13 Things You Should Know About Tiles
When you’re contemplating building a new home or remodeling your existing Connecticut home, choosing new tile may not be the first item on your to-do list. But because there are so many different kinds of tiles—and applications—it’s a good idea to get a jump on collecting information so that you can make the best decisions possible for your project when the time comes.
Fun Facts About Tile
While tile may sometimes take a backseat to items such as countertops, cabinets, appliances, and window treatments, the impact tile can have (in an entryway, a kitchen, or a bathroom) is significant. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some fun and fascinating facts (along with a few tips) that can help you make the most of these geometrically shaped pieces of pottery or porcelain.
- Tiles have been around for a long time. In fact, the earliest known tiles were found in an archaeological dig in Egypt, and they date back to about 4,700 BC.
- Tiles are the number one choice of wall covering in bathrooms because they are easy to clean, non-porous when glazed, and mold resistant.
- Ceramic tiles are the most common type of tile and offer the widest variety.
- Porcelain tiles cost more than ceramic, but they are stronger, better for higher traffic areas, and available in large formats up to two feet square!
- Real stone and marble tiles are much more expensive and more difficult to work with. They can also be porous and may need to be sealed. There are, however, some very realistic and smart engineered faux alternatives available.
- Bullnose refers to the rounded edge of a tile, which can be either single bullnose (rounded on one edge) or double bullnose (rounded on both sides).
- Subway tiles are typically 3 x 6 inches, and, as the name suggests, were often used in subways in the US. They are traditionally white, but come in a variety of colors and can be laid in a variety of patterns, including herringbone!
- Mosaic tiles are small tiles that have been used to create decorative patterns for millennia. These days, mosaics are often supplied on a pre-made cloth backing, which makes applying them much easier than it used to be!
- Listellos are the Italian name for finger tiles. These are small, narrow, short tiles (often in a variety of shades or colors) that are used to create borders or decorative features in higher end tiling installations.
- Wall tiles are usually thinner, smaller and lighter. They are also usually weaker, and not designed to withstand significant temperature changes. That’s why you never want to use wall tiles on the floor.
- Tile cement is a premixed mortar that only requires the addition of water to create a thick, glue-like paste that is used to stick tiles to walls and floors.
- Grout is very fine powdered cement that comes in a variety of different colors that is used to fill the gaps between tiles.
- Tile must be installed on a flat surface, or it will crack or loosen over time. Self-leveling cement compounds can fix slightly uneven floors, and walls can be filled or plastered if there are small holes or imperfections. For large issues, it may be necessary to re-hang new drywall or replace the sub floor.
When it comes to bathroom tiling or any other space in your home, maintenance is key. Regardless of the types of tile you choose, be it ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone, proper care ensures longevity and keeps them looking pristine. Here are some basic knowledge points about tiles and their maintenance:
- Cleaning: Use a damp cloth or mop for simple tiles. Avoid abrasive cleaners which can scratch or damage the tile surface.
- Sealing: Some tiles, especially natural stone, require sealing to prevent moisture absorption. Re-seal as recommended.
- Drying: After cleaning, especially in bathrooms, ensure tiles are dried properly. While the surface dries quickly, grout and adhesive might take longer.
Our Favorite Timeless Tile Trends
Because installing tile is somewhat labor intensive it's not something you want to replace every few years. So how do you choose a tile that won't look outdated right away? Here's a quick look at some current bathroom tile trends you may want to consider. As you review these options that are popular today, keep in mind that there is a big difference between a trend and a fad. Here’s a post that explores that comparison in more detail.
Current contemporary designs tend to lean heavily toward the use of neutral tile colors. They work well with the sleek and simple lines of contemporary design. Both beige and grey are currently popular choices for complementary colors.
New-Look Subway Tiles
Not that long ago, some designers predicted the death of subway tiles. They were seen as too boring. Today, subway tiles are a bit more interesting. There is more variety in size, color, and pattern in the current crop of subway tiles. Plus, some designers and homeowners are using contrasting grout color to achieve a more striking effect.
Marvelous Matte Finishes
Often people think of glossy finishes when considering tile. Matte finished tiles, however, create a soft and striking beauty that never looks “over-the-top. A nice feature of matte tiles is that they don’t smudges or watermarks nearly as much as tiles with a glossy finish.
We already mentioned that the sizes and shapes of subway tiles have changed. That's something that's occurring with other kinds of tile as well. Depending on your situation (and your personal sense of style) you can get really creative with your use of tile with new graphic patterns that can be subtle touches or look like a piece of art.
Patterns and colors aren’t the only things that are changing in the world of tile. We’re starting to see new shapes as well. If you browse through design sites (such as houzz.com) you’ll see traditional shapes (such as rectangles) alongside hexagons, arabesque, fish scales, and other geometric shapes.
With the increasing emphasis on sustainability, eco-friendly tiles are gaining popularity. These tiles not only reduce the carbon footprint but also introduce unique aesthetics to spaces.
- Materials: Many eco-friendly tiles are made from recycled materials, like glass or sustainable clay sources.
- Energy Efficiency: The production process for these types of tiles for kitchen and bathroom spaces often uses less energy.
- Air Quality: Some tiles are designed to improve indoor air quality by reducing VOC emissions.
The tiling process has seen significant advancements over the years. From the tile installation process to the designs, there's always something new in the world of tiles. Here's what's trending:
- 3D Printed Tiles: Modern technology allows for intricate designs and patterns to be 3D printed onto tiles, offering a vast array of new tiles design options.
- Anti-Slip Tiles: Innovations have led to tiles that are slip-resistant, making them safer for areas like bathrooms.
- Large Format Tiles: Bigger tiles mean fewer grout lines, leading to a more seamless look. These are especially popular for contemporary spaces.
- Setting Time: With advancements in adhesive formulas, many often wonder, "When can I walk on new tile?" While traditional adhesives might require 24 hours or longer, some new formulations allow for quicker setting times, some as quickly as a few hours.
Remember, whether you're prepping for a tile floor or simply exploring the different types of tiles available, it's essential to be informed. Tiles are a significant investment, and the right choice can transform a space. Ready to create? Our expert team can't wait to meet you. We are excited to show you the magic that we can create when our expertise meets your style!