Tiles: The right type of tile for every living area
Tiles are easy to clean and available in countless decors and formats. But before you buy there is a lot to consider when choosing the right tile, because not every tile is suitable for every application. Whether ceramic, natural stone, abrasion groups or slip resistance: What you should know about tiles.
Whether as an easy-care and hygienic floor, as a wall covering in wet rooms or outdoors – tiles are truly multi-talented and extremely versatile. However, the selection of a tile should not only meet optical criteria, but should also be tailored to the area of application. A tile for outdoor use must meet different requirements than its counterpart in the bathroom, and even floor coverings in corridors and bedrooms differ in their properties.
Tiles in bathrooms and showers
In wet rooms such as bathrooms and showers, special requirements are placed on tiles: They must permanently withstand moisture and be as slip-resistant as possible. It is therefore important to check the water absorption capacity of the tile before buying. Basically, tiles fired at high temperatures have smaller pore spaces and are therefore less water absorbent than some alternatives: Stoneware and porcelain stoneware tiles are therefore particularly suitable for wet areas.
Natural stone tiles are also popular, although not all materials are suitable for wet areas. Travertine or granite, for example, have rather closed surfaces and can absorb relatively little water.
Since natural stone tiles are often offered polished, one should also pay attention to the slip resistance here. In the case of ceramic coverings, slip resistance classes provide orientation: R9 means that the tile meets low slip resistance requirements, while R13 is the highest rating. In the private sector, tiles with a slip resistance of R10 or higher are recommended.
Tiles for outdoor use
Tiles must be frost-resistant so that they do not flake open and flake off outside in winter. Here, too, the decisive criterion is the water absorption capacity of the material. If it is less than three percent, a tile is considered frost-resistant. Large-pored tiles such as stoneware are therefore unsuitable for outdoor use. However, stoneware tiles, split tiles or tiles made of natural stone such as granite are well suited. Tiles for outdoor use are available in glazed and unglazed form. As in wet areas, attention should also be paid to slip resistance.
Tiles in living areas
Easy-care, hygienic, suitable for underfloor heating and available in countless formats and surfaces, tiles enjoy unbroken popularity in the living area. However, depending on their use, tiles have to meet different requirements. The so-called abrasion group, which indicates how resilient and wear-resistant tile is, is the most important factor. The higher the abrasion group, the more scratch-resistant and harder the material is. Class 1 stands for lowest, class 5 for highest abrasion resistance. Class 1 tiles are suitable for wall coverings, while classes 3 to 5 are used infrequently frequented rooms.
In areas where the floor is more likely to be soiled, such as kitchens or hallways, stoneware or porcelain stoneware tiles should be laid with at least abrasion group four or five. In less frequented areas, such as bedrooms, lower abrasion resistance is suitable.
Ceramic or natural stone?
Whether ceramic or natural stone tiles are used is a question of personal taste and budget. Natural stone is usually more expensive than ceramic, but it is a genuine natural product. At the same time, natural stone is more maintenance-intensive. It needs impregnation and should only be cleaned with special agents. Alternatively there are also ceramic tiles, which are manufactured in deceptively real natural stone optics, at the same time however more easy-care and more inexpensive are. Ceramic tiles are also more flexible in the available formats: Large format tiles are trendy, but natural stone has its limits in this respect.
Ceramic tiles consist of clay, sand and feldspar and are among the most popular types of tiles. Ceramic tiles include stoneware, stoneware and porcelain stoneware tiles. Hardness and porosity vary according to firing temperature, composition and admixtures.
- In principle, stoneware tiles are considered more sensitive, and they are also more water-absorbent than stoneware and porcelain stoneware tiles.
- Ceramic tiles are available glazed or unglazed. Glazed tiles are easier to care for and more robust, unglazed tiles on the other hand are more slip-resistant and less susceptible to scratches.
- Porcelain tiles are also counted as ceramic coverings. They are robust, do not absorb water and can therefore be used in almost any area.
- Terracotta tiles with their characteristic reddish brown colour have a warm Mediterranean flair. As an ecological natural product, they have a high thermal conductivity, which is why terracotta is often used in combination with underfloor heating.
- So-called faience tiles set an extravagant accent. The handcrafted tiles with a special glaze are usually painted blue and white or coloured.
Natural stone tiles
Natural stone tiles are elegant, of high quality and, with appropriate treatment, extremely durable. Basically, most natural stones react sensitively to aggressive cleaning agents and acids. Therefore, impregnation and the use of special agents are essential to protect the stone from damage and staining.
- A popular natural stone is marble, whose natural grain and colour variety has an individual charm.
- The dark appearance of slate, which can be used in a variety of ways with appropriate impregnation, is also trendy. For wet rooms, however, slate is only suitable to a limited extent, as water-lime deposits can lead to unattractive stains.
- Limestone and sandstone impress with their homogeneous and soft colouring. Although sandstone is considered to be soft stone, tiles with higher quartz content are manufactured for the floor area, so that they are perfectly suitable for daily use.
Laying tiles yourself
With some skill tiles can also be laid by yourself, but you should pay attention to some things: When buying tiles, you should calculate the amount generously, because it can happen that tiles get broken. There should also be enough material available to replace damaged tiles at a later date.
When calculating the required material, the following applies: square metres of the surface to be tiled plus ten percent for waste and replacement, so do-it-yourselfers are on the safe side.
- Tile Cutter That Can Be Borrowed From Some Diy Stores.
- Glue And Mortar
- Tile Breaker Pliers
- Spirit Level
- Sponge Board
- Toothed Spatula
- Pick Hammer
A clean and level surface is important. Plaster or gypsum boards on walls require a primer. For laying, the mortar is applied to the substrate, then the tiles are provided with adhesive and can be laid. The spirit level should be used from time to time to ensure that the floor is level. After the adhesive has hardened, joints can be made. After drying, remove the cement film and impregnate the tiles if necessary. If a tile is damaged over the years, it can be replaced relatively easily: The joint around the damaged tile is removed with a tile cutter, the tile removed and then replaced.