When you consider redecorating or remodeling the home, your thoughts are instantly drawn to the applications, decor and new fixtures and fitting you might be able to squeeze in within your budget. But one of the most important aspects you need to get right is the flooring – it will essentially set the tone for your entire home.
There’s a mountain of choice, from stone through to vinyl. But one of the most popular and most traditional options is, without doubt, tile floors. Tile is a great choice of flooring for almost any environment. It looks super clean, elegant and is easy to maintain. We’ll explain a lot more a little later, but essentially there are many different benefits.
When it comes to making your decision, you have a few basic options at your disposal. First, there are ceramic tiles. Then, there are porcelain tiles – and also what we refer to as mosaics. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at the differences, pros, and cons of porcelain, ceramic and mosaic floor tiles, and go through what they might cost to install. Let’s get started right away.
The Key Differences
Ceramic tiles are made from the class of materials called ‘ceramics.’ They are crystalline in nature, amorphous and inorganic. Unless you glaze ceramic tiles, they will remain porous, as they do not go through the whole vitrification process in the vast majority of cases. In comparison to porcelain, which we will discuss in a moment, ceramics have lower levels of kaolin in them. As a rule, ceramic is less expensive – and less durable – than porcelain. These types of tiles also have a higher water absorption rate, and they are less dense, meaning they are easier to cut.
Porcelain describes a tile that is a type of ceramic made by the fusion of different clays. These tiles are heavier than ceramics, and much more difficult to cut than ceramics. They are incredibly tough – far more so than ceramics, but as you can guess, this durability comes at a cost. Porcelain tiles contain more kaolin than ceramics, too, and is impermeable to other substances even before they are glazed.
Finally, you can also use mosaic tiles, although these are usually used more for bathrooms and walls then flooring. These are great for achieving a unique look, introducing smart patterns to the flooring, or add a flourish of style and finesse.
Pros of Tile Flooring
There is a huge range of benefits of using tile flooring. Let’s take a look at some of the examples of what makes this flooring so popular all over the country – and, indeed, the world.
Tile floors tend to be incredibly durable, whether you use ceramic, porcelain or mosaic. Of the three, porcelain is the most durable, but all three benefits in terms of strength by being moisture resistant. These floor tiles are able to handle large volumes of foot traffic, which means you can expect less deterioration then, say, a carpet. And as long as you are careful, tile floors are less likely to require maintenance than some other flooring options.
Great for the environment
Tile floors are made from natural resources such as clay and a few other raw materials. Therefore, they do not require the exploitation of other fresh resources such as trees or plants when they are made. Furthermore, you don’t need to use harsh chemical cleaners when you are having a mop down of your flooring. As everyone knows, these chemical cleaners can be incredibly harmful to the environment.
Resistant to high temperatures and chemicals
The beauty of tile floors is that they are entirely resistant to extreme temperatures, so make for a perfect option no matter where you reside in the country. They can handle extreme heat, brutal cold, and everything in between. And if you happen to spill some chemical cleaner or something similar to your flooring, your tiles will not corrode.
Simple to look after
Another great benefit fo tile floors are that they require little maintenance and care. This is especially true if your tiles of choice have been glazed or coated with liquid glass. If you spill anything on them – such as red wine or blood – you can expect no staining to occur. They are super easy to clean, too – just sweep up and mop with your standard floor cleaner. Another key benefit is that tile floors do not have chemically active properties, meaning you won’t have to worry about viruses, mold, fungi and other bacteria growing on them.
Something for everyone
When choosing tile flooring, there really is something for everyone. They can come in a broad variety of sizes, colors, and designs. Some have different textures, too, and with so many styles there is a tile floor out there for any taste. In terms of your budget, there are cheaper tiles that offer opportunities for those with lower household incomes, but there are also a huge amount of luxury, high-quality tiles to choose from. IN short, whatever you need from your tiles, will be available, no matter what your budget.
Cons of tile flooring
Of course, not every flooring solution is perfect. It’ important to understand the other side of the coin, so take a look at some of the disadvantages of floor tiling to ensure you make the right choice.
While tile flooring’s durability is a plus point, it’s fair to say it has a negative aspect, too. They are incredibly hard, and the reality is that if you drop anything on them, it’s the object that will be destroyed. Glasses, plates, mugs – even small children – can all do themselves damage if they fall onto a hard, tiled floor. It’s definitely something to think about if someone in the home is especially clumsy, or you have young children.
Grout is the substance that you see between the floor tiles, and helps your flooring ‘pop.’ However, while your grouting will look spectacular when completed, it can cause problems. The truth is that grout lines are actually quite hard to maintain, as they often get stains and mildew building up between them. It’s not overly hard to deal with – regular cleaning with a little vinegar should do the job – but it is an added side fo the care and maintenance you will need to remember.
Sync with weather
In an ideal world, when it’s cold outside, you want it to be warm underfoot. Similarly, if it’s too hot outside, you want your floors nice and cool. However, one of the biggest issues with tile flooring is that it actually syncs with the weather, and will warm-up or cool down in accordance with the seasons. You can avoid cold tiles altogether by using an underfloor heating system, although this will come at a vastly increased cost.
So, the big question on everyone’s lips is – how much is this going to cost? As with other flooring types, it really depends on what you need, and what work you would like to be completed. You can buy the tiles outright and fit your flooring yourself if you have the skills. But don’t forget about the cost of the other materials, such as adhesive, grout and the specialist equipment you need such as grout floats.
In terms of unit costs, you can pick up ceramic tiles for around an average of $2.25 per square foot, but you might also need work was done to a cove base and something like concrete compression and leveling – which raises the material cost to $4.14. Throw in a standard labor cost of $36 per hour, and you will be looking at just over $9 per square foot.
Porcelain tiles are a little more expensive. You can pick them up from as little as $0.50, but at the top end of the scale, you can pay $15 per square foot – or more. Labor is roughly $4 per square foot, and there is also the additional cost of prep work to consider. As a rough guide, you might expect to pay something like $11-12 for a good porcelain tile installation.
Mosaic tiling is a little more expensive still. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as the craftsmanship involved and time to create them is a lot more significant. There are some mosaic tiles that cost somewhere in the region of $35 per square foot, so it can soon add up. Some people decide to save a little by using mosaic sporadically in their flooring design.
It’s also important to remember some of the other costs of a tile installation. If your old floor needs dismantling, you may need to pay a fixed fee to remove all your rubble and take it away. Furniture removal might be another option you will need to pay for, and of course, there may be a necessity to lay a subfloor. If you want to save some cash, it is highly recommended that you do all of these tasks yourself – as long as you feel confident in doing so.
OK, so there you have it. As you can see, there is a vast array of options when it comes to tile flooring. Whether you are looking for ceramic, porcelain or mosaic floor – or perhaps a mix of porcelain or ceramic with mosaics – there is an astonishing array of choice in terms of design and style.
However, bear in mind that floor tiles are not for everyone. If you are worried about getting cold in your home during winter, the reality is that tiles can be incredibly cold underfoot. And unless you pay for the expense of installing underfloor heating, the truth is that you may be better off with another option – vinyl or carpet, for example.
The vital thing to remember is that it is worth taking your time about which tiles to select. With so many options available, it can be difficult to make a decision. But, if you are really struggling with finding the right option, help is readily available.
Regardless of your flooring tile of choice, Empire can assist you with making the right choice. So, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and allow us the opportunity to point you in the right direction of industry-related contractors that can give you the best deal possible. All of our contractors are carefully screened and are able to offer quick, good value, and professional fitting services. Who knows? Perhaps you could have your new floor installed and ready in a couple of weeks?