A nice thing about the ceramic tile industry is that there is a widely-accepted durability rating system. Our system rates the surface of a tile from Class 1 to Class 5 ("1" being the least resistant to abrasion and "5" the most). This allows you to choose the right tile for the application.
Choose the right tiles and you’ll walk all over them without a second thought. They come in various sizes with a recent trend toward larger tiles for floor (12” x 12”) and wall (8” x 10”) applications. The reason? Larger tiles make a space appear...larger. They can also make installation easier, and thus cost less. Some floor tiles come in multiple sizes, which allows for creative patterns.
Two basic rules to remember: Lighter colors make a space appear larger; darker colors add warmth and hide dirt well. A recent design trend is mixing vibrant colored tiles with neutrals to create contrast.
Generally speaking, textured or matte finish tiles are less slippery than smooth or shiny tiles—something to keep in mind when choosing floor tiles. A tile's "slip resistance" is measured by its "coefficient of friction," which is provided by some manufacturers. Read more about tile textures to find which one will be right for your project.
Tiles also come in a variety of hardness, rated on a scale of 1 (residential bathrooms, where shoeless feet are the norm) through 5 (extra heavy traffic, use anywhere).
A tile’s porosity relates to the amount of water it absorbs, a critical measurement especially when remodeling your kitchen or bathroom. The least porous/absorbent tiles are classified as “Impervious,” and suitable for kitchens or bathrooms; the most porous/absorbent are “non-vitreous” tiles. Porous tile should not be used outdoors where cold weather produces freeze/thaw cycles.
Everyone has their own preferences but here are a few hints: Rustic or stone-looking tiles are popular because they fit in with many decors and hide dirt well. Marble-style tiles lend a more formal look. Mixing in a few handmade or glass tiles with basic tiles can create a custom feel at an affordable price.
Grout comes in a wide variety of colors. Using grout that matches the tile helps lines disappear. A contrasting color makes the individual tiles stand out. If you plan to sell or rent your home soon, consider using earth tones; these lighter colors tend to blend in with a broader spectrum of paints, wallpapers, and cabinetry. On the other hand, tile and grout offer the chance to customize your bathroom if you plan on staying for a while.
Cultured marble sheets are a good choice for tub surrounds, instead of ceramic tile. You will save on labor costs and the marble sheets are easier to clean. A few custom tiles mixed in for a border or accent offers a custom look at an affordable price.
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