Tiles are one of the most versatile and affordable options for transforming your space. And choosing to go with tiles can help you get a look that is truly unique to you! But, there are so many different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures out there that it can be overwhelming when trying to figure out which ones will work best in your space. This blog post will walk you through how to pick the perfect tiles for any room makeover project or redecorating decision.
Floor Tile Debate: Stone Vs. Porcelain
Using porcelain tile and natural stone can be a difficult decision. As the industry has seen, building materials are quickly becoming an ambiguous term in regards to things such as quality or performance. To ensure the installation meets your specific needs, let’s break down what each of these products have in common versus how they differ from one another.
Natural stone, also called granite, slate, and marble has been a natural flooring choice for centuries. It comes in many colors and textures that can be engineered to meet your design needs.
Today, many stone tile installations come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, sizes and textures. And they can be installed almost anywhere on floors, walls and ceilings.
Stone can be difficult to work with because it often has flaws, such as tiny fissures, holes, chips and weak spots. Its surface is porous and susceptible to staining. Stone tile is fairly expensive.
In response to these potential shortcomings, manufacturers developed porcelain tiles that resemble natural stone.
Porcelain tiles are more durable and harder than natural stone because they’re made from clay and other types of minerals fired at high temperatures. They can be cut in any shape or size.
Proven ready for immediate installation, Porcelain tiles are produced to exacting standards in controlled manufacturing plants, ensuring quality and consistency. And unlike many types of stone, porcelain tiles can be installed indoors or out.
Porcelain tiles come in every imaginable color, pattern and texture, including many that are nearly identical to the natural stone they imitate.
By far the most popular faux-stone porcelain tiles are ones that mimic marble, which makes sense because marble is the most popular natural stone. However, unlike marble, which can be slippery when wet, porcelain tile look-alikes are made with various finishes and textures, including some with slip-resistance.
Stone and porcelain tile are vastly different materials, which means they require installation in very different ways.
Both are installed using standard tile tools and materials. Both can be installed over any recommended substrate, including concrete slabs, cement backerboard, plywood and crack-isolation membranes.
And both are adhered with thin-set mortar. However, when installing porcelain tile, you can use a standard gray Thinset, while natural stone may require a specially formulated Thinset.
For example, white and light-colored marble tiles must be set in white mortar. Standard gray mortar will telegraph through and darken the surface of white marble. Green marble tiles should never be set with mortar that contains high amounts of lime because it can cause the marble to cup and warp.
Instructions on the bag of mortar will help you determine the appropriate mortar for the tile you are installing and you’ll also find recommendations for which type and size notched trowel to use, mixing directions, and square-footage coverage rates per bag.
The Differences Between Stone & Porcelain
- If you’re planning on installing stone or porcelain tile, the installation process will vary depending on the material. Porcelain tiles can be installed with a manual cutter where natural stones require a wet saw for most cuts. One thing to note is that notches, slots, and large holes in porcelain tile all need to be cut with a wet saw; however, this isn’t true of natural stone.
- Wet saws are necessary for most cuts in natural stone tile, which means installing this type of tile typically takes longer than setting porcelain tiles. Also, it means that you need to consider the distinction of the cost.
- Because a porcelain tile has four factory edges, when you cut a tile, you trim off the factory edge, and the cut edge is placed against a wall or other surface where it is concealed by baseboard or other trim. You can’t use a cut glazed-porcelain tile in the middle of a field pattern because the cut edge would be exposed.
- Porcelain tiles, on the other hand, are made of a thin layer of hardened clay or enamel over a base material with a glazing topcoat. That means you can cut natural stone and then dress the edge of a smaller tile until it is smooth using a diamond-grit rubbing stone. In the manual score-and-snap method, tile can be installed in any position including in the middle of a pattern. This means you waste less tile and can also buy fewer tiles because of the flexibility afforded by a manual cutter.
- Pressure imparted during the installation of porcelain tiles is what gives the tiles their glossy finish and therefore makes them non-porous meaning they don’t need to be sealed. Grout joints between both porcelain and stone tiles should always be sealed to help prevent staining. The exception is epoxy grout, which doesn’t require sealing.
- Porcelain tiles don’t require sealing because the glazed surface is impervious to staining. Grout joints between both porcelain and stone tiles should always be sealed to help prevent staining. The exception is epoxy grout, which doesn’t require sealing.
- A hard or sharp object dropped on a glazed tile, can chip the glazing, exposing the porcelain core. If a stone tile is damaged, the chip is less noticeable because the tile is solid. To protect the natural stone, which is porous and prone to stains, you should use a penetrating sealer. Once your stone tiles are all sealed, it will be much easier to clean up.
Mortar and Grout
Porcelain tiles are impervious to staining and require no sealing. If you use grout, we recommend using epoxy grout as it does not need to be sealed.
