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Experience

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- 4 Years Apprenticeship Program through the Union
- 20 Years of hands on experience
- The best (no kidding) European craftsmanship in mud work
        (read the article about mud work here).
- John Costescu is renown in Southern California as the best in custom work and tile craftsmanship.


Trade highlights:

  • Mosaic, marble and travertine custom setting.
  • Sophisticated installation of mosaic liners, arch designs, limestone and granite.
  • Exquisite installation of mural and medallion designs and shapes.
  • Floors, stairs, patios and balconies, fireplaces and barbeques.


A mud work job is tile slang for a mortar work. Prior to the ‘60s most work done in the tile world was over mortar bed in what was known as a “thickset” method. Prior to the invention of thinset, it took a structure of substantial substance and a tile person with a very high skill level to perform acceptable installations of ceramic tile. The methods had remained unchanged for thousands of years, dating back to the Pyramids and Roman Empire. It is almost impossible to find someone who possesses the knowledge and skill to execute these types of installations properly. It is especially helpful to produce flat surfaces for very large unit tile. Sometimes the mud is used over a plywood subfloor; sometimes it is used to cover concrete. Methods of installation are varied depending on what the desired in service conditions are. The best deck mud is the result of three things: the right combination or ratio of dry and wet ingredients, proper mixing and compaction. Mortar work takes some basic knowledge of sand and cement and a lot of time to practice. Those who do learn tend to have a lifelong preference to do mud work. Given the shortage of mud mechanics (yes, you would be a technically knowledgeable person in a manual trade; that makes you a mechanic), wages tend to be higher than those who do thinset methods exclusively.


Mortar beds remain recognized as a Rolls-Royce method of installation and those capable of doing them, captains of the tile installation world. Mud work eliminates installation of tiles directly on cement boards, and allows for best shape, truancy, squarenes, slopes, and it is meant to last.


Here are a few sayings in the tile setting world:

  • Mud work separates the men from the boys.
  • When they stop floating mud, they might as well quit call it "tile setting"!
  • Mud is the true art of the trade itself!