Tiling for the Home

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If you are thinking that the tile in your home is looking a little outdated, grungy or not the color it originally was, it might be time to start a tile file.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:

  • Porcelain
  • Stone
  • Eucalyptus
  • Marble
  • Slate
  • Glass
  • Ceramic
  • Vinyl
  • Linoleum

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.

The Instructions Of Tiles

There are many different types of tiles which, the handyman can apply to floors, walls and ceilings. One of the oldest types is ceramic tile – these are baked clay and have been used generally in the bathroom for walls and floors. There are also plastic tiles which have been used mainly for walls and ceilings.

Ceramic tiles, however, have moved out of the bathroom into other parts of the home. Contemporary homes often have kitchen counter work tops and sometimes even living room walls made of ceramic tile. These tiles can be applied with special waterproof adhesive to any suitable smooth surface. No longer is it necessary to apply wire lath and cement to set the tiles in place.

Plastic tiles, which have gained in popularity since the end of World War II, are available in many different colors, sizes and patterns.

There are basically two types of plastic tiles. The rigid ones are made of polystyrene; the flexible tiles are usually made of vinyl. Both are applied in somewhat the same manner, although some flexible tiles come already glued. All that is necessary is to moisten the adhesive backs of these self-adhesive tiles and they can then be applied to the wall or floor.

Metal tiles of various kinds also are available. One of the most recent developments is an aluminum tile to which a ceramic coating is bonded at a temperature of from 900° to 1000° F. It can be cut easily and even bent if necessary. The tile is applied with mastic.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is one of the oldest building materials known to man. Its history dates back centuries ago when it was first discovered that clay baked at high temperatures turns into a hard, durable material which is both waterproof and fireproof.

But tile is one of the most modern of materials, too. It is easy for the average handyman to install and will afford a lifetime of constant, rugged use without deterioration. Real tile – that is, tile made from baked ceramic materials – is a permanent installation. Its colors never fade. Because of its durability and the absence of any upkeep or remodeling, real tile constitutes a significant economy.

Today, ceramic tile is available to the homemaker in an amazing variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and textures. With a good waterproof adhesive, tile can be readily installed on walls, floors, and counter-tops.

Technically, there are two main divisions of tile: wall and floor tile. Wall tiles in popular use range from 17/4″ square to 6″x9″ rectangles. They come in either a high glaze or a Matt glaze which is a somewhat softer-looking surface.

Floor tiles go from “dots” (11/32″ squares) to 9″ squares. Commonly used nominal sizes, though, are the 2″ square, the 1″ square, and the 1″x2″ rectangle. Floor tiles are generally unglazed.

Floor tiles can be broken down into three subdivisions:

  • Ceramic mosaics are less than six square inches in facial surface.
  • Pavers are those unglazed floor units measuring six square inches or more in facial surface.
  • Quarries are made to resist especially severe conditions of weather and wear. They have a strong, dense body which can withstand extremes in temperature.

Technique of Handling Tile

Here are simple instructions for installing ceramic wall and floor tiles.

Virtually all common home surfaces which are true, level, free from moisture and foreign matter are suitable for receiving tile. In any area affected by steam or water, the base surface should be covered with two coats of primer, the second applied at right angles to the first.

All joints and apertures, such as those for bathroom fixtures, should be sealed off with a waterproof tape.

To begin tiling, install the bottom row first. Establish a level line for it. If the floor is not level, make cuts in the bottom row of tiles. If this is done, the top row of the wainscot will be level.

CUTTING

Simply draw a pencil line over the glazed surface parallel to the raised bars on the back of the tile, take an ordinary glass cutter and score the surface along the line. Then place the tile, glazed side up, over a nail and press on either side of the scored line. The tile will part cleanly down the line.

For special cutting, such as around fixtures, use pliers to nip off small chunks of the tile. Then smooth the surface with a Carbo-rundum stone.

Tiles in the bottom row should be “buttered’ individually with a small dab of adhesive and then pressed against the wall. Don’t put on too much adhesive; it may ooze out of the joints between tiles.

After setting the first row, spread a thin layer of adhesive over several square feet with a saw-tooth trowel. Press the tiles firmly into place with a twisting motion of the hand. Spacing bars on the edges of wall tile will keep the pieces a uniform distance apart.

