Here you find useful information on various tile and stone products.
Ceramic Tile — Ceramic tile is by far the most common material available. It is a tile made from clay and other minerals fired to harden then glazed with its finish color and texture. It comes in many different varieties and sizes but it also comes in different hardness ratings. So when you are choosing tiles for a floor you will want to choose a hardness rating for floor traffic. Wall tiles are generally not as hard and will not work on the floor.
Porcelain Tile –Porcelain tile is primarily made from a sand mix that is usually mixed with the final color before being heated to an extremely high temperature to harden. Therefore most people are under the impression that if chipping occurs there will not be a color variation. This used to be true with some of the first porcelains that came on the market, but now there are so many variations to texture and color that they are glazed onto the surface much like the ceramic. The porcelain is generally a much harder product and chipping is less likely, but there is generally an increase in time to install due to the special tools needed to cut.
Glass — Glass tiles are just what they sound like. Tiles made from glass. Their characteristics vary but they are generally used in a low traffic area or as an accent. For our customers who like to follow a “Green Building” philosophy there are some very nice glass tiles made from recycled materials.
Stone — Stone tiles are quarried natural stone that is then shaped and sized to make different sizes and patterns. There are a number of different stones available and some will have more natural characteristics. For example a slate tile will break off layers during installation and for the life of the floor may experience some “Flaking”. Stones like Travertine may have some holes in the stone where the grout would enter and change the color of the finished product a bit. So working with stone is a very fluid process and very rewarding as well.
All of these products have benefits and it is important to choose the right product for the right application. Please call if you have any questions. We look forward to helping you choose the right product.
Different tiles have different characteristics and each manufacturer will supply you with caring instructions on the tile that you decide to invest in, but here we will provide a brief overview.
For glazed and very dense tiles that have a very low porosity there is not much that needs to be done. Keeping it clean by regularly sweeping away debris and using a periodic tile cleaning solution should keep it beautiful.
Tiles that are porous or natural stone should be cared for more regularly. The tile should be sealed again 48hrs after installation. This will give a protective layer of protection from anything being absorbed into the tile. Using a stone tile cleaner regularly will help to keep the tiles free from oils using a cotton mop or other non metallic cleaner. Often this is only necessary on the floor tile where a wall tile may not get the same kind of traffic and the surface can simply be wiped or cleaned with an everyday type of cleaner.
Grout should be sealed to prevent discoloration. Light colored grout can change colors by absorbing dirt and oils if they are not properly sealed and cleaned regularly. Darker grout is just as porous and will benefit from the regular cleaning, but the color change is usually less noticeable.
Again, this is a pretty general guideline, so please ask for care instructions where you buy the tile or ask our installers to provide specific instruction based on the kind of tile that you have chosen.
Under the tile section we talk a little bit about tiles made from natural stone but there are also some beautiful ways to work with natural stone in more of a quarried state.
Flagstone — Flagstone is a term used to described a stone quarried to a smaller thickness. For example you would use a flagstone to cap a porch, sunroom floor, or make a garden path. Usually they are 3/4″ – 3″ thick. In the home you might find this on a fireplace hearth or a foyer floor. There are many kinds of flagstone such as: Bluestone, Sandstone, Canadian Granite, and Tennessee Gray.
Fieldstone — Fieldstone is a term used to describe a rounded stone that is larger than a cobblestone (2″ – 4″) and smaller than a boulder (12″ and up). There are many kinds and colors, but in our area you will mostly find Michigan fieldstone. There are suppliers with other kinds but they usually have a specialty name since the term fieldstone does not market it well. This is a great product to use for fireplaces, pillars, BBQ’s, and veneers to retaining walls.
Engineered Stone — Engineered Stone is usually a cement product that is colored and cast in a mold to look like natural stone. These products have come a long way over the past ten years and have some unique advantages over natural stone. These products weigh a lot less than the natural products and can be set in place with out having an extra footing. Where stone and brick require a “brickledge” or “footing” these are simply attached to your home or business with special lath and mortar.
Please call us with any questions you may have about installing any of these products at your home or business. We look forward to answering your questions.