Buying Tips for Ceramic Tile
Tile is perhaps the most versatile product to use when decorating a space. The wide range of colors, surface textures, shapes and sizes are ideal for creating a custom look of your own. Manufacturers have made it easier than ever for you to obtain a special look by creating matching wall tiles with floor tiles and a variety of decorative tiles and liners. While many think of ceramic tile as bathroom tile, new natural stone designs have moved tile into many other rooms. The list of options varies from small designs in mosaic tile and glass tiles to large format wall tiles and floor tiles. Granite and marble tiles are often used for more formal settings while porcelain and quarry tile is used commercially.
The correct subfloor structure is critical to performance
Ceramic tile, more than any other form of flooring, requires the proper subfloor system and setting materials. A double subfloor system with the total thickness of 1-1/4″, over floor joists 16″ on center is required. The top subfloor layer should be exterior grade plywood or an underlayment specifically designed for ceramic tile installation like cementous backerboard.
Special setting materials are available which will allow ceramic tile installations over existing floors that are solid and already meet the above requirements. Failure to provide a sturdy base can cause grout to crack and release or tile to crack.
Different Tile Surfaces
Selecting the right surface glaze is an important step when selecting floor tile. Floor tiles are rated for glaze wear and slip resistance, which are important factors to consider. Glaze ratings should exceed 3 for residential applications with the exception of bath areas that can use tiles rated 2. Tiles with a slip resistant rating of 0.5 or better should work well in most indoor residential applications.
Use caution when selecting tile for installations outdoors. Unglazed quarry tiles, tiles with heavily textured surfaces, or porcelain paver tiles, all with slip resistant ratings of 0.6 or greater are possibilities. They must also be frost resistant.