Ceramic Tile & Your New Home

Choosing the right flooring is a major consideration when you build a new home. Ceramic Tile is an excellent choice for durability and beauty, but also has it's downside.

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On the plus side it is easy to maintain, very durable, and will virtually last forever (if you buy quality tile). On the minus side it is cold in the winter, more expensive than carpet and can crack and chip.
Foyer Ceramic Tile

Bedroom Ceramic Tile

In the past Michaela (my wife) and I have installed tile with great success. We renovated a prior home while we lived in it, installing tile in the bathrooms, kitchen and the foyer. I have included a couple of good links for you to review the installation process.

The Tile Doctor            Do It Yourself Ceramic Tile

When we built our new house we decided to hire a ceramic tile contractor to do the installation. Our decision was based upon a couple of things that you should carefully consider if you are building a home and want to install your own tile.

The time involved in installing ceramic tile.

When we renovated our prior home, time was not a major issue. When we built, it was. With a construction loan, your time is limited to complete the home.

This is true with any portion of home building that you decide to do. You must weigh out how much time and effort you have to invest versus hiring a professional do it. Our home has 1500 plus square feet of tile, so it would have taken us forever to do it alone.

A professional tile installer will probably do a better job. I know the one we hired did better than what I could have done. Of course he does it everyday.

Let's face it most of us don't install tile for a living, so we are not going to be as proficient as a pro. That brings me to another point. Make sure you hire a good tile installation contractor. Follow the steps on the Ceramic Tile Installer on the Building Contractor page.

Tile and Grout Selection

The first thing we think about when selecting tile is design, color and texture. This is of course very important, but another consideration is durability. We chose porcelain tile for our kitchen. The color is not just on the surface, it is all way through.

Breakfaast  Area Ceramic Tile

Porcelain ceramic tile is very hard and will last for many years. Since our kitchen is high traffic it was a good choice. We also choose a gray grout. We learned the hard way not to use white or light colored grout in a high traffic area, it is just too hard to keep clean.

You can also pick a ceramic tile that is the same texture or color through the entire tile. In other words as it wears you will not notice any change in the appearance. I am sure you have seen tile in a high traffic area like a store or restaurant that has worn through the top finish.

Porch Terracotta Ceramic Tile

We choose terracotta tile for our outside porch and our breezeway entrance that is high traffic. It offers great durability and will not show wear over time.

Please Buy Extra Tile

We choose to put the tile directly on the floor for the sake of the added expense. This brings up another important point. Always buy additional tile to repair any chipped, cracked or broken tiles in the future (and in installation).

As I mentioned earlier, ceramic tile is very durable, but if your foundation develops a hairline crack or you drop something heavy on a tile it can be damaged. If you do develop a hairline crack you can replace the tile, but you must have the replacement tile on hand to do so.

Let me explain what I mean about cracking. If you install your tile over a concrete floor or foundation in time the concrete can develop hairline cracks. The tile will crack with the foundation if it develops cracks. This can be avoided by putting down a membrane or other treatments on the floor and then installing the tile.

The fix for cracked tile is unfortunately chipping it up and replacing it. Obviously, you must have the tile to be able to do so. So please let me stress buy extra! Why?

Ceramic tile is produced in batch runs and each run is just a tiny bit different. So if you try and go back and find the exact ceramic tile you originally bought you may be in for a surprise. It may be a little different color or texture and will not match the original tile. The best approach is over buy, a little, and store it away for the day you may need it.

Sealing Your Grout

If your home is anything like ours, there is just no telling what is going to happen to the floor. Spills, and tracked in dirt, or anything else that will cause stains is going to discolor your grout. Don't let anybody kid you, once grout is stained it is hard to clean. In fact, oftentimes if the stain soaks into the grout the only way to get it up is take up the grout.

Ever heard the saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? In this case it is worth ten pounds. Take the time to seal your grout. You can find great sealing products at your local home center or tile store.

Ceramic Tile Grout Sealer

For more Information on Building Your Own Home Go to Our Building Knowledge Center.

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