In this edition, we sat down with Dustin Rone, a tile installer at Kavajecz Tile and Stone in Watertown, WI. Rone is Certified Tile Installer (CTI) #1661 with the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation.

TILE: How did you first get involved in the tile industry? Please explain a little bit more about yourself.

Rone: I got into the tile industry because of my stepfather. He was a tile setter, and so was his father, so it’s kind of a family tradition. At a young age, I was periodically on jobsites with my stepfather, and then when I came out of high school, I started working for my stepbrother as a helper. I worked for him for about six years. After that, I decided to push myself to expand my knowledge in the remodeling industry. I came on board as a tile installer with a remodeling company named MKE Design Build with Tom Gies and Michelle Swier. From there, I picked up knowledge from the carpentry and finished work of the aspects of the remodeling world. That knowledge definitely helped me with the tile installation through my career. It wasn’t until four years ago that I found tile groups on Facebook; from there, I discovered the vast education acknowledged of the tile industry. I focused on the educational part of the tile installation and industry standards, with the help and support of MKE Design Build. In 2020, I was able to take the certification to be a Certified Tile Installer. After working for MKE for almost six years, I decided to move on to a tile installation company with Tom Kavajecz and Mike Kavajecz at Kavajecz Tile and Stone.

TILE: Are you a company owner? If so, what were some reasons for starting your own business?

Rone: I don’t own a tile business, but hopefully one day I will. For now, I just want to be around people who can help educate and prepare me to run on my own business.

TILE: Is there a particular job you’ve completed that stands out?  Why?

Rone: There are many projects that stand out, but the one that stands out the most is the shower that I was working on during the time I was about to take the CTI test. For every aspect of that shower installation, the education and skills were needed, as well as adhering to industry standards. Attention to detail was a must. It gave me the confidence to take, complete and pass the CTI test. With the design from MKE Design Build, I was able to create a beautiful shower with a very large mosaic ombre inlay in the middle of the wall.

TILE: What are some common issues you have to deal with on the jobsite?  How do you overcome them?

Rone: Most issues I run into involve smaller details and how everything is come together. I try not to be 3 steps ahead, but rather, 40 steps ahead when it comes to a project. I like to picture a blank canvas and how it’s going to be finished. Attention to detail is more important than any part of the project because cause the smaller details define the type of installer you are. Attention to detail is the biggest pride that I take when completing a tile installation.

TILE: What are some steps you take to educate your customers about their tile installation before you begin?

Rone: I try to educate everyone, from the homeowner to the builder, on the process of how I’m going to proceed on the project. It is very important for them to understand how everything is going to come together and how everything is going to be completed to the highest standard. I also think communication is very important.

TILE: If you could lend any advice to professionals just beginning their careers, what would it be?

Rone: My piece advice for someone who is coming into the trade is to take your time to educate yourself as much as you can. Also, have patience, pay attention to detail and be humble.

If you or anyone you know is interested in being featured in a future edition of the “Contractor Spotlight,” please email Heather Carter at