The versatility of tile makes it an appealing flooring, wall covering, countertop or backsplash option for many homeowners.
Whether it’s ceramic, porcelain, marble or granite, tile is durable and cost effective.
“It really is a cost-effective product and wears extremely well,” says Cory Steenbergen of Greenwood Marble & Tile Co. “You can set a hot pan directly on (a tile countertop) without it scorching or scratching it. A lot of people are going with laminate flooring because it looks nice, but if it ever gets wet, it will buckle, whereas tile will not. Once it’s down there, it’s down there. We’ve had pictures where tornados came through and the floor remained. It’s very durable and very sturdy.”
How grout can affect your decision
With better quality grouts hitting the market in recent years, more consumers are revisiting tile as an option.
“A lot of people say they don’t like tile, but it’s the grout they don’t like, because it’s harder to keep clean,” Steenbergen says. “The grouts they make now, though, are a lot better quality. They have sanded grout. It doesn’t chip out as easily. It’s almost a cement when it hardens. They have sealers that help keep it from staining.”
Why choose tile?
If tile is damaged, it can be easily replaced in sections, as opposed to replacing the entire floor or countertop. Ensuring you have extra pieces when making a tile purchase is a smart choice.
Tile installation can be complex and is not for the inexperienced. Problems can occur if the grout is not fully dried and sealed; if it’s not mixed properly according to the manufacturer’s instructions; or if tiles are too loose, which can cause grout joints to crack. It’s important to have a strong subfloor, the proper underlayment and to use a quality mortar.
Things to remember when installing tile
When installing tile on shower walls, it’s important to use a cement board as a water protective barrier. Putting tile directly on drywall could lead to significant water damage.
“I see a lot of tile installation that has gone bad,” Tony Saba of Mr. Grout and Tile in New Palestine, Ind. “With grout that hasn’t been sealed, I see a lot of loose tiles and crumbling grout. That can be repaired by removing the tiles and installing new tiles. I recommend anyone who has a new tile floor installed buy extra tile. If something happens down the road and (you crack) a tile, you don’t have to replace the whole floor.”
Steenbergen says her company offers tile for anything from bathroom floors and walls, to kitchen backsplashes, to sunrooms.
Ceramic and porcelain tile are similar in durability and quality, but porcelain is made from a harder material and can withstand cold temperatures, making it more suitable for an enclosed porch, for example. Marble and granite are made of natural stone and offer a more polished look.
“The main thing people have to realize about marble and granite is, because they are a natural stone, they have to be sealed periodically,” Steenbergen says. “If you set a hot pot off a stove on granite, it could damage it. It’s a very porous product, so it will stain unless it’s sealed.”
How to clean grout
When cleaning tile, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, which can damage the grout.
“Go to your local tile store and get cleaning products that are specified for tile and grout cleaning,” added Saba. “A lot of products out there today will eat grout and destroy it, especially in showers.”
Color sealing grout will help keep it clean and intact and prevent staining. Saba says he offers more than 100 different colors. The process generally costs a little more than $1 per square foot.
“A lot of issues happen with grout not being sealed,” Saba says. “All of a sudden, six months down the road a customer is looking at their tile and are seeing dirty grout. That’s where I come into play. I clean that and then do a process of staining or color sealing the grout to make it just like new. After I’m done, you’re able to clean your grout, because it’s a permanent seal.”
This article was originally published at Angie’s List.