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If you have never considered ceramic tiles before, you will be amazed at the variety of colors, patterns, sizes, shapes, and textures available for you to choose from. With the sophisticated manufacturing processes being used today, ceramic tiles have become easy to maintain, much more affordable, and can compliment any interior design.

Glazed Tile
Most of the common ceramic floor tiles have either a glazed, or unglazed surface. The glazed tiles have a special ceramic coating that is applied to the body of the tile and then fired under tremendous heat. The glazing becomes hard and non-porous resulting in a flooring that is:

  • Stain Resistant
  • Scratch Resistant
  • Fire Resistant
  • Doesn't Fade from Sun Light
  • Slip Resistant
  • Easy to Clean

Ceramic vs Stone
Ceramic is a man-made product and is generally homogeneous in construction. In other words, each and every tile has the identical composition and therefore has predictable qualities. On the other hand, stone tile is a product of nature and can differ in composition from tile to tile and therefore has unpredictable qualities. Ceramic tiles are generally non to slightly porous with a very low absorbency. Stone tiles can be very absorbent and for this reason can cause several different setting problems. Test data is available for many common stones and should be requested by the consultant. Ceramic tile is generally light weight and relatively thin. Stone tile ranges from 3/8-inch thick to as much as 1 1/4-inch thick and can be very heavy. A 12-inch square stone tile can weigh as much as 10 pounds or more. The backside of a ceramic tile is cast with many different corrugation designed to provide the proper bonding of the tile to the setting bed. The backside of a stone tile has no corrugation and is generally saw-cut or smoothed. Ceramic tile is generally resistant to acids. Certain stone tile, marble for example, is very sensitive to acids.

Classification of Ceramic Tiles
Since these maintenance recommendations relate to specific types of ceramic tile floors and walls, the following descriptions can be used to identify the particular tiles used on a project, or existing tile, these tiles have been classified in accordance with the CGSB National Standard CAN/CGSB-75.1M88 for ceramic floor and wall tile and trim units.

Porcelain Tiles
Porcelain tile is a ceramic tile that is generally made by the dust pressed method from a composition which results in a tile that is dense, impervious, fine grained and smooth, with a sharply formed face. Porcelain tile is available in mat, unglazed or a high polished finish. Water absorption: ASTM C373. Manufactured in various thickness and sizes.

Wood Look Tiles
Wood look tiles have become increasingly popular over the last decade. Advances in technology have allowed the look of wood grain tiles to become even more realistic. Tile that looks like wood come in several sizes. The most popular size is generally 6x24. There are a variety of looks, like handscraped, rustic, smooth finish, glossy finish, random width. Wood lookalike tiles come in ceramic and porcelain tiles. A popular porcelain wood tile is Timberlands by Interceramic which can be found on our site. Another popular ceramic wood tile is Colonial Wood by Interceramic which also is available on this site. These types of tiles are a good alternative to real wood because of the fact that this type of floor will hold up to more traffic. The main reason people opt for this flooring is children, high traffic counts, and large pets. This type of floor will last many more times than a real wood floor.

Quarry Tiles
A glazed or unglazed tile made by the extrusion process from natural clay or shale. This tile is most common in the dark red shades; however, shades of brown and gray are also available.

Mexican Tile/Terracota
This tile is generally hand-made and varies in colour, texture and appearance. The tile is available in various shapes and sizes. The tile may come pre-finished or require the application of various types of sealers or coatings on site to provide a wearing surface.

Terrazzo Tiles
Pre-manufactured consisting of marble or granite chips in a portland cement or epoxy matrix in various thickness' and sizes.

Agglomerate Tiles
Agglomerate tiles are manufactured by mixing graded marble or granite chips of various sizes with portland cement, polyester resin or epoxy. Thickness may vary from 6mm to 20mm and may be ordered in other thicknesses to meet specifications. Approximate water absorption, 24-hour immersion, and % 0.19 ASTM D570-81 modified but will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Ceramic-Tile Floor Information

Choose the right resistance!

