Top Tips For Tiling

With more shapes, sizes and styles to choose from than ever before we know that, for many homeowners, choosing the right tiles for your project can be a daunting experience. Whether you’re just starting out or simply picking the tiles you want your fitter to install, our handy hints should help you on your way to achieving your dream room.

Choosing Your Wall Floor Tiles

Apart from ensuring the tiles are suitable for your desired application, there aren’t many right or wrong answers when it comes to choosing your tiles and much of the decision will be based on your own personal taste and budget. If you’re spoilt for choice, here are some frequently asked questions that you may find useful.

What's The Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles?

Glazed porcelain Tiles and ceramic tiles are made in a similar way. Clay, sand and other ingredients are mixed together, pressed into tile shapes and fired in a kiln at very high temperatures to produce a base tile or ‘biscuit’. A layer of glaze is then applied to the surface to give the tile its colour or pattern. The main difference between glazed porcelain and ceramic tiles is the ingredients which make up the tile. The ingredients of porcelain tiles make them more dense and less porous than ceramic tiles, and they are therefore more hard wearing and suitable for both floors and walls. Due to their low water absorption, some porcelain tiles are also suitable for outdoor use, whereas ceramic tiles are suitable for indoors only. Through bodied porcelain tiles are made using a similar method but instead of having a glaze applied to the surface of the tile, the colour or pattern forms part of the body of the tile due to the mixture of ingredients. This makes them even more hard wearing than glazed tiles as there is no glaze to wear away, and in the unlikely event that a tile does become chipped, the visible tile underneath will be the same colour as the surface so it won’t be as noticeable. Through bodied porcelain tiles can be left matte or polished to give a very shiny surface.

Are Natural Stone Tiles Better Than Porcelain Or Ceramic Copies?

Nothing can beat the beauty of natural stone. Formed over thousands, or even millions, of years underground, each piece is completely unique with its own individual shading and patterns. With a little care taken during installation and maintenance, natural stone is incredibly hard wearing and will retain its beauty for many years. It is a real investment in your home. Porcelain and ceramic stone effect tiles are widely available and with advances in inkjet printing technology they are now more realistic than ever before. They are also generally cheaper than natural stone tiles and are easy to install and maintain as they are thinner and don’t require sealing. However they can never truly replicate the individual shading, pattern and texture variations of natural stone, so the decision really depends on whether you prefer the natural, unique look and longevity of the real thing or the more uniform look and convenience of the reproductions.

Should I Use The Same Tiles On The Walls And Floors?

Some ceramic tiles are only suitable for use on walls as they are not strong enough to withstand floor use. Tiles that are suitable for use on the floor can also be used on walls to give a fully co-ordinated look. Some ranges feature a ceramic wall tile with co-ordinating porcelain floor tile. Aesthetically, the decision on whether to use the same tiles all over depends on your personal taste. Using matching tiles throughout a room can make the space appear bigger, especially if you use gloss tiles which will bounce light around the room. Matching wall and floor tiles also help to give a tranquil, spa-like feel. Using different tiles throughout the room can look more contemporary and add interest. For example you could combine concrete effect, wood effect and ceramic tiles to give an on-trend industrial look. Using different shades of the same tile is a subtle way to add contrast, and you may choose to use different tiles to zone specific areas of a room – for example using mosaics inside a shower cubicle or to create a feature wall behind a bath.

10 Top Tip When Buying Tiles

We understand that choosing tiles can be exciting but there are also lots of things to consider in order not to make any costly mistakes. To help you with your decision making, we’ve compiled the 10 top tips when buying tiles.

1. Ordering the right amount of tiles

To help ensure you’ve ordered enough tiles to cover your project, we always recommend that you increase your order by approximately 10% to allow for any breakages, wastage and spares. When laying your tiles in a herringbone format, we would suggest that you increase your order to an extra 15% which will take into account any delicate layouts.

2. Choosing the right size tiles

With so much choice and range in the marketplace, it is important to pick the right size that fits the space most appropriately. You will need to consider the overall size of the scheme, and the orientation and shape of the tile, whether it be portrait, landscape, square, hexagonal, large format, small or mosaic. A large room will lend itself to a large format tile. A small, more intimate room would suit a smaller pattern.

3. Ordering a sample first

We provide a sample ordering service to help you make an informed decision on your tile choice or choices. We feel this helps you to see the colour, feel the texture and view the tile in situ. Whether it’s a tile swatch or a full tile we often feel this is an important process to help show the tile finish and how the natural or artificial light in your scheme can make tiles appear very differently from our showroom or a brochure.

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4. Choosing quality over price

We like to think that when you purchase your new tiles it’s like an investment, whether it’s in your home, office or outside as it will help to add true value to your property. Consider spending the extra money to gain the better quality tiles as they will look better and last longer.

5. Planning the layout

Before you start the exciting journey of purchasing tiles, we advise you to make a sketch or draw out a plan of the proposed space that you want to tile. This will help you to work out the amount of tile cuts, where you can and cannot tile and other unforeseen considerations.

6. Making a practical tile choice

Let your tile choice be led by a practical choice rather than an emotional one. It’s easy to fall in love with a tile but find that it’s not right for your scheme. Therefore, you will need to consider its usage and the duress it will need to uphold – is the tile going to be used internally or externally, is it in a high-traffic area, is it slip resistant, does it need to be filled or sealed. All these factors will help you make an informed decision.

​7. Choosing a professional tile installer

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We have seen it happen too many times. When a customer chooses their tiles very carefully and rushes to have them installed by an inexperienced tiler. To lay tiles is a craft and a professional tiler will have spent years honing their craft to gain the necessary skills and experience required to make your chosen tile look the best whether it be natural stone, mosaic, large format, porcelain or ceramic. Once you’ve know when your tiles will be delivered, ensure the tiler is on hand to plan the install, avoiding wasted time on-site when you’re still waiting for your tiles.

8. Allow cost and time for delivery

When ordering your tiles, we will advise any additional delivery cost and we will investigate the delivery lead times to give you an estimation of the product arrival. Dependent on the quantity of your order, the tiles may be delivered on a pallet so please allow for necessary space on your property or allow for a curb-side delivery.

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On arrival of your consignment, we would advise that you check the quality of the tiles to ensure they have arrived safely and they are consistent with your order.

9. Ensure your tiles are sealed​

When you are looking to find the right tile, we will advise which ones need extra care after installation such as natural stone, encaustic, terracotta and crackle glaze which all need to be sealed before general use. There are many products on the market to take care of your tiles on an ongoing basis and we stock a good range of sealant, stain block and wax to help avoid fading, staining and enhanced appearance.

10. Picking the right grout colour

There are many ranges of different grouts which all claim to do the same thing. The secret to choosing a good grout is to buy a high quality brand that offers a wide selection of colours. This means that you can choose exactly the right colour to match your tile choice. The lighter selection will match your natural stone ranges whether a black or a grey colour will match a contemporary porcelain. Please also be mindful of the joint width so as not to go too wide or narrow versus the size of your tile.

 

You will also need to review the colour and amount of grout – too much heavy grout can over complicate the design and distract from the overall design.

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