Once a wall has been tiled, let it set for a day or so that the volatile elements in the adhesive can escape. Then soak the joints between tiles with a wet sponge at least four times at five-minute intervals. A gallon of water is enough for about 50 square feet of tile-work. Soaking – thorough soaking – is done so that the tiles will not draw water from the fine cement, called grout, used to fill the spaces between them.

GROUTING AND FINISHING

Commercial grout is a fine white powder. Mix it with water to the consistency of heavy cream. Let it stand for 15 minutes and remix. The mixture can be applied to the tile joints with a sponge, a squeegee or by hand with a pair of rubber gloves. Fill the joints completely.

Going over the job with the end of the handle of a toothbrush will give it a professional finish. It will help to force the grout into the joints, too.

Cleaning is simple. A damp sponge or cloth will remove the excess grout from the face of the tile. A dry cloth should be used for polish.

But before the final polishing, all the grouted joints should be wet down with a sponge several times in the next four or five days, so that they will set properly.

How to Tile Floors

Floor tile is set very much the same way as wall tile. The surface must first be in good condition, firm, perfectly smooth and free from moisture and foreign matter. Floor tile – the smaller unglazed units – come pasted on to paper sheets measuring l’x2′.

Sheets of the tile are pressed into the adhesive spread on the floor, with the papered side uppermost. Let the tile set an hour. Wet the paper slightly with a damp sponge and pull it off the tile. At this time, the adhesive will still be pliant so you can re-align individual tiles if necessary. If you have to walk over the floor now, do so on board or cardboard so your weight will be more equally distributed.

The floor, just like the wall, should be allowed to set for a day before grouting. But floor tile, which has little absorbency, doesn’t have to be soaked before grouting.

The grout mixture here is different. It should consist of one part waterproof Portland cement and one part finely screened sand. A minimum amount of water should be used in mixing – just enough for work-ability. Spread this mixture over the floor and work it into the joints with a squeegee. Joints should be completely filled.

All excess mortar should be removed before it begins to harden. Use a burlap cloth at first and then a damp cloth. If necessary, go over it several times until all traces of grout are gone. Then polish with a dry cloth.

The floor must now be cured. Cover it and keep all traffic off it for about three days. If it’s necessary to walk on it during that time, put down boards.

Where Tile Can Be Used

Fine installations of ceramic tile by the homemaker have been made on bathroom walls, floors and counter-tops; in home laundries where a definitely waterproof surface is required; anywhere in the kitchen, including extensive counter-tops and splash-backs; and in game rooms where a durable yet permanently decorative finish is desired. Tile is being used increasingly as surfacing for living room floors and in the dining area. The most recent trend is the use of colorful tile on the exterior of homes where a decorative yet weatherproof paneling is desired, such as the exterior overlooking the outdoor terrace.

Terraces, of course, have long been made of tile – quarry tile which is also made from natural ceramic materials. Quarry comes in shades of red, chocolate and buff. Entrance-ways are also popular sites for quarry tile.

Smaller decorative uses of tile around the home include: fireplace fronts, hearths, windowsills where plants are set, table tops, surfaces of room dividers, radiator tops, stairways, and shelves.

Cleaning Ceramic Tile

All tile made from natural ceramic materials is easy to keep clean. A detergent is best for both floor and wall. For floors, the detergent solution should remain on the surface a few minutes before mopping. Wipe the floor and wall dry with a soft cloth. Most soap leaves a sticky film over tile. This film retains dirt and could make the floor slippery. If such a condition already exists it can be remedied with a wash of commercial scouring powder or kerosene. Waxes, plastic finishes, polishes, emulsions, nonslip coatings and the like are never required.

Marble Tile

Marble tiles are available to be applied to any wall surface that has been properly prepared. The marble tiles are installed in a manner somewhat the same as ceramic tiles. Here is the technique of handling marble, in this case Vermont Pavonazzo.

Vinyl Tiles

Although extremely popular in 12″ squares for floor covering, vinyl tiles in the 17/4″ squares for use on walls has decreased in popularity in the last few years. They have given way almost exclusively to ceramic tile which once was a mark of affluence because of their then high cost. Now, fired clay, or ceramic tiles, are being imported and sold at prices comparable to that of vinyl.

Even at comparable prices, other factors weigh in favor of ceramic for wall applications. Ceramic tile has a sheen and luster that cannot be matched by vinyl. They are hard, however, and in places where furniture may bump against the tile, vinyl may be preferred. The resilience of vinyl is, of course, excellent for use as a floor covering.

