Choosing Ceramic Tile Designs
When choosing specific ceramic tile designs for your projects, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration. Where is the space you plan on tiling? Is it a bathroom or kitchen, where water is likely to be introduced? Does the space incur a high level of traffic or excessive wear from family or pets? Is this an area where furniture will be slid or moved on a regular basis? All of these are key factors to consider when choosing ceramic tile finishes or types to install. A well laid tile floor can last for a long time, so your selection should be made carefully, as this investment in your home can be as long-lasting as your home itself.
A trip to your local tile house or home improvement center can answer most of your questions, and offer ideas for colors, textures, materials and patterns for your specific application. Cost is a consideration for almost any project, and tile can run the gamut from affordability to outlandish expense, but the more common ceramic tiles we will speak about here typically lean more towards affordable. It’s important to shop around and call various suppliers, as cost can vary from store to store, and brand to brand.
Another consideration when sourcing materials is delivery. The logistics in moving and delivering tile is something to take into consideration, should your personal vehicle not be able to handle the tremendous weight associated with ceramic tiles. Most home improvement suppliers offer truck rentals on an hourly basis, which is an affordable way to get your ceramic tiles home if delivery is not an option.
Some Ceramic Tile Options
Natural Tile: The Ancient Romans realized the artistic and stylistic benefits of a durable, adaptable tile floor. Many of the styles originated by the ancients can still be found today across the spectrum of tile options. Typically, the tiles were bisque or natural in tone, made of earthenware clay, fired and glazed to the desired colors.
If you are looking for a natural aged look - perhaps in a southwestern or Tuscan style kitchen - then a tile style of this nature might be exactly what you are looking for. The finish on these types of tiles may not be totally uniform, which adds to its beauty and variety. Additionally, this style typically does not support a totally glass-smooth surface area; slight undulations and waves in the finish also add to the aged look. The glaze used in some of the natural tile options also provide for a certain amount of wear that when viewed over time, give the tile a fine aged patina, and truly adds to that natural element many are seeking.
Patterned Ceramic Tile: For a more modern look, or a mix of old and new, an imprinted or patterned tile may be what you are looking for. Combining elements of both the natural texture of ceramic tile and the technology available today, manufactures have begun stamping and glazing tile in such a way that a uniform size, shape and finish are created in a controlled environment. When installed, the overall effect is a clean, sharp style with the stylistic impact of a stone or natural tile. These tiles are widely available and offered in a range of tones, textures and hues.
The ease of installation as well as consistency in the tile patterning afford you the ability to seamlessly repair any damaged or cracked tile without the need to adapt, as is the case with earthenware or natural tile option. The application of these types of tiles is wide open, perfect for a kitchen, bath, foyer, living or dining room. One difficulty some have found is matching a bull nose – the rounded corner piece used on stairs – so be sure to verify that a bull nose is available for your selected style.
Glazed Ceramic Tile: A departure from the stone textures is the heavy glazed ceramic style tile, most typically associated with bathroom floors. These floors are easy to install, highly adaptable, and offered in a wide array of colors and patterns. Depending on your personal styles, you can tailor your floor to almost any pattern and design that you can imagine.
One amazing feature of ceramic glazed tiles is the growing trend of painted, patterned tiles, offered in a wide variety of styles, from Italian frescos to mosaic patterns. Another aspect many like is the availability of smaller joints than other tile floors. Typically on the larger tiles, joint spacing might be 3/8” heavy sanded grout. With these smaller ceramic tiles, you can get away with unsanded, light smooth grout. Most manufacturers of the smaller ceramic floor tiles incorporate spacers molded into the sides of the tiles, making them perfect for first time installers.
Mosaic Tile. Another option for flooring tiles is the mosaic, or scaled tile, offered in a sheet section, typically 2’ x 4’. These large sheets can be installed easily, and offer the amateur an easy installation as compared to smaller unconnected sections. These mosaic tiles are offered in a wide variety of materials and finishes, from glass to ceramic. One nice feature is the range of options offered by scattered or mixed batch tiles, which have a multi-color pattern and bright, vibrant colors, all while remaining relatively affordable. These tiles are highly adaptable in their colors and textures, and scaled in such a size – 2”x 2” tiles - that you can install them in virtually any space. The combination of colorful grouts and mosaic tiles can truly add sparkle and diversity to the most mundane of spaces.