Choosing Tile for Any Project

April 2, 2020

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Text by Maria LaPiana

Thanks to its durability and long-lasting good looks, tile has been the go-to flooring choice for centuries. Today, tile is every designer’s darling, and its applications are endless—from floors and walls to backsplash niches and fireplace surrounds. Because it’s available in so many materials (from stone and clay to metal and glass) and a near-infinite variety of colors, styles, and patterns, tile plays an important role in creating the look and feel of your home. Here’s some advice from the pro’s on choosing tile for any room in your house.

Getting Started

It’s time to get inspired! Browse Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz, and decor magazines. Look for inspiration in decorative tiles or an accessory or textile with a color combination that you love. Consider how you will use your space, and don’t forget to take into account items that aren’t changing such as cabinets, windows, and doors. These considerations will all help spark your imagination when choosing tile. Speaking of which…

Choosing the Right Tile

Whether you’re refreshing a powder room, remodeling your home, or building new, the options can be overwhelming. The importance of choosing the right tile (and avoiding common mistakes) can’t be overstated. What’s the best tile for your room? How do you balance functionality with beauty? How can you be sure you’re getting the most for your money?

It’s easy with a pro by your side.

“Tile can make or break your remodeling project, so you want to choose wisely,” says Brian Knies, owner and president of Tile America. “At the end of the day, you should love the tile you select—and enjoy the experience of selecting it,” he says. The design consultants at Tile America’s seven Connecticut showrooms are trained to walk you through the process—one tile at a time.

Consider Your Tile Design

No matter your home or personal style, there’s a tile for that. In addition to timeless patterns (herringbone, basketweave, chevron), the latest tile design ideas include large-scale installations; variations on the ever-popular subway tile; black-and-white vintage looks; tiles that mimic hardwood floors; industrial chic designs; mixed-material installations; and mixed color palettes.

Choosing the Right Material

Tile can improve the look and function of any room in the house, but some applications are more common than others (think kitchen floors and shower surrounds). Always discuss your particular needs with an expert, but here are a few rules of thumb: Ceramic, porcelain, or stone are good choices for kitchen floors and other high-traffic areas. Backsplashes, niches, and beverage bars offer an opportunity to get creative with mosaic or decorative glass tiles. For greater slip resistance, choose textured or matte tiles for bathroom or pool house floors. Mudroom floor tiles must be hardworking and easy to maintain.

Materials make a difference—but what is the difference between, say, porcelain and ceramic? Ceramic tiles are made from clay that has been fired at extremely high temperatures; they’re durable, versatile, and available glazed or unglazed. Porcelain tiles are produced using only white clay, with finely ground sand added. Fired at higher temperatures than ceramic tiles, they’re harder and more durable. Remember: While a tile’s properties (and popular opinion) may make it the logical choice for a particular project, it’s perfectly okay to follow your heart. If you’ve always dreamed of pure white, spa-like, all-marble bath, go for it!

Making Your Dream a Reality

Once you’ve got the fundamentals down, it’s time to bring your tile project to life. Start by gathering all the information you can. Take photos of the existing space, write down dimensions, and collect images of looks you like, as well as those you don’t. Write down your questions and estimate your budget. Next, schedule an appointment for a Virtual Design Consultation, and be prepared for an exchange of ideas. A design services professional will likely ask the following questions: Where are you in the process? What is your ideal timeline? What is your overall design style? Are you working with a contractor and/or installer?

choosing tile standing bathtub

“The more we know, the closer we can get to that dream room,” says Lana Camera, Tile America Product Manager and Showroom Designer. “And if a client has trouble picturing how an installation will look, we’ll show them how our Visualizer tool works.”  This tool allows you to try different styles, colors, and patterns, and your finished photo is sharable.

A tile pro can also help you think outside the grid and enhance your home with extras, like heated floors.  “We know tastes change, but we believe you should think of your tile project as a design for life,” says Knies. “It’s just too important to get wrong.”

choosing tile options

Tile America Locations
Brookfield: 115 Federal Road, Brookfield, CT 06804 – 203.740.8858
Fairfield: 515 Commerce Drive, Fairfield, CT 06825 – 203.367.6449
Manchester: 82 Buckland Street, Manchester, CT 06042 – 860.649.8222
New Haven: 105 Hamilton Street, New Haven, CT 06511 – 203.777.3637
New London: 462 Colman Street, New London, CT 06320 – 860.439.0627
Stamford: 63 Harbor View Avenue, Stamford, CT 06902 – 203.323.5922
West Hartford: 585 New Park Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06110 – 860.236.1931

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