Purchasing tiles for your brand new home is arguably the most important material to put consideration into. They are not cheap, they determine whether or not your home will be a beauty, and they last a lifetime.
Malford Ceramics, a tile supplier in Singapore, has compiled a list of information that we MUST equip ourselves with before we embark on building our dream homes!
Tiles from Europe, especially Italy, are generally more popular than those from Asian countries such as China or Malaysia. Though the continental option may be two times more expensive than the Asian alternatives, most home owners would prefer to place some emphasis in the key differences between the two.
The main reason why people would go for Italian tiles is actually not only because of its superior quality, but because of the effect it can produce. For example, a marble looking tile from China may have only 4 variations, while one from Italy may have up to 55. Imagine a marble looking tile with repetitive and predictive veins, definitely not something you would want for your floors wouldn’t you?
Be it Chinese or Italian, let us look at the top 5 mistakes consumers make when it comes to purchasing tiles:
- Avoid Broken Tiles – Choosing Tiles that are Too Weak for the Required Application
Full-Body Homogeneous Tiles are the strongest of the lot and have a very low rate of water absorption. Such tiles can be used anywhere, even for your drive way, toilets, or walls.
Glazed Porcelain Coloured Body Tiles are preferred over the ordinary ones because the ordinary ones come in a white body. If there were to be a chip on the surface of the tile, you would be able to see a white mark. Such tiles are superior over Full-Body tiles only in terms of design, as the Full-Body technology cannot achieve the kind of beautiful designs glazed printing can.
Ceramic Tiles are only meant for use on the wall because they have a very high rate of water absorption and they are far less durable than all of the above.
2. No One Likes Falling – Choosing Tiles that are too Slippery for Wet Areas
Tiles are graded in many different components. One popular rating that people look at would be their anti-slip ratings. Tiles may come in polished, R9, R10, R11, R12, and R13.
Polished tiles do not have an anti-slip rating. They are not meant to be used in wet areas at all. However, for design purposes, some owners may still decide to go with it.
An R9 rating would mean that the tile is a smooth and matte tile suitable for dry areas only. Such tiles are extremely easy to clean.
R10 tiles suggest that it has a matte surface with anti-slip properties. For tiles with more advanced technologies, it only feels like it has an anti-slip surface when exposed to water. Such tiles would be perfect for your toilet or wet kitchen floors.
R11 tiles indicates that the surface of the tile is rough. Such tiles are more difficult to maintain and are recommended for ramps that are prone to being wet.
R12 and R13 tiles are extremely rough and not common at all in Singapore due to the lack of demand.
3. Ugly Results – Ensuring Exact Calibration
Every tile manufacturing factory in the world has its own practices. The mould that one factory uses to produce tiles would be different from another. When you are in a shop looking to purchase tiles, it is very common to have a scenario whereby the floor tiles of your choice would be from one factory, and the wall tiles connecting to these floor tiles may be from another.
Factory A may have their rectangular tiles in the size of 31 cm x 62 cm, while Factory B may have it in the size of 30 cm x 60 cm. The best case scenario would be for all sizes to be absolutely the same. The expensive solution would be to rectify the tile in the larger size by cutting in to the absolute size of the smaller one. However, another solution would be to alert your contractor or tiler beforehand and ensure that he caters a wide enough joint width so that there would be a smooth flow in the tiles. It is the responsibility of your tile supplier to inform you of this. If they don’t, be sure to ask!
4. Walking on Thorns – Prevent Having Lippage’s
Most home owners hate to have their tiles laid with a thicker joint width. However, tiles are a fired product and it is almost impossible to ensure that the manufactured tile is 100% flat. Putting them too close to each other might result in one corner being slightly higher than the neighbouring tile. It is in our Singaporean culture to walk with bare feet in our home and having to feel these pointy edges is definitely not an option! This problem can be easily avoided by ensuring your contractor factors in at least a 2 mm joint width.
That being said, there are certain dimensions whereby a 2 mm joint width may still not be able to save the day. Tiles in strip sizing, for example 15 cm x 90 cm (common in timbre look tiling, are usually thicker at the ends and thinner at the centre. The perfect way to counter this problem would be to ensure your tiler or contractor lays the tiles not in a 50% running format, but a 33% running format.
5. A Lifelong Mistake – Selecting What You Can Cope With. Marble vs Tiles
Natural Marble or Tiles? Most home owners would prefer to use a more premium material in the form of natural marble. However, while there advantages to using marble, it does have its fair share of disadvantages too. Let’s check it out here:
Marble has a natural beauty because of its premium look and it comes in an amazing diversity of designs. No two pieces of marble will look the same and it has a very radiant shine. Furthermore, marble has the ability to look seamless. As mentioned earlier, most Singaporeans hate having joint gaps in between their tiles! Marble is also able to be polished whenever it is damaged or loses its shine. Therefore, it can pretty much last forever.
However, what consumers must also know is that marble is extremely weak. Unlike tiles, marble is not a manufactured product – it is a natural resource. As a result, it cannot be compared to tiles in terms of stain resistance, chemical resistance, heat resistance, scratch resistance, and porosity. Certain bathroom cleaners you purchase from NTUC may leave a permanent unsightly patch on your marble. So will toothpaste, or if your dog pees on the floor and it is not cleaned immediately. Marble requires a lot of maintenance and it has to be kept dry and clean at all times.
An important point to note about shopping for marble is that when you are at your tile suppliers showroom, be sure to check that the rate you are being quoted is inclusive of sealant and dry laying charges. A sealant has to be applied over the surface of the marble so that it becomes stronger and more resistant to the factors mentioned above, while dry laying refers to the process of laying out your marble piece by piece to achieve your desired final outlook. As the veins of marble are never predictable, having a dry lay is essential to ensure that the flow of veins would be harmonious and not abrupt in any way.
This post is brought to you by Malford Ceramics Singapore.