Carrara Venato 4×12″ Subway Tile for Flooring

Venato 4x12" HonedCarrara Venato 4×12″ laid out in our warehouse in a Herringbone Flooring Pattern • Simple design but very elegant • Price $8.00 a square foot

Carrara Venato 4x12" Marble TileOur warehouse effort at laying the tile in a Herringbone format.  But also looks great as a running bring format too.

Carrara Venato 4x12" Polished TileCarrara Venato 4×12″ Subway Tile Polished $8.00SF installed in Brick format with 1″ Hexagon Mosaic Polished cut into a border $10.95SF

Carrara Venato 4x12 Subway TileVenato Polished Bathroom

Our Warehouse

Our Warehouse – Spring 2014

Our Warehouse DocksOur warehouse is not very exciting.  Just loading docks.

Truck turnaround areaLooking out from the loading dock the back is just trees.  The large concrete area is for the large trucks (or crazy drivers) to be able to turnaround and backup to the loading docks.

Driveway to the officeWhat is pretty is the landscaping around the office

Drive up hill to warehouseA lot of it is just natural features that have been left there from what was a huge horse farm in Alpharetta

Exit out of OfficeWhen you pull out of the office/warehouse you see trees and fences that have been left behind from the horse farm days

Drive to and from officeThis road is one of my favorites.  You cannot get the full idea from this picture.  I am leaning out of my car at the stop sign (so safe).  This road is a half a mile of beautiful trees either side of the road.  In the summer it forms a shaded canopy.  When riding bikes it is such a relief in the summer to get this shade.

5910 Shiloh Road East, Alpharetta, GA.  The Builder Depot is located in what was Shiloh Farms.  A horse farm.  The area we work in is beautiful really is pretty with all the different colored trees in spring.  We chose this location for a few reasons.  #1. It is safe. #2. Our employees do not have to fight traffic to get downtown (while the traditional warehouse location is South Atlanta, Fulton Industrial we chose North, GA) which has a number of health benefits. #3. You can open the back dock door and hear the birds chirping, in South Atlanta it was always police sirens.  There are other reasons but these are close to the top. In short we wanted to work in a place that you would feel safe.  Where customers picking up product would feel safe. Work surroundings are an important part of employee moral, it transfers into every area of business. Working in the countryside/suburbs of Georgia does not automatically make a perfect business but for the people that work at The Builder Depot it is a step in the right direction. In summer when the canopy of trees is complete I will take some more pictures.  Our customers are from all over the world so I  wanted to create this blog to give everyone an idea of where we work and where the product ships from.  Any questions as always please let us know

Same road 3 weeks later the tree canopy is complete

Driving to WorkYou can now see (April 25th – 3 wks after the pictures above how much the tree canopy has grown.  It is great in Summer a real break from the heat streaming into the car.  Just wait a little in the shade and your car can cool down ten degrees in seconds.  The trees are just spectacular.  This is just my trusty iPhone taking this image but the quality is excellent.

Birds eye view of location and directions

Birds Eye ViewThank you Google for your great imagery

Nero Marquina versus China Black with 400 Years of History

Nero Marquina is on the left and China Black is on the right.  China black is covered in white veining.  Nero Marquina has only one or two white veins per tile, in the picture below we are showing 4 Sq.Ft.

Nero Maquina from The Builder DepotNero Marquina has thin long vein, generally 1-2mm in width.  China black is a mess (definitely not a technical term but probably describes the veining on China black best) of veining.

Nero Marquina Hexagon 1×1″ Polished Hexagon Mosaic is $11.45 a sheet.  You can see how dark and rich the color is.  By contrast China Black 1×1″ Hexagon is below.  This is a polished version as well the product has a dull appearance.

China Black HexagonChina Black 1×1″ Hexagon (above).  Lots of white veining. Almost Gray in appearance. The veining is so strong it will likely be glued together on the back as the veining is so thick they will be cracks. Now by contrast see the real Spanish Nero Marquina below in this 1×3″ Herringbone Honed on top of a pallet just arrived in 2016 (we do go back to old posts and update them with new images to keep things fresh).

Black Marble HerringboneYou can see how pretty the original Spanish Nero Marquina looks with minimal veining compared to all the fractures in the China Black.

I believe the Spanish Tile is more subtle. Yes we want veining!  But not like some child grabbed a white Sharpie and went to town on a black tile. It needs to have a touch of class, which just cannot be found in the Chinese copy.

12x12Nero Marquina 12×12″ Marble Tile.  This is premium select Nero Marquina 12×12″ Polished.  Available online for $7.95SF.  The veining amounts are limited and the tiles are selected to keep what veining there is to a thickness around 1-2mm.

Black and White Marble Harlequin Our products being installed.

