What you need to know before you choose tile
Thinking of putting tile in your new bathroom, kitchen, breakfast room, laundry room, patio, foyer or fireplace hearth in your new NC custom home?
Here are nine ways to go - but not all of them work interchangeably.
1. Ceramic Tile
Ceramic tile is known for its durability, resistance to dampness, affordability, and ease of cleaning. Glazed or unglazed, smooth or textured, and available in a wide variety of colors and styles, it is the builder's choice for most tile floors, walls, or accents.
Ceramic tile consists of slabs of clay that are fired, which makes it very hard. However, it has to extra strong to tolerate expansion and contraction from temperature changes, so it may not be the best tile to use outdoors. Sealant should be applied every 4 years, which makes it water tolerant even with a hose-down.
2. Natural Stone Tile
Natural stone - quarried slate, limestone, flagstone, granite, or marble are natural materials that can be cut into tiles, even though they are more often used as full countertop materials.
These kinds of material are typically more expensive than manufactured tile, and although they are beautiful and each piece is unique, there are drawbacks to be considered. For example, marble requires a lot of maintenance, and can crack, stain, or mark easily. Slate is soft and can split. Granite is durable, dense, and strong, but has few options. Natural stone requires extra care and sealant due to natural permability.
3. Cement Tile
Cement tile is created by pouring cement into molds and firing or drying naturally. The cement may be colored. This kind of tile will show stains unless it has been well sealed, and is not as common.
4. Porcelain Tile
Porcelain tile is made from material similar to that used for ceramic tile, but because it is fired at a very high temperature, it is denser and more resistant to moisture. It is stronger and more durable than ceramic tile. It is also fine-grained and smooth, and can be matte, unglazed, or polished. Porcelain tile is becoming less expensive and more common.
5. Terrazzo Tile
Terrazzo is known for its beauty, style and permanence, but it is expensive and can be somewhat of a slick surface. Terrazzo is made up of a cement or epoxy base in which stone or marble chips are imbedded. The surface is then highly polished. The shiny result is conducive to forming a focal point, which is why terrazzo is often used as an accent piece.
6. Saltillo Tile
Saltillo (Mexican tile) contributes more of an artistic element than the harder-cast elements of a solid working surface. The tiles are generally handmade and air dried, so they are a little softer and less durable, with a unique look from exposure to elements. Check to see whether the manufacturer has sealed these tiles - which must be sealed when used indoors.
7. Terra Cotta Tile
Terra Cotta can vary widely in terms of quality. Its clay base is usually formed from natural rich red and orange colors. These tiles are absorbent, and most often used on patios. They must be sealed for indoor use.
8. Agglomerate Tile
Agglomerate is another textured tile, created by mixing graded marble or granite chips with portlar cement, polyester resin or epoxy. The quality of these tiles depends on the mixture, which varies.
9. Glass Mosaic Tile
Glass mosaics can be expensive when used in bulk, but this kind of tile is more popular as medallions or accents with full size ceramic or other tiles. It typically comes in shades of blue, green, brown, clear or translucent, on sheets that are designed for easy application.
Choosing Types of Tile for your New Home
When you see all the types of tile you can use in your new home, you may even want to mix and match different textures and materials, for a more interesting montage.
Just remember that different types of tile require different sealant applications. Some are more durable. And costs can vary widely.
Your local custom home builder or tiling center expert can show you all the types of tile available for your new home. Be sure to ask for the bottom line regarding each of these considerations!
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