A Guide To Selecting Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile has a variety of benefits as a flooring or wall surface. With proper care, you can expect that your new decor will last for many years, resist stains and damage, remain colorfast, and clean easily. The areas for installation are many, from kitchens and bathrooms to entryways and laundry rooms. Learn about the selection process to choose the best tile for your home.

Design Variations

It's possible to find ceramic tile to match any color scheme or decor theme in a home. You will find pieces in soft and muted colors and textures. Bold designs and deep colors area also available. You will also find a variety of shapes such as hexagons, octagons, rectangles, and squares. Size also varies, ranging from 4.25-inch squares to as large as 24-inch squares. If you opt for handmade pieces, you may find small variations in size.

Finishes

You have many different finishes from which to choose. You might opt for high-gloss, matte, smooth, glazed, unglazed, textured, polished, or unpolished. Pieces with a high-gloss finish will appear exceptionally shiny. The downside of this finish is that scratches will appear easily. The matte finish will appear dull, which can protect against scratching.

Edging

The edging will have variations. A rounded edge, known as a "cushion edge", is harder to apply grout between its pieces. A squared edge is easier for beginners to grout. The bullnose edge is ideal for specific areas where you will leave surfaces only partially tiled with exposed edges. You might also choose scalloped edges as a special feature.

Thickness

Thickness varies between 1/4 inch and 3/4 inch. In general, thicker ceramic tile is more durable. These pieces will resist cracking and breaking more readily than the thinner ones.

Color Variations

Manufacturers try to limit color differences by packing similar shades together in cartons. Packaging will also have shade and run numbers stamped on them to enable consumers to purchase similar color runs. Some people opt to embrace color variations, trying to produce bold differences intentionally to create a unique look.

Imperfections

It's likely that you will find some imperfections. Always choose pieces without chipping, pitting, and spotting on the surface. If you find these imperfections, they indicate problems with glaze application. It's possible that glaze missed certain areas, or dirt could have been introduced onto the surface during the process. Manufacturers will assess and separate by grade according to imperfections. Resist the urge to purchase low-grade pieces, as you will likely get tiles with pitting, cracking, or spots.

With a careful selection process, the ceramic tile you choose for your home can be a beautiful focal point that compliments your other decor beautifully.