November 08, 2015

Are you in the market to purchase tile? BEFORE you start shopping, I suggest a little research and/or hire a designer who is knowledgeable in the topic. This will save you a lot of time and energy as well as money and you will be thrilled with the finish product.

In my blog “The 3 Most Important Things to Know about Tile” I discussed the properties and characteristics of Glazed Porcelain Tile, Glass Tile and Natural Stone Tile. In this blog, I would like to address the application and installation techniques of these products so that you may select the right tile for the look that you are seeking.

Here are the key application and installation techniques:

Glazed Porcelain Tile: These tiles are fabricated in factories mostly in the USA with the ability to print graphics replicating an abundance of natural and graphic designs. Porcelain tiles are consistent from tile to tile with straight cut lines, which allow installers to control repeat with small grout lines. Patterns can easily designed and can be drawn for the installer by the designer. Now, you do need a perfect subfloor when installing large-scale format tiles (or anything larger than 12” x 24”). It is also suggested that when installing rectangular shaped tiles, they are cut 1/3 because there will be an arch in the large tile creating a cutting edge if installed in any other way. These tiles cannot be cut into mosaics like a natural stone. On the positive, these tiles are perfect for the budget, predictability and ability to match any scale for the space.

Glass Tile: In order to work with glass tiles it takes patience and experience. I suggest using a caulk at a corner connection as opposed to grout to allow for expansion and movement. These tiles are perfect for a bathroom, but I do not suggest them for behind the cooktop because the heat and grease will not respond well to expansion and contraction as well as finish.

Natural Stone Tile: Versatile and organic, these stones vary in size from small mosaics to very large slabs. Versatile in texture but limited in natural elements of graining, these stones should be applied very specifically. Seams can be book-matched and larger pieces can be cut to a smaller scale for shower floors or the bottom of cubbies. Different adhesives are required for these stones. Be sure that your installer is clear on requirements.

When you are ready to install your tiles, think about how the different positives and negatives can dance together to create a beautiful room, ready to meet all your needs.

As always, if you have questions, please let me know. I love tile and find it a powerful tool in design. I would love to help you!