Vinyl tile is good for use in bathrooms, and it washes easily. For use in kitchens, one precaution must be considered. If vinyl tile is used behind the kitchen range there is the possibility of discoloration in time. Vinyl tile is not fireproof and the heat of the range may affect it.

The Best Tile Products for Your Home

What are the best tiles for your home? Obviously there are many brands of tiles out there that have nice packaging with pretty pictures, but from what I have found out from personal experience is that there is nothing that even comes close to the Mona Lisa brand.

Mona Lisa tiles have an excellent range (including porcelain panel), unbeatable value for money, and excellent quality. Isn’t that the same with any other brand of tile you ask? No. Although many tile brands do claim a measure of quality, they are so much more expensive than Mona Lisa tiles. Basically, with Mona Lisa you are getting a top quality tile for a fraction of what you would pay for a boutique brand.

You will notice though, that Mona Lisa tiles are manufactured in China – not Europe. Having said that, most things today (including designer label items) are manufactured in China now. Does this mean that these tiles are not as good as their European rivals? By no means! This is because the Mona Lisa factory uses the latest equipment shipped in directly from Italy. This is something that many other major tile brands in China don’t do because they are happy with the same old machines they’ve been using for the past 20 years! Because of this commitment to quality, Mona Lisa tiles are not plagued with the defects inherent in other tile brands such as, warping, black spots, time-wear, water retention, staining, color and pattern inconsistencies, and other major problems. Some people think that by paying more for a pretty picture that they are getting a better tile – nothing could be further away from the truth. Another reason to go for Mona Lisa tiles is that they are one of the only manufacturers of Porcelain Panel – truly incredible stuff if you ever get the chance to see it.

What sort of price difference are we looking at? While some brands sell for $100 m2 to $200 m2, or much more, Mona Lisa brand tiles are priced in general from $10 m2! Hard to believe? Just check out the Tile Factory Outlet online catalog and you will see for yourself.

If you are in Australia and interested in buying tiles, there are 3 tile companies in that offer the best deals on tiles for small-end to top-end consumers.

Tile Factory Outlet: Tile Factory Outlet won the price war hands down, with consistently having the cheapest porcelain tiles. Not only that, they are one of the only distributors of Mona Lisa porcelain tiles Australia-wide. They claim to sell tiles at auction prices – and they do indeed. They are one of the only tile companies in the world that have a fully integrated online store that links directly to the items they have in stock and the online interface is updated in real-time in conjunction with sales from their store.

When you walk into their showroom, you will get the feel of walking into any major outlet store with samples stacked on top of pallets of tiles ready to be shipped out. Tile Factory Outlet sell more tiles in one month than most shops sell in a year – purely because of their unbelievable prices. The best thing is that Tile Factory Outlet can help organize shipping your tiles Australia-wide.

Tiles to Go: Tiles to go sell Mona Lisa tiles along with a range of other brands. Their head office is in North Mead, Sydney, and they deal hand-in-hand with builders and architect firms. Whilst Tile Factory Outlet focuses on selling great tiles at cheap prices, Tiles To Go focus more on the customer as a person with specific tastes and desires.

As soon as you walk into their store, you will immediately receive in-depth support to help you find the design you want, how you want it, and how to make it a reality. The best part is that Tiles to Go still offer their range of tiles at excellent prices. True to their name, Tiles To Go can offer this fantastic service and pricing without taking up too much of your time. “Tiles to Go. For people on the go. At prices to go!”

Tile Gallery Imports: Tile Gallery Imports are a wholesaler. That means they sell to construction companies, independent retailers, and large quantity orders. The good news is that they also sell the Mona Lisa brand tile if you are looking to order them. If you have a large order in mind, it will definitely pay to check these guys out.

Buying tiles is easy when you know what you’re looking for. This article focused on Mona Lisa tiles and where you can buy them in Australia. But Mona Lisa don’t manufacture every type of tile out there. The important thing is that you do your research before buy tiles so that you don’t get tricked into paying too much.

Tiling Tips For Your Home Renovation

Have you hired a Home Improvement Contractor that is about to tile your bathroom, laundry or kitchen?. What about your foyer?. If you have recently built a raised level, addition or are just remodeling, you will need to figure out what type of tile products you are going to install throughout your home renovation. We are going to briefly discuss Ceramic, marble and porcelain tile products for your home renovation project.

