Why Use Ceramic or Porcelain Tile?



Design Variety

There are so many different porcelain and ceramic tiles available it might surprise you. Tile can be made to look like almost any material you can imagine. It can be made to look like Granite. It can be made to look like Stone. Tile can even be made to look like wood planks.

When you consider the disadvantages of products like marble and granite (porous, so they stain), stone (more expensive and more fragile), vinyl (wears out in high traffic areas), brick (it can chip), wood (it can dent), slate (soft and porous, so it stains and wears unevenly), tile really stands out for its long lasting beauty.

It can be argued that tile is superior to all of those products because it can look like any of them, yet is more durable.

Interesting textures and custom cut-pieces can make a tiled area appealing to the eye, and as a floor, intriguing to the bare foot. (You might not be conscious of it at first, but your feet may smile up at you.)

Value

Porcelain or ceramic tile is the best choice for so many applications because of how well it performs for the money. If installed correctly, it is hard to find anything that will outperform it.

Tile makes your home a better value to the next owner (buyer). Why? Because tile forms a strong, protective barrier on surfaces, and does it beautifully. When (properly) installed on walls and floors, tile also protects rooms underneath from water leakage. Water and moisture protection is particularly important in bathrooms, laundry, and mud rooms, but can also be useful in kitchens, entry foyers, deep window ledges, and fireplace hearths.

Rugged

A good quality tile is very robust and will outlast most other products. If a commercial grade is installed, it is so strong that you might have a very hard time damaging it, no matter what you tried to do to it. Finally, the solid body color of many porcelain tiles means that if the surface actually ever did chip, it can be hard to see the damage.

Clean

There is a reason that hospitals and restaurants use tile in so many places. It does not stain under most conditions. It can be cleaned thoroughly, quickly, easily and cheaply. At the same time, you can find tile in a wide variety of warm colors and interesting textures. If grouted and sealed correctly, a glazed ceramic or porcelain tile can be cleaned so thoroughly that you can literally eat off it.

Appeal to the Eye

Besides coming in a variety of color and textures, you can find tiles in many different sizes and shapes.

If you love the look of terracota but don't want to use the same floor tile everywhere, you can use several different types. For instance: in the entrance or hallway, use a dark terracotta-look commercial grade porcelain laid in a herringbone pattern. On the living room floor, use a light-colored larger tile laid on diagonal, with small accents cut into the large tiles at key intersections. For the den, use light and dark shades, and mix small and large sizes (squares & rectangles) for a more casual look. For the kitchen floor, you might use a warm shade of terracotta, laid on square.

The above example is offered as a suggestion of possibilities. It is best to see the tile you like installed on a wall or floor before having it installed in your own home. It should come as no surprise that a good tile installation is not easily removed.

Hide It or Highlight It

Depending on the color and texture of the grout, you can make the tiled surface appear continuous (like it is one large piece), or instead you can make it obvious that the floor is made up of individual pieces. Matching the grout color to the tile color will help to make the installation look like one continuous surface. Using a high contrast grout color, such as white grout between black tiles, will help to make both the tiles and the grout highly visible.

Most people like a grout that somewhat matches their tile's color and brightness. On the other hand, a contrasting grout color can provide a signature experience, allowing the hand-crafted nature of the installation to peek through. Some tile is designed to allow a small quantity of grout (and colorant) to remain on the surface, which adds character and individuality to the intallation. When that surface is under foot, sanded grout will also add some anti-slip characteristics. And finally, when adding accent tiles, the grout color chosen typically matches the field tile, to better showcase the accent tiles.

One more thing about grout. Non-sanded grout will hold in tighter grout spaces, those under 1/8 an inch, and is usually used for wall tile. Non-sanded grout will also not scratch (softer) wall tile when installed. Sanded grout is used with harder tile, in between tiles on floors (or walls) with grout spaces of 1/8 of inch or larger. The sand gives extra body to the grout and prevents sagging between the edges of the tiles, and also provides extra strength and durability.