Choosing The Best Tile for Your Kitchen or Bath Remodel
When considering a bath or kitchen remodel, you probably feel excitement, confusion, and maybe even a little fear. Part of the confusion and fear may be from not really understanding all the options available and being afraid you might make the wrong choice. To help you make the decision that's right for you, here are some things you may want to consider.
Types of Tile
Ceramic tile is perhaps the most popular tile for bathrooms and kitchens, both on the floor and as back splashes or shower surrounds. Ceramic tiles are made from clay, that is then heated in a kiln and cooled to harden. They are less dense, softer, and more porous than porcelain tiles. However, this makes them easier to cut, and less expensive to buy. Most all ceramic tile is glazed, which helps in resisting water absorption. It feels cool to the touch, which makes it popular in warmer climates. It resists heat, which makes it perfect for countertops or backsplashes.
Ceramics are classic, and have a wide range of colors and styles available, From the traditional subway tile, to colorful patterns, ceramic tile is a favorite for any space in your bathroom or kitchen.
Many people have confusion about the difference between porcelain and ceramic tile. Porcelain tile is a subset of ceramic tile, but fires at a higher temperature, making it less porous, more durable, and with a harder finish. It can be purchased glazed or unglazed, but glazed tiles have more variety in shape and color. Unglazed tiles, also called full-bodied tiles, have color running through the entire piece, making them last longer and make more resistant to scratching or chipping.
Because of the versatility and durability of porcelain tile, they are great for high-use, or high traffic areas.
Glass tiles, typically used on walls and backsplashes, have come a long way over the years. You can get them in just about any style from subway to mosaics, and in any finish, from clear to frosted, or metallic to glossy. They can add interest to a backsplash and are ideal for kitchen use because they are stain resistant. They add sparkle to your shower surround while repelling moisture at the same time. Glass tiles are not a good choice for some floors since they more easily chipped in high traffic areas.
Glass tile is versatile, offers many color and size options, and resists staining. They come in a large range of prices and do require regular cleaning.
Natural Stone Tile
Natural stone is a beautiful material and looks great in areas with natural or rustic design. You can get stone cut into nearly any shape and can be purchased with a matte or glossy finish. It is usually a higher end option for the most elegant of styles. Limestone, marble and sandstone all fall in this category, each offering a unique look and feel to your project.
Natural stone tiles are considered a luxurious option for floors and walls. Natural stone, however, is porous and must be sealed and resealed on a regular basis to retain their natural beauty.
Not as popular or as available as other tile types, metal is often the choice for modern bathrooms or even kitchens. They are a great contrast to matte cabinets and walls, and can be mixed with glass tiles, different metals, or ceramics. Some metal-looking tiles are actually porcelain tiles with a metallic paint applied for that overall look. Metal tiles are best used as accents and can be overwhelming if done in large areas.
Metal tiles, or metal looking tiles, add sparkle and interest and go best in an industrial or modern setting. Used primarily in bathrooms, they can also highlight a kitchen wall or backsplash.
How to Install
Of course, installation is going to depend on what area of your kitchen or bath you are doing and what type of tile you are using. The best tile choices will only be successful if the right amount of planning takes place before the project begins.
Prepare the surface.
- This is the most important step. Your surface needs to be level, clean and dry. Vacuum any dust from the area. If doing a floor, or if the wall is uneven, consider using backer board or a tile underlayment that is readily available in home improvement stores.
Measure the area and plan the layout.
- This part of the planning portion of your installation is essential. You don't want to get halfway through the job and find out you don't have enough product. Take into consideration electrical outlets, furnace vents, and other areas that you must tile around. If you are using trim pieces for edges or design features, make sure you have all the pieces you need.
Gather Your Equipment.
- You will need tile spacers, so that the tile will be equidistant from each other on all sides. This determines the size of your grout lines, so remember the larger the spacer, the more grout will show. A level will assure you that you are applying the same amount of thinset and your floor or wall is level. Have a rubber mallet handy in case you need to level out your tiles a bit.
- Have on hand a notched trowel, a float, and a sponge for applying grout and cleaning the surface.
- Grout can be purchased in several colors. You may want a grout the same color as your tile, or one to complement or contrast.
- Your tiles should be premeasured and laid out in the pattern that you have decided on.
- Do this in small sections, just a few feet at a time. Use the level and mallet to make sure they are even, and keep your spaces in to make sure they remain square. If doing a wall or backsplash, you may need to hold tiles in place until set with painters tape. After your project is completed, let it set for 24 hours.
- Apply the grout and let it set for about a half hour and then use a damp sponge to remove any excess. When totally dry, apply a grout sealer.
Regardless of which tile is right for you, if you are choosing trendy metallic, or classic ceramic, your kitchen or bathroom remodel should be exciting and stress-free. Let us help by delivering the perfect sink for your room. Contact us for more information or just to ask a question. We look forward to hearing from you