Selecting Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile can be a fast way to dramatically change the look of your home. Whether you want to replace that laminate floor, backsplash, or countertops, tile can be a durable and economical option that will also add value to your home.

Tips on Selecting Ceramic Tile:
• Evaluate the space: Consider the amount of wear and tear the tile will endure. Is it in a major traffic flow area? Are people going to be wearing shoes or socks? Will the tiles get wet? Also, what surfaces are going to be covered – floors, counters, and/or walls? Different tiles are made to withstand varying levels of impact. Although tiles for the wall may look similar to floor tiles, they are not as thick or durable.
• Determine how much you need: To determine the amount of tile you will need, multiply the width times the length and add about 5 percent. You may also want to buy a few extra tiles to keep on hand incase some are damaged in installation or down the road.
• Shop around: Ceramic tiles are available in many shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. Visit a few tile stores as the same tile from different batches can look very different. When you settle on a tile, make sure the lot number and shade number are the same to ensure all the tiles are from the same batch. Remember that tile prices vary and are not always representative of the tile’s durability.
• Select the material: There are many different materials that tiles are made of. Material affects the appearance, durability, and maintenance requirements of the tiles. Finish and texture are important, as well. Your tile should be comfortable to walk on for years to come.
o Porcelain is fired at high temperatures, making it very durable.
o Terracotta tiles are often handmade and give an interesting look, but are more difficult to maintain because they are porous and must be sealed every year.
• Don’t forget grout: Select a grout color and width that will blend in your tile. Stay away from stark white as it will be noticeable and show dirt more easily – unless that is the effect you’re going for.
• Installation: Many people consider ceramic tile installation a ‘do-it yourself’ project. If you know what you’re doing, it is a great way to save money; however, if you have never installed tile before, it is easy to ruin the look you are going for. If you decide to hire a professional installer, check Angie’s List and get at least three estimates before selecting a company.
• Maintenance: Consider the amount of maintenance that will be required when purchasing the tile. Keep in mind that some porous tiles will need annual sealing. Also, textured tiles and light colored grout will require more scrubbing to clean.

If you don’t want to replace your tile:
• Repairing tiles is not as difficult as it sounds. Often times, people think that if one tile is broken they must replace the entire job. If you have extra tiles, or can find the same tile, most tile professional can replace a single tile and save you a lot of time and money.
• If you can’t stand the way your existing tile looks but you don’t want to replace it, you can paint it. Painting ceramic tile is best left to professionals because it requires harsh chemicals and extensive knowledge of the process in order for the finish product to look good for years to come.
• Cleaning or changing the grout color is an easy way to revamp the look of your tile. You can purchase a grout cleaning kit at the hardware store for regular cleaning or hire a company to steam clean it occasionally.