How to choose ceramic floor tiles
Ceramic floor tiles are a popular, hardwearing and affordable choice for kitchens, bathrooms and hallways. Here’s how to choose the best ceramic tiles for your tiling project
Ceramic floors are a practical flooring solution for bathrooms and kitchens due to the tiles’ water-resistant properties. These floor tiles are also a viable choice for hallways, conservatories, bedrooms and living areas – some can even be used in the garden.
Ceramic tiles aren’t just practical; they’re also one of the least expensive flooring options. Hardwearing, fully compatible with underfloor heating, and easy to clean, they are a great choice for families with young children and pets.
PORCELAIN VS CERAMIC – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Porcelain is sometimes referred to as ceramic because the materials are very similar, which can be confusing.
While they may look almost identical and are both made using natural clay, the main difference is that they are produced using a slightly different manufacturing process. Porcelain has finely ground sand added, so it is denser and less porous than ceramic. Porcelain is also hardwearing and suited for areas of heavy traffic, such as hallways and kitchens, and both indoor and outdoor use. Ceramic is softer and better suited to interior, low traffic areas.
WHAT IS A PEI RATING?
The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rating determines the recommended application of a tile from one (wall tile only) to five (heavy foot traffic). Most tiles, including ceramic, will have a PEI rating, so check that your chosen tile is suitable for its intended purpose.
WHERE CAN YOU LAY CERAMIC TILES?
Ceramic tiles can be laid anywhere inside, and porcelain tiles can even be used outside. It is definitely worth considering installing underfloor heating as tiles can be cold to walk on, so in the case of rooms such as living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms, it will really make a difference.
On the downside, apart from being cold underfoot, the tiles’ hardness means that anything dropped on the floor, such as glass and tableware, is easily broken and ceramic tiles in particular can be susceptible to cracking if a heavy object is dropped on them.
CLEANING CERAMIC TILES
Vacuum or sweep a tiled floor regularly to keep it in pristine condition, as dirt, grit and sand will dull a glazed surface. Clean regularly with mild detergent and water using a chamois-style mop rather than a sponge, which can push dirty water into grout lines, making them harder to clean.
- Check out our pick of the best floor cleaners
- And you are going to need the best mop for floor tiles to go with that!
If the grout becomes dirty over time, a white pencil eraser is a quick and simple way of cleaning a small area. For larger areas, a paste of baking soda and water can be applied with a clean toothbrush, and for stained white grout, try a 75/25 mix of water and bleach.
Do not use bleach on coloured grout as it will remove the colour, and take care not to get it onto the tiles. Afterwards, rinse with clean water and apply a coat of grout sealer. Refer to the manufacturer’s guide for recommended cleaning products, and if you are using a detergent or mild bleach solution, always test in an inconspicuous area first.
You can read the full article here: Real Homes by Anna Cottrell