Tiling with Ceramic

Your Home Improvement project has been running smooth. At this time, you will now need to pick out your tile products for each bathroom renovation, kitchen renovation or any other room that will need tiling. Using ceramic tile can be a cheaper more inexpensive way to go when tiling your home.

Ceramic tile is a very durable material and tends to be less expensive than porcelain, marble or slate and easier for the tiling crews to work with as well. It is also highly resistant to staining which makes it very attractive for your installations. Tile installers are able to cut and bore ceramic more easily than other exotic material such as marble, slate or porcelain. Ceramic tile comes in many different colors as well as textures. Different types of edging such as bull nosing can be purchased with your ceramic tile. As an example, when your tile installation gets close to a corner, your home improvement contractor will install the bull nosing which has a slightly tapered end. This will create a nice finish. Since the ceramic tile is easy to work with, its labor costs tend to be cheaper than when using Porcelain or Marble.

Tiling with Marble and Porcelain

Contrary to common thought, porcelain tiles are extremely durable. They also have an absorption rate at 100 times less than most ceramic tiles. As far as pricing, they can be quite costly as compared to ceramic. Porcelain tiles are formed very similar to ceramic tiles but fired at much higher temperatures. With the addition of extra ingredients as well as higher firing temperatures, porcelain tiles are extremely durable and highly stain resistant. Porcelain can also be polished to a high gloss finish.

Marble tile is a very hard durable stone. Like porcelain, marble can be highly polished to a high gloss finish. Also, it can be tumbled for a natural, more worn look. Marble is very porous which makes it easy to be stained. Sealing your marble is highly recommended to prevent staining. When installing marble tiling, you can purchase custom manufactured saddles, bath shelving, decorative nosing or any other fabricated pieces you can think of. It can match your marble tile installations. Many contractors advise their customers into purchasing marble type tiling and fabricated items When calling tile suppliers, ask them if they also can fabricate marble in house. If they have an in house fabrication center, then it is much quicker to have your marble items made and delivered.. Also, your marble fabrication center can fabricate vanity tops or even countertops.

If you have any questions, contact your Home Improvement Contractor for answers.

Granite Tiles – World Is Recognizing Its Durability

Anything become popular when gets popularized among worldwide users. As such, numerous tiles are there which are usually known but some are like granite tiles whose popularity can be identified by its increasing usage in different sectors of the world.

In the market, individuals rush for products which come with appealing looks and durable features. Tiling products are needed to come with both the factors as construction task is not done on regular basis. Whether it is a hotel construction or renovation work of homes, one needs to select the flooring material with useful considerations.

Certain attention in the beginning can help one to get any problem further. It is better to go through research work before opting for any particular product. In case of granite tiles, homeowners have illustrated that the material comes with all such features which they usually demand.

Experienced construction contractors also approve to use the said product both for residential areas and commercial setups. This is the reason that most of commercial buildings like hotels, retails, restaurants etc. have been making use of it completely.

There are several advantages apart from durability feature. One of the well-known features is that it comes with wide array of colour and pattern options. And this can be another reason of its popularity. Beige, blue and several other colour forms are available which can enhance the appearance of desired area. As far as its patterns are concerned, people have been finding different attractive patterns which can change the entire look of area where they get used.

Granite tiles can be effectively used for flooring, wall tiling and also for designing counter tops. The versatility factor of the product has led creative homeowners and contractors to utilise the product in more different manner. One is not needed to worry about high or low trafficking areas. It can be installed in homes as well as in balcony and halls of big hotels or other buildings.

An important thing about this tile is that it needs special care and attention during its installation. Moreover, one can check the moisture level of area by putting any heavy furniture after the installation. Before installation, one can check the quality of said tiles by going through slip resistance and moisture level. Consider hiring a professional tile installing companies to avoid any risk or danger. They come with abundance of knowledge and skills in this regard which will help one to get proper installation without any damage to human or property. And for the sake of maintenance, one can go through simple cleaning steps to maintain the brightness and slip resistance feature of the surface. Hence, granite tiles can help one to make the desired area more attractive, durable and special.

