Contractor Profile - Waldron Tile & Stone

By Mike Keane

For publication by Tile Letter

From the time he was a teenager, Alex Waldron had always loved working with his hands. In high school, he could be found spending most of his time in the school’s art room working in ceramics. He followed this passion through to college, where he majored in Ceramic Arts. When he wasn’t busy with his art, he was taking on odd construction jobs, and that’s when he fell into the world of tiling. Starting at age 22, he apprenticed for a few years under an installer with over 30 years in the craft.

“Starting out my apprenticeship, we were working with very heavy products: mud, cement board – all the traditional materials,” says Alex.

Now 32 and working alongside his brother, Adam, they created their namesake Waldron Tile and Stone in Minneapolis, MN. From humble beginnings in 2017, the company has seen a lot of growth that started in 2019. As the increased demand and booked projects came rolling in, Alex went in search for modern solutions in an industry that relied heavily on skills and material preferences passed down through generations of tile installers.

“Over the past few years, I’ve watched the tile industry change rapidly, with companies like Schluter leading the way with innovative new products,” Alex says. “I attended two workshops in 2017 and have been using Schluter products ever since. My local rep is great and is always there to answer my questions.”

These innovative products are what helped Alex and Adam build this elegant bathroom with a curbless shower, custom mosaic tiles, and a massive soaker tub – something Alex says he could not have done without Schluter. This project possessed a few unique challenges, from layout to accessibility. “The project was for an elderly couple,” says Alex, “and they wanted to be sure it would be accessible for future wheelchair use.” That meant keeping the floors in the hallway and the bathroom even – and a solution immediately jumped into Alex’s mind.

“By placing the 48” Kerdi-Line drain right at the shower entrance, we were able to ensure that the floors in the bathroom did not need to be raised, therefore maintaining a flush transition from the hallway,” Alex says. “It was a no-brainer.”

The shower was completely framed in around the drain, using Kerdi membrane to waterproof the shower floors and walls. The drain itself was fitted with Schluter trims to create a frame for the mosaic tile on the tileable grate. To maintain a cohesive look, the same trim was used along the stairs to the tub, in the niche, and around the windows.

Creating a gradient on the fly was no small feat. The custom tile came on 1’x1’ mesh sheets, but each individual tile was removed from the mesh, placed, numbered, and cut to create a luxe, eye-catching accent wall. While putting together the gradient wall took time and energy, Alex says using Schluter products helped to speed up the process. "At Waldron Stone and Tile, we have a commitment to value, and that’s where Schluter factors in. We’re not only focused on quality, but also on time, deadlines, and budgets. Using products like Kerdi and Kerdi-Board help us save time as they’re more lightweight than traditional methods, as well as leaving a cleaner, dust-free clean up in the client’s home.”

Looking to the future, Alex predicts more and more people will opt for curbless showers, both for esthetic and accessibility reasons, and according to him, there’s only one solution. “The Schluter system is what makes projects like this possible. With various waterproofing options, different finishes on trims, drain grates, and shelves, and niches of all sizes, the possibilities are endless.”