Choosing Floor Tiles
Choosing floor tiles can be a bewildering process due to the sheer variety of tiles available.
It can be helpful to narrow the choice of tile before you start browsing, and we have put some information and ideas to help you do that.
Probably the most important aspect to consider first off, is what type of usage is the floor tile going to be put through.
If tiles are for outdoor use then they need to be able to resist the weather. If you live in the in the UK or another part of the world with frost conditions, then you will need to ensure your choice of tile does not absorb too much water which can expand and damage the tile when it freezes. This type of tile is known as vitreous or impervious.
A vitreous tile typically absorbs less than three percent of it's weight in water and an impervious tile less than half a percent.
We would recommend choosing a porcelain tile for outdoor use because of their very low water absorption. Some type of natural stone are also suitable, including slate.
Do the tiles require a relatively high level of slip resistance? Wet areas in particular will require extra slip resistance properties. This can obtained either by choosing a tile with a rougher less polished surface, or alternatively by choosing a smaller format such as mosaic whereby the grout joints and tile edges themselves lend the extra grip.
Surface properties range from just a basic more uneven floor tile, to those specifically designed with extra slip resistance properties such as dimple textures or adding a textured substance into the glaze itself such as silicon carbide to create a nonskid surface.
The amount of wear the floor will receive must also be considered. A high wear area will require a tougher glaze if using a non porcelain ceramic tile, which usually involves the tile being fired at higher temperatures and longer to give extra durability. Porcelain tiles are especially tough and very suitable for high traffic areas.
If outdoor shoes are going to be walking the floor, then it may be preferable to choose a darker floor grout which will may sway your choice of colour for the tile or stone itself.
This sounds rather obvious but do not overlook the surrounding colour scheme when choosing. Just having in mind which colours will match well with the overall design can make the task of choosing floor tiles so much easier.
At the least expensive end of the scale is likely to be a standard sized ceramic floor tile typically around 30cm x 30cm format. Moving up in price will be porcelain tiles and larger formats or indeed mosaics. Luxury natural stone is likely to be at the top end of the price scale and can also be a little more expensive to install due to the extra labour involved in fixing and sealing.
Larger format can be desirable in terms of look but do require a flatter floor. If the floor has unavoidable slope or undulation (most common in outdoor situations) then these can be more easily accommodated with smaller format tiles which can follow such contours.
Please note that this advice is for general information only and whilst we aim to ensure accuracy ,it may contain errors or inappropriate information for use under certain circumstances. No responsibility for loss or damage whatsoever can be accepted for reliance upon it.