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How to Choose and Lay Floor Tiles

August 29th, 2010

floor-tile-patterns.jpgIn the world that we live in, we have a hoard of options to do up the floors beneath our feet. Ground flooring is no longer a ‘simple’ affair. Marble, the traditional sign of quality and taste, is losing its appeal. The market is overflowing with products that resist wear and tear and have aesthetic value. As opposed to natural options like marble, granite, and wooden planks, more and more people seem to be choosing floor tiles. They are not just eco-friendly, but are durable, require low maintenance, and have visual appeal.

Tile provides attractive flooring options for both commercial and home spaces. They are varied, fit everyone’s taste and budgets, and offer a wide spectrum to choose from. There are ceramic unglazed, slip resistant, glossy, and rustic tiles. In the premium segment, vitrified tiles that is, highly compact homogenized tiles with water absorption of below 0.5% or nil porosity, are a wonderful pick. These tiles emerged from the idea of developing a material that combines the aesthetic appeal of marble with the strength of granite. Vitrified tiles offer somewhat the same finished quality as polished stone floorings. The difference between vitrified tiles and marble is that the tiles are non-porous, clay based, and easy to lay. Moreover, they are light weight and have higher mechanical strength as compared to marble.

Tiles are graded according to their usage and abrasion resistant qualities. Grade II are for medium traffic areas such as bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and other private residential areas. Grade III are also for medium traffic areas but have low abrasive resistance; they are well suited for balconies, lobbies, and halls. Grade IV are for heavy footed commercial and public spaces such as offices, store interiors, or showrooms. Grade V have the highest abrasion resistance, and are ideal for heavy-traffic public areas like restaurants, malls, hospitals, schools, cinema halls, and so on.

If you choose to lay tiles on the floor yourself, you should keep certain things in mind. Firstly, variation in shade and pattern is a natural feature of ceramics. So purchase sufficient tiles at one time so that you have enough for the complete job. Also, try to mark the tile layout from the center of the area so that cut tiles are on the outer edges, towards the walls. Arrange the tile layout before fixing to ensure that there are equal cut tiles on either end of the area.

Before fixing tiles, it is advisable to free the area from dirt, grease, and flaking. When you are ready, apply adhesive or mortar to only about 1 square meter of floor. To fix the tiles properly, you should press the edges firmly. After the laying, for a thorough cleaning of the tiles, use acid based grout removers. Do not walk over the tiles for at least 24 hours after laying them down. After sufficient time has passed, you can grout the tiles. If you want your tile floor to last longer, avoid using cleaning agents with hydrofluoric acid and its derivates.

Some of the well known names in the tile industry are H & R Johnson, Somany, Nitco, Eurocon, Orient, and Kajaria. Most of these major producers offer a wide variety of tiles to choose from. Choose your tiles wisely keeping in mind the area, purpose, and color scheme of the room.

This article was supplied by Swati Varma.

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