Tips for How to Select Floor and Wall Tiles

It’s no secret that most of us lead very busy lives. We work hard and long hours, to feed and shelter our family and children, attend to daily chores and commitments inside and outside the home and the reward at the end of the day, is to take comfort in our home to share the time with family and friends. All of us have a room in our homes that we escape to, for example a private bathroom where one can escape to by taking a hot bath and leisurely reading a book. Or maybe enjoy cooking and entertaining for family and friends in the kitchen of their dreams. All and all, our house is our home.

When it comes to renovating a home, whether it be applying a new coat of paint, adding a new piece of furniture, or recreating a whole space, we strive for the best, the most economical and beautiful product, all within a prescribed budget. In this regard, it is paramount to choose the ideal flooring style and wall applications to fit one’s lifestyle and stay on budget. Repeating this process again within a short time period is not an option because of cost consideration, time involved and a chaotic clean up process thereafter. That’s why I wanted to talk specifically about choosing the right flooring and wall applications for your lifestyle and budget, simply because these are not things one wants to change on a frequent bases due to the work, cost and mess involved. It’s important to select flooring and wall applications that you can grow with and build your home around for the next ten to fifteen years.

There is a great selection of tile products in the market today that one can choose when renovating or building a new home. For example: Ceramic, Porcelain, Natural Stone (marble, granite, limestone, slate, etc.), glass and tile mosaics and the list goes on and on. Today, this particular industry is experiencing a renaissance, offering a wide selection of products and improved pricing. Consequently the average consumer is overwhelmed by product choice and requires expert guidance.

To simplify the process, there are a few important considerations to focus on:
1) Where is the floor or wall tile being used in the home?
- In a high traffic area? (i.e, kitchen or laundry room) or
- In a low traffic area? (i.e bathroom)
2) What kind of look or style preference is desirable?
  • Classic which is - shiny, matt, light neutral colours (ivory, beige, cream and gold)
  • Traditional, which has more ornate patterns that evoke an old world charm
  • Contemporary, which is modern, sleek, straight and simple lines.
  • Transitional which combines contemporary and traditional
3) What floor and wall tile best suits your lifestyle?
4) What is the budget for the entire job including materials and labour?
Having resolved the above issues, there are other matters to be considered.
A) If the floor tile is to be used in a high traffic area, porcelain tile is the best option. It’s durable, stain and scratch resistant, with minimal maintenance required. Depending on the pattern and colour selected for the porcelain tile, the homeowner could settle on any one of the following choice: contemporary, classic or traditional and a few other styles in between.
B) In a low traffic environment, e.g. a bathroom, I strongly recommend the selection of natural stone - travertine, marble or limestone. Natural Stone is a thing of beauty, something that is created by mother nature. Installing natural stone liberally in a home enhances its value not to mention the high praise from family and friends when they visit the home and notice the magnificent look. Use natural stone as a backsplash or perhaps in a formal dining area. Natural stone is not conducive to high traffic areas of the house because the stones are porous and thus easily absorb moisture which in turn requires high maintenance, ultimately to cost. (Keep an eye out for my next blog on the pros and cons of Natural Stone vs.Vs. Porcelain tiles)
C) To reiterate the right kind of floor tile for the home would depend on family circumstance. A family with adult children but without pets would find natural stone flooring ideal. The floor gives a home a million dollar look with minimal maintenance problem. However for a family with young children and their pets, using porcelain tile would be the best option. It stands up to abuse and heavy traffic and yet maintain its great appearance after a quick clean up.
D) Naturally, budget is a major consideration. I always suggest to my clients to start looking in magazines, surf the web of your favorite designers and get a feel for what look and tile product you tend to lean towards. Once they have an idea of colour scheme, material and lay out of their new room, they come in to see me and we go through all of our options, we can work within the budget and make your dream bathroom possible and even magazine worthy!
Thanks for reading! More to come!

Author: Amanda Fasciani, Tile & Stone Specialist