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Buying Tips for Ceramic & Porcelain Tile
The correct subfloor structure is critical to performance
The proper subfloor and setting materials are essential to a successful ceramic tile installation. Ceramic tile requires a double subfloor system with a total thickness of 1 ¼” over floor joists no more than 16” on center. Also, it is important to use the proper top layer for the subfloor – something specifically designed for ceramic tile installation such as cementitous backerboard or an exterior grade plywood.
If your existing floors are solid, and meet the above requirements, there are special setting materials that will allow ceramic tile installation directly on top. However, if the floor is not sturdy, there is a possibility of the grout cracking and releasing or the actual tiles cracking.
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. Often, these quality differences are 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. Also, they must 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.
Unfortunately, even with the highest quality tiles, dropping heavy objects directly on the tiles can cause chipping or cracking.