Your local tile and stone showroom is a wonderful source for purchasing tile flooring, decorative wall tile, countertop stone or any type of tile product. Whether ceramic, porcelain or marble, tile has been used since ancient times as the most durable and easy-to-maintain surface covering. Beautiful dream kitchens and marvelous bathroom designs include tile as the most visually appealing choice.
With so many styles, materials, colors and sizes available, tile makes personalizing your design a fun and creative task. Here are a few basic tips to help you make the right choices when you shop for tile:
- Type: It is important to always use the right material for the job. Consider where you want to tile. For instance, are you buying kitchen or bathroom floor tile? These rooms often tend to get water splashed onto the floor, and a slick glazed surface could be dangerous. Any floor that gets wet should be tiled with a slightly textured surface. Great options are available in porcelain tiles, matte finish ceramic tile, terra cotta or travertine. Walls can handle glossy ceramics, smooth metal tiles and glass tiles with no problem. But pay careful attention to tiles for exterior applications, like patios or outdoor kitchens. You want to use unglazed porcelain or stone tiles outside so they won’t crack in cold weather.
- Color: Contemporary design trends put no limit on color, but keep in mind that your floor color is going to be a permanent choice. Unlike your walls, draperies and furnishings that can easily be changed on a whim, your tile floor is meant to last the lifetime of your home, so choose color you can live with. Your floor color will be the foundation for your entire design scheme. Neutral colors will allow for wonderful highlights and accents in a wide variety of colors, but you don’t have to stick to white or beige to be a good neutral foundation color.
We know that colors have a strong impact on our mood and emotions and you can use that knowledge in choosing your floor tile color. For example, if your room is meant to be warm and inviting, use shades of rust and brown. For an atmosphere of richness and elegance, select gold tones. If you want fresh and clean, go with basic white or friendly blue. For bold statement, use black as an accent. Too much of one color can overwhelm a space, but using vibrant hues to border or accent a simple neutral color layout brings a real visual impact.
- Style: Whether you prefer styles that are classically elegant, country rustic, modern contemporary, or eclectic, there is a tile designed for your tastes. Sleekly modern tiles in glass and metal add spectacular flair, while textured stone-look porcelain tiles compliment a rustic atmosphere. A fun and casual design is eye-catching with colorful hand-painted tile inserts. Your tile style will set the tone for the design of the entire room.
- Size: You want your tile size to match the size and scale of the room. A small kitchen can be overwhelmed with large body floor tile, yet a large room gets shrunken by using small tiles with busy grout lines. You can use tile size to achieve an impression of an open larger space, and get an optical illusion that makes a small room feel larger. A huge open living area needs the grounding effect of massively sized tiles.
- Grout: Don’t forget that grout color plays a large part in the overall effect of your tile design. By matching the grout color to the tile color you achieve a solid uniform appearance. On the other hand a contrasting color creates its own design, but be careful of creating a spiderweb affect that can confuse the eye and take away from the tile’s own visual impact. Technological advances have made keeping your grout lines clean a lot easier, with additives that resist stains and discoloring. Sealers are also available to aid in maintaining appearance. Choose the right kind of grout – small tiles with grout lines less than 1/8” need unsanded grout, as does marble, glass or metal tile that may scratch, larger tiles with wide grout joints get sanded grout. Epoxy grouts are a lot harder to apply but provide extra endurance and stain resistance especially for spaces like commercial kitchens.
- Price: There are so many levels in prices for tile, but like with any building material, keep your budget in mind. Great deals on your field tile (floor or wall covering) can give you room to splurge on a few higher end decorative accents and borders. Stock tile is less expensive usually than special order tile, when you must consider the added costs of shipping charges and lead time. Most tile stores offer a wide range of price options and can accommodate any budget.
With a little background information, shopping for tile can be an enjoyable experience with results that will improve the appearance and value of your home for years to come!