Tag Archives: Professional Tile Installer

Can I Use A Large Porcelain Tile?

Twenty years ago when I started in flooring choosing tile was much easier. We had 8×8 for the floors and 4×4 for the walls. Maybe 6 colors for the floor and about the same for the wall. But today the options are enormous, at ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings we have a minimum of twenty Vendors with over a hundred SKU’s (stock-keeping unit) with multiple sizes and colors in each one.

Large Format Tiles are very much in Style right now and the trend seems to be getting larger. We see sizes anywhere from 12×24, 20×20 and 24×24. Some of the Rectangular tiles are coming even larger. I have also been seeing more Vendors showing some wood look tiles in 6×36.

wood look large format tiles

A lot of the questions I hear are usually about the size of the room. Most people think their rooms are too small for a large tile. My rule of thumb is that I like to get at least three tiles across. any fewer and I believe you loose the beauty of the tile. You can’t see the patterns or shade variances very well with fewer then three tiles. I really like the larger body tiles. One of my favorite things is that if you have more tile on the floor, you must have less grout joints.

Large Format Tile

With Tiles that come in larger formats they tend to have a lot more varying sizes which will allow you to make different patterns. I use a three tile pattern fairly often, but depending on the sizes available there are many different Design possibilities.

large format pattern

Some advantages of having large format tile installed include;
1.Narrow grout joints – rectified, large format tile allows for thinner grout joint widths
2.Easier maintenance – it is typically much easier to clean the face of tile than it is to clean grout.
3.Room size perception – the perception is that large tile makes the room in which it is installed appear larger

large body 3 size pattern tileBut large-format tile also has its installation challenges. Working with large-format porcelain tile requires closer tolerances in the subfloor, its weight makes it harder to handle in both floor and wall applications. Advanced installation materials and techniques have improved the overall quality of large-format tile installations while helping to improve the installer’s efficiency. Keeping up with the latest in products and techniques will help installers produce aesthetically pleasing – and profitably installed – walls and floors.

In order to get a quality Installation, you need an Installer who knows how to lay large format tile and is willing to take the time necessary to do the job correct. This means they need to be familiar with ANSI Standards and proper Installation Techniques. A large format Porcelain Tile does require a more level and flat surface to be installed on and may not be used in every application. If my floor was not level enough to use a large format tile, I would fix that issue first anyway. To find a quality Tile Installation Crew call your local ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings Store and see if they could provide you with names of individuals that could handle your project. ProSource has hundreds of Members that are first rate, quality Installers, and the Member could allow you to purchase at Wholesale Prices through their Account. Each Member at ProSource has Automatic Price Protection, guaranteeing you the lowest price everyday!

large body wall tileI like to use a 12×24 for a shower wall or bathroom floor. Glass Lineal Mosaics make a great accent in the shower using 12×24’s vertically.

12x24 vertical

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Filed under Kitchen, Natural Stone, Tile

Let’s Talk Tile

Which is better Ceramic or Porcelain Tile flooring?

I hear comments very often like this: “I only want Porcelain Tile” So I in turn ask: Why?
Let’s start the discussion. It is a passionate one for flooring experts I know, everyone has an opinion.

Keep in mind, when you comment on my opinion, that’s what it is, my opinion.

I personally have a Glazed Ceramic tile and a Glazed Porcelain Tile in my personal home, so some of my opinions come from actual life. So, I start my opinion with this comment: “In a normal family home, it does not matter whether your tile is ceramic or porcelain based, go with the color and style that suits you and your Interior Design, budget, and space in general, but base your selection on a few criteria.”

Porcelain is less porous, it is more dense, in most cases more scratch resistant, but ceramic will hold up in a normal family home. I have found over the last 25 years of flooring sales that Installation is critical, get a knowledgeable tile installer, if you don’t know one, call your local ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings Store and they will guide you to some excellent people in the trade.

In my home I have a ceramic tile in my upstairs. My house is on a hill and I repaired some cracks above my door at the same time I set my Ceramic Tile. Years later, the cracks are back above the doors but my tile is fine, obviously my floor has moved. Downstairs on a concrete slab, I have a Glazed Porcelain Tile. I was moving a Freezer and one of the feet caught on ever so slight corner and my porcelain chipped. So, again installation was some of the reason this happened.

Tile can be used in many different patterns

Tile can be used in many different patterns

Let’s take a look at how I know if a Tile is suitable for my application. You will hear these terms about rating tiles, from knowledgeable Sales people: PEI Rating, MOHS scale, Dynamic Coefficient of Friction, Breaking Strength, these all matter depending on your application. All of these ratings should be readily available from the Store your shopping at, if they don’t understand or can’t get you that information — LEAVE Immediately and find a Professional Tile Installer that can guide you to the proper Store.

