Tiles-The most dominant item in the house, they are everywhere!
For better or worse, this is the most permanent and prominent item in your house.
The selection is endless. The different choices vary in size, shape, pattern, colors, finishes, spacing, layout, and more.
How could we get this one right?
Unfortunately, there is no set of scientific rules, but there are several tips you must keep in mind when weighing the different options:
- SIZE: I am often asked "can I get a big tile in a small apartment?" or the opposite. The first rule I would like to share is that, there are no rules! If you like a clean look, and don't like the grids and the grout, go for the bigger size (60/60, 80/80, 100/100). If you like a rustic look, country style or the look of the grid between the tiles, go for smaller sizes or for a pattern with mixed sizes. Are you into retro? you could take terrazzo style tiles, these come in 20/20 or 30/30. You also have the parquet style tiles. These come in rectangular pieces, usually 15-20 cms in width and 60-90 cms in length.
- COLOR/ PATTERN: Imagine the floor as the setting of a play, and all the other items (walls, furniture, closets, etc.) as the actors. The setting must compliment the act, and enhance it. Same goes for your floor. Choose a shade that matches and compliments your favorite color scheme, the colors that will probably show up in the design of your house. Light or Dark? the answer is not in the floor shade alone but rather in the combination and interaction between the floor and what goes on it, including the walls. Notice that dark floors don't hide dirt any more than light floors do, they just show different kinds of dirt . A very dark floor will show dust, footprints and wipe marks.
- PRACTICALITY: Don't be a slave to your floor. The floor needs to hide a reasonable amount of dirt. What's reasonable? Enough so that you could get through a regular day or two or even a week (okay, I'm stretching it, but this really depends on your household) without feeling an urgent need to wash your floor. When you do wash your floor or wipe up a spill you want to be able to do so without seeing the wipe marks. How do I test this? Insist on seeing a sample on the showroom floor (not on the wall). Spill coffee, spill milk, try it with juice too, and wipe it up. Wait for it to dry. Now take a step back and look at it in the light. Does it look clean? I know, this sounds a bit embarrassing but what won't we do for the perfect floor?! (who knows, maybe you'll see someone else doing the same- they probably read this post too!)In this context, I highly recommend the Lapatto finish. This is a semi polished finish. It has the nice elegant look and yet hides dirt well and is easy to clean.
- ILLUSIONS: Are you worried the tile you like in the store will look different in your house? You are right! There are a few obstacles in the showroom that help create this illusion. The first is that many tiles are shown on a vertical board while in the house the tiles are laid horizontally on the floor. Second, the artificial lighting used in the showrooms is very deceiving. Many times there will be a spotlight shining directly on the floor tile, and in general, the artificial lighting in the showroom is nothing like the lighting in the house. Add this to the fact that you are choosing a look based on one tile, and then you get it multiplied by a few hundred in your house- that is a shock! So what could you do? Insist on seeing a sample of at least 1 square meter on the floor (you will usually need several tiles to do this). Place this sample in an area that has natural daylight (close to the entrance of the store can be a good setting). If such conditions don't exist in the showroom ask to order samples to take home. It is worth paying for a package of tiles and not regret buying hundreds of them.
- STRAIGHT OR DIAGONAL? Small tiles (20/20, 30/30) look better when laid straight. (Unless it is a small area like a bathroom floor). Very big tiles (80/80 and up) also look better laid straight. The sizes in between could go either way, depending on your personal taste. BUT-it also depends on the size of the rooms and the corridors. The diagonal takes up more width. There is no point laying the tiles diagonally if most of them will have to be cut. There must be enough space for most of the tiles to stay whole. You must also realize that there is more waste when tiling diagonally. Therefore you must buy more tiles. Some builders will charge more for tiling diagonally as this is a more complex job. Make sure to ask the builder in advance so there are no surprises.
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