Designers have always prized tile for its beauty, whether it’s installed on walls, floors or countertops. They’re especially good for the bathroom and the kitchen because they’re tough, waterproof and sanitary. Porcelain tiles are especially tough. This is because porcelain tiles are made from kaolin and petuntse, which are fired at temperatures as high as 2700 degrees F. Because of this, porcelain is non-staining and easy to wash. The one caveat with a porcelain tile floor is that it should be porous to prevent slipping. Porcelain tile for the wall or countertop can be glazed and nonporous. The most popular colors for porcelain tiles are earth tones, but like other kinds of tile they can come in a rainbow of colors.
Grout is the material that’s found in the spaces between the tiles. Even if the tile isn’t porous, the grout is. This means it needs to be sealed to keep it from staining and encouraging bacteria or mold. Grout now comes in all kinds of colors to match its tile, but it still needs protection.
Mix and Match?
Porcelain tiles can be laid in many types of patterns and so go very well with the overall look of a room. They can range in size from tiny mosaic squares to 18 inch tiles. Smaller porcelain tiles will look better in a small room, while larger ones will bring out the best in a large room. The homeowner should also not be afraid to experiment and use different sized tiles for interesting patterns. The tiles can not only be square but come in other polygonal shapes. Smaller tiles can be installed for accents.
The color of the tile is also important. It can echo or complement the dominant color in the room, pull the eye toward a focal point or hide defects. Glazed tiles look good in the showroom, but they can create a glare in a brightly lit room in the home. Glare also obscures a tile’s color.
About the Floor
Though porcelain tile can be installed over an old floor, it’s best to pull up the old floor and start anew. While that’s being done, the contractor can even install underfloor heating. This type of heating uses either water or electricity to heat the floor, which would otherwise be unpleasantly cold to bare feet in the mornings.
With the proper care, a porcelain tile floor, wall or countertop can keep its beauty for decades.