Tiles on the Floor

A tile floor is a lifelong investment. Take your time when you choose one -- and then love it!

By FamilyTime


Tile floors are lovely and durable, resistant to excessive wear and tear, and easy to care for. They are a refreshing change from hardwood floors, and immediately make a room look neat and stylish.

Tiles floors are especially recommended for kitchens, bathrooms and entryways because they essentially are impervious to moisture. They are also handsome in other rooms, so let your imagination go and think about tiling a bedroom, family room, or hallway.

Large or small rugs look lovely on tile floors and immediately dress up the space.

Is there a downside? Tiles are not for everyone. They do not look as warm as wood floors or as cozy as carpeted floors. They are heavy and therefore are not practical for every floor in a house, and — last but not least — they are expensive to buy and to install.

Once installed, they are there for the long run. A properly laid tile floor literally will last for centuries, as anyone who has traveled in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Mexico, and the Middle East can attest to.

Choosing Tile

There is no easy way to select tile for your floor, primarily because the choices seem endless. Some experts suggest beginning with color and moving on from there.

If you want a bright white floor, you will want a tile with an even glaze and one that is manmade, such as ceramic or porcelain. If you want an off-white or beige floor you might want a tile with a rustic look, such as those made from natural materials like marble, granite, and quartz.

Once you have decided on a color, think about size. Tiles eight inches square or smaller are recommended for small spaces such as bathrooms, vestibules, and closets. Twelve- or 14-inch square tiles are better for large kitchens, broad hallways, bedrooms and living rooms.

No one recommends high-gloss tiles for floors because they are dangerously slippery. When you select a floor tile, its glaze should be dull and ideally it will have a little texture.

Buying Tile

Tile is expensive, but considering how durable it is, once you invest in it, you won’t have to worry about it again. This does not mean you should not consider price. Shop around. The same or similar tile can vary in cost from shop to shop and from one home improvement store to another.

Look for a tile with a rating of three or above. They are rated from one to five, with five being the most durable. Tiles rated one or two are quite fragile and generally are not used for floors.

Make sure the tiles you buy are from the same lot. Glazes can vary from firing to firing during manufacture, and so buying them from the same lot will insure a degree of consistency in color and tone.

When ceramic tiles are fired in a kiln, they shrink a little. Do not buy tiles with more than an eighth of an inch margin of difference; some have a difference of a quarter of an inch. Grout will hold them in place but you don’t want to have to fill large gaps the the stuff. No only will this look awkward, the grout can chip and wear and need repair.

Before you Install

Whether you plan to install the tile yourself or hire a professional, make sure the floor you want to cover is strong enough. You may have to hire an engineer or builder to determine this.

The floor should also be completely level. Quarry, ceramic, marble, slate or terrazzo tiles do not work on uneven floors and if you try to make them, you are asking for trouble. You probably will want to install a subfloor before you lay tile.

Tile floors are beautiful. They are easy to clean and buff to a lovely glow. If you do your homework, you will end up with a tile floor you will enjoy for years to come.