LifeStyle Interiors Blog

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Tile Discovery: Part 1

I am a tile nerd.  I love tile.  I love all sorts of tile.  I love big tile, little tile, shiny tile, matte tile, tile of all colors, shapes and sizes!  I believe it is one element of the home where a homeowner can indulge and they will get a lot back.  It, along with lighting and hardware, is like jewelry for your home.

Fireplace with glass by Bond Tile & Stone

The world of tile can be horribly confusing, however.  And, if one does not choose wisely the results can be disastrous and expensive to fix.  So, to help reduce the confusion I have taken it upon myself to create a little guide for your next project that involves tile.  This part 1 will explore the different types of tile and what is best suitable in which areas.  Parts 2 & 3 will cover need to know terms and the care and feeding of your tile.

Porcelain
Why it’s awesome:  It’s impervious nature and high compression strength makes it almost indestructible if installed properly.  It is also available in formats that will suit almost any taste.
Ideal setting:  Anywhere!  Floors, walls, ceilings, countertops, sometimes even outside!  Perfect for wet areas and high traffic areas especially.
Green factor:  Porcelain containing recycled materials are becoming a lot more common.  Having recycled content does not diminish the durability factor either!  Check with your tile expert to find out more.
Special Considerations:  Porcelain is hard and cold.  You may want to consider heating your floor if put in areas where you often go barefoot such as a bathroom.

Geo porcelain by Roca Tile

Ceramic
Why it’s awesome:  Ceramics are the most moldable material in the tile world.  The vast array of sizes, shapes, colors, glazes, styles, gives you more options than you’ll know what to do with!
Ideal Setting:  Ceramics are generally for walls only.  Some are okay for light traffic floors, check with your vendor.  Most ceramics can go on walls in showers, kitchens, fireplaces, etc.
Green factor:  Like porcelain, the green movement in ceramics is growing, but not quite as rapidly.  You may find more ‘green’ products in artisan made tiles.
Special Considerations:  Ceramics are porous even when glazed and some glazes are very porous.  Be sure to check with your vendor about sealing requirements when used in certain areas.

Artisan tile by Bon Ton Designs

Stone –
Why it’s awesome:  Just like anything else nature produced natural stone is stunningly gorgeous.  It’s beauty can never truly be replicated by man.  It’s also softer than porcelain and therefore it can be carved, cut, and made into a wider array of tiling options.
Ideal setting:  Stone can go pretty much anywhere!  Floors, walls, ceilings, fireplaces, countertops.  It looks great almost anywhere.
Green factor:  In short, it’s not.  Unlike most industries where anything nature made is considered green…stone is an exception.  Turns out it doesn’t grow back so fast.
Special Considerations:  Stone is also porous.  It needs to be sealed regularly to prevent staining and etching.

Ring Toss mosaic by Ann Sacks

Glass  – 
Why it’s awesome:  Glass is an amazing material!!  The options are almost endless.  The colors can be brilliant or subdued, the patterns calm or outrageous.  This material has gained momentum and is here to stay!
Ideal setting:  Due to it’s impervious nature glass is great for wet areas.  It can go almost anywhere, some glass is even floor rated!  It’s very durable and will maintain it’s beauty for a long time.
Green factor:  Glass is perhaps the most ‘green’ of any tile product.  Many of the manufacturers are using recycled content in their material.  Check with your pro to find out more.
Special Considerations:  There are many different types and styles of glass available.  Not all of them are appropriate for all installations.  Be sure you’re working with a qualified professional to avoid an installation that fails.

Glass & Stone Water Jet by Artistic Tile

Other Materials – just like any industry, the tile industry is always growing and expanding and looking for new and exciting materials.  Metal and Wood are the most recent entrants to the world of thinset and grout.  Keep your eyes peeled for these two to become more common and more relevant.

Stay tuned for Tile Discovery:  Part 2!!!

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One comment on “Tile Discovery: Part 1

  1. Pingback: Tile Countertops | Everything you ever wanted to know about Countertops!

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This entry was posted on November 5, 2012 by in Inspiration and tagged , , , , , , , .
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