Choosing Flooring: Tile

Tile continues to grow in popularity as a floor covering, with good reason.

  • Tile has a natural, handcrafted look that's durable and easy to care for.
  • Tile works well in areas with high foot traffic, and it's especially suited to entry areas where water and dirt enter the house.
  • Design patterns are limitless when using all of the possible combinations of size, texture and color.
  • You can further expand your creative toolbox with hand painted tiles and colored grouts.

By combining various geometric layout and numerous trim tiles your design options are practically limitless.

Selecting Tile

Finding a tile you like is easy. Just make sure it's the right one for your floor and choose a tile that's rated for the area you where you plan to install it. Entryways need a hard, abrasion-resistant, moisture-proof tile. Baths require a moisture-proof non-slip material. Slip-resistant tile is treated with an abrasive material to "rough up" the smooth surface for safety. Some tiles are rated for indoor or outdoor use only, others can be used in either application.

Floor tile is usually 1/2" to 3/4" thick, manufactured in squares measuring 4"x4" up to 24"x 24". Other shapes, such as octagonal and hexagonal are available. (Wall tile is thinner and comes in squares from 3"x 3" up to 6"x 6".)

Mosaic tiles are two inches square or smaller and can be installed individually. Mosaic tiles are also available in pre-mounted paper or fabric mesh sheets.

Tile Ratings

All tile feels hard, but some types of tile are actually harder than others. Tile is rated by a series of standardized tests. The tests evaluate a tile's relative hardness (the Moh scale), its ability to stand up to wear and the percentage of water absorbed.

The Porcelain Enamel Institute hardness ratings are:

  • Group I - Light Traffic: residential bathroom floors where bare or stocking feet are the norm.
  • Group II - Medium Traffic: home interiors where little abrasion occurs. Don't use in kitchens or entries.
  • Group III - Medium-Heavy Traffic: any home interior.
  • Group IV - Heavy Traffic: homes or light to medium commercial areas.
  • Group V- Extra Heavy Traffic: use it anywhere.

These ratings are important, but don't get too bogged down in analysis — they serve to help you find the right tile for your application.


Pay closer attention to the ratings test that measures the percentage of water absorbed, or porosity. A tile's porosity is critical especially when choosing tile for kitchens and baths, since these areas need moisture proof flooring. Porous tile should not be used outdoors where cold weather produces freeze/thaw cycles. The classifications for the porosity of tile are: Impervious (least absorbent), Vitreous, Semi-vitreous, and Non-vitreous (most absorbent).


The hardness of tile is affected by the firing process. Usually, the longer and hotter the firing, the harder the tile will be. The raw tile material, called bisque, is either single-fired or double-fired.

  • For single-fired tiles, the glaze is applied to the raw material and baked once in a kiln.
  • Double-fired tiles are thicker. Raw material is baked a second time after additional color or decoration is added.

Installing Tile

On the do-it-yourself project scale, installing tile ranges from easy to challenging. Tiles usually require some cutting to fit. They're applied with mortar or other adhesives, followed by a final application of grout.

As with all types of tile, areas that require precision cuts may be more difficult. Flooring presents its own set of concerns. Since tile is not a resilient material, it requires a very stable subsurface. Subfloors frequently have to be built up to the thickness required for tile flooring.

See the chart below for some common (and some less common) floor tile.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Best Caribbean Honeymoon Locations For Patio Set Lounging

Lounge on the beach or the beautiful resort patio set at the locations in these three great Caribbean honeymoon countries.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Like most poor nations, when traveling to the Domincan Republic for a 4 or 5 star resort vacation, you will be treated like a king. The locals that live and work in the resorts of the Domincan Republic know that the Europeans and Americans are keeping them in business and giving them a job (and sometimes good tips) so they will all but bow down to your feet. The major locations for tourism are in the coastal provinces of Punta Cana and Puerto Plata mostly. If you want a quiet vacation away from much of the hustle and bustle and touristy Spring Break type of resorts in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta than you should check out the Dominican Republic.

Nassau, Bahamas

The capital and largest city in the Bahamas, Nassau is an eclectic and energetic city with a lot to offer. You can find a lively night life scene and a relaxing beach atmosphere just minutes away from each other. The city is known for its beauty and important locations for many films, featuring in numerous James bond films as well as various other often water or beach themed movies that are looking for a picturesque setting and location. The Beatles also filmed scenes for their film “Help!” in Nassau. Tourism is one of the large attractions in the city and there are also many well known parades and holidays with the Junkanoo parade brining in tourists from all over the world.

Palmas Del Mar, Puerto Rico

The area of Puerto Rico is mostly mountainous with beautiful white sand beaches in the coastal areas to the north and south. Originally an agricultural country exporting much sugar, tourism is now one of its main economic components, brining in an approximate $1.8 billion dollars in revenue with 5 million tourists visiting the island in the year 1999, today it is assuredly much higher. Most of Puerto Rico is still very poor, with a median household income of around $17,000 which is still much less than the poorest state in the United States. Nevertheless, it is a great tourist location with many lovely resorts that are both relaxing and exciting. Puerto Ricans are very friendly to fellow Americans.

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