Consider these important factors before you select and install tiles for floors and walls:
Understanding the room layout (the size and shape of your room) helps you to decide the tile layout. It may be perfectly square, rectangular or totally different shape. It matters while you select a tile. Room layout will help you to decide start point and pattern for your wall tile or floor tile.
When you know your furniture layout and size of the tile you may want to go for, you can better decide on the start point. The start point is where you will start with a full tile in both directions. With furniture layout in mind, you can decide where to hide residual tile (the last strip of tile along the wall/corners which is usually a smaller strip as compared to regular tile you are using).
Depending upon the room layout, you can go for the option of keeping border tile or accent tile accordingly.
Look and Feel
“Proportional” is the right word when it comes to understanding of overall look of the floor. A big room (20’ x 20’) with a 6-inch tile may look too small. At the same time a small room (6’x 6’) with a big tile (2’x 2’) may look bigger than actual.
Can you imagine a kitchen back splash with a 1’ x 2’ tile? How would it look? No need to say how you will feel! That’s the reason why designers use the words “Look and Feel”. A single piece of tile in your hand may look beautiful but when installed in the entire room, it may not give a pleasant feel!
Another important aspect is, how you feel while you walk barefoot on the floor. Let’s take an example of marble tile vs. wood planks. Marble is good for hot environments and wood is good for cold environments. Marble can absorb heat about 10 x as compared to wood. Marble absorbs heat from your foot and so you feel cool. Wood does not absorb the heat that fast and at the same time its capacity to retain heat is very good which gives a nice warm feeling while walking.
Color of the Tile
Brighter colors make the room look bigger. You can still have darker color floor tile and have brighter color wall tile or paint!
Darker color floors are good for heavy traffic areas like kitchen, foyer and bathroom.
Two things to keep in mind: (a) Brighter colors help to make the room look more spacious and darker colors do the opposite. (b) While selecting a floor tile color, consider a match to your wall paint / wall tile color and the furniture.
Not just the walls, color of the ceiling is also important. For bathrooms, small tiles (mosaic) can also be installed on ceiling to enhance the beauty!!
Combination of Tiles
Color combination and pattern coordination between walls and floors are important factor. Different bands / border with different size and color can enhance the look. At the same time, the alignment of joints in some pattern between wall tiles and floor tiles is also Important.
Material of the Tile
Ceramic and porcelain are very close and that’s why confusing. Both are made from clay. The Porcelain tiles are stronger, denser, impervious (less moisture absorbent) and thus can be used both indoors and outdoors.
They are heated on higher temperatures as compared to Ceramic tiles to achieve those qualities.
Very good for indoor uses. Cheaper in price compared to Porcelain. More absorbent compared to Porcelain Tiles. Easy to cut compared to Porcelain.
Travertine is a form of Limestone. Travertine is good for indoor or outdoor use (mostly used outdoor). It is a sedimentary form of lime stone and so less strong compared to igneous rocks (granite) and it has more porous surface. At the same time, this porosity gives it a unique texture too.
Marble is created when limestone is exposed to high temperatures and pressure. It is a metamorphic rock. Marble tiles are less strong than granite tiles and more reactive to acids which means more prone to stains. It comes in different finishes polished, honed, tumbled or brushed.
Granite is igneous rock which is made after cooling of magma(lava). The speckled look with smaller flecks makes granite slabs/ tiles unique. The darker the color the harder the granite is. Granite’s hardness on Mohs Hardness Scale is 6-7 as compared to Quartz at 7-8, Diamond at 9-10 and Marble at 3-4!
Slate is a fine-grained material and a metamorphic rock (Like Marble). Slate is very good in resistance against scratches, chips and cracks. If you are looking for a little darker natural stone look with no flecks like granite then slate tiles are best choice.
You have a choice of stone mosaic, pebble mosaic, stone and pebble, glass mosaic, glass and stone mosaic. Very good for back splash and shower areas.
If you want a smooth, transparent look with earth tones- Onyx tile is the best choice. It is good for indoor use in light traffic areas.
Quartz tile is an engineered material which is made from a mixture of quartz and resin. They are very strong solid surface and scratch resistance.
