Tile Flooring Options
The word ‘tile’ has its origin in the latin word ‘tegula’ meaning a tile of baked clay. The word tile now refers to similar units made not just from clay but from many other materials like stone, glass, vinyl, slate, etc. Ceramic tiles were the first to be used on a global scale because the raw material (clay) was easily available and the manufacturing procedure (heating) was easy to master. The advantages offered by tiles meant that many other materials soon adapted the small repeating piece format popularized by ceramic tiles. Today it is possible to obtain tiles in almost any material of one’s choice.
Advantages of Tile Flooring
- Variety – Tile flooring is available in a wide variety of choices both in material and in design. It is possible to have tiles in either natural or synthetic material and to have vinyl tiles that look like hard wood flooring! Ceramic tiles have long been used to create interesting designs and patterns in flooring.
- Easy availability – Tiles are made to standard sizes and are easily available.
- Easy installation – Tiles made of some materials like vinyl are very easy to install and are the perfect material for anyone who wants to flaunt his workmanship skills. Minimal skill is required to create a beautiful floor with these tiles.
- Durable – The durability of tile flooring depends on the chosen material. However, the big advantage when using tiles is that most tile manufacturers treat natural material like marble, slate and travertine to remove many of the drawbacks commonly associated with these natural materials.
- Value Addition – Aesthetically chosen tile flooring can add value to any property.
The Disadvantages of Using Tiles are
- Replacement challenge – If tiles are of poor quality it is likely that they will wear out soon and if an unusual pattern had been chosen it may be difficult to find a match and replace it. If choosing an unusual pattern – one may find it prudent to stock a few tiles for future exigencies. Also the traffic pattern in the chosen area may need to be considered when choosing any flooring material.
- Installation – Installing some of the tiles is an easy DIY job but there are materials like slate and travertine that are best handled by a professional.
- Cost – While some tiles like vinyl are affordable there are others that are more exotic and expensive. Given the wide variety of material in which tiles are available today, it is possible to find tile flooring that suits any budget.
- Aesthetics – Some people may feel that tiles do not impart warmth to a room as hardwood flooring does.
Different Types of Tiles and Their Characteristics
Tiles made of naturally occurring material like travertine, marble, slate, cork etc. are brittle and may require caution in handling. These tiles may also require a professional’s expertise in installation to get the best results particularly if a few tiles or a section needs to be replaced. Cork tiles may be easily damaged by daily wear if they are not shielded properly with varnish.
Vinyl and some other polymers are manufactured from petrochemicals and are molded into tiles. These are thin, easy to handle, manipulate, sculpt, install and clean. But some people may be allergic to the chemical smells emanating from the synthetic material. Tiles of Linoleum the natural replacement of vinyl may not be a prudent choice in high traffic areas or in areas that are exposed to water.
Tiles are one of the oldest flooring materials used by man. The versatility offered by tiles has meant that they have remained a popular flooring material throughout human history. In fact their use dates back to the Roman civilization. The ease of handling a semi prepared material and the possibility of altering the properties of a material by glazing or treating it with chemicals has meant that tiles offer possibilities to homeowners that are difficult to match by any other flooring material. Whatever it is that you are looking for – beauty, a waterproof material, one that does not collect dust and pollen, natural products, one that is easy to install…… and whatever your budget – tiles are one option that are sure to fit your bill.