I began learning the tile-setting art in childhood. I was taught by my father who plied his trade for ten years in Italy before emigrating to Canada, working for a further 20 years in the industry. I have always been fascinated by what can be done in tile and stone, which are enduring yet unforgiving media.

Numerous hotels and restaurants have been enhanced with my work, but some of my finest craftsmanship can be found in heritage homes in communities such as Mount Royal - this upscale district in Calgary's southwest contains considerable antique tile work with designs that must be meticulously reproduced.

Other examples of my abilities can be found in such diverse settings as swimming pools, granite-fronted buildings and built-in barbecues. I've designed and created starbursts, medallions and similar works from concept to completion for estate and custom homes.

Elite clientele have specified just about anything imaginable to be crafted from tile and stone - with my expertise, it can be done.


What the tile-setting industry desperately needs is for those individuals who lack the skills or qualifications to be weeded out, because they degrade the quality of the trade. My employees must become more than just tradespeople - they must become respected artisans.

Eventually, I intend to create a granite slab division of ICON Tile Design and to acquire a water-jet cutting and profiling machine. This computer-controlled machine would be unique to the Calgary market, allowing us to cut and sculpt any sort of stone or intricate tile. It can also reproduce any sort of picture onto stone by scanning it into the machine.

Insights for the Client

There are many issues that can affect the final appearance of your tiles. Here are some pointers:
  • Ensure you keep a careful eye on the pattern and direction of the materials used. Also watch to see if everything is properly centered.
  • Be aware of the proper installation preparation and implementation. A poorly prepared surface or a substandard tiler can result in uneven tiling, tiles out of level and out of square, crooked tileset, and uneven grout spacing.
  • Find a tiler that isn't afraid to experiment with new methods.

One of the most important aspects of tile flooring is whether you have the proper substrate - that is, whether your floor is thick enough to take tile. Is it built properly? The floor should not have any flex that could cause cracking and therefore should be inspected for whether the joists must be reinforced.

Taking the care to find a quality tile-setter can make the difference between a work of art or a lot of work down the road.

Contact Frank Primiterra

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