A PEI classification of 0 through 5 can be considered. The Porcelain Enamel Institute rating scale is not a measurement of quality. It is a scale that clearly indicates the areas of use each manufacturer recommends and has designed their tile to fit. A PEI 2 tile has been designed for areas where very low traffic and soiling is anticipated. In most cases the aesthetic detailing of these tile is of prime consideration. You will often find high gloss levels, vibrant colorations and metallic elements in this group of tile. Conversely, a PEI 5 tile has been designed for abusive extra heavy foot traffic. The technical aspects such as surface abrasion resistance will be considered and must be achieved first before aesthetic effects are incorporated.

Class 0 - No Foot Traffic:
Wall tile only and should not be used on floors.

Class 1 - Very light traffic:
Very low foot traffic, bare foot only. (Master Ensuite, spa bathroom).

Class 2 - Light Traffic:
Slipper or soft-soled shoes. Second level main bathroom areas, bedrooms.

Class 3 - Light to Moderate Traffic:
Any residential area with the possible exception of some entries and kitchens if extremely heavy or abrasive traffic is anticipated.

Class 4 - Moderate to Heavy Traffic:
High foot traffic, areas where abrasive or outside dirt could be tracked. Residential entry, kitchen, balcony, and countertop.

Class 5 - Heavy Traffic:
Ceramic tile suggested for residential, commercial and institutional floor subjected to heavy traffic.

Types of Wood Floors

Parquet flooring is a series of wood flooring pieces that create a geometric design from 5/16"(glue down) up to 3/4" (nail & glue down)

Plank hardwood flooring is linear, and is wider in width. Common widths of plank flooring are 3", 4", 5", and 6", and wider products are not uncommon although the wider the more concerns for effects by moisture.

Strip flooring is also linear flooring that is usually 1 1/2", 2 1/4", or 3 1/4" wide. Creating a linear effect, strip hardwood floor in a room often gives the illusion of a larger and more open space.

Acrylic Impregnated
Acrylic Impregnated is a process where acrylics is injected into the wood itself, creating a super-hard, extremely durable floor. Often used in commercial installations, like common public areas, shopping malls, and restaurants. They also work well in high traffic areas of the household, such as kitchens and adjoining family rooms.

Construct consisting of layers of wood pressed together and glued. The grains run in different directions for added stability (unlike solids). This product is available several ply thickness with 3 and 5 ply being the norm. Engineered hardwood flooring can be used in those areas of the house where solid wood flooring installation is not suitable. The most common areas are basements, and areas with moisture concerns like kitchens, powder rooms, and utility rooms.

All hardwood flooring that is one piece of wood from top to bottom regardless of width or length, is considered to be solid hardwood flooring. Normal sizes range 3/8" up to 3/4", with thicker products for custom orders. The 3/8" solid in certain species is ideal for installation over radiant heat. Solid hardwood flooring gives you ability to have a custom, one-of-kind hardwood floor in any room of our home or office. You many choose from many species, whether domestic or imported exotics, colors of stains and finish types. Adding accents, borders, medallions or even a painted hardwood floor can make your floor truly a work of art. The product is a good choice for any room in your home from the ground level and up. Solid hardwood floor products normally can be professionally refinished 4-5 times.

Unfinished vs Prefinished
This product whether solid or engineered must be job site finished. This can be a very dusty experience unless a dust containment systems is used. Job site sanding and finishing can take several days to over a week according to square footage, stains, and number of coats of top finish. This process needs to be done after ALL other trades have completed their work, allowing enough time to complete the job such that finishes can cure properly. Maintaining these finish are very important in providing a long life for your hardwood floor products. The cost of this process vary around the country, but on the average can range from $2-$4 per sqr. ft., which includes a three course sanding and three coats of finish, with additional cost for prep (furniture and carpet removal), moldings and more expensive finishes.

These products are produced in acrylic impregnated, engineered and solids. They are becoming the main stream of the "new" hardwood floor products. These new tough factory finishes are one of the main reason for making this type of hardwood floor product so popular with home owners, builders and diy'ers alike. The other reason is the ease of installation and the elimination of dusty sanding procedures. These products can cost from $2-$7 per sqr. ft. not including installation cost, prep, moldings and added accents, borders, and custom work.

