Tile Flooring | Cost | Buying Tips | Installation | Maintenance
Why tile flooring
Whatever kind of look you want to create for your kitchen flooring, from the shine of ceramic surfaces to the elegance of natural stone, it is available in tile flooring. The tiles used for flooring are made from a wide range of materials including travertine, granite, marble, slate and other types of natural stone. They are also available in porcelain, ceramic and other man-made materials.
All these materials, both natural as well as man-made, offer the ability to stand up to heavy use and moisture with low maintenance and are ideal for heavy traffic areas like kitchens.
The benefits of tile flooring
- Tile flooring offers you a huge range of materials, colors, designs, shapes, sizes and textures that makes matching your flooring with the rest of the kitchen décor easy.
- Stone, ceramic and porcelain tiles are very durable. Stone can serve you for a lifetime if properly maintained.
- Natural stone tiles not only offer a world class finish, they also add value to your home and increase the re-sale value.
- Stone tiles offer a unique look since no two tiles are ever absolutely identical.
- Tiles made of natural stone like granite, ceramic and porcelain are extremely hard, which makes them very scratch resistant.
- If a tile should get damaged, a professional installer will be able to replace the tile with ease.
- Tile flooring of stone, ceramic and porcelain is a good option if you plan to install a radiant heat system under your kitchen floor because these materials are non-combustible.
The limitations of tile flooring
- Because stone, ceramic and porcelain tiles are so hard, most objects dropped on them will break or suffer extensive damage.
- While they are very hard, ceramic and porcelain tiles are also very brittle and are thus fragile.
- Also, the hard surface of the tiles can make standing on your feet for long periods uncomfortable.
- Stone, ceramic and porcelain tiles tend to retain ambient cold which can be a problem in heating the kitchen when living in a cold climate.
- While glazed tiles look elegant, the glazing makes the surface slippery. This may require rugs to be placed in areas of your kitchen where the chances of slipping are the greatest. A plus of using rugs is that they will reduce the cold tile floor problem to some extent.
- The grouting used to fill the gaps between tiles gets porous over time and will absorb dirt and germs. Extra effort is therefore needed to keep the tile floor clean.
The cost of tile flooring
Prices range from $5 per square foot upwards depending on material, size, design and manufacturer. Custom made tiles can be quite expensive.
To reduce the cost of stone tile flooring, you could mix stone tiles with cheaper ceramic ones. To economize further, you can use vinyl or laminate flooring that looks like stone or ceramic tiles.
Tile flooring buying tips
1. Always buy extra tiles and store them. Finding replacements for damaged tiles can be difficult and expensive.
2. The PEI rating of a ceramic tile indicates its hardness and ability to standup to wear and the amount of water it will absorb. For the kitchen ceramic tiles with a PEI rating of group III and higher are best.
3. If you want to reduce the seams and grout lines, you should go in for tiles of a larger size. This will also make the tile floor easier to clean.
4. If you want the tiles to be noticeable and stand out, pick a grout color that is different from the tiles and if you want the grouting to blend in, choose a color near to that of the tiles.
5. Remember you can mix and match tiles of different sizes, shapes and materials to create flooring patterns and designs of your choice.
Installing tile flooring
Installing stone, ceramic and porcelain tiles requires care, accuracy and experience. Incorrectly laid tiles will break sooner or later. Installing these tiles requires the use of special tools, preparation of a base, leveling and sealing. It is very time consuming. This is why it is best left to professionals.
Knowing where your layout is going is also important and the size and placing of the cuts are crucial to the look and strength of the finished floor.
Tile flooring maintenance
Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions.
It is best to seal the surface of tile flooring made of natural stone or unglazed ceramic tiles, as they are porous. Resealing will be required on a regular basis. Sealing prevents water and other liquids from entering the pores, as this can lead to staining or roughening of the surface.
The grouting will also need regular resealing.
Do not allow acidic spills like tomatoes, lemon juice and vinegar to remain on the tile floor as they can damage the finish.
Do not drag or drop heavy objects across or on the floor as the tiles may get scratched or crack.