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Choosing The Right Tile For Your Tile Job

Aug 4, 2008
A nice thing about the ceramic tile industry is that there is a widely-accepted rating system for durability. Our system rates the surface of a tile from Class 1 to Class 5 ("1" being the least resistant to abrasion and "5" the most resistant). This allows you to choose the right tile for the application.

Wear Rating System:

While the composition of tiles may differ, the most important attribute to a tile is its wear rating. The wear rating is a tile's ability to resist scratching from surface abrasion. The chart below shows how tiles are rated. Keep in mind all 3 types of tiles described above come with various ratings, but through-bodied porcelains usually carry the highest rating of 5 - all residential and commercial use.

Wear Rating System:
Class 1: Wall Application Only.
Class 2: Light Residential Use. Class 2 tiles must not be used in residential areas that are subject to constant or heavy traffic. (i.e., kitchen)
Class 3: Residential Applications. Class 3 tiles are suitable for all residential applications.
Class 4: All Residential and Light Commercial Applications. Class 4 tiles may be used in all residential areas and light commercial applications. (i.e., restaurants, offices)
Class 5: Suitable for all Residential and Commercial Application. Class 5 tiles are suitable for all applications including those with heavy traffic and constant use. (i.e., Shopping Malls, Hospitals)

Choosing A Size:
Tiles are available in many sizes. The recent trend has been toward larger tiles for floor and wall applications. 13" x 13" has been our most popular size for floors and 8" x 10" the most popular for walls. The up and coming sizes are 16" x 16" for floors and 8" x 12" for walls. The reason? Larger tiles make a space appear...larger. Some floor tiles come in multiple sizes, which allow the creation of interesting patterns. Talk to us about the look you're trying to achieve and we can steer you in the right direction.

The Rules of Color:
Of course, only you can decide what color is right for you, but here are a few basic rules to remember: Lighter colors make a space appear larger. Darker colors add warmth and hide dirt well. Neutral colors allow you to change your accessories but if you love a trendy color, go for it! Just keep in mind it will be with you a long time. The color shade or shades of all tile varies some degree from piece to piece, from each production run to run. At least several pieces from the same production run should be reviewed whenever possible to determine acceptable color shade variations. Any questions or concerns about your tile selection should be clarified prior to installation.

Texture Tips:
Generally speaking, textured or matte finish tiles are less slippery than smooth or shiny tiles - something to keep in mind when choosing floor tiles. A tile's "slip resistance" is measured by its "coefficient of friction," which is provided by some manufacturers.

Selecting A Style:
Rustic or stone-looking tiles are extremely popular because they fit in with any decor and are excellent at hiding dirt. Marbleized tiles lend a more formal look. Tumbled marble is a popular look for all types of decor. Glass tiles and metallic looks are now frequently used in conjunction with ceramic tile and natural stone to create a unique and striking installation. Visit one of our showrooms to see how different materials can be combined to make your project special.

Choosing A Grout:
Grout is available in a wide variety of colors. Using a grout which matches the tile tends to make the grout lines disappear. Using a contrasting color makes the individual tiles stand out. Our sales consultants will explain the different types of grout and how you can achieve the look you want.
About the Author
Bruce Mendes has been in the retail trade business for 15 years specializing in flooring and cabinetry. He has a high end showroom in Central Ohio and a web presence at . If you have any questions or comments you can email him at
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