Introduction to Ceramic Tile
The versatility of ceramic tile allows you to be creative and customize almost any area in your home with an abundance of options. When considering ceramic tile, determine what your needs are for the area to be tiled, as well as the room’s style, layout and overall character. Tile types:
Glazed Ceramic Tile
These tiles are coated with glass-forming minerals and ceramic stains. Typically they have a matte, semi-gloss or high gloss finish. They offer better stain and moisture resistance than unglazed tile.
- High gloss finishes can be more slippery and scratches can become more visible
- Matte or textured finishes help with traction and scratches and dirt are less visible
Unglazed Ceramic Tile
These tiles are very hard and dense. They come in various surface treatments and textures. Typically these are installed outside as they do not offer much protection against stains compared to glazed ceramic tile.
- Unglazed tiles do have good slip resistance, however they do require sealing to prevent staining.
Porcelain is the hardest and densest tile you can buy. They can withstand temperature extremes. The color in a porcelain tile goes all the way through.
- These tiles are non-porous and resist scratching.
Tile Sizes and Shapes
- There are a vast amount of tile sizes ranging from 1”x1” to 18”x18”. With such variety, the design opportunities are endless.
- Tiles 2”x2” and smaller are usually referred to as mosaics and are often used with different colors to create a pattern or decorative inset.
- Some of these smaller tiles also come different shapes, such as hexagon, for more design options.
- Pattern borders in different size tiles or different colors can create beautiful looks. When creating a pattern with different tile, the more prominent tile that is throughout the largest areas is called the “field tile.”
There are many industry ratings that can help you determine which tile will perform best in different areas of your home. Ask your design consultant to review the ratings with you.
- Also available are multitudes of accent pieces sometimes called “decos” or “feature strips”. These can really personalize and enhance the look of a room.
- Decos or feature strips are beautiful additions to backsplashes, in shower stalls or as chair rails.
- Trim tile finishes off and completes the look of your installation. These pieces handle the corners and edges of countertops. They are also the pieces that help make a clean transition from wall to floor tile.
- Trim pieces may vary in color from the field tile.
What About Color Consistency?
- Solid Color Tiles: Solid color tiles provide a consistent look, however, shade variation is inherent in all fired ceramic products. Certain tiles will show greater variation within their dyelots. Many manufacturers will list what the shade variation is with a low, medium or high rating.
- Natural Stone looking Ceramic: Some ceramic tile is made to emulate the look of natural stone. These tiles will intentionally show a variation in color and pattern.
- Choose a lighter or darker shade of grout based on the usage that will take place in the tiled area. Being a porous product, grout will darken over time especially in areas of high water use, so ask your design consultant about sealing your grout.
- Design Options-grout can match, contrast or coordinate with your tile.
- A contrasting grout will create a picture frame around each tile making the grout more visible.
- Remember that grout colors can change from the sample in the design center to the grout installed in your home based on the temperature and humidity at the time the tile is installed.
The Value of Upgrading
- Wider selection of size, color, textures and finishes.
- More design options available, such as liners, patterns, mosaic insets, decos.
- Higher performance rated tiles.