Tile is a great product for the floors and the walls.

Tile is a great product for the floors and the walls.

Tile Performance Ratings

All tile products are tested and rated based on a variety of factors so that you are sure to find the right product to meet your needs. Here are key ratings for your reference.

  • Abrasion (Wear) Resistance: This is the degree to which a tile’s surface (often a glaze) will withstand the wear of foot traffic, measured in PEI ratings. These ratings range from very low (Class 0 = wall use only) to higher wear ratings such as Class IV for heavy traffic (suitable for all residential and most commercial applications).
  • Breaking Strength: The strength of porcelain comes from unique clays, fired at extreme temperatures, which produce a harder, denser tile for unmatched durability and performance. Breaking strength is assessed by how much weight is needed to cause breakage. Porcelain tile surpasses the industry standard of 250 lbs.
  • Mohs: This is a scale of hardness ranging from 1 (talc) to 10 (diamond) used to determine a material’s scratch resistance. Porcelain tile often has a rating of 7, 8 or 9, while other, less scratch resistant non-porcelain tiles are rated at 5 or 6. In the Moh’s scale, each rating is 10 times harder than the previous number. For a point of reference, natural granite is usually 6 or 7.
  • Water Absorption: Water absorption is conveyed as the percentage of water absorbed by the body of the tile. Porcelain tile is ideal for wet-area applications such as tub surrounds, showers and any area where water may be present because it is impervious to water with a rating of 0.5% absorption or less. Notably, the more impervious the tile, the more frost resistant, meaning it can be used outdoors. Be sure to check product specifications for details and recommendations for use.
  • Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF): Dynamic Coefficient of Friction is the latest, most reliable measure for indicating slip potential on a tile’s surface. Porcelain tile must have a DCOF of 0.42 for “level interior floors expected to be walked upon when wet” (as stated on the Tile Council of North America website). This new measure replaces the COF of 0.6 reference that was formerly the standard for the industry.
  • Shade Variation: The color and details of porcelain tile may vary from piece to piece and from run to run. While manufacturers often have proprietary methods for conveying the anticipated variation for tile products, most use terms such as “low shade variation” for very little color or design change from tile to tile and “high shade variation” to denote dramatic differences from tile to tile. It’s important to be aware of shade variation prior to installation to avoid surprises. Likewise, it’s recommended to work from multiple boxes of tile to achieve a favorable mix.
  • Through-body: This refers to the presence of color throughout the thickness of a tile. Some tile only has color on the top surface glaze; others have partial through-body color.
Large Body Tile in an Off Set Brick Pattern

Large Body Tile in an Off Set Brick Pattern

Here is a video showing the manufacturing process for tile. The process is the same for Ceramic or Porcelain but the temperature at which they are fired is hotter for a porcelain, closing more of the pores of the clay, thus making a more dense and less porous tile.

One of the problems encountered from Flooring Sales People that are not trained or experienced is that they tell Consumers that porcelain is the same color all the way through. This is simply not correct. In order for a tile to be the same color all the way through, it needs to be a through body porcelain tile.

Through Body Porcelain tiles are extremely hard and impermeable, which makes the tiles highly resistant to moisture, staining and wear. In producing this type of porcelain tile, a color pigment is mixed with the clay body powder, giving the finished tile a consistent color throughout the body of the tile. This type of tile withstands temperature extremes, and may be used in exterior applications, including pool linings.

Through Body Porcelain Tile

Through Body Porcelain Tile

Quick Tips

  • Darker grout colors are easier to keep clean than lighter ones
  • Small grout joints (1/4-inch) have a more contemporary feel and are easier to keep clean. A larger grout joint (1/2-inch) feels more rustic.
  • Choose the right size tile for each application. Large rooms will benefit from bigger tiles, such as 16 x16 inches, 18 x18 inches or even 20 x 20 inches. Smaller spaces, such as bathrooms, will look best in tiles 12×12-inches in size or smaller.
  • Ask your local flooring dealer for advice on coordinating different types of tile and mixing tile with other flooring materials.
  • Use a reputable installer to ensure the look and longevity of your tile installation.

Benefits Of A Tile Floor

  • Hard-wearing
  • Hygienic and easy to clean
  • Moisture-resistant
  • Won’t stain
  • Never needs waxing or sealing
  • Never needs refinishing
  • Comes in many shapes, styles and colors for every decor

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Filed under Kitchen, Tile