Tiles are most often made of ceramic, but there are other common materials also like stone, metal, glass, cement, and other composite materials used in manufacturing tiles. Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, showers, walls, and floors. They are also popular choice for kitchen countertops. Tiling stone is typically marble, onyx, granite or slate. Thinner tiles are more commonly used on walls than on floors.
Tiles are stylish flooring option, be it your living room, kitchen or bathroom. Floor tiles come in wide options—color and size. Spacing between tiles is also an important factor towards the final look, as well as the color of grout. By giving careful consideration to all these aspects you will end up with a flooring base that is perfect complement for your room décor.
Tiles are great flooring option if you have allergies as dust and hairs are easily cleaned away—just sweep or vacuum clean. Add an elegant touch to your home with various types of tiles.
Types of Tiles
Ceramic tile is the most popular choice for tiling. It is recommended for light traffic area like bathroom. Ceramic tiles are made from clay and other materials that are fired in a kiln then treated with glazed color. A key benefit of ceramic tiles is they do not need to be sealed after they have been fixed in a place. They are manufactured in huge range of colors, designs, effects and variety of sizes. They are cost effective and easy to maintain and clean.
Quarry tile is an unglazed ceramic tile. Colors in tiles come from pigments present in clay. These tiles must be sealed for stain resistance.
Terra cotta tiles are made of red clay bisque, same material as garden clay pots use for. These tiles are fired in relatively low temperature, producing a fragile tile with distinct and natural appearance. These tiles are very absorbent and should be sealed for indoor use.
Porcelain tiles are clay tiles fired in high temperature making a dense and durable tile that is moisture resistant. They are more suitable for heavy traffic areas such as kitchens and living rooms. These tiles can handle frost and freezing conditions making it suitable for outdoors use. Porcelain can be finished glazed, unglazed or polished.
These tiles are pieces of glass cut, colored and hand-finished into various uniform shapes, styles, patterns and textures. These tiles are most popular wall tiling. Glass tiles naturally reflect light giving illusion of depth. They are available as both mosaic collections with mesh backing or as individual tiles.
Cement is poured into molds and then fired to produce the tiles. Colors can be added to the mortar for a custom look. Sealing is required for moisture and stain resistance.
Tiles from natural stones like travertine, marble, limestone, slate and granite give your room an authentic and elegant ambience finish. These tiles offer durability and beauty with color variation. Travertine tiles are packed with character and no two tiles are exactly the same. Marble tiles come polished with high-shine finish and used throughout to provide a feeling of cleanliness, opulence and luxury. These tiles can be used both indoors and outdoors. Seal these tiles before using for water and stain resistance.
Mosaic tiles are a combination of ceramic, glass and/or metal tiles mounted on a mesh backing for easier installation. Mosaics are available in a variety of colors and patterns and can be cut to the desired size.
Basic sizes and shapes:
Now that we have seen various options of tiles available in the market. We need to determine the size of tiles. The size of tiles depends on the size of the room. Large room with small tiles can be impractical while smaller room with large tiles can make space look smaller. If you have long rectangular room, then lay rectangular or plank style tiles. This will get the space look wider and more spacious than it actually is.
Floor tile is usually ½ inch to ¾ inch thick, manufactured in squares measuring 4 X 4 inches up to 24 X 24 inches. Square tile are easy to work with and you can calculate how many you need to cover the surface area. Other shapes are available such as rectangular “subway tile”, octagonal and hexagonal shapes.
Mosaic tiles are 2 inch or smaller squares and can be installed individually. Mosaic tiles are sold prearranged on a webbed backing.
Tiles are rated by the Portland Enamel Institute which judges the durability of a tile based on rating 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest). In general, hardness rating of 3 or greater is required for flooring and lower level materials should only be used for walls.
When calculating the number of tiles required you can use the following rule: length X width + waste = surface area of the floor. Furthermore, divide the surface area of the floor by the area of the tiles and you get the numbers of tiles required. Waste factor is based upon tile size, pattern, and configuration of room. Typically waste factor is calculated at 10 to 15%. When you are laying tiles, start from the centre of the largest wall or surface and work your way from there. Each tile should be firmly pushed into place using spacers to create a small gap that is filled with grouting for fitting.