Raqib Ahmad has volunteered his services for many organisations with his creative expressions in the interior design field, he has also written various articles on different types of tiles and its best suitable uses. This article is about Granite tiles.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5616709

Kitchen Floor Tile: Important Factors You Should Consider

The purchase of new kitchen floor tile can be a very big purchase to make for any homeowner. Before you invest a lot of money into your new flooring, you should take a few factors into consideration that may drastically affect the final appearance of your kitchen.

Durability is usually one of the most important factors homeowners review before they make a purchase because they want to be certain their new flooring will withstand the test of time for many years to come. There are many tile pieces on the market that are not specifically designed to be used on the floor in kitchen areas. For this reason, you should do your best to find a tile product that is specifically designed to fend off blows from foot traffic, animals, and even heavy objects that may fall on it in the future.

Stain resistance is also commonly viewed as a very important factor as well. Stains can blemish the good looks of a kitchen rather quickly. By finding products that fight stains well, and by finding products that can even hide stains, you will hopefully not have to deal with this type of problem in the future.

If stain fighting power is important to you, because you are certain that your kitchen will see quite a bit of foot traffic and interact with children and animals, you should avoid purchasing white tiling. White tiling can look great in any home, and it can brighten up the interior of any home, but this type of flooring does not hide dirt at all and it can be stained fairly easily.

The next step of the buying process should be the step of selecting the colors your tiles will maintain. There is a very large selection of colors consumers can choose from today, but you should certainly review the colors that are already present in your home before you make a purchase.

Warm colored homes often demand that homeowners install warm colored tiles in order for the interior design to look attractive, but if you are working with a lighter colored interior, you can go with any color from bright white to light colored browns.

Homes with light interiors may look great with lighter colored tiles, but you should still take the durability of the products you purchase into account before you make an investment. If you are looking for a product that will be able to withstand daily wear and tear and hide dirt fairly well, you should look for a light colored brown flooring.

By reviewing all of these factors before you start shopping around for kitchen floor tile, you will find the process of searching for the best manufacturer to be much easier to handle. Once you know exactly what you are looking for, you will know which manufacturers carry products that will satisfy all of your unique requirements.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5426086

Ceramic Tiles

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Expert Author Sapna Kulshrestha

Historically Ceramic tiles have been made by man for almost 4000 years. Be it decorative tile work of Persia, mosaics of Spain, the majolica floor tiles of renaissance Italy, the faiences of Antwerp or the tile iconography of Netherlands all remain landmarks in the history of ceramic tile. Though Ceramic tiles of modern world had humble beginnings as simple white or beige color squares for bathrooms and kitchens, today they come in all sorts of shape, size, color and design and have made their way into the rest of the home.

What’s more Ceramic tile have a true “Green” pedigree as it is made entirely from natural, recyclable and biodegradable materials. Being naturally waterproof and mould/mildew resistant, ceramic tiles improve indoor air quality and as they need no polishing are installed faster.

There are various types of ceramic tile products available in market that can be used as floor tiles, wall tiles or roof tiles with literally thousands of styles and grades to choose from. However based upon the material and properties of ceramic tiles they are divided into few broad categories:

Vitrified tiles: These tiles are compact, scratch and acid resistant and possess better mechanical strength. They are practically replacing stone and marble as flooring due to their stone like qualities such as seamless joint and uniform color and texture.

Porcelain tiles: These versatile tiles come with a plain, rough, or polished finish and can be used in interiors and are an excellent choice for outdoor conditions as they don’t wear easily under heavy traffic.

Mosaic tiles: These are small tiles, about .75 inches to 1 inch in size mounted on paper sheets or latex mesh for easy installation. These tiles can be ceramic, porcelain or glass and are most suitable on walls, curved surfaces as murals, in water pools, and low traffic floors. They do not chip easily and due to numerous grout joints are slip resistant too.

Glazed tiles: These non porous, smooth surface tiles are stain proof, most suitable for low traffic areas, walls and countertops. The large format glazed tiles with satin finish are quite popular these days.

Quarry tiles: These thick and dense tiles are mostly used in heavy commercial establishments. Their natural color and rugged surface texture gives them naturally stain resistant and slip resistant qualities.

Terracotta tiles: These handmade or machine made tiles are often used as roof tiles, they feature a rustic look and stay cool in summers and warm in winters though unglazed terracotta tiles need a coat of sealer every year.

