Durable, water resistant and available in a wide array of designs: tile has remained one of the most popular flooring choices on the market. Upgrading your tile flooring is a high-impact way to refresh the look of your kitchen or bathroom. Best of all, tile installation is relatively easy, and can be done quickly if the right steps are taken.
Tile comes in a wide variety of materials, but the two most popular options are ceramic and porcelain. While they are marketed as being very different materials, porcelain and ceramic are actually manufactured in a similar way. Both are made from a clay-based material that is fired in a kiln, but porcelain tile is more refined, leading to a denser, harder material. This density gives porcelain tile an edge over ceramic when it comes to water absorption rates. It also makes the tiles a bit more expensive than their ceramic counterparts. Porcelain tile absorbs less water, which means it is less likely to expand, contract and crack during periods of freezing and thawing if you are using the tile outside. If you live in a colder climate, you may want to select porcelain over ceramic, simply because it is more durable.
Although porcelain and ceramic are two of the most popular options, they are far from the only tile materials on the market. Stone, quarry, glass and metal tiles are materials that you may want to research and consider depending on the size and scope of your project. Each type of material brings a slightly different look and maintenance procedure, so research carefully.
Material isn’t the only property of tile that you’ll want to be aware of. The following characteristics are also important to keep in mind when planning a new tile design:
● Size: Tile come in a huge variety of sizes, so don’t feel confined to the old 4-by-4-inch or 6-by-6-inch standard tile sizes. Select larger tiles if you you’d like to make a space look bigger. Or if you’d like to generate a more intricate design, small mosaic tiles may be perfect for your kitchen or bathroom.
● Shape: Square has always been the standard shape for tile. These days, many designers are switching it up and creating tiles that are rectangular, circular or other innovative shapes.
● Texture and Color: The combination of these elements plays a big role in the overall look of the tile. Keep them top of mind when making your decision.
● Direction: Changing the orientation of your tile can radically change the entire look of the design. Try vertical or diagonal patterns for a modern style.
Selecting tile can seem overwhelming at first, given all of the design considerations and styles that are available on the market. If you need resources, feel free to visit The Affordable Companies website for ideas and information to help you plan your remodeling project.
David Decker is president of The Affordable Companies, which provide affordable luxury in kitchens, bathrooms and flooring. They are based in Carmel (317-575-9540, www.the-affordablecompanies.com). Email home improvement questions to [email protected]