First of all there are associations that rate tiles for wear. These are The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the Porcelain Enamel Institute. Tiles are wear-rated from low to high for ceramic and porcelain tile surfaces. This information is available only on tiles that have been tested and it is important information to know in the purchase of your flooring. Not every tile is wear-rated for the floor.
Are you concerned about buying tiles manufactured outside the United States?
Maybe you’ve seen a very unusual tile not made in the US and you just love it. Should you buy it? Generally, yes. Quality tiles are manufactured throughout the world, and to ensure that tiles meet manufacturing requirements, most will say if they meet international standards. Your flooring professional can explain them to you.
Installing tiles in wet areas? Then slip resistance is of importance to you. Generally speaking, unglazed tiles are more slip-resistant than glazed tiles. Also the texture of the tile surface will affect its slip resistance. If this is a major concern, if your household has someone who is unsteady while walking, you may want to look at floor tile with a high slip resistance. Here again, tiles are tested, and your flooring pro can explain the differences to you.
Are you concerned about your tile’s scratch resistance? There’s even a test for that!
When buying ceramic tile, be sure to buy enough for your job. Although tiles are manufactured according to strict standards, there are natural variations that occur. In order to blend the tiles and assure a consistent look, especially with natural tiles like terra cotta or stone, your installer will want to work out of multiple boxes simultaneously.
In addition, if you should decide to expand the room at a later date, you may want to have some additional boxes. Your retailer will talk with you about what is necessary to ensure a consistent look.
In order to ensure a quality finished look, it is important to examine the floor layout. The size of the room will help determine the best size tile to use. Although a larger tile may be your first choice, if the room is too small, numerous cuts and use of partial tiles can detract from the final look.
While you are choosing a tile, explain to your flooring professional any challenges you think the room may bring. Odd shaped rooms, sharp corners, height difference or other flooring differences call for an experience tile person. Talking about these problems early in the choosing process means you have product choices for correcting these problems. This will also make for a smooth and low stress flooring project.