It is finally time to get the floor you have always dreamed of. So why are you staring at the selections and feeling helpless?
Is it because you must get the best tile for your money.
Well duh, we all want that.
I mean tile is expensive like really it is the most expensive flooring to install and most the permanent flooring solution. This can be beneficial as it will raise the value of the home.
Usually, though it means that you need to love the tile and not just like it, as you will be living with it for many years to come.
Maybe you just feel overwhelmed with the large selection to choose from. However, I am betting it is because you feel like you know very little about tile. To ease that overwhelmed feeling, I am going to go over 5 things that will help you make the best tile decisions for your home.
First, way to make the best tile decision is to know about the sub-floor.
Know what type of sub-flooring you have before you begin to shop for tile. This will help you determine the way that the tile needs to be installed. Tiles were originally created to be installed over concrete and it is still the perfect substrate. Just make sure that if there are any cracks that are present that you treat them properly before installation. Now, lots of tiles are installed over plywood with proper underlayment. If you have plywood you must install concrete backer board or dietra system over the plywood before installing your tile. Never install tile right on top of plywood the expansion and retraction of the plywood will crack the tile.
Second, way to make the best tile decision is to know the diverse types of tile.
Porcelain tile and ceramic tile can be often confused. The difference is in the center of the tile composition. Both tiles are made of clay and other natural materials. The porcelain tile centers are more refined and dense than a ceramic center. For example, envisioning a mason jar filled with BB's representing porcelain tile and another mason jar filled with marbles representing ceramic tile. The jar with the BB's will have smaller air pockets in between the BB's where the other jar will have larger air pockets between the marbles. This means that the porcelain tile is dense and more durable than the ceramic as there are fewer air pockets. Both types are suitable for all residential usage. The other type of tiles to consider are natural stones such as travertine, marble, granite, and slate. All natural stones will require more maintenance and must be sealed as they are naturally porous and can readily stain or grow bacteria.
Third, way to make the best tile decision is to know which direction to lay the tile.
Part of the beauty of tile is that you can be the most creative with it. Tiles are available in varied sizes and can be laid on many different patterns. The most frequently laid patterns are straight stacked with grout lines all lined up, on a brick bond pattern where the tiles are offset by a half of a block, or on diagonal. Wall tiles can be laid on these patterns with the tiles ran vertically or horizontally. I always recommend switching up the pattern if you are doing a shower and bathroom floor. For example, run the floor tile on a straight stack and the shower walls on a diagonal. This works the same way for kitchen floors and backsplashes. This changing of the pattern can add more interest to space without adding lots of extra expense. Just don't add to many patterns that fight each other for attention.
Fourth, way to make the best tile decision is to know which grout to use.
Let's face it, usually, more complaints are heard from the grout than from the tile. There are now lots of new types of superior grouts that are available that are more stain resistance. These new grouts contain sealers already mixed in with the grout and now contain hardeners. This makes grouts easier to maintain. As these grouts are newer not all tile installers are comfortable using the new materials, they can be tricky to work with. Always use what your installer is comfortable with. If they are not familiar with the new grouts then I would suggest using a regular grout and adding a grout boost to the grout. By adding a grout boost you are adding in sealer in an extra step without adding the hardening adjacent. Try to remember that the lighter the tile is the lighter the grout tends to be. I always recommend going with a grout with some color if possible as the darker the grout is the less likely it is to show stains later. Grouts are less porous and easier to clean than they use to be but let's face it they are still grout and will still stain.
Fifth, way to make the best tile decision is to know why you should be careful of big box store tile.
Big Box stores tend to have low prices on tile. Yes, of course, they have lots of buying power. But the savings needs to come with a buyer beware. These stores typically only carry these cheaper tiles for a limited time. This means that if you don't purchase enough you may not be able to get more tile. These tiles that can be found at lower prices as well may not be completely square. This can cause grout lines to get off during installation making the tile very difficult to line up properly. The tiles can also be a bit different in thickness from piece to piece. This uneven thickness will cause an unlevel floor. This can cause problems for furniture sitting on the tile. I am sure you have experienced an unlevel table before due to the floor.
By following these five things you will have a superior floor that will last for many many years to come. If you are needing more help with other kinds of flooring check out my ebook What you need to know before you buy a new floor.