For centuries, tile has been favorite choice for flooring among builders and homeowners equally. Due to its many benefits tile maintains its popularity to this day. Tile is made from natural products such as clay, minerals, and water.
The ceramic coating on the body’s surface gives it its color and finish.
It’s a versatile decorative product that can be used for interior as well as exterior With today’s advanced technology there is a great selection of colors, sizes, shapes and textures available for every possible surface, be it walls or floor.
It’s a product that can transform space, enhance its appearance and offer you a great comfort and performance while remaining affordable.
Builders recommend it because it’s a simple yet reliable material, homeowners choose it because it’s easy to care for and environmentalists praise its durability and recycling qualities. In addition to its environment friendly qualities ceramic tile with its colours and textures can make any place stand out, indoors or outdoors.
How is tile flooring made?
There are two types of tile, ceramic and porcelain. While the manufacturing process differs with each type there are some design and material elements the two share.
In the case of ceramic tile, the clay is first shaped and then fired in a very hot kiln. Despite the technological advancement of the last century, the production process of tile has undergone no real change. To this day unglazed tile is fired once while glazed tile is fired twice, just like centuries ago.
The manufacturing process starts with some clay. In the past, it used to be collected from natural sources such as a riverbed. Nowadays clay is usually produced from the dust of pulverized rock, slate or marble. Depending on tiles’ desired final characteristics other materials like post industrial and post consumer glass can be used as well.
Next step is firing. The first firing forms a tile body also known as a ‘bisque’. In the past, this was done using wet clay. Ever since mechanisation has replaced the old tile making technique by hand, bisque is formed by pressing the dust between two metal dies.
Cley is formed in a kiln at the temperature of 100-120 Celsius. This is the step where different dust colours could be added to make a design. For encaustic tiles, the production process ends here.
When manufacturing glazed tiles there is one additional step. Glaze decorations are added in the kiln and fired at 750 Celsius.
Some modern tiles use digital printing as an alternative finishing method. Tiles are cut by lasers to guarantee a uniform edge.
HOW IS TILE FLOOR ISNTALLED
When selected and installed right tile floors have the power to transform your home into something new and beautiful. The right tile design will enrich your interior and make the room more welcoming. In order to avoid any unwanted surprises during your tile installation process, we advise you gather as much information as possible and plan your remodelling accordingly. Knowing in advance what’s required from you during the tile installation process will not only help the installation team run things faster and more efficiently but also make the entire ordeal a lot less stressful for you and your family.
Planning ahead is also a great way to avoid any unexpected expenses and get exactly the result you wanted.
Tile installation is quite a heavy transformation project that requires great precision and best should be done by a flooring professional.
Despite how it’s often advertised on the web, laying tile is by no means a DIY project for the weekend and requires a great deal of first-hand experience and specific knowledge.Here’s what to expect when installing tile flooring:
There are some things you can take care on your own to speed thing up before your installation team arrives. Clearing out space is the first step. If you are installing a tile floor in a new home there most probably won’t be much work to do in that regard. However, if this isn’t the occasion and you are installing tile at your current home you might want to move any item that might hinder the installers in their work. Furniture should be relocated so that the entire surface of the floor, as well as doorways, are free and easily accessible.
The old floor covering has to go as well. You can get rid of it yourself or negotiate with your installation team. Keep in mind that baseboards might need some retouching or repainting to better match your new tile flooring. Depending on what subfloor lies beneath your current flooring, you might need to lay a cement layer before you can continue with setting tile.
Another thing to consider is the possibility that after installing tile flooring your doors might not swing free. To make sure this won’t be the case, take a single tile and place it in front of your door frame and open your door to make sure there is no hinderance. If this is not the case you’d need to trim the door at the bottom.
Some tools and techniques used during tile installation can be hazardous.
Best keep out of the work area. The produced waste will be disposed of by installers, sometimes for an additional cost.
For you to have the best flooring experience later it’s important to prepare the substrate according to your floor’s needs first. A well-leveled sub layer will make your tile floor more stable.
Tile installation entails binding the tile to a subfloor using mortar. While mortar can be applied to cement subfloors directly to lay the tile, wood floors require a cement board, also known as CBU. CBUs are 100% inorganic and unlike wood-based materials, they don’t mold.
