Floor Tiles 101

Not all tile materials are created equal. Each type has pros and cons that need to be considered when planning a tiling project. Here are some popular types and their benefits and drawbacks:

Marble

Real marble tiles have a beautiful, unique look like no other surface, with all their whirling patterns and shade variations. But the same patterns that make marble beautiful can be a real headache to match from tile to tile. To ensure that patterns match, the Marble Institute of America recommends having your contractor lay out the tiles over the entire surface before installing so you can approve the result. All your tiles should come from the same original batch.

Marble, like most stone tiles, has high maintenance requirements. It must be sealed and cleaned regularly; for cleaning, use only a mild detergent solution or a product specially designed for marble. Never set your drink down on a marble surface (it will leave a ring), and wipe up any spills immediately, as they can stain or etch marble’s porous surface.

Terrazzo Tile

Terrazzo is traditionally a flooring material made by exposing marble chips in a bed of concrete and then polishing until smooth. Now, however, you can buy terrazzo in tile form. It’s often used in public buildings because it’s long-lasting and can be refinished repeatedly.

Terrazzo is quite slippery and can cause falls, so it may not be a good flooring choice for families with young children or elderly members. Ask your contractor about applying non-slip additives to the surface.

Terra Cotta Tile

Terra cotta is one of the oldest tile materials around, dating back before the birth of Christ, when it was sun-dried rather than oven-fired. It’s often used, glazed or unglazed, to create a rustic, weathered look.

While high-quality terra cotta will last forever, it’s difficult to assess the quality, even for pros. Buy only from a seller whose reputation you trust, though even then you may encounter problems.

For practical uses, it should be sealed, particularly in kitchens.

Porcelain

Actually a subtype of ceramic tile, porcelain bears a perception of high quality, but for residential applications its particular toughness is unnecessary. It’s nonetheless popular in the residential market because the manufacturing process makes for unlimited design potential.

The problem is that do-it-yourselfers typically install it with setting material designed for ordinary ceramic tiles, but porcelain’s low porosity means it requires a special compound for setting. Ask the manufacturer—not a salesperson—how to install it.

Ceramic

Ceramic tiles are thin slabs of clay or other inorganic materials, hardened by oven firing and usually coated with some kind of glaze. Ceramic is best known for its durability, with some installations in the ruins of ancient Rome and Egypt still intact.

Ceramic tile is a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms because it’s easy to clean and doesn’t harbor germs. It’s manufactured in production runs; because of variation among lots, make sure the caliber number (indicating size) and lot number (indicating color) are the same throughout your order.

Slate

Slate tile is a popular roofing material with an air of prestige and a reputation for longevity. Although individual tiles sometimes crack, an entire roof made of slate probably won’t have to be replaced for 50 years or more. Properly installed, slate also makes dependable flooring.

Choosing the best tile for your home isn’t an easy task. That’s why at PlumbTile, our expert employees are there every step of the way. They will help you choose the right type, color, and size of tile for your home’s floors.

Adding Laminate Floor

Laminate is the chameleon of the floor world. It can emulate hardwood, tile or stone, and it gives you those looks at a lower price. This durable, affordable floor surface resists stains, fading and moisture, and installation is a snap. It won’t develop character the way wood does and it can have a hollow sound when walked on, but its sturdiness makes it a favorite for many homeowners, especially those with kids and pets. Continue reading

Give Your Exterior Some Attention

The exterior of your home is the first impression that you are portraying to the world, whether the world be prospective buyers or friends and family stopping by for a visit. Do you want that first impression to have your guests snickering at what your house looks like or would you want them to be drooling over how good your home already looks? There are a ton of exterior paint colors that people are falling in love with that may just be what you’re looking for to give your home an edge up on the curb appeal. Continue reading

Have an Organized Mudroom

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Does your entryway look like the picture below? What do you do if you don’t have a mudroom this holiday season?

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The holiday seasons can become a busy and overwhelming time for most. People come and go throughout the days and leave a trail of mess behind. There are piles of coats and shoes laying by the front door. Don’t let the stress of a mess ruin your family fun. There are many things you can do to organize your entryway if you don’t have a mudroom. Continue reading