Nero Marquina 12x12Stunning is an understatement over 2,000 square feet of Harlequin mosaic created.  A historical look dating back over 400 years.  This is our Nero Marquina ‘Select’ 12×12″ Polished paired with Carrara Venato 12×12″ Polished.  Nero Marquina 12×12″ polished is $7.95SF and the Carrara Venato 12×12″ Polished used here is $7.00SF

This year 2014 we have expanded our Nero Marquina collection significantly, perhaps too much.  Now we have the largest collection of premium ‘select’ Nero Marquina anywhere in the USA.  With more products coming like Basketweave, Herringbone and 2×2″ Hexagon.  It is called “Select” because we select the blocks.  This is not just your average Nero Marquina.  Like all our products we are specific about our needs and we have chosen a stone that has some white veining but is minimal and the black color is very rich deep black.

This is no accident the idea is to be a perfect complement to our Carrara collections.  The room scene attached involved an area of over 1,500 square feet.  The product is Carrara Venato 12×12″ polished $7.00SF and the Nero Marquina 12×12″ Polished Marble tile installed on an angle.  It is the perfect Harlequin REAL marble floor created with products that cost less than $8.00 a square foot.

Harlequin is a 400 year old classic.  It dates back over 400 years ago to Italy’s theatrical stages.  The ‘Harlequin‘ was a servant who wore brightly colored diamond patterned tights and a mask.  This diamond design was a hit.  This new and sophisticated design was copied from clothing to flooring.  Since then it has been created over  and over again.  It creates such a regal and timeless look.

This look has been a very closely guarded secret.  The cost has been prohibitive.  The whiteness of stone needed and the blackness of marble needed has been exceptionally difficult to get.  This lack of supply has created economics that lead to an incredible cost premium.  It has taken us almost half a decade to finally find what we need to bring this collection to market and make it affordable for all.

Now we have access to the most premium of all Nero Marquina and buying in huge volumes we have managed to create a price point that is now affordable.  That makes this product now an “affordable luxury” (see the way I put our tag line into that sentence) which is what we are all about 🙂

Please let me know what you think to my Sunday post.  It took about an mins to put together (not including the pictures) on a very rainy morning.  I am not a journalist and without spell check I would be lost.  I researched The Harlequin and pulled most of the knowledge from Wikipedia, so if anyone has more interment knowledge please let me know.  Any comments or grammatical improvements I would love to hear them, again I am no expert.  Just trying to provide some insight into the world of Black marble.  That was my disclaimer 🙂 Please let me know (Apologies to my English teacher).

Nero Herringbone Honed.jpgNero Marquina 1×3″ Herringbone Honed $11.95 a Square Foot (prices valid thru 2016).

Calacatta Gold Herringbone Marble Mosaic Tile

Calacatta Herringbone 1x2" Mosaic TileCalacatta Gold 1×2″ Herringbone Marble Mosaic Tile

Calacatta Herringbone Marble Mosaic TilePremium Mosaic Tile available online from for $15.95SF part of our Calacatta Gold Collection

Calacatta 2″ Hexagon Marble Mosaic Back in Stock

Calacatta Hexagon 2" Mosaic TileCalacatta Gold 2″ Hexagon Honed Marble Mosaic Tile for now just $15.95SF

Calacatta Hexagon from The Builder DepotWith the right blocks selected Calacatta Hexagon Marble Mosaic Tile is exceptional with is white base and incredible veining

Our Calacatta 2″ Hexagon honed marble mosaic tile arrived on the 11th of March 2014.  As it arrived I opened the crate opened a box and took a picture with my iPhone.  Nothing too artistic.  Packed in individual shrink wrapped packages, this Calacatta is superb.  Given the quality of the stone it is clearly understandable why we shrink wrap each mosaic, taking the extra step to ensure this product arrives to our customers in the best possible condition is vital.  Otherwise is would be an absolute waste 😦 (a waste of perfect stone like this would be awful).

It has taken months and months to finally get the quality we have been looking for.  We did not have enough premium Calacatta Gold to make any of this polished, just enough for 1,720SF.  Unfortunately or fortunately now there is only 340SF left.  There is a very good chance this will be all gone by March the 16th (all sold in less than a week)

If you are reading this post on March the 31st, then it has almost certainly all shipped by now.  We do however have another shipment arriving very soon.  It is the same grade as we do not accept anything less.  You can even see the 3×6″ on the left hand side of the pallet, it is the same block and equally exceptional.  We will have a container of Calacatta honed arriving every month.  This is the plan.  I do not think we can get anymore at this quality level.

Calacatta Basketweave Marble Mosaic Tile

Calacatta Gold Basketweave Mosaic TileNew shipment and new product arrived March 11th 2014 • Calacatta Honed Basketweave Mosaic from The Builder Depot • This product is sold online for $15.95 a square foot • Only available in polished.

