Friday, October 30, 2009

Tile Selection in Florida......

Ceramic, Porcelain, Marble or Stone?

The selection of tile is almost limitless, especially here in Florida where there are so many domestic and imported tile from around the world shipped here.
Many homeowners are taking the selection of their tile more seriously than ever before. The old traditional look of 4x4 or 6x6 ceramics on the walls and floors is falling to the wayside as consumers look for the perfect tile for their projects.

Then, of course, comes the question: What is the best choice?
Tiles come in a wide variety of materials including clay, porcelain, and even glass among other choices. The durability of tile is graded in hardness. The more dense the tile, the harder the finished surface is. Porcelain, for instance, is the best tile in terms of density and hardness. Porcelain tile has color all the way through the tile versus screen print or glazed tiles, which are basically painted only on the surface. Porcelain will lasts longer with fewer problems with wear. Porcelain is also preferred for outside installations because it is more frost resistant.

Marble and stone are in a class all by themselves. Natural stone tile require more care in selection and maintenance. Installation of these materials is more labor intensive requiring a greater degree of skill and know-how to install them. Prices for stone materials are typically higher than ceramic or porcelain tiles and installation costs reflect the degree of difficulty to install them. Stone tile bring nature into your Florida home. They add a feeling of luxury and permanency. Granite counter tops in kitchens and baths combined with a tumbled marble backs plash make for a classy look and feel to any Florida home.

The tile you select for your project is just as important as the installer. Leave some money in your budget for a quality tile job. Once installed, tile can't be changed as easily as your paint color. Consider all the options and textures for tile and plan to spend a day or two looking at several different distributors. Be careful of discount tile, as it is sometimes inferior in quality and ultimately will make for a bad tile job. Remember, you get what you pay for. Don't skimp on your tile project. It will costs much more down the road to repair or replace your tile if done incorrectly and cheap.
Tampa Bay ,Lutz ,Oldsmar ,Apollo Beach, Ybor City, Gibsonton, Carrollwood, Northdale, Lake Magdalene, Palm River-Clair Mel, Progress Village, Riverview, Temple Terrace, University, Westchase, Wesley Chapel, Hillsborough County,
...............Ceramic..........................Porcelain................Marble/Natural Stone

Apollo Beach, Bloomingdale, Boyette, Brandon, Cheval, Citrus Park, Dover, East Lake-Orient Park, Egypt Lake-Leto, Fish Hawk, Gibsonton, Greater Carrollwood, Greater Northdale, Greater Sun Center, Keystone, Lake Magdalene, Lutz, Mango, Palm River-Clair Mel, Pebble Creek, Plant City, Lakeland, St. Pete, Progress Village, Riverview, Ruskin, Seffner, Tampa, Temple Terrace, Thonotosassa, University, Valrico, Westchase, Wimauma, TAMPA FL

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Grout and Sealers for Tile.........

since we are a Ceramic, Quarry, Saltillo, Porcelain & Travertine
Tile Contractor in Florida these questions come up to us a lot
from Homeowners, Builders, Architects & Customers.

I hope this will explain to you some of the differences.


Grout for ceramic tile is a cement-based bonding material used for filling joints between tiles. The space left between tiles to be filled is called a grout joint. The grout joint between the tiles is usually very porous, therefore, it needs to be sealed and maintained properly to prevent stains and discoloration. Protected tile and grout for ceramic tile will be easier to clean, more resistant staining, and provide a safer and healthier environment.

Types of grout for ceramic tile:

There are four basic types of grout for ceramic tile: Unsanded, fine sanded, quarry type and epoxy.

* Unsanded grout for ceramic tile: This is used for wall tiles where the grout joint is less than 1/8" wide.
* Finely Sanded grout for ceramic tile: This is used for floor tiles where the joints are 1/8" to 3/8" wide.
* Quarry-type grout for ceramic tile: This is the same as finely sanded grout for ceramic tiles except that a coarser grade of sand is used. The quarry-type grout for ceramic tile is used for joints that are 3/8" wide to 1/2" wide such as those used with Saltillo tiles.
* Epoxy grout for ceramic tile: This consists of an epoxy resin and hardener. Epoxy grout for ceramic tile is highly resistant to stains and chemicals and has a tremendous bonding strength. It is ideal for countertops and other areas susceptible to stains.

Some important considerations when choosing grout for ceramic tile:

* The wider the joint, the coarser the sand has to be. The sand prevents the grout for ceramic tile from shrinking and cracking.
* Grout for ceramic tiles comes in a wide variety of pre-mixed colors.
* The standard size of wall joint is 1/16" wide.
* The standard size of grout joint for floor tiles is 1/4" wide (finely sanded).
* Because floor tiles may vary slightly in size, grout joints in the floor tiles should not be smaller than 3/16". The installer will not be able to keep a straight line if the joint is too narrow.
* Impregnating sealers go into the grout joint and protect against water and oil-based stains.
* To prevent or limit staining problems in grout for ceramic tile, latex additives or a sealer is recommended. The latex additive forms a rubber-like film over the pores in the grout for ceramic tile, thus limiting its tendency to absorb stains. However, it is not completely stain proof.


A sealer is a liquid coat applied to the porous surface of the tile or grout, to protect them from oxidation, natural deterioration and day-to-day wear. Typically speaking, sealers are used to protect unglazed tiles and grouts from absorbing stains. Take a look at these guidelines, which are meant to get you started when it comes to choosing the right sealant for your ceramic or porcelain tile project:


There are two types of major types of sealers for ceramic tile or porcelain tile:

* Penetrating Sealers: These are absorbed into the tile or grout, forming a stain resistant shield just below the surface. Most penetrating sealers will not change the appearance of the tile.
* Surface Sealers: These are coated on the top of tile and grout, forming a non-porous, stain resistant sealant. The surface sealer will enhance the rich natural colors of the tile and adds a slight luster as well.

