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Types: There are three types of ceramic tile, glazed, unglazed, and porcelain.
Glazed tile: coatede with glass forming minerals and stains. They can have a matte,
semi-gloss, or high gloss finish. This type of tile offers better stain and moisture
resistance than unglazed tile. Fingerprints and scratches will show more with a
high gloss tile. Tiles with a high gloss finish are better suited for a bathroom
counter or wall than they are for a kitchen countertop. Matte or textured finishes
help hide fingerprints.
Unglazed tile: This type of tile is very hard and dense. This type of tile is typically
installed outside , since they don't offer much protection against stains compared
to glazed tile. Unglazed tile must be sealed to prevent staining.
Porcelain tile: This is the hardest and densest tile of the three. It can withstand
extreme temperatures. The color in a porcelain tile goes all the way through the
tile. They are non-porous and resist scratching.
Sizes: Tile comes in a huge variety of sizes ranging from less than an inch to greater
than 20 by 20 inches. Larger tiles can make a small room appear bigger due to fewer
grout lines being needed. Smaller tiles offer additional traction or slip resistance
due to the additional grout lines.
Mosaics: Any tile that is less than 2 by 2 inches are usually referred to as mosaics.
These types of tiles are usually grouped together in different colors and styles
to create patterns and are generally used as accent pieces in a tile layout. Additionally,
accent pieces or decos, liners, chair rails, and other decorative pieces can help
to create unique, personalized, one of a kind patterns for your tile area. Trim
tile finishes off your tile layout and completes your installation by finishing off
the corners and edges. They can either be the same as the field, or main tile or
of a complementary color.
Colors: Color, shade, and texture variation is something that should be considered
when selecting a ceramic tile. Solid color tiles provide a consistent look. Shade
variations are going to be present in any ceramic tile. Shade variation varies depending
on the style of tile in question. Some tiles are designed to have a greater shade
variation than other styles. The amount of shade variation in a particular type
of tile will be listed on the display boards as either low, meduim, high, or random.
Tiles that are intended to look like stone will intentionally show variation in
the different tiles.
Grout: Grout should be chosen based on the usage that the particular area will be
getting. Grout is porous, and will darken over time, especially in areas of high
water use. Grout color will vary from the sample based on moisture levels where
the tile was installed, as well as the temperature.
Slip Resistance: The COF, or coefficient of friction rating will tell you the relative
slip resistance of a particular tile. The higher the rating, the more slip resistant
the tile is. This is particularly important in places where there is a possibility
of moisture on the floor, such as a bathroom or kitchen floor.
Upgrading: Upgrading your tile offers many benefits, including access to the higher
performance tiles. You will also find a wider selection of styles, sizes, colors,
textures, and finishes to choose from. Upgrading will also usually offer a greater
selection of design options, such as borders, patterns, decos, clipped corner tiles,
Care and Maintenance: Sand and dirt can damage a tiles surface over time. Rugs placed
at entrances will help keep dirt from being tracked in. Sweep or vaccuum your tile
areas twice a week. Clean tile weekly with a damp sponge mop with a solution of
¼ cup white vinegar to two gallons of water, or use a cleaner specifically made for
cleaning tile. Avoid using steel wool pads as loose steel pieces can cause rust
stains in the grout. Acid or amonia based chemicals can alter grout color.