Tile is a perfect choice for flooring. While ever popular wood floors are making their way into more and more spaces, including kitchens, the strength, durability and beauty of tile ensure that it will always have a place in the home. If you’re installing tile in your home, your choices in materials, colours, texture, size and shape are many. Follow these tips to find floor tiles that suit your tastes and lifestyle.
1) Durability is key. Not every tile is suitable for use on the floor. Glass mosaics, for example, are very appealing for walls and backsplashes, but will not hold up on the floor in a high traffic area. Porcelain and ceramic, on the other hand, are well suited for floor applications, but it is important to know just how durable the tile you select is. The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rates the durability of all glazed porcelain and ceramic tile on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most durable. For lightly trafficked areas in the home, such as a bathroom, a PEI rating of 2 or higher is acceptable. A rating of 3 or higher will work for moderately trafficked areas like hallways and living rooms, and a rating of 4 or higher is recommended for high traffic areas like kitchens and entryways.
Natural stone is your most durable option. Even if you do manage to chip or break it, it is typically a consistent colour throughout, so the blemish will barley be noticeable. Make sure you understand the maintenance recommendations of the stone you select, however. Some types of stone are naturally porous and, therefore, need to be sealed to prevent them from becoming stained or even from breaking down over time.
2) Texture matters. Polished stone, marble and porcelain offer a high-sheen look that many homeowners findappealing. The downside, however, is that they can be very slippery, particularly when wet. If the look of these smooth, shiny tiles is something you simply can’t live without, go for it, but be aware of the slipping danger. If you’re installing them in a kitchen or bath that is frequently exposed to water, be especially careful. For a safer option, choose a tile that is textures or has a matte finish. Unlike many products for your home, tile is not necessarily something you want to buy online. It’s better to not only see, but to touch and feel the product before making a purchase.
3) Size has visual impact. The size of the tile you select becomes a feature of the design that can make your floor stand out or blend into the background. Tile size also plays trick on the eye, making rooms seem larger and more open, or smaller and cozier. Generally speaking, large tiles make a room appear larger, and by minimizing grout lines, they also make the room flow better and appear more open. If the room is too small, however, large tiles can seem overwhelming. Small tiles can work in small space too. By using a mosaic tile in a small bathroom, for example, you minimize the number of cuts required, which, not only makes the installation easier, it results in a more finished look.
4) Shape and layout can change your whole design. Square tiles can be laid side-by-side in a straight line, also known as a straight lay pattern to create a clean, simple look.
They can also be placed in a staggered layout, also known as a running bond or brick pattern, to create more interest. There’s no rule, however, that floor tiles must be square. Rectangular, or plank tiles can be laid much the way hardwood floors are laid, in a staggered or variable pattern. You can also lay rectangular tiles in a herringbone pattern to really create something very dramatic.
There’s also no rule that every tile in a room must be the same size. Use smaller tiles or mosaics to create a border around a larger room and define the space, or create something totally unique with specialty tiles.
5) Colour does more than compliment your décor. You’re going to select a colour you like, one that compliments the other finishes in the room, like countertops and cabinetry, but it’s important to understand the overall affects that tile colour can have. Lighter colours tend to make a space feel larger and more open, while darker colours create warmth and coziness. Dark colours also minimize the appearance of dirt, making them a great choice for anyone who’s not a cleaning fanatic. Neutral colours are less likely to clash with furniture and more likely to appeal to homebuyers than bright colours, a consideration if you have resale in mind. Bright colours, however, can help you create a design that fits your personal style.
A floor tile worthy of your home is out there, but you’ll want to choose carefully because one of the features of tile that make it so desirable, durability, also makes it difficult to remove and replace. Combine these tips with your own specific needs and you’ll be pleased with the results every time you see, touch and feel your beautiful tile.
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