Technical Tiles with Phil Purgason

3 min read

Technical Tiles with Phil Purgason - Architessa


Phil Purgason is one of our brightest A&D Representatives in Richmond, VA. Phil is a creative sales professional with over 20 years of commercial interior architectural design experience. We asked Phil questions about his background and useful technical tile information that many of you may not know of.

1. What are your favorite tile products to present to commercial clients?

In a nutshell, Phil loves to present tiles that make his arm hairs stand up! He wants to get those tiles in front of people as soon as possible - especially when he sees a product that would be perfect for specific firms and designers he has in mind. Social media also plays a massive role in helping him do just that. Following all of his designer clients on Instagram and seeing the work they promote allows him to present applicable tiles appropriately.

Phil says, "Follow my Instagram to see the tiles I'm promoting - I'm in love with FEZMUD, and CODEX - these collections are super relevant to the jobs we're seeing today."

Featuring our MUD collection of porcelain tile.

2. What are your favorite types of commercial tile projects?

"Being a designer for 15+ years, I just love design, so I can't say there's a particular project genre that I lean towards. My strongest projects are university, multifamily, and then hospitality in that order."

Some of Phil's previous projects include the Virginia War Memorial by SMBW Architects, the Libbie Mill Apartment amenity space by Hickok Cole Architects, the James Madison University College of Business by Moseley Architects, and the Virginia Tech Foundation Development on Gilbert Street by Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas. Large commercial projects like these require the tile expertise of a trained representative like Phil.

3. Do these projects have technical thresholds or requirements specific to their commercial classifications?

"Yes - all commercial jobs have technical requirements and liability restraints that are specific to each project. For example, healthcare projects may require antimicrobial applications through tile and grout products. 

I met with a project leader from a large architectural firm. They wanted to save money, so I recommended that we take the interior tile further outside (it was rated for outdoor commercial use) and then transition to outdoor pavers. This saved them $2 a square foot!"

4. How can the tile industry make things easier for specifiers?

"We have a huge selection of impressive products from 1/2" to larger than 5x5' in size - trade training is difficult when introducing new and innovative products."

New tile products are constantly being introduced, and designers love to include them in projects, but getting owners and contractors on board with installing them is difficult and can stump design deliverables. This may be because there is a massive shortage of tile installers in this artisan industry and insufficient training on newer products. Adequate and frequent training focused on the proper installation of these tiles could bridge this gap.

5. What advice would you give someone pursuing a career in design? Can you share a story?

"One time, I interviewed as a designer in the healthcare sector, which I had no previous experience in. The interviewer asked me to share how I could excel in healthcare design. I responded:

'It's about knowing how to ask the right questions to provide the success for a well-built environment.'"

This answer ultimately got Phil hired, and he still sees the value in asking the right questions and paying attention to every single detail of any project.


I hope you were able to expand your tile knowledge and get to know one of our commercial sales reps. A special thanks to Phil for participating in this interview and being a wealth of information for us and his clients.

What are your thoughts on the technical side of tile? Comment below and stay tuned for our next blog that shines more light on and de-mystifies specific tile complexities.