Start a Tile File
If you are thinking that the tile in your home is looking a little outdated, grungy or not the color it originally was, it might be time to start a tile file. Technophobes have no fear, I simply mean that the first step to shopping for new tile is to store away “files” in your mind of flooring that catches your eye in friends’ homes, pictures online and wherever else you come across tile flooring. It is easy to stick with the tile that came with your home when it was purchased, however re-tiling can make a lasting difference in the style and feel of your home.
Where Does Tile Go?
Tile is used in many rooms throughout the house. Most traditional it is found in bathrooms, showers, kitchens, mud rooms, entry ways, counter tops and back splashes. Advantages of using tile are that it is easy to clean, is fairly durable and gives a stylish look to the home. Tile is also used outdoors on the side of houses, patios and decoratively throughout yards.
Tile Color and Shades
Tile is sold in many different colors, giving shoppers the flexibility to find the “perfect” match for the style of any room. Tile color can be solid, textured or have added details and designs. There are different ways to make tile color work to your advantage. For example, white tile, if properly cared for, can give bathrooms a fresh and clean look. On the other hand, tiling a busy walkway with neutral brown marble tiles can hide dirt well until swept. Dark tile is popularly used a back splash in kitchens, adding depth and an elegant style to the cooking area.
The Shape of Your Tile
Tile comes in most basic shapes including squares, rectangles, hexagons, diamonds and triangles. Each shape gives a distinctive look to the floor it is covering. Smaller squares are typically found in bathrooms, rectangles can give a retro look to kitchens, large square tiles fit nicely into entry ways, but in the end your style preference will drive your shape choice.
Tiles also come in large and small shapes. Things to consider when choosing tile size is that larger tiles are generally easier to lay and take less time while smaller tiles take more time and care to lay.
Tile is made from a variety of materials. Some of the more popular materials are:
Material will affect the texture, weight and coloring of your tile. Some materials, such as slate, appear more matte in color while porcelain and stone can be polished to shine. Eucalyptus is a great Eco-friendly option for tile flooring. One of the deciding factors when choosing the material of your tile will be the amount of durability you require and your budget.
Shall we Glaze?
About half of the tiles sold in the United States are glazed. Glazed tiles repel water to a certain extent, but become slippery when they are wet. Glazed tiles are most commonly used for walls and counter tops as opposed to floors to avoid accidents of someone slipping. Always check manufacturer care tips, whether tiles are glazed or not to prolong the life of you tiling.
What is Holding us Together
Grout is the material that holds the tiles together. Grout is also available in a range of colors and should complement the color and style of your tile. Light beige and ivories are common grout colors, but for a bolder appearance dark and unusual colors can be used. Grout is very porous and therefore it is important to seal it.
There are two common ways to seal grout, with a seal spray or applicator. The applicator method is much more tedious, but leaves less room for error, so is the best option for grout that is used between tile materials that stain easily (natural materials) or are difficult to clean. The spray sealer is a simpler option, but you will most likely have to clean the excess off the tiles after the sealant has dried.
Sometimes Change is Good
Different tile materials, including porcelain, slate and more, will have a variation in the colors and shades between individual tiles. These variations are due to natural variations in the material used to create the tiles. Normally the variation adds to the natural look of the tile and is not considered a deterrent from purchasing natural material tiles.
To Seal or not to Seal
It is important to seal tile that is made from natural products. Many times the tiles are pre-sealed, but it is important to re-seal if necessary because tiles can easily be stained by water and other spills. Sealing is a great way to protect outdoor tile from the elements as well. However, not all tile needs to be sealed, such as ceramic and porcelain, but you should always check manufacturer details.