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Thursday, July 18, 2024

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HomeContentMember SpotlightMeet home remodeler and coffin racer, Lee Aviv

Meet home remodeler and coffin racer, Lee Aviv

Lee Aviv of Aviv Tile and Remodeling

Lee Aviv of Aviv Tile and Remodeling (https://avivtile.com) is based out of Colorado Springs, and is focused on remodeling interiors of existing homes. His strength is his focus on details and craftsmanship for his customers.

“Instead of trying to be the fastest installer, I work with my customers on every detail of each project from drafting floor plans to physically crafting the installations,” Aviv said. 

Aviv comes from a background in design and joined the world of home remodeling and construction during the Great Recession in 2008. From there, he became driven to work with homeowners to find what his customers desire for their homes. 

Dedication to the standards

A member of the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) since January 2022, Aviv joined because he “values the access to standards, continuing education, technical advice, and news the association provides.” 

Since joining NTCA, Aviv Tile and Remodeling has been able to represent itself as a tile business that cares about tile installation standards. Aviv’s goal in advertising himself as an NTCA member is “to communicate to my customers that I am less of an ‘I think I’m gonna do it this way’ contractor and more of a ‘this is the industry standard’ contractor,” he said.

Aviv finds being an NTCA member pops up in conversations with his customers, and referencing his membership in a national association eases his customers’ anxieties or worries when it comes to proper installation for their projects. Whether it’s a subject he was recently educated on or something that he can continue to learn about, NTCA has improved his knowledge as a tile contractor. 

An example of this was when he was speaking to a customer earlier this year about a level area in part of a shower. Aviv responded with, “I know that installers are doing it, but let me confirm whether or not it meets the national standards and codes before we consider it.” When he got back to the customer with the advice provided from an NTCA technical expert, it helped establish further credibility with the customer going forward. 

Although he has not gotten his Certified Tile Installer credential yet, he sees great value in doing so in his future. He said, “Given that I work exclusively with homeowners, I ultimately found that a [CTI certification] would be of greater benefit to my customers.” 

Similar to other tile businesses during the pandemic, the requests for new projects increased as the availability for needed materials decreased. Enforcing realistic project schedules and practicing patience became crucial skills during these times. He also learned the importance of knowing a variety of installation systems and quickly learned different ones.

Keeping up with installing the hottest, latest trends is something Aviv struggles with. He is thankful for resources such as TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation and ANSI manual for helping him learn unfamiliar methods. 

“NTCA (TileLetter and the NTCA Reference Manual) has been so helpful by offering clarification on installation specifics for some of these trends, and the staff has been great so far at answering specific questions,” he said. “The methods that I was originally taught no longer always suffice.”

The most satisfactory part of being a tile installer is the hand-installed aspect and the permanency of his projects. His customers typically seem more particular and excited about their tile than any other part of the home remodeling process. They often associate tile with beauty and longevity. 

“Since I sell more of a remodeling process than a physical product, I feel like the tile often embodies that process as a kind of relic after I leave the project (at least I feel like it can!),” he said.

Coffin follies

Aviv and his team raced this tiled-surround bathtub folly – titled “Blood Bath” – in 2019.

Home remodeling aside, Aviv has participated in the annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Festival (https://manitousprings.org/emma-crawford-coffin-races/)in Manitou Springs, Colo., since 2019. This event is held to commemorate the tale of Emma Crawford racing a coffin down Red Mountain. For the first race in 2019, Aviv and his wife built a bathtub with tile-surround walls called the “Blood Bath.” The next two years were canceled due to the pandemic, but in 2022 he built a walk-in shower folly and received the award of “Best Coffin.” 

This shower folly was created and raced by Aviv and his team in 2022 and received the award of “Best Coffin.”

The ATR team displayed the slogan “Unlike Emma’s coffin, our work stays put,” in both races. They worked hard to “push a block of mortar and tile while ‘Emma’ (the driver) took a shower in the bloody water,” Aviv said. 

The local paper even used a picture of their shower folly as an example that not all participants are racing to be the fastest contestants.   

Aviv Tile and Remodeling Project Work

Amanda Mourelatos

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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