How to choose tiles for your home

How to choose tiles for your home

Selecting the right tiles for your home can be overwhelming especially with the wide range of available tile choices. 

Homeowners usually mull over the type of tile that will best suit their home, what size and colour to choose and if the colour will suit their current furnishings. 

It is important to take these practical considerations into account when embarking on a tiling project. This is according to Richard Nuss, Marketing Manager at Johnson Tiles, who says don’t make your tile choice based on your first impression in the showroom as the tile may be beautiful, but may not suit your home or lifestyle. 

To narrow choices down even further, he says homeowners should consider their budget and colour scheme, and then decide whether they’re after a glossy or matt finish and what tile size would work best. 

Nuss shares a step-by-step buying guide to help make the process easier. 

1. Consider the area to be tiled 

Will the tiles be used for the floor or wall? Is it a high traffic area? Is the installation inside or outside and will it be exposed to moisture?  

When it comes to wall tiles, there are virtually no restrictions when selecting tiles as floor tiles can also be used on walls too. 

When shopping for floor tiles, the major consideration is how much traffic the area is exposed to. This will tell you what the abrasion-resistance or PEI rating of the tile should be in order to withstand the wear and tear of foot traffic. 

The kitchen is considered a high traffic area and therefore requires a durable, practical and slightly darker tile that won’t scratch or show dirt easily. A tile with a PEI 3 rating is recommended. The bathroom and bedroom are low traffic areas therefore tiles rated PEI 1 and 2 are suitable. 

Outdoor tiles should be frost resistant, have some degree of slip resistance and should be able to withstand harsh, wet and sunny conditions. Porcelain and natural stone tiles are usually recommended for outdoor installations. 

For indoor tiles, the amount of traffic the area will receive is important to determine the degree of abrasion-resistance the tile should possess. 

When selecting bathroom tiles, kitchen tiles or outdoor tiles, one must pay attention to the water absorption and slip resistance of the tile. 

2. Select the type of tile required 

The next step is to decide what type of tiles you would like to use. There are a number of different tiles for you to choose from, says Nuss. 

Ceramic is one of the most common floor tile types featuring a layer of glaze on the top surface. They can be used in most rooms in the home. 

Porcelain tiles are some of the hardest and strongest tiles available and are well-known for their superior stain resistance and durability. 

There are two types of porcelain tiles: unglazed porcelain tiles where the tile is the same colour all the way through and glazed porcelain tiles that feature a glaze for added beauty. 

Porcelain tiles are recommended for the bathroom and outdoors due to their moisture and frost resistance. Larger sizes create a beautiful seamless look in open plan living areas. 

Natural stone tiles come in sandstone, slate, granite and natural marble such as travertine. These must be installed by experts and must be sealed to prevent the stone from staining. 

Natural stone is perfect for outdoors and works just as well as cladding for your entrance area. These tiles are also great for bathroom and kitchen splash backs provided they’ve been sealed. 

Inkjet ceramic and porcelain tiles imitate natural stone, wood and concrete without the maintenance associated with sealing these products. These tiles feature trendy finishes and are perfect for homeowners who are after a natural look at a fraction of the price of stone or wooden flooring. 

Inkjet tiles are suitable for most areas in the home - stone finishes are perfect for open plan living areas whereas wood-look tiles allow for a wood finish in the bathroom and imitate decking outdoors. 

3.Test the tile in the environment

Request a sample from the store to test the tile in the room in which it’s going to be used before purchasing the full stock of tiles. Make sure that the tile looks right in the lighting and complements the colour scheme in the room. The tiles need to match the lighting, furnishings, colours and shapes that exist in your home.  

4.Calculate the quantity of tiles needed 

Now that you have decided what type of tile you’d like to install, the last step is to calculate how many tiles you’ll need. Nuss says the more accurately you measure, the more precise your cost estimate will be. 

Don’t forget to include areas that may not be seen such as underneath the furniture and kitchen cupboards, unless these are built-in. Remember to subtract doors and windows from the total amount when calculating the wall area. 

Allow for extra tiles in the event of breakages. “Buy about 10 percent more than the actual amount required as you may find that later on the store stocks a different batch with a slight visual difference or that it no longer supplies that particular tile.” 

5. Tools and supplies

Make a list of the supplies and tools that you require, including the tile adhesive and grout. Speak to the sales consultant at the tile merchant as he or she will be able to assist you about the products you’ll need to fit the tiles. 

6. Select a tiler

Appoint an experienced tiler to ensure that the project is completed professionally, on time and on budget.

Ask friends, family members and neighbours for referrals or ask prospective tilers for references from jobs they have completed. Ask them about their experience and to describe previous jobs they’ve completed to give you an idea of whether they can manage your project.

Get at least two quotes before appointing a tiler in order to compare costs. Request a written description of the work to be done and get a written guarantee on the work in case anything goes wrong.

Be sure to check whether the tiler has quoted you for surface preparation, the tiles and material or if you’ll have to buy these yourself. Also check the total square metres covered by the quote and whether the tiler will clear away the rubble at the end of the job.

Consult with your tiler on the details – substrate preparation, where the tiling will start and end, the height of the tiles, any patterns to be used and where the trims are going to be fitted.

Confirm the quality of the primer, adhesive, grout and additives, especially if it’s a wet or outdoor installation as the wrong materials can cause the installation to fail.

Nuss says tiles are still considered to be one of the most versatile, economical, durable and beautiful floor coverings for the home.

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