Once the subfloor is level the next step is to measure the area. Snapping chalk lines is a simple measuring method many floor installers use. Knowing how big the floor they are working is, installers can determine how many pieces they’ll need to fill the area and how many tile pieces they’ll need to cut to fit the edges.The tiles that need to be cut are marked with a pencil
then cut using a wet saw with a diamond blade tip. Alternatively, if the room where you are installing tile has an unconventional shape you might want to make a scale plan and try out different layouts on the paper beforehand. How much mortar is applied depends on the state of your sub floor and on its imperfections.
After deciding on the best layout next step is to start setting the tile.
Your flooring specialist will apply thinset mortar (the cement based paste that will keep the tiles glues to the subfloor) to the floor’s surface using a towel. The tile is laid directly on the thinset layer and pressed firmly into place.
Grout is applied only after the tile floor has been fully cured, usually in 12-24 hours after the installation. The gaps between individual tiles are filled with grout to protect the tile floor from water penetration. Depending on what type of tile has been installed and how wide the joints are your flooring specialist can choose between sanded and unsanded grout. As a rule, unsanded grout is used to fill in joints that are less than 1/8-inch-wide. Because of its texture, it can cling well to the surroundings and is often used when grouting vertical surfaces such as tiled shower walls. As the name suggests sanded grout is made up from very fine sand grains and is best for wider grout lines It’s used for flooring and wall tile joints wider than 1/8 inch because it resists shrinkage and cracking.
The joints are filled in by spreading the mixture over the entire tiled area and letting it fill the spaces. The excess grout can be removed from the tiles’ surface with a sponge. After grouting your tile floor you should wait another 24 hours for it to cure properly before walking on it.
It’s important to have good ventilation for the next 48 to 72 hours after the tile has been laid.
Why choose tile flooring?
Ceramic and porcelain tiles outperform any other flooring material on the market today.
They maintain their top performance well beyond its competitors’ lifespan, be it carpet, vinyl, or laminate. Tile’s hard to scratch and doesn’t absorb water so it’s great at resisting any stains or spills.
Volatile organic compounds, VOCs for short, found in some flooring materials can compromise the quality of air and pose a real danger to health.
The production process of tile includes firing at high temperatures leaving no volatile organics in the end product that can be set into the air. There are VOC-free adhesives and grouts available on the market that can be used when installing tile. In addition, tile doesn’t harbor dust mites, mold, germs, or bacteria and is often used as a carpet replacement for people with allergies or asthma.
Tile flooring can make any space stand out. Thanks to the great diversity of available colors, shapes and textures any place can be transformed following to the customer’s imagination, be it a more classic look or the latest worldwide trends in floor fashion.
Tile is essentially a mixture of water and clay that’s hardened by fire.These are all easily recyclable raw materials. They are naturally renewable resources that have little to no effect on our environment. Due to its nature ceramic floors can help keep your space cool during the summer and contribute to your eco-friendly lifestyle.
It's easy to maintain
With tile flooring, there is little warm water can’t do. You can easily wipe up spills or get rid of stains without having to use any harsh chemicals.
Should a repair be in order, there is no need to remake the entire section of floor. The problem tile can be detached and replaced. It’s so easy that you can do it yourself!
How to care for tile flooring
Ceramic flooring might be the most durable of all but continuous usage can still take its toll. Fortunately, it is possible to maintain your tile’s fresh look well beyond its first days.
Understanding how to care for tile floor is the key and will help you maintain it’s original glow for longer. Knowing what kind of care your type of tile demands can come in handy not only for maintenance purposes but also when deciding what type of tile flooring to purchase in the first place.
Here are some DOs and DON’Ts to help you keep your floor as beautiful as it was the day you got it!
- sweep and wipe the tiles with damp mop regularly
- always rinse and dry off the tiles after cleaning
- in the case of textured tiles scrub lightly with a soft brush or use an electric polisher
- get cleaning products for heavier cleaning tasks from a flooring retailer
- place walk-off mats at all entrances and wash them regularly
- chauk surfaces exposed to water
- protect your flooring by resealing gouts from time to time
- don’t use abrasives such as steel wool or scouring powders
- don’t apply cleaners containing bleach or ammonia
- don’t wipe glazed tile with oil-based substances
- wipe up spills right away
- don’t apply extreme pressure and take precautions when moving heavy objects Use protectors for furniture and table legs