Terracotta tiles are extremely porous. They are basically just raw kilned clay and they absorb spillages like a sponge. If a remodel is on the cards and you are considering terracotta tiles, think about a few issues before you buy them.
Tip 1 – Terracotta as a Material
The term ‘terracotta’ is from an old term for ‘baked earth’ and therefore, not being chemically manufactured they have certain weaknesses that need to be addressed before, during and after laying them. They will always need sealing.
Tip 2 – Process
Terracotta floor tiles add a touch of glamor to a room and a good quality tile will be completely handmade. They are made using refined earth that goes through a liquefaction process, whereby, afterwards it is poured into molds. Then it is dried and after that, kiln fired. They have great character and their handmade properties give tiles a unique appearance from each other.
Tip 3 – Types of Tile
When looking to buy terracotta tiles there are couple of different types of density to watch out for. Low density has the highest level or porosity, so if you are thinking of tiling a kitchen or bathroom these types of tiles are not highly suitable. Also, they are the least durable and very prone to cracks. If you drop a plate on the kitchen floor you are liable to crack both the plate and the tile.
Tip 4 – Uses
If you are considering using terracotta tiles outside, this is very possible, but there are a few warnings attached to this. Firstly, as they are porous, they will require highly frequent sealing, so you could be outside every month making sure they remain in optimum condition. Also, again, they are less durable and heavy furniture will place a strain on them, so think carefully about the size of they tile you choose to lay. Large tiles will have more durability but they are still prone to cracking.
Tip 5 – Costs
Terracotta tiles are highly cost effective compared to the likes of ceramic or natural stone tiles. You may view this as an advantage and there are many. However, one of the downsides is that owing to their lack of longevity and their proneness to damage, you may end up having to buy spares to replace cracked or shattered tiles. Think about whether it is better to buy terracotta or opt for another solution. Remember that old phrase, buy cheap - buy twice.
Tip 6 – Quality
As mentioned, there are various types of terracotta, of which varying levels of durability exist. There are makes of terracotta tile which do have higher longevity rates and these are often seen in kitchens, where heavy traffic and high levels of abuse take place. They are consistently subjected to wear and tear and some tiles have been down on older floors for many years. They have great sustainability too and you can not only consider new tiles but also reclaimed.
Tip 7 – Shapes
Another thing to consider when buying terracotta tiles is the shape. They come in a vast range of shapes and sizes and a good method is to work out a rough pattern you wish to achieve on the floor you will be laying them. This will help you decide whether to buy square, rectangle or hexagonal tiles.