Decorating Tips – How to Choose Wall and Floor Tiles

Whether you opt for hard tiles, such as ceramic, marble, terra cotta, or stone, or the softer finish of vinyl or cork, you’ll find that tiled surfaces offer many decorative and practical advantages over other forms of wall and floor covering. Tiles are divided roughly into two categories:

Hard finish includes ceramic, terra cotta, quarry, slate, stone, marble, and terrazzo, offering a vast choice of color, texture, and finish. On the whole more expensive and trickier to lay than soft finish tiles, these are nevertheless the most durable options – some, such as terra cotta, will last a lifetime and more, and even improve with age.

Soft finish includes vinyl and cork tiles, all softer and warmer underfoot than most hard tiles and generally less costly. These tiles are easy to clean and lay, and, in the case of vinyl, available in an extensive range of designs. Although they are hard wearing, they don’t offer the same strength and longevity as most hard tiles.

Before you decide on a particular type and style of tile, you need to make sure it is suitable for its intended position and application. For example, not all floors are strong enough to bear the weight of quarry tiles, and not all ceramic tiles may be used on kitchen countertops or in showers. If in doubt, always ask the tile retailer for advice.

Buying Tips

Most tile suppliers will send you samples of your chosen tiles, so you can see how they look in the intended setting before you buy. Check how the tiles look in both natural and artificial light before making a final decision.

If buying several boxes of tiles, check that they are all from the same batch – this is indicated by a code number on the box. Colors sometimes vary between batches. If tiling a large area, you may need to buy from two or more batches and mix them together.

Always allow a few extra tiles in case of mistakes in measuring or laying. Ask the tile retailer if they have a return policy, in which case you will be able to get credit for unused boxes of tiles.

Floor Preparation

Floor tiles need to be laid on a sound, dry, and level floor, or they are likely to lift or wear unevenly.

You can fill cracks and hollows on concrete floors using a cement mix, but on a very uneven floor you need to apply a self-leveling compound.

On a plank floor, secure loose boards and make sure that protruding nails are firmly punched below the surface. For a perfectly flat finish, nail sheets of plywood or hardboard to the floorboards before laying the floor tiles.

Note that some types of floor tiles – generally heavy, hard flooring, such as quarry, stone, and terra cotta – should always be laid by an expert. Your retailer will advise you.

Ceramic Tiles

Hardwearing, water-resistant, and easy to clean, ceramic tiles are a practical as well as an attractive finish for walls, floors, and other areas in the home, such as countertops and fireplaces. Prices range from budget to expensive, depending on whether you opt for a mass-produced or handmade tile. The tiles are sold singly, by the square yard (meter), or in boxes of various quantities.

Types of Tile

Ceramic wall tiles are available in a vast range of designs, shapes, sizes, and finishes. In addition to basic plain and patterned wall tiles (known as “field tiles”), many coordinated designs offer matching individual decorative tiles with smooth or relief designs; tile panels or plaques to create a feature; border tiles; listello or slip tiles; and wainscoting and cornice tiles to give a well-finished look. You can also buy stronger, heat-resistant countertop tiles and fireplace tiles.

Ceramic floor tiles are thicker than ceramic wall tiles, and fired at a higher temperature to make them stronger. Like wall tiles, they are available in an extensive range of types, shapes, and styles, mass-produced and handmade, glazed and unglazed (unglazed tiles must be sealed before use). Border and inset floor tiles are available to add interest to the main floor tiles.

Ceramic Tiles – A Guide to Choosing Your Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are an excellent covering for your walls and are especially useful in rooms where water is used i.e. your bathroom and kitchen. The end result can look stunning with nice clean lines and fantastic designs and colours.

In this article I am going to provide you with some key information about the different types of ceramic tiles you can choose from in order finish off your decorating project.

Selecting Tile Sizes – These days’ wall tiles are available in a huge range of sizes from 100 x 100mm through to 330 x 445mm. There are also ranges created in old fashioned imperial sizes such as 4 ½ inch squares, when converted to metric these can create some unusual numbers. When choosing it is very important to select the correct size for your room as it can save you a lot of tile cutting and wastage (you can ask your tile supplier to work this out for you). Remember to factor in the space required for grouting as well. A simple principle I follow is to user larger tiles in larger rooms, they look better and because they are bigger it speeds up the installation.

Decorative Tiles – There are lots of lovely ranges to choose from including highly decorative and patterned tiles. Do not over do it though, less can be more as they say and installing a few decorative tiles as an accent or border can really lift a room and add to the overall look and feel of the theme you choose.

Imported Tiles – One of the benefits of buying tiles online is that getter a bigger range to choose from as you can go directly to manufactures and distributors in other countries. It is always a good idea to ask them to post you a few samples before committing to buying a whole batch of tiles though. This is so you can check the quality of the tiles and make sure you are able to cut and shape the them easily.

Insert Tiles – An insert tile is one where the manufacturer has attached a device such as a soap dish, towel rail or some other accessory. The point is that installing these items after your tiles are up can be really tricky and if not done well will look disastrous. That’s why I recommend you use them as they simply save you a great deal of time and hassle.

Mosaic Tiles – These highly decorative tiles are made from either ceramic or glass in sizes of usually 20 to 25mm (about 1 inch squares). Normally supplied attached to either a nylon of paper mesh you buy them in sheets. Mosaic tiles make great borders and splash backs, I even used one for a fire surround in my family room at home.

Before you complete your order with your discount ceramic tile supplier measure the height and width of each area to tiled and multiply one by the other to calculate the area. Then add the totals together and you have completed the measurement for your room. Make sure to add a few extra boxes to cover breakages and cutting.

How to Install Tiles the Right Way

When it comes to the installation of your tiles, you should know that they must be installed exactly right or else it will be disastrous. Learning how to install tiles the right way however is not that big a deal, you just need to have a lot of patience when it comes to it, especially if you are going to do it yourself. Installing tiles can be a very rewarding process. This is due to the fact that you will be able to completely transform your home for the better – all by yourself! One could even say that laying tiles is a creative process of sorts. So, how exactly is it done?

Tile installation explained

  • First, you have to make sure that you have correctly measured your room all around. This will influence how you cut your tile sheets.
  • Get some tile sheets of your choice. Remember that if you are going for patterned tiles, you should make sure that you can get them as close to you your room measurement as possible.
  • The first thing that you will have to do is make sure that you get a cement backing board to lay down on the concrete floor. This prevents damp from rising. Once you have got this board, you should make sure that you glue it down with silicone.
  • Once the backing board is down, you can start putting your tile adhesive down on it in sections.
  • You can now start laying your tile sheets down onto the adhesive. Repeat this procedure until you get to the edges, where you need to cut your tile sheets down to size and make sure that they fit.
  • After they are all stuck down, you should make sure that you grout over all of them evenly and leave this to dry for a period of about twenty four hours.
  • The final step involves sealing off the tiles with sealant so that no moisture will penetrate them unnecessarily.

And there you have it, the basic tile installation procedure. It is not very difficult, but can sometimes be very time consuming.

Often, where people stumble a lot is deciding which types of tiles that they want to buy. Of course everyone wants to have beautiful sandstone or granite tiles in their house, but these come at a price. That is why you should look for a tile supplier that will make you ordinary porcelain tiles with the finishes of your favourite tiles. This will not only make them cheaper, but less heavy as well – especially if your aim is to put the tiles onto walls.