Ceramic & Stone
Ceramic tile and stone can make a dramatic statement in a variety of rooms of a house. Unfortunately, ceramic tile and stone are also located on the upper end of the pricelist for flooring selections. Often, a consumer gets what they pay for in both ceramic and stone. Prices can range from $2 per square foot all the up to $10 and higher per square foot depending on your taste.
Uses for ceramic tile are most often associated with the kitchen and bathroom. Stone can be found in living spaces and entry ways most often when put into a structures floor plan. Ceramic comes in the form of marble, porcelain, smooth or textured, large tile and small. Stone can be slate, granite, quartz and more.
Installed properly, Ceramic and stone floors are one of the most durable of all flooring and should last as long as the consumer wants it to. Ceramic and stone are different in nature and behavior, however. Stone is a natural product while ceramic tile is created from burning clay. There exists a third material, called stone tile, which is stone remnants pressed together in a chemical base. This allows smaller budgets to acquire the stone look.
Ceramic and stone are the oldest style of flooring, dating back to early civilization. The range of colored glazes, decorations, patterns and textures make ceramic and stone floors desirable for a variety of uses from church structures to private homes. But with beauty and versatility comes a price, and the often higher price tag of ceramic and stone often takes this material out of the running for modest project budgets.
Philadelphia plays a key role in the history of ceramic flooring. In 1876, the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition is regarded as the launching pad for decorative floor tile in America, coming primarily from the English. Ceramic floors are extremely durable and easy to maintain.
Ceramic floor tiles are either unglazed or glazed, and sport ridges along the back of each panel to help the bonding process.
Unglazed tiles are not as common and are also referred to as quarry or encaustic tiles. The color typically remains the color of the clay used to make the tile. The positive to unglazed tiles: they dont scratch. The negative: theres no finish to the surface, so stains are tougher to remove.
Glazing provides the decoration to the otherwise dull natural color of the clay thats been fired into becoming a ceramic tile. Glazing also creates the shiny, satin, or matted look to ceramic tile, and can be finished with either a smooth or textured feel. Glazing allows ceramic to become waterproof and virtually stainproof.
Stone can be tricky to purchase, because by their nature, all stones are unique in appearance and therefore, what arrives at your house can be somewhat of a surprise. Ask for photographs of the stone you are purchasing if possible, or get in writing what your options are if you are unhappy with the stone that arrives at your home or commercial job site. Also, if you have a large project, be sure to account for delivery time if the stone has to be imported from overseas. Sometimes, one or two months is not unusual to fill a stone order.
Maintenance is the key to keeping your stone floor as beautiful as the day it was installed. Stain protection is recommended and can be applied when the floor is placed. Its best to think through your maintenance program of the stone floor prior to purchase, so that you account for any additional material into your budget.
Ceramic and stone require more sophisticated flooring installation skills than most others. For that reason, it is advised to have INSTALL floorcovering professionals install a ceramic or stone floor, but that doesnt mean you shouldnt become versed in the process, so you know what to look for and what to ask of a contractor.
Tiles and stone are joined together by grout, a finely mixed cement. Under a stone floor, expect to see adhesive, another layer of mortar, wire mesh, and tar paper sitting on top of a plywood subfloor. For the ceramic tile project, that same plywood subfloor will have adhesive, a cement backer board, fiberglass mesh and more adhesive between itself and the actual tile. All of that support beneath the tile and stone is necessary because this type of flooring is not flexible, and it will crack if not properly installed over a tough, strong base.
Ceramic tile and stone flooring make a dramatic statement for any residential or commercial flooring project. Be sure to have your investment installed properly.
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