Important Considerations:

* The surface of most ceramic and porcelain tiles does not need to be sealed, although some require a light application of a penetrating sealer to fill the micro pores on the surface of the tile.
* However, all unglazed tiles including dense porcelains, should be sealed prior to grouting. It will prevent the grout from staining the tile, especially when a dark colored grout is being used with a light colored tile.
* Impregnating sealers go into the grout joint and protect against water and oil-based stains.
* Highly absorbent tiles such as hand made Saltillo tiles must be permanently sealed with either a penetrating or surface sealer.
* Use only penetrating sealers on dense, unglazed tiles such as quarries or porcelains.
* It is important to follow your distributor's recommendations as well as reading the instructions on the product being used.

It's a good idea to ask the experts about which type of sealer performs best for the type of tile you have for further details. If color change is a concern, or staining resistance, then these are the questions to put to your seller. Talk to your ceramic or porcelain sales rep, or your local retailer about the latest products for sealing ceramic tile, porcelain tile, quarry tile, saltillo tile or travertine tile. Ask about whether penetrating sealers vs. surface sealers with regard to your specific tile and aesthetic expectations & find out which is the best fit for your project.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Types of Porcelain tiles...

Depending on project objectives, porcelain tile may be purchased in glazed, unglazed or polished varieties. There are two main types of porcelain tile: Through-bodied porcelain and glazed porcelain.

Through-Bodied Porcelain

Term: The term "through-body" refers to the tile being consistent in composition through out the body of the tile. The color and texture runs through the entire dimensional thickness of the tile.

Strong and Dense Tile
Freeze/Thaw Stable for Exterior Use
Usually Slip Resistant unless polished
Superior Scratch & Chip Resistance
Similar color throughout if chip occurs
Choices may be limited
Material should be sealed

Composition: Through-body tile is derived from mixtures of clay, sand and other natural minerals that are shaped into tile and fired at high temperatures. Through-bodied porcelain does not have a glaze. The clay is pressed and then fired.

Appearance: Through-body tile is considered as one of the most fashionable choices for floors, walls and countertops. It may have texture and color applied to the surface before firing but it is still the porcelain material from top to bottom. The color of the tile runs throughout its body.

Performance: The pressed dust method results in a porcelain tile with a density so high the water absorption is less than 0.5%. It is a strong tile that can withstand extreme surface traffic. There is no glaze that can wear off. If the tile chips, the same or similar color is underneath.

Usage: Through-bodied porcelain tiles can be used for both residential and heavy commercial installations. They can also be installed at wet locations and areas where slip resistant floors are needed.

Glazed Porcelain

Term: Glaze is a glass wear layer or hard finish (usually colored), applied to the surface of machine-made clay tiles. The term "glaze" can also refer to the material or mixture from which the coating is made.

Strong and Dense Tile
Freeze/Thaw Stable for Exterior Use
Superior Stain Resistance
Many Choices in Color and Style
Only seal if glaze has been polished

Composition: Glazed porcelain has a body made of the porcelain material and a glaze applied over the surface. It is almost similar to that of a regular ceramic tile. It is fired in a kiln and the result is a very strong bodied tile.

Appearance: Glazing, either shiny or matte, provides the most beautiful and varied colors, designs and decorations in ceramic tiles. Most bright, flashy tiles you see in tile displays are glazed.

Performance: Glazed tiles are non-porous. The glaze being an impervious facial finish protects tile from stains and moisture. These tiles are usually easier to maintain and can be treated for a higher slip resistance.

Usage: Vitreous glazed floor tiles are a durable option for counter tops and walls, providing a surface that is practically stain-proof. However, glazed porcelain is not recommended for heavy commercial installations.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Shade Variation in Ceramic & Porcelain Tile....

Many popular styles of ceramic tiles are designed and manufactured to appear and feel like natural stone, imitating their rugged surface and color variation. It's important to understand these variations while selecting and laying out your ceramic tile flooring. You will always be provided with a wide range of glazes, different gloss levels, colors and texture variations to choose from. Your choice should depend on the conditions present at your chosen location, whether commercial or residential.

A commonly preferred choice is a solid color tile because of its consistent look. However, shade variation is a natural factor in all fired ceramic products. In fact, certain tiles will show a certain amount variation even within their dye lots.

For the benefit of better understanding on the part of the consumer, shade variation categories have been devised to enable consumers choose their desired shade spectrum. These shade variation ratings are mentioned on the back label of each sample within either of the low, moderate, high or random categories.

Here is a brief explanation of these categories:

Low: Consistent shade and texture
Moderate: Moderate shade and texture variation
High: High shade and texture variation
Random: Very high shade and texture variation

The color of the tiles body is determined by the color of the clay used to manufacture it. It is usually the clay available in the surrounding regions of the manufacturing facility or sometimes imported from another region. You can have a look at the body of tile to find out if the color is red or white. The quality, however, depends on the processing standards of the manufacturers rather than the color of the body.

Color variations will also be present within the manufacturer's samples of tile of the same color. Moreover, it can be seen throughout the installed tiles on counter tops, walls and floors.

a couple of good tile manufacturers we use at Ceramictec Tile Contractors use are Crossville and Marazzi. to us they are a really good quality porcelain tile and made in the U.S.A.

If you have a particular tendency towards color consistency, then understanding the facts and talking to your tile contractor about your expectations can be a worthwhile pursuit.

some shade variations can be a beautiful thing.
like this full house tile renovation in Lakeland Florida for a customer.