Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ceramic/Porcelain Styles

If you love style options you’ve come to the perfect place. Ceramic tile has a style selection that is practically endless.

Today, smart shoppers are incorporating ceramic tile for its function and design options; inside and outside of their home. You can too.

Ceramic tile flooring and wall products are offered in a broad range of textures, patterns and sizes, and when combined with a spectrum of grout and glaze options, they offer significant styling options for any buyer, any home, any style.

We invite you to join us as we describe the beautiful and vast world of ceramic tile styles. A universe so large there’s bound to be a ceramic tile flooring solution for the way you live.

The basic 3: alluring, ageless and artful.

There are 3 types of ceramic tile: glazed, unglazed and porcelain. Understand them and you’re home free.

glazed ceramic tileunglazed ceramic tileporcelain floor tile

Glazed ceramic tiles:
are coated with glass-forming minerals and ceramic stains. Typically, they have a matte, semi-gloss or high-gloss finish.

They can offer better stain and moisture resistance than unglazed tile.

Glazed tiles can also have different finishes and you should be aware of them for future considerations. High gloss finishes can be more slippery and scratches can become more visible, while matte or textured finishes help with traction and scratches, and dirt is less visible.

Unglazed ceramic tiles:
are very hard and dense. They come in various surface treatments and textures. Typically, these are installed outside your home as they do not offer much protection against stains compared to glazed ceramic tile.

Unglazed tiles do have good slip resistance, however please note that they do require sealing to help prevent staining.

Porcelain tiles:
Porcelain tile is made up of 50% feldspar and is fired at a much higher temperature than regular ceramic tile.

This makes porcelain tile much harder and more dense than other tile products. Because of its highly durable make-up, porcelain is more resistant to scratches and can withstand temperature extremes.

Also, because porcelain is non-porous, it’s very stain resistant, has very low water absorption ratings (Less than 0.5%) and thus can be used for interior and exterior applications as well as heavy-use and commercial areas.

Finally, because porcelain’s color goes all the way through, small scratches or chips are less noticeable

A rule: think room size, not tile size.

When considering what size tile would be appropriate for your given space, start by determining the size of the room.

Often times, people think that small rooms call for small tile. That is not necessarily true.

In fact, incorporating a larger size tile in a smaller room will visually increase the size of the space. And fewer grout lines will help create a cleaner surface appearance. The choice is yours.

Conversely, using a tile size that’s too small creates more grout joints that may make the floor look too busy, again depending on the size of the space.

The bottom line here is that, as with all design elements, scale plays an important role in creating a room’s overall balance. So, please consider it carefully to achieve your desired look.

A master of disguises.

The look of natural stone is very popular but some consumers prefer ceramic over stone due to price and maintenance considerations.

stone floors

In answer to consumers’ demands, ceramic and porcelain manufacturers have created tiles that offer textures, colors and patterns resembling natural stone products.

Of the sought after looks in ceramic and porcelain tile, slate, travertine and marble are just a few.

To further enhance the natural look, tile can also be made to feature heavy textures, chiseled and hammered edges, and even resemble tumbled stone.

Ceramic tile texture is related to its style. So feel free to feel! The feel of a tumbled stone or slate looking ceramic tile will be irregular and somewhat rough.

A tile simulating marble or granite on the other hand, will have a very smooth, polished feel. In addition to the feel, textures also vary in degree of shine, ranging from dull to semi-gloss to glass-like.

The strong, rugged, outdoor type.

ceramic tile ideas

Ceramic tile is a versatile product, with many styles designed for today’s popular outdoor living areas.

Outdoor tile typically features non-skid finishes designed for safety when wet, sometimes installed on patios, walkways, or around pools.

Another important characteristic of ceramic tile designed for outdoor applications is its resistance to frost.

It’s a cold, hard fact, shopper. Ceramic tile manufactured for outdoor use has very low water absorption, minimizing the cracking, chipping and other effects of expansion when the temperature falls below freezing.

Beyond earthy styles there’s a universe of options.

In addition to ceramic tile styles, manufacturers also offer decorative inserts, medallions and mosaics that are used to create intricate patterns and beautiful borders.

Tile size 2”x2” and smaller are usually referred to as mosaics and are often used with different colors to create a pattern or decorative inset.

Some of these smaller tiles also come in different shapes, such as hexagon, so feel free to let your imagination run free.

decorative ceramic tiles

Patterned borders made up of different size tiles or different colors can create beautiful looks.

Simple variations in color, shape or size can be patterned within a room, or across several adjoining rooms.

When creating a pattern with different tiles, you should know that the more prominent tile that is throughout the largest areas is called the “field tile”.

With a little imagination, even the simplest design appears customized.

Combining styles and patterns of ceramic tile flooring with countertop and wall products can also create beautiful designs, and give your room an aesthetic balance.

Floor and wall tiles may be designed to look similar, but floor tiles are generally thicker and are textured to make them safer to walk on.

Wall tile styles are typically designed to have higher gloss, and are manufactured in smaller sizes. The large floor tiles are not designed to adhere to walls.


ceramic mosaic tile

There’s no doubt grout influences style.

Grout is a type of cement that is used to fill the space and provide support in tile joints.

There are two types of grout commonly used in home installations; Portland cement based, and epoxy based. (Now there’s a conversation starter at your next party!)

Both of these grout compounds may have sand added to provide additional strength to the tile joint.

Sanded grout is recommended for tile joints 1/8 th of an inch and larger. Unsanded grout is typically used in joints that are smaller than 1/8 th of an inch.

Grout can be pigmented to give a nearly infinite range of colors, shades and hues. Pigment is added to the cement at the job site when the grout is mixed.

Grout color and thickness will change the appearance of the floor and room dramatically.

Using a white or a light colored grout highlights the color in tile. Choosing a dark grout with a light tile, or light grout with a dark tile will emphasize the geometric pattern of your layout. So be wise and plan accordingly.

Whether you’re designing a simple geometric pattern or creating a mosaic, ceramic tile provides a lasting, naturally appearing floor.

Unmatched in style options, aesthetic appeal and durability, ceramic tile is a beautiful addition to any home. Perhaps yours!

The following article was taken directly from the World Floor Covering Association (www.wfca.org). Also, please visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs.

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