Choosing Tiles

Ceramic tiles are the most commonly used because they are functional and durable and in a lot of cases cheaper to buy, although natural stone tiles such as Granite, Marble, Slate, and Terracotta are also becoming increasingly more popular domestically, but please be aware with these type of tiles a greater skill and care is needed in preparation and laying. If laying on a wooden floor then I recommend at least a 9mm board with a flexible adhesive and grout. When tiling onto new plaster, at least 2 - 4 weeks should be given for the plaster to dry, this then requires priming. with plasterboard this should be primed at least twice and takes roughly 3 days to cure.

Be sure when buying your tiles you choose to suit your purpose. For example, some tile is sturdy enough that it can be installed outdoors in just about any climate. Other tile, however, is only strong enough for indoor floors or walls and countertops. So when choosing tile, it’s important to pick the right tile for the job. Note how the tiles are rated for slip-resistance. Heavily glazed tiles won't work very well in wet areas such as bathrooms, entryways and kitchens, as when wet they the surface becomes slippery and can cause accidents.

If the speed of the job is important, remember that larger tiles are quicker to install on average, but do remember they require the tiling surface to be extremely flat ( not more than 2mm out over 2 mtrs ). A rapid set adhesive can be used here, it is more expensive but dries quicker.

Tiles are very durable – so much that, depending on use, some types may last for the lifetime of the house. While picking something trendy, like glass or metal, might seem stylish at the time, it can also look outdated in a few years. Solid or lightly patterned tiles in neutral colours have a classic look and are easy to decorate around. High-sheen tiles easily show dust and dull footprints from people and pets. If you want your room to appear larger than it really is , pick large, light coloured tiles. Smaller, darker tiles make a space seem smaller and more intimate. Take home some sample tiles so you can get an idea of how they will look in your chosen room. Dry-lay (lay the tiles on the surface without adhesive) to see whether the colour and design work with the room's lighting.  You can also test potential tiles to see if they are easy to clean and if they stain at all. Put pencil mark, felt tip, soil etc on the tile and rub it in, see if the tile stains or not. If it does it is probable that it will require sealing.  White and light-colored grouts can be difficult to keep clean. This is especially true on floors. By choosing a darker grout you can save yourself lots of cleaning time.

Classifications of ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles are classified based on their water absorption levels as follows:
Non-vitreous: tiles with 7% or more water absorption and suited for indoor use only. 
Semi-vitreous: tiles with between 3% and 7% water absorption and suited for indoor use only. 
Vitreous: tiles with between 5% and 3% water absorption. They can be used in exterior areas unless where the freeze could cause tile crackling. 
Impervious: tiles with less than 5% water absorption and as they are frost proof they can be used in exterior areas.

Selecting Tile.

Selecting tile boils down to aesthetics and practicality. There are unlimited design possibilities. But before choosing a style, the homeowner should consider where it will be used (floor or wall, inside or outside) in order to ensure that the tile selected is appropriate.
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Room Size

Room size helps determine tile size. As larger homes have become more popular, so have larger tiles. Larger tiles tend to visually expand a smaller area, and unify a larger area. From a design standpoint, larger tiles also mean fewer grout lines and a more tailored, less busy look. However, in a small room, using a larger tile could result in numerous cuts and use of partial tiles, which can detract from the desired look.

Grout Colour

Grout colour is one more opportunity for the homeowner to define their style: Matching the tile colour creates a more seamless floor.  Complementing or accenting the tile with a shade slightly different from the colour of the tile adds depth to the tile design without creating a bold outline. Using a contrasting colour emphasizes the pattern created by the tile.

For centuries, tiles have been valued for their beauty and durability. In the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece and Rome, tiles were used as a functional material and as decoration in the houses of the most important citizens, as well as in public buildings such as baths and temples. The fact that often, when these buildings are excavated, the tiled floors are still intact is a testament to the durability of tiles.

Nowadays there's a massive variety of tiles to choose from, giving you countless options when it comes to putting your designs into action. People are choosing ceramic & natural stone tiles for many reasons:

SAFETY

The tiles are very safe, they're non-flammable and don't conduct electricity.
They're hygienic, they don't attract or absorb dirt, and they're very easy to clean.
They're also healthy and ideal for those with asthma or allergies as they don't harbour dust, pollen, dust mites or cancer causing benzene from car fumes.

COMFORT

Tiles are very comfortable under foot.
They have thermal insulation and soundproofing qualities. They're not cold but actually absorb and retain heat, like mini storage heaters & are suitable for use with under floor heating.
They're also odour free and, unlike fabrics and carpets, they don't absorb odours nor do they provide a place for fleas to hide.

STYLE

Tiles look fantastic.
Nothing transforms a room quite like tiles, plus they'll add value to your home (if fitted professionally!)

COST

Tiles are no more expensive than many other wall and floor coverings. As tiles last for such a long time, looking almost exactly as they did when new, if you consider the cost over their design life, they're far cheaper than wallpaper, wood or carpet. They also have the added advantage that any damage can be repaired.