Summer is definitely the time to plan remodeling projects. Homeowners thinking about reworking their kitchen or outdoor cooking area would be well served to research some on tile and natural stone before contracting the work. There are advantages and disadvantages to every product and tile and stone are no exceptions. There are also a number of different options and sub-categories of finishes within each product line, so the choices can be overwhelming. Understanding a few things about the products can simplify your choice and help you pick the right tile or natural stone.
This is the first thing to consider for installing new tile or stone. While most tiles and natural stones can be used for most things in a kitchen, from floors to backsplashes, some are better suited for certain functions than others. For instance, Consumer Reports states that quartz and granite are the best choices for counters. However, travertine or ceramic tile is used a lot for floors.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles can be easily used for floors, walls and backsplashes. Glass has a wide range of colors and pizazz to give walls and backsplashes the “wow” factor. Cement tiles are the latest trend because of their resilience and beauty. They work well for floors, walls and backsplashes. Stone, like granite, can also be used just about anywhere. Other softer materials, like travertine, are best used in areas where there won’t be hot surfaces or cutting.
This is one of the key elements in making a decision. Some products, like natural stone and marble, require sealing while others like porcelain and some ceramic tiles do not. Generally, it is advised to always seal any tile or natural stone you use. Some stone, like limestone, are porous and absorb water. Leaving them unsealed will cause them to wear out faster. Even if the product itself doesn’t require sealing, sealing protects your grout. Water and kitchen grease will be absorbed into grout over time, causing the grout to fall apart. Properly sealing the area will protect the grout, and ultimately, your investment.
One thing to consider in maintenance is longevity and ease of repairs. You will get chipped or cracked tile or natural stone over time. There will eventually be streaks on your floors from high traffic. Grout will eventually get stained from grease, water and dirt and will need cleaning, restaining or replacing. These are things that will need to be repaired at some point.
Something to remember is that repairs don’t have to be costly. You will not need to replace all of your tile should one of them chip or crack. There are professionals who can fix small problems like chipped stone, streaked floors, or grout replacement without replacing all of it. Fixing these types of problems will cost around 30 percent of the cost of replacement, so it’s a great option.
A factor in your design will be how you want your space to look. That includes glaze or any mix of colors to create a design on walls, backsplashes or floors. These choices can involve many specific details, so it is something to seriously think about before making a final selection. Tile and stone come in a variety of finishes, which can completely alter their look. A polished finish is glossy, reflects and is more formal while a honed finish is smooth without being glossy. There is also an antique-brushed finish or tumbled finish to consider for those who want a distressed or rustic look. You can also get tile and stone glazed to add more dimension.
Be sure to identify your design objective before finalizing your plans. Light-colored, larger tiles and lighter colored grout make a room look bigger. Using a dark-shaded grout with light tiles to add drama. You can also add color by alternating colored tile with contrasting pieces. Tile and products like cement also come in options that resemble other natural elements, which makes them super useful in some spaces like outdoor kitchens. For instance, some tile looks like wood. Having that element in an outdoor space is great because it completes a whole natural look but is more weather and fire-friendly than the real thing.
Tile and natural stone come in a variety of price ranges. Granite and quartz are some of the higher priced stone while ceramic or reclaimed tile will cost less. There are also cheaper tile products that have top surfaces that look like high end elements, so keep that in mind.
Keeping these three basic factors on a list while you are browsing through tile and stone choices will keep you on track with your final selections. That will ensure that you will be happy with your renovation for years to come.