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The right flooring for your home — tiles part one

Choosing the right floor for your home is a big decision. It will set the tone for the whole interior of your house and is the base for everything else you put in a room.

When it comes to making a decision about flooring, keep in mind such factors as comfort, warmth, safety, and maintenance. Each family is unique and will have different demands and expectations for their flooring choice. A large family with kids will have a different set of needs than a retired couple. Pet owners will have particular requirements as well. Allergy and asthma sufferers will need to keep a clean and dust free environment.

When you choose flooring for a room that you’re decorating, keep in mind the following things:

Function: Choose a floor that suits the function of the room. White carpeting is probably impractical for your kitchen, but perfect for your bedroom. Natural wood, while beautiful and warm, is generally not the best choice for a bathroom.

Mood: Different flooring materials set very definite moods and tones. Natural materials tend to soften the ambience in a room. Stone quarry tiles with a rough finish set a rustic mood. Solid linoleum, with its soft feel underfoot and bright colours, can warm a kitchen or set a dramatic style with a single solid colour. The flooring choice you make can dramatically enhance every other aspect of your decorating scheme.

Maintenance and care: While you’re considering, don’t forget to take into account the amount of maintenance and care that a floor will require. A busy lifestyle may not have time in it for the kind of maintenance that some floors require. Can you imagine spending hours every week waxing your floor? Low maintenance options include pre-sealed wood floors, stone tiles, and acrylic flooring tiles.

Which type of floor?

In part one we will review all the different types of tiles and their uses.

Since early civilisation, tile has been used by builders for its durability, practicality, and beauty. Today tile still embodies these functional and aesthetic properties. Whether it is an old world charm you are looking for or a post-modern look and feel, designing with tile offers endless possibilities.

Quarry tiles: These are unglazed tiles made from natural clays and shale. Their colours are usually limited to earth tones, ranging from red to a light tan, although some manufacturers offer a wider colour range by adding pigments to the clay. Their body is both thick and dense, making them a popular choice for both heavy commercial and residential installations. Their surface generally has good slip resistant qualities.

Porcelain: Porcelain tiles are made up of special clays and minerals similar to those found in china ware. The special clays allow the product to be fired at extreme temperatures (2,500 degrees F ) resulting in a denser and harder body than most other tiles. They are highly stain resistant and strong. They come with a plain, rough, or polished finish. The combination of beauty and durability makes them ideal for heavy commercial and residential installations.

Terracotta tiles: These are either handmade or machine made pavers. The machine made terracottas are much denser than the handmade tiles and can usually be installed outdoors as they are frost resistant. Handmade tiles are very porous and must be sealed and waxed to prevent staining and wear. The colours range from terracotta to yellow to brown. Additional colours can also be achieved with the use of stains.

Mosaic tiles: Mosaic tiles are small tiles, less than six square inches in size. They are usually very dense products that are tough and highly stain resistant. Mosaics are ideal for shower floors because their small size gives them the flexibility to follow the contour of the floor as it slopes to the drain.

Wall tiles: Any ceramic tile is suitable for walls, but the very thin, high glossed, and decorative tiles are most commonly used. Wall tiles have a very soft glaze and porous body and therefore should never be used on floors or for outdoor applications.

Floor tiles: These tiles, glazed or unglazed, have the sufficient strength, impact, and abrasion resistance to withstand weight and foot traffic. They are usually thicker, denser, and heavier than wall tiles. If the substrate is strong enough to support the weight, floor tiles may also be used on walls and counter tops.

Laurent Billiet

La Maison Chic www.lamaisonchic.ie [email protected]

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