Design Trends
Tiles are the most versatile medium and design possibilities are limited only by imagination. The latest tile design trends range from bold colors to black and white scheme and from large sizes to tiny mosaic patterns. While black and white is the minimalist design expression in step patterns, diagonal designs and combination of patterns and textures, the vibrant color palette brighten up the spaces and works well in homes. Bold colors tiles can also accentuate the black and white layout. Another recent trend is the metallic finish tiles in steel, copper, bronze, gold or silver, with fresh as well as rusted and classic appearance. Ceramic tiles with steel inlays and Stainless steel finish borders can give the most contemporary look. Oxidized and weathered steel look are the other designer finishes in demand. In terms of size large format tiles are the hottest look that gives a grand look to the space.

With their flawless jointing and eye-catching finishes they almost look like stone. Besides as the focus is now on natural materials, they are being emulated in tiles too such as stone, wood and textiles, even natural elements like bamboo and pebbles are being reproduced in tile finishes. As natural design does not repeat itself similarly the emerging concept based tiles- that are designs made using a combination of tiles, too break monotonous pattern and are thus popular with designers. Similarly there is also an inclination towards history and heritage; manufacturers are increasingly borrowing from the past to capture the essence of old world and reproducing in tiles. Retro is one of the hard to miss old school style reemerging today with lime green, orange colors and checkerboard pattern. For luxury spaces there are now high end tiles with gold and silver texture and Swarovski inlays. As also the exclusive digitally printed ceramic tiles that are custom made with complete image permanence.

Ceramic tiles nowadays have become a major lifestyle product and designer tiles have caught the fancy of Indian customers. With technological innovations and designs, the options are endless in terms of finishes and aesthetics as well as application for various uses. Today tiles are used all over for interiors, residential as well as commercial spaces and in fact are considered new fashion statement.

How to Clean Your Ceramic Tiles and Grout – Are Your Safely Cleaning Your Tiles?

Many people think that they can clean ceramic tiles and grout with any kind of soaps or disinfectants. That might do the trick but it might also cause unnoticeable damage to your ceramic tiles. Sure your tile might look sparkling clean after scrubbing them down with strong detergents but how will they look 3 years from now? There are better gentler ways to clean your tiles with out causing any harm, you can make your own homemade solutions, get an electric floor washer that polishes also, or you can just purchase products specially designed to safely clean ceramic tiles.

If you have a home with a lot of tile and you can afford to rent an electric floor washer with polisher this would be the best method. This way you get your tiles shining clean and polished. Using a machine like this would be worth it if you have ceramic tiles in most of your home. Some people like to tile their whole house so this would be the best alternative for them to do occasionally. Tiles will be restored to their original condition.

Some homes only have ceramic tiles in a one room like the kitchen or even the bathrooms. If you have a home like this maintaining shiny ceramic tiles can be a challenge especially if you have a large family or even pets. You can make you own solution by mixing chlorine bleach with water and mild dish soap. Other solutions consist of mixing mild soap with ammonia and water. Use a mop to wipe the floors thoroughly and then remove the soap and rinse the floors with clean water. You can use a cotton well absorbent towel to dry your floors afterward. This way your tiles will be clean and maintain their shine.

Another way to clean ceramic tiles is simply to go to the local supermarket and purchase a product formulated to clean ceramic tiles. They usually aren’t too strong and won’t damage your tiles. They will clean efficiently but won’t be much better than your own solution. You can also buy a polish if you like that extra shine.

All of the different methods to clean ceramic floor tiles like using the electric floor washer, a commercial floor tile product or your own solution will be good for cleaning ceramic safely. You just need to be cautious when using other chemicals that may be way too strong for ceramic. Be careful with the soaps you use if you want to have long lasting shining tiles in your house.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2819502

5 Ways to Travel Solo Without Going It Alone

Solo travel has become a hot topic. Unlike “single(s)” travel, it is a broader group. It can include those who are single, married or have a partner/significant other. It may be a business person looking to add a leisure weekend or extension to a trip for work. Two stumbling blocks to solo travel can be: I. whether it is lonely to vacation as a “party of one” and ii.whether eating alone, especially dinner, is really uncomfortable.

Now having visited 68 countries and all 50 states, I have found 5 good ways to go alone without feeling you are “going it alone”.

1. River Cruise and Small Ship Cruises

I highly recommend river cruises and small ships. They are especially a good fit for a first time solo traveler. However, they are also great for well-traveled solos in two cases. That is where destinations like Cambodian boat villages are not otherwise easy to reach. Secondly, they work well in places where security is an issue.

