Are you considering using tile for your home improvement project? If so, where do you begin?
There is an enormous variety of styles, colors, types, and price points to choose from. First of all consider what the tile will be used for. For example, floor tiles need to be durable and slip resistant, while wall tiles don’t. Relatively hard tiles that rate at least 6 or 7 on the Mohs scale (a 1-to-10 scale used by tile manufacturers to indicate the hardness or softness of a tile) and that have a textured or matte glaze are the best for floors.
For the bath or shower walls, ease of cleaning is an important consideration. It is best to use tiles with a shiny glaze for walls so hardness is less of an issue. What you might do is to take a few samples home that you are considering using and kind of take them for a test drive in the areas that you plan on using them. That way you can check out scratching, reaction to soap and water spots, scuffing, cleaning ease in the area you are planning to use them.
Slate has a rich, organic look and is available in a variety of colors and surface finishes. Some slate has a rougher texture that provides good traction for floors and walls, but because slate is soft and somewhat porous, it needs to be sealed and properly maintained to prevent staining.
Marble is a beautiful and popular bathroom finish material, but is generally also the most susceptible to staining among the natural stones. Highly polished marbles are most vulnerable, and like most stones, marble needs to be sealed with a penetrating silicone sealer that is maintained regularly.
Natural stones like granite, soapstone, and slate are popular finish materials for bathrooms because of their natural beauty and durability. Stone is available in both highly polished and matte finishes.
Then, of course, there is ceramic and porcelain tile, one of the most widely used tiles for the bathroom. It is available in a variety of finishes including matte, glossy, textured and natural. There is a wide range of prices. Cost can run from as little as 35 cents apiece while the fancier handmade specialy tiles can range from $10 to $150 each. There is a huge range of edging options, and comes in sizes from 1″x 1″ up to 24″ x 24″ and from thickness of 1/4″ to 3/8″.