• How do I decide which color tile is right for my space?

    Choosing a certain color tile can be an overwhelming decision but can be simplified by following a few easy guidelines:

    • Take into consideration the other design elements in the space you are looking to tile (i.e. appliances, countertops, cabinets, fixtures). Your tile color should compliment these elements and not fight with them.
    • Lighter colors generally make a space look larger.
    • Darker colors add warmth and hide dirt well. Neutral colors allow you to change your design elements or accessories for that space.
    • Many stones of the same material will vary in color and shading. It is a recommended that you look at several tiles from the same lot to see the variation. Man-made tiles such as ceramic or porcelain may vary each time they are manufactured so view several tiles from the current lot to make sure they meet your standard for color and shading.
    • Grout color does affect the way a color is perceived. A contrasting grout color can make a tile look darker or lighter while a tonal grout color can have no affect on the color shade.
  • What is the best way to clean and maintain my tile?

    All natural stones should be sealed after installation with a good quality sealer appropriate for the material being set. Follow the manufacturer’s directions exactly to ensure the sealer is applied correctly. Dirt and dust will scratch the surface of stone so stone floors should be vacuumed or dust mopped frequently. Stone floors should be cleaned with neutral pH cleaners that do not contain any acids. A solution of the cleaner and water mixed to the manufacturer’s instructions should be applied to the surface of the tile with a sponge or mop. Allow the solution to sit per the manufacturer’s directions. Agitate the solution with the sponge, mop, or soft-bristle brush and then mop up dirty solution and buff dry.

    Porcelain tile should be swept or vacuum cleaned on a regular basis. Most porcelain can be cleaned with a standard tile cleaner used
    with water. Mix the solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply to surface with a sponge or mop. Allow solution to sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Agitate with a sponge or mop then mop up dirty solution making sure mop is rinsed with clean water. Rinse surface thoroughly with clean water and then dry mop to remove moisture.

    Never use bleach, vinegar or any ammonia-based solution to clean tiles. Do not use soap to clean tiles as they often leave a film that
    dulls the surface and promotes mildew.

  • How can I find out which tiles are the best when it comes to wear resistance?

    The wear rating of a tile is its most important factor.
    The wear rating is a tile’s ability to resist scratching from surface abrasion.
    The wear rating system is as follows:

    Class 1 – Primarily wall applications or residential floors in areas subject to soft-soled footwear or normal footwear traffic without scratching dirt (ex. domestic bathrooms or bedrooms with no exterior access.

    Class 2 – Light Residential Use. Class 2 tiles should not be used in residential areas that are subject to constant or heavy traffic (ex. kitchens, entryways).

    Class 3 – Residential Applications. Suitable for all residential applications or light commercial applications with limited foot traffic.

    Class 4 – All Residential and most Commercial Applications. Suitable for use in all residential applications and light to medium commercial
    applications (ex. restaurants, offices) which are subject to considerable traffic and scratching.

    Class 5 – All Residential and Commercial Applications. Suitable for all applications including those with heavy traffic and constant use (ex. shopping malls, hospitals).

  • How should I determine the amount of tile I need for my project?

    The best way to get an accurate measurement of your tile needs is to have your tile installer, contractor, architect or designer work with your plans or measure your space. Depending upon the material being used,the type of pattern being installed, and the room configuration it is generally recommended that between 5 and 10% extra be ordered. This will ensure that there is additional material available in the event the design changes mid-way through the project or additional cuts in the tile are needed to cover certain areas.

  • When using natural stone for a living space should I be concerned with the material becoming stained or discolored?

    All natural stone reacts to other materials and substances in some way so it is recommended that all natural stone tile be sealed both before and after grouting with a good quality sealer. Natural stone tiles installed in any area subject to wetness (showers, bathrooms, entryways) should also be sealed. This will help protect against mold, mildew and staining from soap scum or minerals in the water that might react with the stone or the grout. There are new sealing products on the market that work over a longer period of time so the sealing process does not need to be done as frequently.

  • Are there certain sizes of tile that I should use for certain areas or applications?

    Larger format tiles are generally used in floor applications but in recent years they have been used for vertical or wall applications, particularly in large shower projects. Larger format tiles create fewer grout lines and provide greater coverage over larger expanses of space. They also will make a space appear larger. Traditional subway tiles, which are generally rectangular in shape, are commonly used in bathroom areas or kitchen back splash applications. The sizes of subway tiles have increased over recent years as designers are following the trend in larger format tiles in general. Smaller mosaic tiles are used mostly to create an accent of color or pattern within a field of larger tile. These tiles are usually mounted on sheets and are often used in shower floors where they can be pitched downward towards the drain. Mosaics can also be used in a floor to create a patterned effect and will increase the slip resistance because of the high number of grout joints.

  • What are the different types of tiles available for use in today’s market?

    Porcelain tiles are used for a variety of applications, especially floors, because they are extremely hard and impermeable which makes them resistant to moisture, staining and wear. Some porcelain tiles can withstand temperature extremes so may be used in exterior applications.

    Ceramic tiles are made from a clay body and then a colored glaze is added to the surface of the tile, enhancing the visual appearance. Designs or reliefs are often incorporated into the molds used to make ceramic tiles, giving these tiles added surface interest.

    Mosaics are small tiles, generally 2”x2” or smaller, that can be made from any number of materials: porcelain, ceramic, stone, glass or
    metal. Mosaic tiles are often mounted on mesh or paper sheets which allows for easier handling and installation. They are most often used to create a unique design with other types of materials such as porcelain, ceramic or natural stone.

    Natural stones are not manufactured but are found in nature, cut from large blocks of stone which are mined in quarries located in many
    different areas of the world. Different types of stone include granite, marble, limestone, slate and travertine. The most coveted characteristic of natural stone is the variation in color and veining found from tile to tile which provides a degree of uniqueness and inherent beauty for that living space.

    Quarry tile is manufactured from natural clay and shale and is generally left unglazed. It has a dense and thick body with a consistent
    color throughout. Quarry tile has a high resistance to moisture and staining and the surface texture provides a natural slip resistance which makes it a common choice for commercial applications