Ceramic and Porcelain

Buying Tips for Tile

The correct subfloor structure is critical to performance
In order to have a proper ceramic tile installation, it is essential to have both a sturdy subfloor and the correct setting materials. For best results, a double subfloor system with a total thickness of 1 ¼” over floor joists 16” on center is necessary. In addition, cementitous backerboard, which is specifically designed for tile installation, or exterior grade plywood should be used as the top subfloor layer.

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.

Although many ceramic tiles look the same, there are quality differences
The quality of raw materials, the firing process, and the sophistication of glazing applications that create realism will determine the quality of the finished product. These quality differences are often reflected in the price.

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.

Request the best in setting materials
With the addition of latex in some tile grouts and mortars, an option that provides both greater strength and increased flexibility is now available.

Special Caution
Be careful with your new tile floor – even with the highest quality tiles, dropping a heavy object can still cause chipping or cracking.