How to Choose the Right Tile Flooring for Your Home
22nd August 2018
Do you want to add tile flooring to your bathroom or kitchen? Are your hardwood floors and carpet showing more traffic than you want? Is tile an option you feel might work better for your family and space? We talk about some things you should know about choosing the best tile options for your home in this blog.
Tiles are made from many materials
You can use anything from ceramic to stone to glass on your floors, but some options are better for walls. Not every tile is ideal for areas where it will get wet like Terracotta. The primary decision for rooms with moisture is to choose flooring that has a maintenance schedule you are comfortable with sticking to once the tile is in place.
Best tiles for wet floors
While any tile except brick veneer is acceptable for bathroom floors if you seal it, some are easier to use than others. Ceramic and natural stone are beautiful selections for bathrooms and work well in showers as long as you properly seal the flooring and give it time to cure before use. Glass tiles are excellent for shower floors, and mosaic tile is a huge favorite among remodeling crews, designers, and homeowners because these tiles often come with a mesh backing to make them easier to install. Porcelain is another fantastic choice for kitchens or baths.
Tile for entrances, halls, and living areas
High-traffic rooms with little moisture can use brick, terrazzo, quarry tile, Saltillo, cement, and any of the wet room tiles for your den, family room, or office. These materials give you tons of design options and let you add texture to a space. Just remember that brick veneer is a tile made to look like brick, but it is much thinner and works better on walls rather than floors if you choose this material.
A variety of tile sizes give you tons of options
Whether you want small mosaics or large porcelain tiles, there are hundreds of choices for you to consider for your floors. Smaller areas do best with the tiny tiles or mosaics. A spa feeling in your room comes from using a large, long floor tile that will look sleek and modern. Flooring tiles can be as small as one by one squares and reach as large as two-foot by two-foot squares.
Hardness ratings tell you how long your floors will last
The durability of your floor is likely a top concern for you. While not every company lists the hardness ratings, you can find out the classification for each material with a little digging. The Mohs scale refers to the hardness of the floor. For bathrooms and kitchens, you will want to remember to get something with a slip-resistant application or have this material put on the tile before you use the room. The application is gritty and gives your feet something to latch onto when the floor is wet.
- 1st class – for walls only
- 2nd class – light traffic or walls
- 3rd class – excellent for walls or counters, great for light traffic areas in the home or office
- 4th class – medium to moderate traffic, ideal for residential buildings and light commercial use
- 5th class – heavy duty tiles that will work for industrial applications and any home use
Even the way your tile is fired can make a difference in the hardness of the floor
Did you know that some tile goes through a second baking in the oven? Tiles that go through dual firings have two glaze coats, and these materials end up thicker than single-fired tiles. The more time a tile spends in the kiln, and the hotter the oven runs will increase the hardness of your flooring.
Porosity affects how fast your floor will stain
This characteristic involves how many air holes are in your flooring. The more porous the tile, the faster it will soak up stains and liquids. Semi-vitreous and non-vitreous flooring tiles are not good for outdoor use because they will soak up the most liquid. For these applications, we recommend using an impervious tile that has a dense structure that does not let the tile absorb moisture. Using the wrong tile outside in a climate where there are freezing and thawing cycles will cause the material to break and crack. For entryways, bathrooms, and kitchens, we suggest using impervious tiles or going with a vitreous material.
Your new flooring will need routine sealing and maintenance to ensure that it stays strong and looks beautiful for decades. Using the manufacturer’s suggestions for cleaning is highly recommended to prolong the use of the floor. For wet or high-traffic areas, look closely at porosity and hardness classes to make sure that you are getting a product that will withstand the use your family puts it through before you purchase. By picking products that have the characteristics you need, your tile floors will be a source of conversation and beauty that you will cherish for many years.