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Tiles & Stones

When the time comes for decoration, tiles usually play some part in your choice . They come in all shapes and sizes and different thickness Do not rush into this area if you see what you might think is a good buy as the options available to you are endless.

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. Do not take them off the mesh or they will go all over the place and you will never get them straight.

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. In an effort to reduce purchasing mistakes made by a consumer, most manufacturers use the P.E.I (Porcelain

Enamel Institute) guide to rate ceramic tiles.:

The 5 ratings for ceramic-tiles are:

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.

Start at the beginning. Measure your space and keep a note of it in your car , just in case. You will find as you carry on with your self build just in case comes in very handy if there is a bargain to be had. Do remember to buy a few extra to allow for breakage’s.

So where do you start to look? Tiles shops seems to be one of those things that pop up all over the place which is very good for the self builder as it not only gives you lots of choice but it also gives you the upper hand when it comes to the price.

Floor Tiles

These are commonly made of ceramic, clay, porcelain or stone. Clay tiles may be painted and glazed. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. Floor tiles have been a popular decorating material for quite some time, plenty of time in fact, for tile to build an impressive record of durability and versatility. And tile flooring takes to customized designs, unique glazes, and special effects with ease. One way to create an eye-catching kitchen tile floor or bathroom tile floor is to use subtle gradations in colour across the entire floor.

Or, you can simply frame the room's perimeter with floor tiles in a different hue or pattern from the tiles used on the rest of the floor. You can create your own "tile rug" or one-of-a-kind tile floor by taking ordinary stock tiles and setting them in an original pattern. If you have a tile floor for the bathroom or kitchen, set it off with a border of tile insets in the flooring. You can also design a floor that combines ceramic tile with other tiles, such as granite and marble, or wood tile.

You can buy tiles made in different countries one of the problems with Spanish clay tiles is they're fragile and can break on floors that see heavy traffic. Some companies have lines with a similar look but made from a proprietary concrete-based material rather than clay. According to the manufacturer, the tiles are virtually maintenance free and designed to stand the high-traffic demands of kitchens or entryways. The tiles can also be used outdoors.

So given all the choice of tiles what sort of tile goes where?

Ceramic - Cold to stand on, but durable, water-resistant and resistant to stains and spillages. They are available in numerous colours, patterns and shapes and are made of natural clay, decorated on one side with coloured glaze. The surfaces are normally glazed, but are not as highly polished as wall tiles, while others are matt or have an unglazed finish. Unglazed tiles must be sealed with the correct proprietary sealant (recommended by the manufacturer) once laid.

The stronger floor tiles are thicker and darker on their underside and often come in larger sizes. They are fired at a higher temperature (vitrified) so that the particles fuse together. This results in the tiles being almost unbreakable when laid.

They do not require polish as they come with a natural glaze or matt finish. Polishing would also make them very slippery and dangerous to walk on. Sweep rather than vacuum, as the end of some vacuums can scratch the surface. Wash by hand or use a squeezed mop.  



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