How To Choose Tiles For Bathroom And Kitchen

May 30 2013

Many are the posts that can be a good reference for the home decoration and the house improvement works and how to choose tiles for the bathroom and the kitchen could be one of them.

In fact the choice of tiles for the bathroom and kitchen is not always so easy in front of the myriad of special offers from warehouse stores, wholesalers and, not last, the tv ads, and even can be a real trap for those who have no experience in that specific market segment.

The biggest problem often it could be represented by the quality, considering that not all materials are suitable for the purpose and the risk of find themselves full of square feet of tiles of poor quality is quite high, with the result that you have to keep poor quality or buy others, wasting more money for nothing.   …and we do not want this!

Much depends on the honesty and competence of the seller that it is expected to always provide detailed information on the quality of the product that is going to sell you, but there are also some small details that can help you to make a right and conscious choice, when you choose the tiles for your bath and kitchen, without being misled.

What are they?

While you still are at the store, first of all, remember to check the packaging of the tiles and make sure that there are reported on it all the data of values determined according to the TCNA standards. Not everyone knows, but all those acronyms must be printed on the packaging to indicate precisely the quality of the product inside. According to P.E.I.’s standards (PEI is  an American association since 1930 with the purpose to promote the quality of materials and equipment) there is a classification PEI, for example, to indicate the degree of resistance to abrasion and it is based on a scale from Group I to Group IV, where the fourth represents the maximum hardness. This is a value that is better to know when you are going to choose tiles for your bathroom or your kitchen.

To be of good quality, then, a tile must be able to withstand the loads: how do I know? On the package it should be reported the relevant code that goes from 20 to 50, with 50 representing the maximum resistance to loads.

Then there are the classes 1-2-3, which indicate the resistance to stains. Here again, this is a matter of fundamental importance, as the class 1 is equivalent to a good resistance (easily washable with water), class 2 indicates a medium strength (washable with water and detergent), while class 3 is the most poor since it indicates the inability to remove the stain. Finally, please check the letters shown on the boxes (A, B, C), indicating the acid resistance. We are pretty sure that you want to be aware of these characteristics of your tiles (and this is better to know before you buy!!!).

If you do not want to take any chances, however, ask the seller to give you a tile “test”, take it home and then do all the necessary checks before purchase.

There are several kinds of tiles

  • Ceramic Tiles. These are also ceramic tiles, but they are made with a mixt of clays and different other materials mined from the Earth, shaped and fired at high temperature. Traditional ceramic tiles may be naturally colored and mostly left unglazed, like the incomparable Terra Cotta or can be colored, designed and finished with glass surface.
  • Porcelain Tiles are composed of fine clays (finer then Ceramic tiles) and fired at significantly higher temperatures with a result that these tiles are stronger and definitely less prone to moisture as well as stain absorption.
  • Natural Stones. These tiles can be further categorized into
    •  Marbles
    •  Granites
    • Limestones
    • travertines
    • Quartzites

And others.

Let say that the most beautiful aspects of the natural stones is represented by the fact that each stone is different from any other and practically is unique and unrepeatable as shape, color, surface texture, edge treatments, durability and so. That even if does not make them more valuable, in the strict sense of the term, makes them a piece for connoisseurs.

TERMS USED WHEN TALKING ABOUT TILES

There are several terms that could be useful to know if you are interested buying or dealing on tiles

  • GLAZE, means to apply a special liquid on tiles before fire them at very high temperatures. The surface becomes hard and non-porous and deliciously shiny. This industrial process makes these tiles suitable to be used in the building sector for the construction of residential and commercial floors.
  • DECORATIVE TILES . This term defines those tiles where the surface is properly decorated with prints or handmade carvings or ceramic decal and then fired at high temperature to make them durable.
  • FLOOR TILES. Are ceramic, natural or porcelain tiles that, thanks to their hardness and resistance to withstand traffic abrasion and walking, can be considered suitable to be used for floorings.
  • WALL TILES. Generally glazed tiles suitable for indoor use, often less thick and less resistant than other. These are used mostly for bathroom and kitchens walls. Different discussion concerns the tiles for the exterior walls of buildings. In this case the thickness is identical to those for floorings as well as the resistance degree to face properly the bad weather.
  • SPACERS Cross shaped pieces of plastic or PVC that are used to separate one tile from the other during the installation work. Their shape and thickness depends from the kind of job you are doing. Generally speaking a 1/16 of inch is the most used space for walls, while between floor tiles the best should be around 3/32 to 1/8 of inch.
  • ADHESIVE. Is the product to be used to bond the tiles to the surface. The most common types of tile adhesive are mastics, mortar, dry-set mortar or latex mortar. But it is to say that there are specific adhesives for each types of tiles, indoor or outdoor
  • SEALER. The sealer is a product that serves to prevent that liquids can be absorbed by the mortar between the tiles
  • CURE TIME. Is the period of time during which it is necessary to let the floor resting undisturbed in order to let the tiles reach their highest level of maximum strength.

 

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