Cost of different tiles
The installation can vary between $ 4 to $ 8 per sq. ft.
Average material costs range per below:
Ceramic Tile- $ 1.5 to $ 4 / Sq Ft
Porcelain Tile- $ 3 to $ 6 / Sq Ft
Marble Tile- $ 10 to $ 22 / Sq Ft
Travertine Tile- $ 8 to $ 13 / Sq Ft
Granite Tile- $10 to $ 25 / Sq Ft
Quartz Tile- $ 18 to $ 25 / Sq Ft
Mosaic Tile- $ 8 to $ 16 / Sq Ft,
Edges- trims & transitions
Trims are used to cover any unfinished edges of the tile work or to avoid sharp corners. They can be either same tile material, stone, metal or vinyl.
The different tile trims are cove base, quarter round, bull-nose, counter rail, sink caps, jolly, out and in corner caps, pool nosing, chair rail, pencil rail etc. with a wide variety of sizes, shapes and corners.
All these trims have different function. For example, the cove base is used to avoid a joint at the transition of wall tile and floor tile for a better water tightness, the bull-nose is a rounded edge to cover sharp edges and corners.
Transitions are also like trims but are used on the floors. Most common transitions are Aluminum/metal, wood, rubber and vinyl. Based on shape and functionality they are T- Cap or T- molding, reducer strip, quarter round, corner round, stair nosing and wall base.
As the name itself suggests, transitions are used when there is transition between different flooring materials or transition between different floor levels. Some flooring (especially wood) need a gap for expansion and this transition strips are installed on top to cover those gaps! Due care has to be taken while installation otherwise transitions may become tripping hazard especially when we have to think about handicapped people!
Tile Joints and grouts
No matter how good tile you choose, the workmanship plays a very vital role in making it look good. Its not just about straight joints, the installer also have to think about the pattern and matching the joints on floor and walls. The size of the joint and color of the grout are also important factors.
There is no set standard on size of the joint but there are some useful guidelines. The joints are usually 1/16” (2mm), 1/8” (3mm), 3/16” (5mm) but they can go up to 3/8” (10mm). Use of spacers will help make the joints look perfectly aligned. The level of substrate (the surface on which tile is being installed) also affects the size (actually look). If the tiles go over a hump in the floor, the joint will open up and if installed over depression the joint will narrow!
Grout is a mortar like material which is used to fill in gaps / joints in the tile grid. These fillers help avoid ingress of dust and water in the joints and provides extra strength to flooring material adhesion.
The basic grout types based on the materials they are made of are, Cement Grout, Polymer- modified Grout and Epoxy Grout.
Cement grout or cementitious grout has two types- Sanded and Un-sanded. For the joints size up to 1/8” (3mm) Un-sanded grouts are used and for joints larger than 1/8” (3mm) Sanded grouts are used. If Un-sanded grouts are used in larger joints, it may shrink and crack. Sand mixed with cement helps fill in bigger joints and avoid shrinkage/ cracking.
Polymer -modified grouts are basically cement grout with addition of polymer which enhances many qualities. Polymers improves non-shrink properties, crack resistance, chemical resistance, abrasion resistance and stops decolor or avoids efflorescence which is sometimes seen in normal cement grouts.
Epoxy Grouts are better in resistance to chemicals and abrasion when compared to polymer- modified ones. Epoxy grouts can be used in very heavy traffic areas with extreme environments like manufacturing industries.
Substrate is the surface on which tile is applied- bare concrete or backer board. The following are some basic checks / treatments that shall be considered depending upon the type of floor you want to install:
-The surface should be rigid, free of cracks / humps / depressions.
-Check for floor Leveling / patches required per site conditions.
– Consider parging the wall or Install a backer board on top of block wall to avoid wavy tiles or when wall washing (Light on wall) is needed.
-Clean and absorbent surface or compatible with std. tile adhesives.
-Waterproofing in wet areas shall be considered.
– For proper drain slopes, consider preparing / patching the floor accordingly.
Now if you are ready to shop, please visit our directory listings (www.boodovaa.com) to find the best contractor or supplier to help you on your tile project.
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