Here are the key advantages of such river and small ships for solo travelers, they:

  • Give you time alone but a group for tours and meals
  • Can be competitively priced when compared to a piecemeal approach
  • Make unpacking a one-time chore
  • Work well with land packages
  • Often have discounted package pricing including flights

2. Select your own lodging, and take day trips.

Here are the key advantages of this independent approach:

  • Affords you the opportunity to select your own interests and travel style.
  • Provides more opportunity to interact with local residents.
  • Gives you a “day-off” when you need it.
  • Works with a range of budgets.

3. Combine both of the above approaches.

I really favor this approach when I travel. On solo travel for 17 days at New Year’s, I toured Southeast Asia. I started with a private taxi tour in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I then joined a top Mekong River Cruise on to Vietnam. On the last leg, I had five days in a 5-star hotel in Bangkok. In my last stop, I tried all 3 ways of sightseeing: 1. A large bus tour 2. A private guide and 3. Self-directed subway tour.

This blended approach puts you in the driver’s seat and:

  • Will let you set your own course while being free to pick and choose
  • Gives you a part-time group of travel mates but also time alone
  • Makes it possible to follow a budget (or splurges) tailored to what works for you

4. Sign up ahead for a class abroad.

This has become very popular now for cooking classes in France and Italy. However, for decades, language classes abroad have lured students for short-term or full summer programs. Add to that options for photography classes, skiing and scuba diving.

Here are the key benefits to this approach:

  • Provides you with a ready-made group
  • Gives you a local contact to hear what not to miss off the tourist path
  • Make it possible to connect with classmates for meals or sightseeing
  • Results in providing local contacts in an emergency

5. Join a volunteer group or exchange program.

I have done this twice. My first trip out of the US was at 18 joining 5 other girls on a summer YMCA project in Trinidad and Tobago. It was the best way to learn about day-to-day life in another country and participate in community activities.

The benefits were endless. They included:

  • Meeting local residents outside of the typical tourist path
  • Seeing distant and often more unusual destinations
  • Providing volunteer efforts to communities than may have experienced natural disasters or other hardships.

If you are new to solo travel, take a look at each of these options. You will be surprised how fast solo travel gives you the chance to make new life-long friends from around the world so that you feel you are solo to more.

Thailand Is a Very Beautiful Country

Mueang Thai, as local people call the nation, is an intriguing mixture of old kingdoms.

For more than five centuries, the Khmer Empire governed its properties – until ousted in the thirteenth century. At that point, the Thai Kingdom was effectively brought together and built up by King Sri Indraditya of the Kingdom of Sukhothai (1238).

From that point onward, the nation has been separated into four fundamental districts – each bragging extraordinary traditions, conventions, and attractions.

The assorted variety brings an astonishing exhibit of things to do in Thailand. Underneath she will talk about the best vacation spots in Thailand.

Top Tourist Attractions in Thailand: The Central Plains

There’s no better place to get a look at Thailand’s history and culture than around the Central Plains. In this locale is the place its capital, Bangkok, is found.

Bangkok, an energetic kaleidoscope

I whole up Bangkok with three terms: exceptional customary nourishment, old sanctuaries, and crazy nightlife.

The absolute most well-known things to involvement in Bangkok include:

Wat Pho and the rich Reclining Buddha

Fabulous Palace complex (counting Wat Phra Kaew)

Soi Cowboy: BKK’s shady area of town, for sultry nightlife

Boisterous, energizing Khao San Road (you should see it once!)

Grub at Sukhumvit Soi 38, apparently Bangkok’s best road nourishment spot

Vimanmek Mansion: combination of customary Thai design and European neoclassical style

By the time of composing, I don’t prescribe going to Wat Arun. It’s mind boggling structural subtle elements are as of now eclipsed by a broad reclamation venture. Invest your energy at other commendable Bangkok attractions!

Top Thailand vacation destinations

Day treks to the rustic edges

Have a few days to save? Escape the hurrying around by taking one of the accompanying critical day trips from Bangkok:

Ayutthaya: probably the most astounding remains in Thailand

Snack conventional pontoon noodles at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Hua Hin: beautiful shoreline town for the individuals who don’t have room schedule-wise to investigate the Thai islands

Eccentric Wat Saen Suk: to some degree grim sanctuary depicting the Buddhist dreams of damnation

Phraya Nakhon Cave at Khao Sam Roi Yot Marine Park, a standout among the most shocking collapses the world

The previous capital of the Lanna Kingdom has transformed into an exceptionally modest, current school town. Chiang Mai’s rich history, astounding road sustenance scene, and moderately ease of living have made it a mainstream base for Western expats in Asia.

