Last time, we talked about wood floors, today, it is tile's turn. Tile is probably the most universal material for your floor. You can choose any color and any size and put them in any pattern. Yet, the most readily used tile is the basic 12" tile. So many opportunities are lost when we only use a 12" tile, set on a straight pattern.
To begin with, there are a lot of different types of tile, including: Natural Stone, Glass, Ceramic & Porcelain. They have varied price ranges, but for the most part, I prefer to use natural stone, glass and porcelain. I also try to select a tile that has a range of tile sizes available. And although not exclusively, I select a tile with a rectified edge (meaning a straight edge, no chips or chiseling). These tiles provide us with the greatest flexibility of use.
We are seeing many new products that give more texture, more modernism and interesting variations to the tile world. One of my favorite lines is Pietre/2 from Casa Dolce Casa (http://www.casadolcecasa/) This specific line is a great porcelain tile from Italy that is very consistent in color. We used this in a contemporary master bath for a few reasons. We wanted to create a slab look to the floor and the shower walls to help expand the visual space of the room. The rectified edge also allowed us to get tight grout joints, furthering this effect.
Patterning is probably the next most important aspect to tile. How you treat your floors can help accent good architecture or even reduce distractions. Every choice we make should be based in supporting the overall interior.
For instance, here is an outdoor veranda area that is very long across the backside of the home. By choosing this pattern, we created larger groupings out of 3 differently sized tiles. Another reason we chose this pattern was to provide additional slip resistance to the surface as this area is prone to being wet. Granted slate is not as bad as a polished tile, but the smaller tiles help provide a greater surface area.
It is imperative to choose a tile that is appropriately sized for your room. A 12" or 13" tile in a room that is 15' x 17' is probably undersized and just as awkward as an 18" tile in a 3' x 6' powder bath.
If your unsure of ideas, stop by a Dal-Tile, Master Tile or American Tile showroom near you. These showrooms don't sell to the public, but are available as a resource to you for ideas and products. Additionally, Dal-Tile's website (http://www.daltile.com/) is very searchable for products.
That's it for the basics, next time we will talk about decorative and accent tiles.