Ok, so now that you’ve picked out your tile, designed your space, calculated quantities, only one more step before you are ready to install – time to choose a grout! Most people cringe when they think about grout because they immediately picture it being dingy and discolored in a year or two, however, thanks to advancements in the world of chemistry, that is no longer always the case. Most customers are familiar with the traditional cement based grout which is fairly inexpensive but discolors quickly. We typically recommend either acrylic, epoxy or urethane grouts, which unlike cement based grouts, do not need to be sealed, are very stain resistant, have longer working times, are more accommodating to movement in the tile, are easier to clean and most even have antimicrobial properties.
Whether you are renovating your bathroom DIY style, selecting tile for the new home you are building or having a new backsplash installed, tile can be one of the most fun and exciting but also overwhelming flooring types. There are several kinds of tile materials available including ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, cement, marble, and glass, all of which that are available in numerous sizes and shapes. Knowing the pros and cons of each of these tile materials is important when trying to decide which tile is best for you. In many cases, the specific area where the tile will be installed and the conditions that the tile will face can help with selection. For example, if you need a tile for a shower floor, large glossy marble tiles will not work. It is far too slippery for those conditions.
According to the new standard for rating slip resistance, the dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF), a tile must be rated greater than or equal to 0.42 to be considered slip resistant and ADA compliant. When looking at older tiles, a tile with a wet COF of at least 0.6 is considered ADA compliant. In a shower floor, mosaics are recommended to accommodate for the slope down to the drain. The use of smaller tiles and larger grout joints also improves the slip resistance of a tile.
Ceramic vs. Porcelain
There are two main kinds of tile – ceramic and porcelain. Porcelains in general are going more durable because of how they are constructed. They are fired at higher temperatures during production which causes them to be denser (I know there is a better word to use here). Within porcelain tiles, you have the option of either glazed or through-body, also known as colorbody, tiles. Glazed tiles have the finish applied on the top of the tile while in through-body tiles, as the name suggest, the color and design goes all the way through the body of the tile. Through-body tiles are ideal for high traffic conditions because if a tile is chipped, instead of seeing a white or grey underside characteristic of older tile, you see the same color that was removed.