Which wood floor for what room?
Custom One-Of-A-Kind designs are popular for foyers, including medallions, feature strips, accents and/or borders. Foyers tend to be more formal than not. Making a design statement in this area has most recently become a new wood flooring trend. Using outside walk-off mats and if there is no design, area carpets inside will help in keeping wear down.

Kitchens/Family rooms
These are most common spaces for wood floor installation in new construction. The ease of care, open floor plans, and the flow of traffic make this a very popular area for wood floors. Dark and white/bleached wood floors do NOT fare well in this area because of the high traffic, food & water continuously being on the floor. In some very grainy species, the direction of the wood floor can add to the wear of the product. NOTE: Kitchen wood floors should be screened (lightly sanded) and recoated as needed, say every 6-18 months, depending on the amount of traffic and cleaning habits. Make sure the finish used is recommended by the manufacturer and/or is a compatible with what you have. Good cleaning habits are very important part of maintaining a wood floor, high traffic or not. Clean regularly, and always wipe food & water spillage immediately.

Formal Living and Dining Rooms
Most often a more traditional formal setting, darker in color with the combination of oriental carpets. This area also often receives border inlays, with turning blocks or corner accents to add a Custom-One-of-A-Kind floor. Design considerations for this area often will be compatible with the furniture being used. Not matching the exact color but a darker or lighter color in the same family of the floor color, thus complimenting each other. Remember the darker the floor, the smaller the space will appear, and maintenance consideration will increase.

A bathroom that receives daily use would not fare well with wood floors, due to continued moisture exposure. On the other hand a guest bathroom not used on a day to day basis could be considered. Make sure to use area carpets/mats, and always immediately wipe up any water.

Home Offices, Bedrooms
Wood Floors work well in bedrooms, often with area carpets being used. Office settings lean toward the traditional darker colors, and bedroom are a 50/50 tossup on colors used. NOTE: Rolling furniture, chairs, TV stands etc., can damage the finish very quickly, if used day to day. Make sure the floor is protected and/or the rollers are not made of metal or other damaging materials. Regular maintenance is required.

Installation Methods
What type of installation method is required ?

What is the nailing schedule (how far apart are the nails placed) or what type of adhesive is needed (always use manufacturers adhesive products-if not warranties may be voided).

Has the wood floor material been properly handled prior to installation ? Has it acclimated at the job site( In HVAC conditions- those that are normal for the area under regular living conditions?),

Are the moisture contents of the wood floor products and the subfloor compatible?

Whether you, your architect, builder, or designer helps in the decision making about your wood floors, you must do your homework. The following are additional details you must consider, or have specified when knowing what hardwood floor will be installed.

Three Installation Methods for Engineered Wood Floors include:

  • Floated - usually 1/8" urethane foam sheeting or may be glued directly to subfloor
  • Glued - using Manufacturers recommended adhesive
  • Nailed or Stapled (all 3/4" material) - as per manufacturers nailing schedule

Getting Specific: Details that should not be overlooked.
What type of wood do you want? It's important, for example oak floors could mean ten (10) or so different products, of 3 different grades. Is Domestic or Exotic species desired? Some species can be used over radiant heat, many can not; some can handle humidity better than others.

Different species have different standards, some none at all. The higher the grade the "clearer" or more top of the line the product is.

The angle in relation the grain as the log goes through the saw, 3 cuts are standard, plain, quartered, or riftsawn: The harder cut (quartersawn has closer pours, thus making moisture less of an intruder.)

What is the thickness and width of the floor you have chosen ? What are the lengths? This could important if adjoining floor covering at doorways are not properly adjusted for. Some time the pattern of the product you have chosen may not be right for your installation. Always know or have specified the lengths, widths and thickness of the wood floor choice you made.

The most common is with strip or plank, the direction may depend on the subfloor joist (nail down), parquet may be in many patterns and/or designs from simple to intricate cuts and designs. Make sure this is spelled out in your contract , as to what direction the floor will be laid.

Always request a sample prefinished or unfinished (including final finish type). Every manufacturer has their specific trademark color. Today the naturals (oak,and maple) are the most popular. Remember, there will always be some color variation between boards, as each piece may very well be from a different tree.



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