Mainly consisting of ceramic tile, wall tiles are becoming available in larger and larger sizes today. Ease of maintenance (less grout to clean), and cleaner visual lines the larger format tiles are growing more and more popular. Hand painted accent pieces and listellos are available, or you can have a local artist custom-paint decorative tiles or a small mural to perfectly compliment your decor. The colours, shapes, and designs are yours for the asking. The possibilities are endless.
Kitchen Backsplash Tiles
Brighten up that space between your counter top and cabinets with a multitude of choices from a 4 x 4 ceramic or stone tile to a 5/8x5/8 glass, stone or stainless steel mosaic the choices are endless. It's not a large space, do don't be afraid to spend some time putting together the perfect compliment to your kitchen. For added flair, install some or all of your tile on a 45 degree pattern. Ceramic tile or Glass tile are ideally suited for this space no matter what is splattered on the tile, simply wipe it down. Natural stones like marble or slate add a beauty like no other but do require maintenance to keep them stain-resistant. Doing a blend of more than one material like some glass accents in a tumbled stone splash can add that touch of flair that youre looking for. Dont be afraid to mix it up and get the dramatic touch that youre looking for.
Types of Tile
Ceramic Tiles – A clay biscuit material that is fired and glazed with a variety of colours and finishes that provide a durable floor even in the busiest of households. Ceramic tiles provide a less expensive option to tiling a floor as they are single fired and easier to produce than a porcelain tile but still provide all the durability that a home owner could need. Easy to maintain with a simple sweep and a wash, due to the glazing on the tile, the tiles themselves will not stain or discolour unlike vinyl flooring.
Porcelain Tiles - A harder and more dense biscuit that is fired at higher temperatures than ceramic biscuit is. It provides an additional element of strength to the floor. Suitable for commercial applications due to their added strength, porcelain tiles are used more and more these days in residential applications for their look. Available in glazed, matte or glossy finish, these tiles take on a look of their own emulating many natural stones like slate or travertine, and in the polished form a marble floor. Unglazed and more suited for outside applications on a front porch for example or a commercial washroom they come in heavy textures that provide a safer slip resistant surface.
Mexican Saltillo Paver – These are natural clay tile from northern Mexico, sun baked and kiln- fired. They are beautiful sun washed terra cotta ranging in shades from burnished reds to muted yellows. Due to their hand made quality, sizing will vary from tile to tile and edges may be less than square. They are available pre-sealed or sealed at the time of installation. These tiles will require future maintenance and need to be re-sealed over time, much like a eurothane on hardwood floors. Chipping of the edges after application is quite common and only add to the old world charm that they provide to a room.
Marble – A recrystallized limestone that formed when the limestone softened from heat and pressure and recrystallized into marble when mineral changes occurred. Ranges in many colours and is usually heavy veined and shows lots of grains. Marble is one of the softer natural stones available and is quite fragile while loose in tile form but provide a sturdy floor once installed. Marble will require sealing when installed and continued maintenance once in. Although available in many finishes, the two most common are tumbled and polished. Marble provides a beautiful warm look to any setting be it casual or elegant.
Slate – A fine grained metamorphic stone that formed from clay, sedimentary rock shale, and sometimes quartz. The nature of this stone is that it can be very thin and therefore break / flake more easily than other stones. It is not uncommon and is considered acceptable to have approx. 10% of an order broken before it even arrives to the store, these pieces are simply worked with and used as cut pieces in the install, making the best use out of every piece. Slate is usually black, gray or green and can be found with reflective colours of silver or copper, and ranges of red tones through out. Slate like all other natural stones requires sealing when installed. Using a colour enhancer will bring out all the brilliant red tones in many of the slates and give a crisper look to the stone. Sealer finishes can be selected in a matte or glossy option.
Travertine – Also belonging to the Limestone family, travertine is formed by minerals dissolving in ground water and then being deposited on the earth’s surface by rivers, natural springs or geysers. Due to its formation travertine comes with pits and holes through the stone which either can be left un-filled as in the tumbled versions of the stone, or filled with a colour matched resin and honed to a smooth but low sheen finish.
Either finish requires sealer for protection when installed and throughout the years. Travertine by far is becoming one of the most popular natural stone available in the design industry. Its soft subtle beauty adds depth and character to any application.
Granite – Primarily made of Quartz, Feldspar and Potassium. Most granites usually have darker colours, contain very little calcite, if any, and provide a heavy crystalline and granular appearance with mineral grains. It is a very hard material and easier to maintain than marble, travertine or limestone, but is still porous and is susceptible to staining and requires sealing on occasion. There are different types of granite depending on the percentage mix of feldspar, quartz and mica. Granites can be quite a light colour containing mostly quartz, or as dark as a black that contains very little quartz or feldspar and has a different composition than true granite. Although available in a few different finishes the polished version still seems to hold the most appeal.