Best Tile Choices for Your Home and Commercial Property
Your style lives under your roof. It should also live underfoot.
Your style, that sense of what’s “right” color-wise and design-wise, is reflected wall to wall throughout your home.
It’s there in your choice of furniture, in the lighting, your selection of artwork, and more.
Your style expresses itself from room to room, indoors and out.
It goes without saying that you should apply the same when choosing ceramic tile.
The ceramic tile that you select will greatly impact your home’s interior beauty, comfort, livability, design, décor, and upkeep.
In fact, floor coverings can make, or break, a home.
We can help you discover your style in ceramic tile, because the number of tile choices, textures, patterns, colors, and price points can intimidate even the most experienced shopper.
The Basic 3: Elegant, Enduring, and Expressive
There are three types of ceramic tile: unglazed, glazed, and porcelain. Understand them, and you’re miles ahead.
Unglazed ceramic tiles are extremely hard and dense. They come in different surface treatments and textures. Typically, these are installed outside your home.
Unglazed ceramic tiles do have good slip resistance; however, it is important to note that they do require sealing to prevent staining.
Glazed ceramic tiles are coated with glass-derived minerals and ceramic stains. Typically, they have a matte, semi-gloss, or high-gloss finish.
They offer better stain and moisture resistance than unglazed tiles.
Glazed tiles can also have various finishes, and you should be aware of them for future considerations. High gloss finishes can be more slippery, and scratches on them become more visible, while matte or textured finishes help with traction and scratches, and dirt is less noticeable.
Porcelain tiles usually fall in the ceramic tile category and are the hardest and the densest tiles available.
Because the color in porcelain tile goes all the way through, they resist scratching, are non-porous, and can withstand temperature extremes.
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A Tilesize for Every Need
Ceramic tile is manufactured in an array of sizes ranging from one inch to twenty-four inches square.
Ceramic tile is typically boxed and priced by the square foot, not withstanding the size of the individual tile itself.
You should also know that the tile size is relative. Tile size is usually measured by its nominal size, not its actual size.
During the firing process, ceramic tile will shrink, on average, by about 10% in size. For example, a 12” by 12” floor tile may actually measure 11-1/2 inches square.
Currently, the most popular ceramic floor tile are the larger sized tiles such as 13” by 13”, 16” by 16” and 18” by 18” sizes.
Room Size, Not Tile Size, is Step 1
When considering what size tile would be best for your given space, start by determining the size of the room.
Often times, people think that small rooms call for smaller tile. That is not necessarily the case. In fact, incorporating a larger size tile in a smaller room visually increases the size of the space. And fewer grout lines will help create a cleaner surface appearance. The choice is yours.
Conversely, using a tile size that’s too small leads to more grout joints that may make the floor look too busy, again depending on the size of the space.
The bottom line here is that, as with all design rudiments, scale plays an important role in creating a room’s overall balance. So, please consider it carefully to achieve your desired look.
Tile is a Cost-Effective Alternative to Stone
The look of natural stone is vastly popular, but some consumers prefer ceramic tile over stone due to cost and maintenance considerations.
In answer to consumers’ demands, ceramic and porcelain manufacturers have developed tiles that offer textures, colors, and patterns mimicking natural stone products.
Of the most sought-after looks in ceramic and porcelain tile, slate, travertine, and marble are just a few.
To further enhance the natural look, tile can also be made to feature heavy textures, chiseled and hammered edges, and even resemble tumbled stone.
Ceramic tile texture is related to its style. So feel free to feel! The feel of a tumbled stone or slate looking ceramic tile will be irregular and somewhat rough.
A tile simulating marble or granite, on the other hand, will have a very smooth, polished feel.
In addition to the feel, textures also vary in degree of shine, ranging from dull to semi-gloss to glass-like.
Ceramic Tile Works Outside Too
Ceramic tile is a versatile product, with many styles designed for today’s popular outdoor living areas.
Outdoor tile typically features non-skid finishes designed for safety when wet, sometimes installed on patios, walkways, or around pools.
Another important characteristic of ceramic tile designed for outdoor applications is its resistance to frost.
It’s a cold, hard fact, shopper. Ceramic tile manufactured for outdoor use has very low water absorption, minimizing the cracking, chipping, and other effects of expansion when the temperature falls below freezing.
Beyond Basic Styles, Tile is the King of Customization
In addition to ceramic tile styles, manufacturers also offer decorative inserts, medallions, and mosaics that are used to create intricate patterns and beautiful borders.
Tile size 2”x2” and smaller are usually referred to as mosaics and are often used with different colors to create a pattern or decorative inset.
Some of these smaller tiles also come in different shapes, such as hexagon, so feel free to let your imagination run free.
Patterned borders made up of different size tiles, or different colors can create beautiful looks.
Simple variations in color, shape, or size can be patterned within a room, or across several adjoining rooms.
When creating a pattern with different tiles, you should know that the more prominent tile that is throughout the largest area is called the “field tile.”
With a little imagination, even the simplest design appears customized.
Combining styles and patterns of ceramic tile flooring with countertop and wall products can also create beautiful designs, and give your room an aesthetic balance.
Floor and wall tiles may be designed to look similar, but floor tiles are generally thicker and are textured to make them safer to walk on.
Wall tile styles are typically designed to have a higher gloss and are manufactured in smaller sizes.
Grout Impacts the Overall Look
Grout is a type of cement that is used to fill the space and offer support in tile joints.
There are two types of grout popularly used in home installations; Portland cement based, and epoxy based.
Both of these grout compounds may have sand added to provide extra strength to the tile joint.
Sanded grout is endorsed for tile joints 1/8th of an inch and larger.
Unsanded grout is an option used in joints that are smaller than 1/8th of an inch.
Grout can be pigmented to give a nearly infinite range of shades, colors, and hues. The pigment is added to the cement at the job site when the grout is mixed.
Grout color and thickness will change the outlook of the floor and room dramatically.
Using a white or a light-colored grout highlights the color in tile. Choosing a dark grout with a light tile, or light grout with a dark tile will emphasize the geometric pattern of your overall layout. So be wise and plan accordingly.
- Durable – a properly installed ceramic tile will outperform and outlast nearly any other floor covering product created for the same application.
- Easy care – and that’s for you, right? Glazed ceramic tile resists stains, odors, and dirt and can be cleaned up with a damp mop or sponge or common household cleaners. But don’t forget the grout. Keeping your grout dirt free requires regular cleaning and periodic professional cleaning. Ceramic tiles are essentially a low-maintenance material. However, even glazed tiles are somewhat porous, and require care and attention, especially in heavy traffic areas. In our Ceramic Tile Maintenance segment we’ll share ideas on how to keep tiled surfaces looking their best, and performing well for you year after year.
- Scratch resistant – Grade III and Grade IV glazed ceramic tiles are extremely resistant to scratching and you never have to worry about a cut or tear like you do with some other types of floors.
- Environmentally friendly – ceramic tile is manufactured using natural materials and does not retain odors, allergens, or bacteria.
- Beautiful and versatile – modern ceramic manufacturing technology has created virtually an unlimited number of colors, sizes, styles, shapes and textures that will add rich beauty and character to any room’s decor.
- Fire resistant – ceramic tile doesn’t burn nor emit toxic fumes. Even hot kitchen pans or skillets will not scorch or melt the surface of glazed ceramic tile. That can be a comfort when you’re actively preparing food.
- Water resistant – most glazed ceramic tile has a dense body that permits little or no accumulation of moisture. This means spills from common liquids found in a kitchen are not a big concern.
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