Buying Tips

  • Ceramic and Porcelain Tile are made of clay baked in a kiln.
  • Tiles range in size from 4″ to 20″.
  • Smooth surface.
  • Textured surface.
  • Stone-look surface.
  • Glazing – Adds a protective layer to resist water and stains and can enhance color.
  • Tile needs a stable sub-floor to prevent the tile and grout from cracking.
  • The area were tile is to be installed must be clean, dry and level.
  • The floor joists must strong enough to support the weight of the tile and its subsurface.
  • Cement Board – This is basically a board of concrete. It usually comes in 4’x4’ sheets that are ¼ to ½ inch thick. It is the most commonly used subsurface.
  • Concrete – An excellent subsurface.
  • Gypcrete – A lightweight, self-leveling concrete-like subsurface made of gypsum and bonding agents.

If the floor will be subject to impact or abrasion, check the tile’s hardness rating. There are several ratings to choose from, choose the one best for you. Choose heat-resistant tiles for a fireplace hearth.

Basics

Ceramic tile is offered in a dazzling array of sizes and colors, with finishes ranging from smooth to textured or even a tile that looks like stone. It is versatile enough to work with the décor of any room. For these reasons it has been an ideal flooring choice for hundreds of years and millions of homes.

Ceramic tile is made from clay and other minerals that has been shaped, pressed, then fired for hardness at temperatures exceeding 2,000º F. To give the tile a protective finish, a glaze is applied before firing.

  • Offer an amazing variety of textures, designs, and colors.
  • Provide a tough stain and fade resistance.
  • Are perfect for any area that sees a lot of moisture like kitchens and bathrooms, or a lot of traffic like entryways.
  • Can come with coordinating trim, transition pieces, and decorative accents.

Porcelain tile is a type of ceramic made of a very fine mixture of clays and minerals similar to those found in fine dinnerware.  It has a wonderful beauty but is just as tough and durable as ceramic. This unique mixture allows it to be fired at higher temperatures than ceramic – exceeding 2,400 º F. This higher temperature makes it denser and more resistant to moisture.

  • Is denser and harder than most tile flooring.
  • Is Extra stain and water resistant.
  • Has naturally easy to clean surfaces.
  • Beautiful and durable, both in the home or in commercial applications.

Care & Maintenance

Caring and maintaining ceramic tile is usually a breeze due to its durability and resistance to moisture. Routine cleaning wall tiles only involves wiping with a damp cloth or sponge. Floor tiles require sweeping and vacuuming (without a beater bar) and wiping clean with a damp cotton mop. All-purpose cleaners, like Mr. Clean, Spic ‘n Span, or Lysol, are fine to mop with. Be weary of cleaners that contain acid or ammonia. For heavy soil build up let the cleaning mixture soak into the dirt for 5-10 minutes before mopping (or scrubbing if the floor is that bad). Do not let the cleaning solution dry on the tile, though. But the floors should not get that dirty if you routinely sweep and mop and clean up spills immediately.

Some special challenges do come up with floor ceramic tiling, though. For instance, if chewing gum should ever get stuck on your ceramic tile floor don’t worry, it’s easy to remove. Just harden the gum by holding a piece of ice on it. Then simply scrape it off with a spatula or credit card. If you have a nail polish accident use nail polish remover (acetone) and allow it to sit on the polish for a minute or two. Then scrape off the softened nail polish.

Even though it’s durable, there are still some tips you should be mindful of. You should avoid placing sharp objects on your tile floor. When you can, use plastic floor protectors to prevent furniture legs from scratching the tile. And try to avoid walking on tile floors in narrow-heeled shoes.

With tile floors, it’s not only the tiles that need attention. The grout in between the tiles needs special care. Since it is porous, sealing it will simplify maintenance and cleaning. Shortly after your tile floor is installed, after the tile has been cleaned and dried, grout joints should be treated with a sealer. This will help protect it from staining and if it does get dirty it should come off when you mop.

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