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Ceramic Tile – Before You Buy

Buying ceramic tile can be challenging, read below to lessen the challenge.

The good news is that ceramic flooring offers you a multitude of styles, textures, patterns and price points. However, all that variety, and decisions, can be real challenging for the unknowing shopper. In this section we’ll introduce you to information on topics such as ceramic tile trim, color and shading, moisture absorption and grout. All in our effort to make you a smarter shopper long before you open your checkbook or get out the charge card. That way your final decision not only creates a warm, beautiful living environment but also delivers what ceramic floors are noted for: excellent durability and easy maintenance. So we invite you to read on. Come learn the ins and outs, the tips and hints, the delights and discoveries of this unique product called ceramic tile. For those who love to customize, ceramic rules. The beauty of ceramic tile is the flexibility you have with design options, especially through the use of the accent pieces: trim work and decorative tiles. However, if you’re interested in applying trim work and decorative tiles, you should know that there is a definite step-by-step procedure. The correct order of this process is to first identify the room and its application, select the type of tile, then its color and shade, and then its texture and size. Finally, a layout pattern is designed, the trim and decorative patterns are determined, and the grout color and type are chosen. Adhering to this process will ensure a smooth installation without any missing elements. To help you insure a smooth understanding of floor tile trim terminology, allow us to cover a few definitions.

Floor Tile Trims

  • Bullnose: It has one rounded finished edge on the tile to give a nice finishing touch. Sometimes it is also used as a substitute for cove base.
  • Corner Bullnose: It has two rounded finished edges on the tile to be used to complete a corner.
  • Sanitary Cove Base: It has a rounded finished top like a bullnose to cover up the body of the tile and is used on the wall in lieu of wood baseboards.

Important tips on variation, texture, shading and color.

Many of today’s popular styles of ceramic tile are designed to look and feel like natural stone, emulating their rugged surface and color variations. It’s important that you understand these variations when designing with ceramic tile. These tiles are intended to show color and texture variations, just like natural stone. Since the composition of the tile’s glaze also varies, different tile styles will also exhibit different gloss levels. You should also be aware that solid color tiles provide a consistent look, however shade variation is inherent in all fired ceramic products and certain tiles will show greater variation within their dye lots. Shade variation is usually listed on the back label of each sample with a low, moderate, high or random rating. Here, to help you, are the definitions:

  • Low: Consistent shade and texture
  • Moderate: Moderate shade and texture variation
  • High: High shade and texture variation
  • Random: Very high shade and texture variation

The color of the body of the tile is determined by the color of the clay used by the manufacturer that is available in their geographic region. Look at the body of the tile to see if the color is red or white. The quality of the tile is more related to the quality of the manufacturer, not the color of the body. Color variations will also be present between manufacturers’ samples of the same color and throughout installed countertops, wall tile, or ceramic floors. Color consistency is something you should understand and carefully consider when selecting ceramic tile. Our sales associates will be happy to review with you what to expect from different ceramic tiles.

What smart shoppers should know about moisture absorption and tile density. As the composition of glaze varies, different styles of tile will exhibit different gloss levels and surface textures. This is important to note when choosing your ceramic tile flooring. For example, in areas that are used while wet, such as your shower or bathroom floor, they should have low moisture absorption and good slip resistance. Moisture Absorption means that, as the density of the tile increases, the amount of moisture that tile can absorb becomes less.
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