Tile definitely tops the list of flooring choices, and for good reason. There are several different types of tile flooring depending on your personal preference, budget, and style.
Ceramic and porcelain are the two most common. They look and feel very similar, and are both made from natural clay but they have their unique differences:
· Ceramic tile has a glasslike, kiln-fired coating called glaze. Glazed ceramic tile resists stains and can be cleaned with a damp mop and household cleaners. However, if the glaze is scratched, it might be visible and more obvious over time. Ceramic tile is typically less expensive than porcelain.
· Porcelain tile is fired at extremely high temperatures resulting in a surface that is harder, denser, and more durable than most ceramic tile. The color of porcelain tile is extended throughout the entire tile, making scratches and chips less noticeable. This also makes porcelain more expensive, and more difficult to work with. If you’re considering a DIY job, ceramic tile will be more user friendly.
There are other types of tile as well. Terra-cotta, natural stone, glass, and concrete are a few of the other options, but these specialized tiles are not as popular as ceramic or porcelain.
The installation process for tile is pretty straightforward, and easy to learn. For flooring, large tiles of 12×12, 16×16, and 24×24 inches are popular. The larger the tile, the fewer the grout joints and the cleaner the look.
If you’re considering installing your own tile, plan to invest in a tile cutter, tile nippers, a notched trowel, a tile float and some serious time and patience. For the average do-it-yourselfer, the typical 8×8-foot bathroom requires two weekends: one weekend to lay tile and another for grouting. If you’ve never done tile before, it might take longer. Good tile work requires excellent math and measuring skills with the proper so you don’t end up crooked rows or gaping sections.
Grout is the stuff that fills the gap between tiles. Grout is important because it not only creates a solid, water-tight installation, but a beautiful design as well. Dark grout is usually a good choice because it hides dirt and stains better. Cement-based grout is commonly used for do-it-yourself projects. Epoxy grout is highly water- and stain-resistant and requires no sealer. It is, however, quite expensive and more often used professionally for countertop tile applications.
Tile is one of the easiest flooring to maintain. Simple soapy water and a good mop is all you need. If a heavy object is dropped on tile, it may crack, but it’s fairly simple to replace one tile, or a small section without replacing the entire flooring.
With tile, you can create hundreds of different styles with shapes and sizes and colors. There are tiles that mimic the look of hardwood floor or laminate but bring the durability and maintenance tile brings. If you want to take your tile to the next level, consider installing a radiant-heat system beneath a tile floor to keep it toasty-warm on chilly nights and frosty mornings.