Hard surface flooring is one of the fastest growing trends for homeowners, and an easy way to increase the value of your home. People who are ready to trade in their old carpet or linoleum can quickly achieve a fresh look with tile floors.
The term ceramic tile is commonly used as a catchall description for hard surface floors, but there is a distinct difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles. Both are formed with clay, but the porcelain clay base is purified more extensively, packed tightly and fired at an extremely high temperature, creating a denser product. This density also assists in chip resistance.
As with most tiles, design options are unlimited. Colors range from monochrome to imitation wood or faux natural stone, which will fool even the most observant guest. Decorative glass mosaic creations on tile will add heightened style to any home.
The once standard 12-inch x 12-inch tile is no longer the first choice for most people. Today, tiles commonly range from 16-inch x 20-inch to 20-inch x 20-inch, with some tile slabs available as large as 48-inches x 72-inches. One manufacturer offers a 6-inch x 24-inch porcelain tile that gives the appearance of a bamboo laminate floor. Porcelain tiles are hygienic and easy to clean, as dirt won't accumulate on this type of surface.
Ceramic clay tiles are also fired at a high temperature and once cooled, have a finish added to the surface. This finish can have either a glazed or an unglazed look, with a choice of matt, satin or gloss appearance.
Because of the versatility available in tile floors, each room can have its own unique look. Tiles with fruit motifs are often used in kitchen areas, while a seashell design would work well in an outdoor setting with a pool or a hot tub. Custom designs using a combination of circular images, surrounded by traditional square layouts will create a one-of-a-kind appearance to homes. If you can imagine it, you can have it.
Proper installation is extremely important for tile floors. While finishing the task on your own is possible with a good set of do-it-yourself instructions or a personal guide, having a professional do the job may eliminate some headaches in months or years to come. This is particularly important if a heated flooring option is being considered.
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