Forest Natural – TCNA Test Data

Forest Data Test1

Forest Data Test2

Forest Data Test3


Carrara Venato Square Edge Trim Honed

Square Edge Carrara Venato TrimSquare Edge honed trim perfect for a shower step

Honed Square Edge Carrara Venato TrimPerhaps even the corner of a wall

Square Edge Carrara Venato Trim


Square Edge Trim SpecsSpecification of the Square Edge

This month a new trim arrived.  It is a trial product for us and we will see how it goes.  We see this as a finishing piece to a bathroom.  The main part of our business is complete bathrooms.  Our average order size is 230 to 350SF square feet.  Made up of tiles and mosaics.  This trim is aimed at these customers, the complete bathroom customer.  The type of customer where we have to ship the order on a pallet.  The amount of product ordered creates a lot of weight which increases the stability of the shipment (not going to move on the truck).

The major issue we see with this product is with shipping it.  This product cannot ship on it’s own UPS ground.  It will be broken.  It can only ship on a crate with a tile order of 100SF+.  Also it is ordered in sets of two.

Here are answers to some questions (when we refer to ‘we’ this is you the customer):

Why do we need 100SF plus?  We need the weight of the tile to hold the pallet in place on the truck.

Why do we need to order two pieces at a time?  They interlock into each other creating a square end.  They are weak on their own, strong together.  They will ship perfectly in sets of two.  They made it all the way over the rocky Ocean this way.  They can make it via truck on a pallet or in a wooden crate.

What if I order two and I realize I need two more?  Too bad, really – we cannot ship it to you.  It will break.  This is a one shot deal when you order your shipment.

I ordered 200SF for a bathroom, but did not order this.  Can it ship UPS ground?  No it cannot, how could we get it to you?  UPS will throw it, they will break it.  Then you will need us to ship you more.  This will happen over and over again.  It is no possible.  Has to ship on a pallet.  And that pallet needs weight to stop it shifting.

I really, really need this what can be done?  There are a couple of options a) You collect it from our warehouse in Alpharetta. b) The product is 36″ long.  You ship to us a cardboard box or a form of packaging you want this shipped in, including any packaging materials.  You detail how you want it packed.  You send UPS label.  Then order.  Then we are out of the loop, so when UPS throws your package and breaks the marble – you can file a claim with UPS for the product yourself.  By the way filing a claim with UPS is pretty much impossible, they make it this way so they do not have to pay for any claims.  Once you are put in the position we are in of how you ship a piece of this, I think you would conclude the same as us, it is not possible, unless on a pallet/in a crate.

Free Samples or Not to be Free Samples? That is the Question.

Samples, samples, samples…  Free or not to be Free? That is indeed a great question!  There is no such thing as Free (lets just get that taken care of right away).  If a company is offering free samples then the people who actually purchase, the regular customers are paying for the free samples.  As the company simply has to add the cost of the samples back into the product sell price.

Everything is built into the product cost.  If a small company buys a private jet then they will need to charge $200.00SF for the tile.  Yes, that will not work.  Huge companies with lots of product can spread these costs over many SKU’s (individual products) so it is not noticeable, it becomes a smaller percentage.  Hence their jets.

But nothing is Free.

We do not offer free samples for one reason.  We value the customers that actually order and continue to order on a regular basis too much to make them pay for the free samples of customer that may or may not buy or who are ‘just looking’.  And if you are a customer that buys, believe me you do not want the cost of the “Free Samples” on your tab.  How is that fair. 

This is just an extreme example to try and make the point clear.  A Home owner for example, who is doing a bathroom with our Venato 3×6” for $7.00 a Square Foot, let’s say we offered free samples, and 1,000 people ordered the samples and never purchased.

Now the 3×6” has to be $8.00 a Square Foot to cover that cost.  Is that fair to the “only” buying customer?  The customer ordering 200SF of 3×6” now had to pay another $200.00.  That is not reasonable.  Not to me. Not to them. They had to buy all those other people’s free samples.  You do not eat dinner at a restaurant with a significant other and say to the waitress, that couple over there, I do not know them – but stick their meal on my tab.

That is how unreasonable it is to our actual customers.

So we meet halfway.  The customer pays for the sample and we ship it for free, it is a compromise on a very “economic issue”.

What we want is the highest quality, best possible service for the lowest possible price for our customers – we love them! No frills no fancy cars and certainly no private jets.  We live in North, GA, we work hard and very long hours (you would know if you email and get a response at 9pm) and provide a product we are proud of. 

At the end of the day we go home to our families knowing we have done all we can to provide the customer with the best possible deal.  We have considered every cost, negotiated everything we can to provide value.  This in turn grows our business and allows us to bring more people into the team and culture of hard-work.  It is not an easy job, every person has packed on the dock in 90F+ in the summer and frozen in the Winter for at least 1 year.  Everyone starts there, executive or royalty. I lost 30lbs doing it. You can cancel the gym membership if you work here you no longer need it 🙂

Please let us know what you think?  To candid and upfront? So difficult to know if you have offended anyone these days. Let us know