Although it’s one of the oldest decorative surfaces, tile can be very contemporary, even futuristic. Tiles are also tough; ceramic floors have a life expectancy of at least 75 years, while tiles made of natural stone like granite can last over a century. It takes a little care to ensure your tiles remain in top condition over such a long lifetime, but the rewards are well worth it.
Types of tile
Ceramic tiles are available in an almost infinite array of colors and patterns, making them a creative and expressive option for those looking to set their homes apart. Ceramic tiles are categorized as either porcelain or non-porcelain, with a glazed or a non-glazed finish. Porcelain ceramic tiles are more expensive, but also better able to handle heavy wear than non-porcelain.
Natural stones commonly used to make tiles include granite, limestone, marble and slate. The three standard finishes for stone tiles are natural, honed and polished. Granite and slate are among the most durable stones, while marble and limestone are porous and prone to stains and scratching.
Unconventional tile materials, including glass and metal, are generally decorative and not recommended for use on floor or other heavy-duty surfaces.
Debris like sand, dust and dirt can be abrasive and scratch the surface of your tiles, so step one of your care plan should be regular vacuuming, sweeping and mopping. Any liquid spills should be cleaned up immediately, to prevent staining – dry the spill, then wash the area with soapy water and a soft cloth or sponge.
Bleach, ammonia, and any cleaning products with acidic or abrasive qualities should be avoided at all costs, as they can damage both the tiles and the grout. Stick to specialist cleaners that are recommended for your type of tile, or play it safe by simply using warm, soapy water.
Attach foot protectors to any furniture that stands on your tile floor, to prevent scratching, and remember to lift, not drag, when furniture needs to be moved. Any sealers or protectants recommended by your installer should be re-applied every 3-5 years to ensure continued performance.
For a look into 2016’s Tiling Trends, click here.