Deciding On Durability:
Ceramic & Porcelain
The ceramic tile industry rates wear using the PEI scale, which classifies tile surfaces from 1 to 5. PEI 1 is least resistant to abrasion and PEI 5 most resistant. Most tile can be used on walls, but floor tile needs to withstand greater wear and tear. For light residential use, Class 2 or greater is a good choice. For high traffic areas such as kitchens and entryways, Class 3 or greater will hold up best. Click on the Specifications tab in our Ceramic and Porcelain section to view PEI ratings.
Natural Stone is not man-made and therefore does not follow the same scale for ceramic and porcelain. However, stone has been used for thousands of years and remains a classic look. Our knowledgeable Design Consultants will provide you with options to choose a long lasting, durable floor with the timeless beauty and character you can only get from natural stone.
Every day we explore new materials that expand your floor and wall options. Accentuate ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone with our extensive selection of glass, mosaics, and metal. Mix these styles and textures to create custom designs that match your vision!
For information on Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF) and DCOF AcuTest protocol, please refer to the Tile Council of North America's (TCNA) Technical Bulletin.
Choosing A Size:
Specializing in American and European products, we carry forward looking trends like large format tile and broad selections of traditional sizes. When sizing tile to a room, you will capture a proportional look by fitting at least 3 pieces of the same size in a row across the floor. By using larger tile you can limit pattern effects of grout, making a space appear larger.
The Rules of Color:
Of course, only you can decide what color is right for you, but here are a few basic rules:
- Lighter colors make a space appear larger
- Darker colors can add warmth
- Shade variation will blend and mask better than anything
- Neutral colors allow you to change your accessories
- Vibrant colors are cheerful and add character
While tile can appear identical from piece to piece, each tile will have color and shade variation to give the overall look depth and character. Both man-made tile and natural stone vary each time they are produced or quarried. Laying out a few pieces to understand the true design is a good idea. Any questions or concerns about your tile or stone selection should be clarified prior to installation.
Generally speaking, tile with textured or matte finishes are less slippery than smooth or shiny ones. Keep this in mind when choosing floor tile, especially in areas prone to moisture like kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways. With that said, many people use polished marbles and porcelains in these areas and feel the look achieved outweighs a lack of slip resistance. While many products can be shopped online, tile is a product that you need to literally come in to touch and feel.
Selecting A Style:
- A Stone look tile is extremely popular because it fits with any decor and wears well. Several of our porcelain collections are created using innovative digital inkjet technology to recreate the look of natural stone. You can hardly tell the difference!
- Wood look tile is designed to withstand high traffic spaces and wet areas unsuitable for traditional wood floors, while offering a natural appeal.
- Tumbled marble is a timeless look that fits with many different styles. Marbleized tile lends a more formal look.
- White “subway" tile is still as popular as ever. Newer products such as glass and metal tile are frequently used in conjunction with ceramic, porcelain and natural stone to create a unique and striking installation.
Choosing A Grout:
Grout is available in a wide variety of colors. Using a grout that matches the tile tends to make grout lines disappear. This is the recommended method for a clean and cohesive aesthetic. Using a contrasting color makes individual tiles stand out for a more dramatic look.