September 3, 2019
When it comes to decorating the home and choosing wall and floor finishes using different types of tiles is a very popular option. The great advantages of tiles is that they can be an economic choice (in comparison with other materials), are easy to lay, easy to maintain and if one gets damaged then, in theory, easy to replace. The myriad of different types of tiles present a creative canvas to homeowners for stamping their personality on a space. Endless creativity is paired with practical advantages for the different materials used to produce different types of tile. Moreover, tiles are hard wearing and can be used outdoors just as much as indoors.
However, there are multiple materials and endless design options to consider. Any visit to a tiling showroom is liable to leave the visitor more confused and less decisive than when they entered. With this article we intend to look at the different areas of the home and consider the most appropriate types of tiles for that situation. First we’ll look at the different material options.
Whatever the situation or the specific requirements of a room in the home there is a suitable material for flooring and wall finishes. Advances in material technology have introduced new options into the market that combine traditional looks and 21st Century performance. Here below we list some timeless and more avant-garde options to keep in mind:
The terrazzo tile is a variation on the marble tile. Manufactured as a composite material with a mixture of marble chips and other suitable hard wearing materials which are then polished. Although once very popular in public buildings they are also used in domestic situations mostly for flooring.
Ceramic is an ideal choice for situations where a hard wearing surface is required. Different types of floor tiles can be used in kitchens and hallways, for areas that are subjected to a lot of traffic. The low porosity and hard wearing nature of ceramic makes it specifically appropriate for kitchens where humid conditions are the norm. Equally more decorative floor tiles can be used in hallways where most homeowners want to create a sensation of welcome with a design that sets the tone for the home’s overall interior design. Different geometric pattern floor tiles can provide a canvas for creative décor with the guarantee of a highly resistant material. For the best results a tile with a texture, to avoid slip is advisable. The ‘mud room’, back hall or where ever boots are removed and coats are stored gets more wear and tear than any other flooring and so accordingly should have a type of floor that can be easily cleaned.
Ceramic or fired clay is one of the most durable materials known to man. For that reason ceramic tiles are appropriate for a diversity of uses in construction. Depending on what is required specific types of tiles are more suitable than others for differing uses. Regarding the various categories of floor tile for example its resistance or how hard wearing the tile is underfoot is crucial. There is an index that measures this characteristic; the Mohs test quantifies scratch resistance, from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest). For flooring with a lot of foot traffic a high Mohs rating is advisable.
From an aesthetic point of view the choice of material can greatly impact on the overall effect. Terracotta wall tiles can produce a rustic feel providing a warmer ambience. While advances in digital printing means that porcelain tiles can nowadays recreate any type of marble, stone or even timber pattern imaginable. Ceramic tiles can be glazed or unglazed, three dimensional or two dimensional, they can also be laid in patterns to achieve intricate geometric surfaces.
The use of ceramic tiles on walls as a cladding material is also highly practical and suitable for areas of greater wear and tear. That is why traditionally in some Mediterranean cultures they were often used as a dado in order to protect the walls from scratches and impact damage. Maintenance is easy and the initial investment can last a lifetime.
There are two practical considerations beyond aesthetics when choosing ceramic tiles for the bathroom. One is related to floor tiles and their resistance to slip, also important to take into consideration for wet areas generally. Tiles with a rougher texture surface provide greater grip underfoot and should be used in the shower for health and safety reasons. Another important quality is being resistant to bacteria because humid areas generally are prone to mould. The use of an antibacterial ceramic material and grouting are advisable in these areas.
The shower cubicle is sometimes treated as a distinct area within the bathroom space. Shower tile ideas should take into account that the shower is normally the most humid area of the entire home. The cubicle is usually separated by sliding glass doors and some continuity with the bathroom tiles could be considered. The cubicle area should be clad using ceramic tiles from floor to ceiling, or at least above the shower head. Slip resistance is imperative for the shower tray.
The kitchen wall tile should be hard wearing and hygienic. Here a glazed ceramic tile will be appropriate for food preparation areas, sometimes also used to clad or form a work surface. The glaze ensures lesser porosity, and hence less moisture penetration. Porcelain is also less porous than other materials and an ideal kitchen worktop surface.
The metro tile (or subway tile) is a timeless and still popular example. Associated with the professional hygiene levels of traditional butcher’s shop, the tile is easily wiped down and aesthetically pleasing.
Different zones of the kitchen require different treatments, the splash back over the kitchen sink for example and the area between the hob and the extract are highly intensive work areas. Other surrounding surfaces on the other hand can have a more decorative less hard wearing kitchen wall tile. Combining a feature or an accent type kitchen wall tile can provide another opportunity for creativity with ceramic. Practical considerations for kitchen flooring ideas should allow for a material that is easy to clean, resistant to moisture and hard wearing. In other words ceramic tiles which can be combined with wood flooring, according to the requirements of specific zones. Or indeed any other decorative flooring material that is not likely to get wet or have heavy traffic.
Whether you are a keen D.I.Y. enthusiast or decide to leave it to the professionals when taking on a tiling job getting the right bathroom measurements for is the first step. Then you need to calculate the materials required, allowing for the scud coat, grouting and the right quantity of tiles including an allowance for breakages. Nowadays with clever spacers and mosaics arranged on mesh the amateur D.I.Y. is capable of achieving a professional finish. It’s important to note that wall and floor tiles require very different substrate so always ask for professional advice before embarking on a tiling project.