Ceramic Tile

Buying Tips for Ceramic Tile

The correct subfloor structure is critical to performance

We recommend using an uncoupling membrane as the tile floor backer over wood subfloors. It generally performs better than traditional cement boards by preventing cracks in tile and grout while allowing for slight subfloor movement.

It can also be a good idea to use an uncoupling membrane over concrete that is cracked. Again, it prevents the crack from continuing through the tile because it allows for some movement in the concrete.

Special setting materials are available which will allow ceramic tile installations over existing floors that are solid, but failure to provide a sturdy base can cause grout to crack and release or tile to crack.

Although many ceramic tiles look the same, there are quality differences
The quality of raw materials, the firing process, and the sophistication of glazing applications that create realism will determine the quality of the finished product. These quality differences are often reflected in the price.

Selecting the right surface glaze is an important step when selecting floor tile
Floor tiles are rated for glaze wear and slip resistance, which are important factors to consider. Glaze ratings should exceed 3 for residential applications with the exception of bath areas that can use tiles rated 2. Tiles with a slip resistant rating of 0.5 or better should work well in most indoor residential applications.

Use caution when selecting tile for installations outdoors. Unglazed quarry tiles, tiles with heavily textured surfaces, or porcelain paver tiles, all with slip resistant ratings of 0.6 or greater are possibilities. They must also be frost resistant.

Request the best in setting materials
New latex modified mortars and grouts provide better strength while also allowing greater flexibility.

Special Caution
Dropping objects on ceramic tile–particularly heavy ones–can chip even the best tiles.

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