When it comes to selecting tile for your home remodel, the abundance of options is daunting. While the material, shape, and size of the tile may be an issue of functionality, the color and texture of the tile can set the tone of a room. An unexpected source, The Wall Street Journal, recently offered an exciting and informative overview of emerging tile trends. As they profess, “No home renovator wants to get stuck with a lousy tile decision, but that doesn’t mean the only choice is basic, boring beige.” See The Complete A-Z Guide to Tiles: 26 Ways to Go Beyond Beige for an alphabetical survey of the new tile landscape, from Arabesque to Zellige.
Not only does the article give provide information on the full range of materials available to homeowners today – many of the new ones driven by technology innovations such as digital printing – it offers ideas from design experts on ways to mix the various A-Z elements. For example:
- Combine complex patterns with plainer patterns
- Offset textural effects with smooth tiles
- Consider playing with scale
- Besides pure aesthetics, consider a theme and how pairings can be a narrative.
For additional help on choosing the right tile for your home, consider the following factors and see the associated online guides:
Ceramic and Porcelain
Both ceramic and porcelain can be rated for wear using the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) scale, which classifies tile surfaces from 1 to 5. A PEI 1 rating is for “No foot traffic, for wall use only”, while a PEI of 5+ can handle “heavy traffic and is most resistant to abrasion”.
Natural stone is not man-made and therefore does not follow the PEI scale. The natural stones used most often in tile are marble, limestone, travertine, slate, and granite.There are both subtle and significant differences between the types of stone as to appearance, water absorption to durability. For more information on choosing ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tile, see the National Kitchen and Bath Association, Homeowners Tips for Choosing the Right Tile http://www.nkba.org/Learn/Homeowners/Tips/Tile/ChoosingTheRightTile.aspx
Especially important in choosing floor tile, the Coefficient of Friction (COF) is a measure of traction and tile slipperiness. See Interiors and Sources http://www.interiorsandsources.com/article-details/articleid/16571/title/stranger-than-friction.aspx to learn more.
Color, Texture, and Style
The color and texture of the tile helps set the tone of a room. Before deciding on a tile color, take note of existing colors in the room, the mood you want for the room and the amount of foot traffic the area receives. Today’s digital technology, has transformed the process of creating tile with new and intriguing possibilities. For example porcelain look-alike tile is sized to resemble individual floor planks and ceramic and porcelain “marble” tiles look almost exactly like real marble but they do not crack and scratch as easily.
See Daltile Tile Trends http://www.daltile.com/inspiration-and-diy/tile-trends/2015-insiders-tile-trends-forecast to read about their Four Top Tile Trends for 2015: Glass mosaic tiles in updated colors and shapes, a softer color palette, with lots of gray, softer textures, and subway tiles in updated shapes and colors.
Here is an example of the subway tile trend in this recently-completed Palo Alto kitchen remodel. The homeowner selected Heath Ceramic’s Stretched Hexagon tile for their backsplash. It’s a handmade tile that feels like classic subway tile but with a twist. See the Heath Ceramics website for a complete selection of their offerings.