January 4, 2010 at 2:49 PM EST - Updated June 17 at 7:25 AM
Buying Tips for Ceramic Tile
Our array of ceramic tile choices can help you create a sense of sleek sophistication. Ceramics are natural, beautiful, versatile, durable and easy to clean—and are offered in countless colors and designs. Whether it is hand painted ceramic, large format squares, unique colors, styles or finishes, you will find it in our large ceramic tile collection at Costen Floors.
Popularity of Ceramic Tile One of the reasons ceramic tile has become so popular is that it is offered in a lot of natural finishes that are not as slick as the old style ceramic tile you would find in bathrooms in the 50s or 60s. The finishes today give your feet much better traction and yet are still easily cleaned and will last virtually forever. The stone look is one of the more popular ceramic tiles today. It looks like stone, costs less than stone, yet lasts equally long because it's ceramic. People are adding ceramic to their kitchens, utility rooms, screened porches, foyers and other spaces because of its lasting value.
Another reason ceramic tile flooring has become more popular in recent years is that manufacturers have improved the grout that goes between the tiles that used to be a chore to clean. Special additives can be put in the grout that makes it easier to clean and less likely to form mold that needs to be cleaned in the first place. The result is that ceramic tile is very easy to maintain.
Ceramic Tile Installation: What to Expect The correct subfloor structure is critical to performance. Ceramic tile, more than any other form of flooring, requires the proper subfloor system and setting materials. A double subfloor system with the total thickness of 1-1/4 in., over floor joists 16 in. on center is required. The top subfloor layer should be exterior grade plywood or an underlayment specifically designed for floor tile installation like cementous backerboard. Special setting materials are available which will allow ceramic tile installations over existing floors that are solid and already meet the above requirements. Failure to provide a sturdy base can cause grout to crack and release or tile to crack. 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. These quality differences are often 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 ceramic tile flooring 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. They must also be frost resistant.
Request the best in setting materials. New latex modified mortars and grouts provide better strength while also allowing greater flexibility.
Special Caution Dropping objects on ceramic tile--particularly heavy ones--can chip even the best tiles.