatically. I’ve used that a couple of times and it’s worked out,” he said.

In addition, NTCA taught DiMeola how to not only improve his installer skills but how to be a businessman. He said, starting a business and doing the work is never an issue, but learning how to run a business is something that NTCA helps with.

DiMeola worked solo from July through August on this shower, and it was the first time he used foam board to waterproof the project.

“From a business aspect, I was always an installer – just install, install, install,” he explained. He calls the business aspect his “Achilles heel – a completely different monster.” But since he became licensed [registered state contractor] in 2020, he “jumped on the business side of it, and [NTCA] is helping out quite a bit by allowing me to meet other professionals,” he said.

Another one of the largest struggles with being an Arizona contractor is the local competition in Phoenix: unqualified production installers. Phoenix has grown a lot over the past few years, so a lot of work has been “get in and get out” production jobs. DiMeola has seen a lot of these production workers doing production work with production-based quality making their way into the remodel end of the industry with production pricing and quality.

He said, “There aren’t very many tile artisans. I’m trying to separate myself from the crowd with the tile artisan side of it, where we’re providing top notch installs and using quality materials, and following the standards.” 

DiMeola has a good feeling about how 2024 is shaping up: “I’ve got a pretty good, positive outlook on it,” he said. “I’ve got some things I hope to accomplish such as certification and more work, more revenue.”

Five years later, this shower still looks great. The homeowner was very particular about the design, so installing the accent band with no profiles was the biggest challenge.

One of the joys he receives out of tile installation is going into someone’s home with custom ideas and coming out of it with the customer’s vision brought to life. 

“Doing some of this custom work and then seeing the customers’ reaction when they’re wowed and they just love what we gave them – that’s my ultimate happiness,” DiMeola said.

Some of the best advice DiMeola can provide to those in the tile industry is to look into and join NTCA. “Join and get the training so we can better our industry,” he said. “Our industry has been beat up for years.” He said if most tile installers and contractors would join NTCA, “it could change to where we would be a respected trade.”  

Amanda Mourelatos
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Amanda Mourelatos, daughter of John Mourelatos, Owner of Mourelatos Tile Pro, is a 19-year-old student in her second year at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., where she is majoring in journalism with a communications minor. 

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