Tile, in general, can be installed just about anywhere you can imagine. While many of us are accustomed to seeing tile installed on a bathroom floor or a kitchen backsplash, there are many other floors, walls, and ceilings that they can be applied to.
Consider it for an exterior porch, an entry or sunroom, a steam shower or master bath tubdeck, a vanity backsplash, a fireplace surround, a floor-to-ceiling wall application in a formal powder room, or (with advancements in floor-warming technology) an easy-to-clean bedroom floor that won’t feel cold to the touch.
SIZES AND PATTERNS
The sky is the limit these days when it comes to the shapes and sizes that tiles are available in and the patterns in which they can be installed.
Square tiles as small as 5/8x5/8 and as large as 24x24 and beyond can be installed square-to-wall, diagonally, brickbond, or even diagonally-brickbond.
Rectangular tiles, from 1x4 mosaics to 18x36 or larger, can be stacked lengthwise or widthwise,set in a herringbone pattern, or installed in a stagger similar to hardwood installations. Smaller rectangular tiles can be set in the traditional brickbond pattern, but a stagger of at least 1/3 is recommended for larger format tiles like 12x24 to avoid an uneven surface where the lowest points of tiles (the edges) are placed next to the highest bowing point (the center) of adjacent tiles.
Unique shapes like penny rounds, arabesques and ogees, or random linear strips are generally found in mosaic form. Octagons are now available as large as 14"-16". Patterns like octagon & dot, windowpane, basketweave, and pinwheel can be created with multiple sizes of larger field tile or found readily available on mosaic sheets in smaller sizes. If you can dream it, we can do it.
CERAMIC VS. PORCELAIN
Ceramic has long been a standard in the industry. Porcelain is generally considered to be a premium product (as it is stronger and denser than ceramic), but each has its pluses.
Generally less expensive to manufacture in standard sizes
Easier to cut
Allows for molding into unusual shapes, relief decoratives, and artisanal/handmade looks
Greater breaking strength
Less porous, making it suitable for exterior installations where it resists water absorption and weathers the freeze/thaw cycles better
Can be manufactured with precise, "rectified" edges that allow for installations with very minimal grout lines
Can be manufactured in a "through-body" process, in which the surface color is carried all the way through to the back of the tile, making chips and dings less visible
When considering Natural Stone, it is important to note that Mother Nature was responsible for the manufacturing of the product. Man can fabricate it into the desired sizes with polished, honed, or tumbled finishes, but we cannot make it harder than it is, more resistant to breaking along veining or natural defects, more consistent in visuals, or less varied in general.
Green marbles are not recommended in wet spaces where cupping and discoloration can occur, and still require a premium thinset in dry spaces.
Travertines are not recommended over radiant heat or electric-floorwarming, as the stone has natural pockets of air that can distribute the heat unevenly across a floor.
All stones require sealing prior to grouting to resist staining, and will need to be re-sealed throughout their lifetime.
OTHER TILE MATERIALS
Tiles can come in many other materials, including glass and metal.
Before purchasing glass tiles or mosaics for floors or wet areas, it is important to research the manufacturer’s guidelines to confirm that they have been rated for those applications and to determine a recommended thinset and style of grout. Glass tiles with a crackle finish should always be sealed prior to grouting to resist staining and for ease of grout clean-up.
“Metal” tiles, mosaics, and decorative trims can just as often be made of resin to mimic metal. It is important to confirm that real metal tiles are approved for wet areas, to eliminate rusting and staining. It is also important to check the manufacturer’s specifications for resin metal tiles to ensure they can sustain the heat from stovetop backsplash and fireplace installations.