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How to choose the right tiles for your renovation project

Without getting overly technical, the term “tile” just refers to any resilient material that can be fixed into place over a surface area.  And whether it’s for the kitchen, the bathroom, or entryway, tile comes in a wide variety of stone, ceramic, porcelain, and glass.  All of these are durable, hardwearing and long lasting - and available in many shapes, sizes and colours.  When installed, they all provide a beautiful finish.

The bigger question is about choosing the right tile, and for the most part, the focus should be on function and practicality.  The experts seem to recommend three basic criteria for choosing tile.  First – in which location will the tile be installed?  Second – what kind of budget are you allocating?  And third – what kind of traffic is expected in the location?  Answering these three questions will advance the decision-making.

In which location will the tile be installed?

Location is critical when deciding about size, shape, material, and colour scheme.  Is it for a backsplash; a counter-top; flooring; a passageway; or a wall?  Generally, porcelain, stone, and ceramic are chosen for counter space and flooring.  Glass tiles are often used for walls and backsplashes.  A good example is inside a shower space. A ceramic floor tile will provide good traction in a slippery environment, while glass tiles will provide an easy-to-clean surface area.  For colours, finishes and designs, most of the materials will be available in rectangles, squares, or mosaics.  But again, location is key - unlike a wall tile, a glossy floor tile must be safe to tread on, while providing strength and durability for the long term.

What kind of budget are you allocating?

Regardless of budget size, it’s important to include BOTH product AND tile installation in the total cost assessment.  And when it comes to actual product prices, it’s almost pointless to throw around numbers - after all, a ceramic tile could cost $5 a square foot or $20 a square foot just for the product.  Indeed, the same applies to natural stone, porcelain and glass.  What really matters, though, is how much the finished space will cost.  And that comes from juggling various combinations of product and installation.  Obviously, the small, intricate mosaics require substantially more labor cost than large 12’ x 12” tiles.  Not to be overlooked, especially when the budget is tight, are options like “overstock” or “discontinued” product items.

What kind of traffic is expected in the location?     

Undoubtedly, there are millions of tiles on the market today.  To keep things simple, it’s best to measure potential traffic based on four levels:  NO foot traffic; LIGHT foot traffic; MODERATE foot traffic; and HEAVY foot traffic.  And although there are some established industry standards, the simple approach can make the decisions easier. Beyond actual foot traffic, usage should also be a consideration.  For instance, in the kitchen, its preferable to install a floor tile that will resist abrasions, repel spills, and clean up easily, all at the same time.  Indeed, this evaluative approach is wise for every location.  The thing is, with good product selection, and some expert advice, floor tiles can be chosen expressly for the specific space and locale in question.

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Woodbridge, Ontario L4L 5Y6
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