When it comes to floor tiles, the sky is the limit. The vast array of choices available to consumers enables homeowners to fully indulge their creativity in a way that suits their own personal tastes and style preferences. Beyond the aesthetic lure of floor tiles, there are also the practical characteristics that make various ones appropriate for different purposes.
Tile flooring has become a popular decorating choice for a number of reasons. Consumers can easily find their favorite floor tiles to create the artistic vision in mind. Uses for floor tiles continue to expand as creative homeowners are now using them in other areas as well. Pioneering decorators have been known to use tiles on countertops and in bathrooms such as in shower stalls, creating beautiful new designs and surfaces that are easier to care for.
As mentioned above, floor tiles provide a great deal of stylistic versatility, accommodating virtually any room and dÃ©cor. They are resistant and durable so that consumers receive good value for the money. And, at the end of the day, these tiles are very easy to maintain and clean.
Installing Floor Tiles Can Be Easy
Homeowners can even use tiles to help alleviate certain health concerns. Cork tiles, for example, are hypoallergenic and is most commonly installed in kitchens or other rooms where individuals are standing for extended periods of time. In addition, this particular kind of flooring is even more durable than hardwood floors. These surfaces are made from compressed cork oak trees and are naturally antimicrobial and even antifungal. These factors allow cork tiles to reduce allergens and increase the cleanliness of certain rooms. Floor tiles are also easily and readily available, even for the average Joe tackling his very first flooring project. Virtually any home improvement store, from bigger companies like Lowe’s and Home Depot to smaller hometown stores, carries floor tiles and the tools needed for proper installation. In fact, although it is a large and involved task, installing tiles is one of the most straightforward home renovation projects one can do.
Another antimicrobial kind of tiling includes vinyl floor tiles. These surfaces are very resistant to both mold and mildew. For this reason, these tiles are most commonly installed in kitchens and bathrooms for healthier homes. Besides their antimicrobial properties, vinyl tiles are very efficient in retaining heat during the winter, which can help reduce the cost of energy bills.
This makes them a great choice for installation in basements. Additionally, because vinyl tiles are now made to look like ceramic tiles, consumers get the same effect for a fraction of the cost. However, ceramic tiles are another good option in the pursuit of cleanliness. Although these floor tiles do not have the same antimicrobial properties as cork or vinyl, they do not harbor germs.
Choose floor tiles for durability
If it is indestructible floor tiling that homeowners seek, bamboo tiles will deliver. Although it is lightweight, this natural material is highly resistant to falls and other heavy impacts. Because it is available in a variety of shades, it is easy to find the kind of bamboo tiles that best suit any particular room.
Another highly durable kind of floor tile is the concrete one. Its unique combination of sand, water, stone, and cement makes the concrete tile an excellent choice for outdoor spaces like porches and patios. In fact, some consumers install concrete floor tiling for a roof due to its resistance to harsh climates.
Although floor tiles are typically very resilient, there are some mistakes that can be made which cause them to become damaged long before their time. Poor installation is the number one cause. When these tiles are installed over existing sub-floor, it creates an uneven and insecure foundation. This eventually causes the shifting of tiles and cracked grout, resulting in the need for the entire job to be redone.
In the bathroom, tiles are easily damaged by water. Regular maintenance and upkeep of bathroom plumbing, particularly of toilets, can help prevent damage. Toilet leaks can weaken and loosen grout, causing the tiles to be damaged. Excessive water pooling around the bathtub for whatever reason can cause the same problems with the tiles.
Even though tiles are generally much sturdier and longer lasting than hardwood floors and carpet, dropping very heavy items on them can cause them to crack. The solution here is simple. Simply be careful of what is happening can prevent unnecessary cracking of tiles. Other times it is simply faulty manufacturing that causes tiles to break. It may be that the tiles were not properly fired or that the materials contain some impurities that caused them to be weakened.
Proper installation goes a long way in elongating the lifetime of floor tiles. In fact, poor and shoddy installation is responsible for the majority of most tiling breakage and cracking. A cracked tile usually requires that some or all of the surrounding tiles be torn out and new tiles be laid. An oversight in installation ends up costing the consumer a great deal more in the end. Consumers are best off hiring professionals to do the tiling, especially when expensive tiles (such as marble) are being used.
For example, ceramic tiles may crack if the mortar that was spread beneath was done so unevenly. Over time, gaps in the grout will cause the tile to bend whenever weight is applied. The bigger the tiles, the easier they can crack. The problem can be avoided by applying mortar to the back of tiles bigger than 12 by 12 inches in order to offer more stability and a better foundation.
Tiling that has been installed over plywood is also very susceptible to eventual cracking and damage. This is because plywood is flexible, causing the same issues that poor application of mortar can induce. In this case, cracking will be most prevalent along the floor joists. It is recommended that a mud bed subfloor be used instead. This subfloor is made of inches of reinforced concrete plus a wire mesh. A cement backboard over top of plywood can also provide similar stability.
Floor tiles that have been installed over the flooring with existing cracks will also crack in all the same places. As the old, cracked flooring shifts and continues to deteriorate, it moves the newly attached floor tiles with it, causing them to break. A coupling membrane may be used prior to installation to avoid this unsightly problem. The flexible coupling membrane attaches to the floor and to the tile. This accommodates the floor tiles when the existing flooring moves, preventing them from cracking.