Sanctuary jumping and foodie gets a kick out of Chiang Mai

Sprinkled with more than 300 Buddhist sanctuaries, I thought, which to pick?!

In the wake of spending a few days around the city, I finished up these are the most special, must-see sanctuaries in Chiang Mai:

Doi Suthep: prominent ridge sanctuary with breathtaking perspectives of Chiang Mai and region

Wat Chedi Luang: Lanna cheddar, transcending inside the Old City’s dividers

Wat Umong: novel 700-year-old sanctuary where occupant priests wander among the woods

Wat Suan Dok: fourteenth-century sanctuary where individuals from the Lanna Royal family are covered

The most novel thing to do in Chiang Mai, however? Join a priest visit!

They are social trades, organized by neighborhood Buddhist colleges, so as to enhance the English capability of their understudies.

Priest visits are an incredible approach to become acquainted with neighborhood traditions and conventions firsthand. The MCU Chiang Mai Campus holds priest talks each week at Wat Suan Dok Monday through Friday, from 5 to 7 PM.

While Chaing Mai is one of the best vacation destinations in Thailand it is additionally home to numerous expats. In the event that you’re searching for an extraordinary base in Asia, this is certainly a probability.

Week after week reflection withdraws are likewise advertised. They begin each Tuesday at 1 PM and finish up Wednesday by 3 PM.

Did I go Sanctuary bouncing, as well as getting the opportunity to taste the eccentricities of Northern Thai cooking by going on foodie creeps?

A few dishes you should attempt in this area include:

Moo to: broiled pork tenders with a sweet, nutty flavor

Lab: fricasseed meat, pork or duck dry-rubbed with neighborhood flavors

Nam ngaio: tart tomato soup with rice noodles and pork

Nam park on: zesty Northern Thai plunge made with tomatoes and minced pork

Khao soi: Chiang Mai’s trademark! Thick Burmese-style coconut curry soup, finished with browned noodles

Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle’s tri-outskirt

Thailand’s northernmost clamoring city lays by the notorious Golden Triangle: Asia’s hotspot for opium creation.

Or, on the other hand, you could just consider it to be the place from which you can visit Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand in one day!

Past this tripoint, there’s very little to do in the zone.

I suggest you base yourself out of Chiang Rai on the off chance that you wish to visit well-known sanctuaries and take in Mae Hong Son’s sloping scenes:

Looking for nearby knickknacks at Chang Rai’s Night Bazaar

Redesigned Wat Rong Khun (White Temple): a nearby craftsman’s artful culmination

But Kwan Village Park: previous migrant slope tribe town, now settled by a wonderful waterfall

Baan Si Dum was otherwise known as the Black House: interesting accumulations of conventional Southeast Asian curious

Top Things to Do in Thailand: The Northeast

Otherwise called Isaan, Northeast Thailand is an intriguing blend of Laotian, Cambodian, and Thai societies.

It’s relative confinement, however, make it a standout amongst the most genuine districts a visitor can visit.

Gulped by the wilderness at Khao Yai

While Isaan is generally out of the way, this districts happens to be the home of Thailand’s most prevalent national stop, Khao Yai.

A whopping 70% of its 2168 km² are lavish timberland!

All the more astonishingly, however, the recreation center brags around 44 waterfalls, one of a kind natural life perception towers, surging rapids, and remarkable perspectives and climbing trails.

This makes Khao Yai a tremendous UNESCO World Heritage Site – ideal for nature sweethearts who wish to be wrapped by the thick wilderness shelter.

Thailand-attractions-Phanom-Rung Explore fascinating Khmer and Mon ruins

The antiquated Khmer and Mon ruins found in this district are a delightful complexity of customary Thai style.

I profoundly prescribe a visit to the accompanying notable destinations:

Wat Pah Nanachat for a bona fide contemplation withdraw in a woods religious community

Phu Phra Bat Park: grottoes, antiquated spray painting, and other intriguing rock carvings

Phanom Rung and Muang Tam: Hindu complex, apparently Thailand’s best-safeguarded Khmer ruins.