Though natural stone is generally more expensive than porcelain tile, it costs 10-20% more. But with the widespread popularity and increased production of stone-look porcelain tile, you can find affordable porcelain tiles that cost a lot less than many stone products, as well as plenty of high-end porcelain tiles that are costlier than budget-priced stone tiles.
Which should you choose? To install, porcelain tile may be quicker and easier than other types of tiles. It’s also harder and more durable and requires less maintenance. And on average, porcelain tiles cost less to buy and install. That’s why contractors install stone-look porcelain more than any other tile.
Cement Tiles: What’s the Deal?
Encaustic cement tiles are made of natural materials, have a long life span, and can be easily installed. They come in a variety of colors so you’re sure to find the perfect one for your project. The best thing about encaustic cements is that they are handmade with love. Handmade with love means more attention is given to every tile, giving it an authentic look and feel that no machine could replicate!
They can be used in any residential or commercial application on walls and floors. And they come in a variety of colors so you’re sure to find the perfect one for your project. The best thing about encaustic cement tiles is that they are handmade with love, ensuring each tile will have an authentic look and maintenance-free lifespan. Cement tiles could be another nice option to consider while you are remodeling your kitchen or bathroom.
Renovo Stone is a leading provider of encaustic cement tiles and offers a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures to fit any project. Our experience in the industry has led us to be experts with every step from design consultation through installation!
The best thing about Renovo Stone? We will work closely with you until your vision comes true. Encouraging communication while educating our customers on their options allows for informed decisions before starting each project which results in satisfied clients that come back time and again!
Glass vs. Ceramic Tiles, Pros, and Cons
The Charming Choice: Glass Tile
One of the advantages of glass tile is that it’s beautiful to look at. Glass tiles provide endless design options, but there are some downsides to consider such as their high cost and fragility. This means that your design options are pretty open, so whatever the vision may be, you can make it a reality. Keep in mind glass naturally reflects light; if you are looking for a brighter and larger-looking space, then the glass tile is the way to go. One of the best features of glass tile is that it is super low maintenance. When it’s time to clean, you just need some window cleaner and cloth. This is why the shower area is perfect for glass tile because the soap build-up is so common and can easily be wiped away. Finally, the glass tile is translucent. Whatever color you choose will show all through the tile, adding a unique layer of depth and dimension to your space.
It’s true that glass tiles have their own set of benefits and drawbacks, but they are still a great option for many things. If you are a DIY type of person, this might frustrate you. For a personalized, high-quality installation that you can be confident in, we recommend hiring a professional tile installer for the job. Glass tiles can be, on average, quite a bit pricier than their ceramic counterparts. With that in mind, glass might make for a better accent than it would for an entire wall if you are on a budget. While glass tiles are super easy to clean, the reflective nature makes it quite easy to spot any imperfections. Fingerprints, dirt, grime, and anything else that makes its way into your bathroom will be more visible with glass. If you don’t regularly wipe down your tiles, glass might not be the best option for you. Finally, the slippery surface of the glass isn’t the best for floor use. If you do want glass floor tiles, consider a smaller-sized tile with a matte finish to add some traction. You will also want to consider some non-slip sealant to ensure everything stays in place.
The Benefits of Choosing Ceramic Tile
Ceramic tiles are a great option due to their cost. Glass tiles are more affordable than ceramic, so you can still update your bathroom without breaking the bank. So, ceramic is also an excellent option for those who like to do things themselves. While tile installation can be done by homeowners, ceramic is a much easier product to install than glass. Just be prepared for the amount of work this entails. One of the positives of ceramic is that it will withstand normal wear and tear. Plus, with the right cleaning supplies, you can make your ceramic tile last even longer—and it’s easy to care for. If you are worried about your options, don’t be. There are hundreds of tile colors and textures to choose from, meaning that your space will be highly customizable. Ceramic tile also offers quite a few trim options, meaning that you can add visual interest to your design.
THE DRAWBACKS OF CHOOSING CERAMIC TILE
Ceramic tile usually feels a little cooler under your feet during the wintertime. Adding a rug to the tiled bathroom floor will work just fine. If a rug isn’t your style, you can also consider installing a heated floor mat to eliminate that issue. While we say that ceramic works for do-it-yourself folks, not everyone will feel confident doing that on their own. If you want to be absolutely sure that you’ll love the final result, call Renovo Stone and one of our professionals can handle it. Finally, ceramic tile is handmade. This means that you should expect some irregularities and imperfections when it comes to the final appearance.
RENOVO STONE IS HERE FOR YOU
It doesn’t matter what you choose, we know you will be happy with the outcome. Renovo Stone specializes in high-quality tiles, giving customers the ability to customize their bathroom any way they want. We would be happy to guide you as you select the right patterns, colors, and materials to change up your space. If you have any more questions about our tile options, don’t hesitate to ask. Our professionals are knowledgeable when it comes to tile, and friendly when it comes to customer service. Please contact Keith at Renovo Stone. email@example.com