Is it a good idea to tile the whole house?
The virtues of ceramic tile for bathrooms and kitchens are well known, but many of those advantages also make it a good choice for living rooms. Ceramic tile is durable and easy to maintain. It can handle even the highest traffic locations without showing much wear. Spills, chips, and other accidents aren’t an issue provided the floor was installed correctly. And the design advantages are undeniable: Modern printing techniques give you a wealth of aesthetic options for creating a floor that is truly unique to your living area. For example, there are now porcelain mosaics that look so much like exotic hardwood planks that you will have trouble telling the difference.
The costs of a ceramic tile floor are comprised of two elements. These include the price of the materials themselves and the cost of installation labor.
When purchased at big-box stores or tile specialty outlets, ceramic tile can range from less than $1 per square foot for plain solid-color tiles to just under $20 per square foot for porcelain tiles that mimic the look of fine marbles or woods. At the high end, prices rival that of natural stone tiles, but very elegant and serviceable tiles are available in the $3 to $7 per square foot range.
Installation costs can vary widely, too, depending on the size of the job, geographic location, and even where your building is located. Even when installation services are purchased from a national retailer, labor costs in some regions of the country may be much higher than those in another region. However, a 2020 national survey placed the costs for standard ceramic tile installation at about $5 per square foot. Installation of porcelain or mosaic tiles will be somewhat higher than this due to more complicated installation requirements, but it’s rare that you will need to pay more than $8 per square foot for installation. Larger jobs actually tend to be cheaper on a cost-per-square-footage basis. There may be a minimum charge of $300 or so for small installations
Ceramic Tile Options
There are several options to consider when you are purchasing ceramic tile:
- Size: Ceramic tiles are generally sold in squares of 12″ x 12″, 6″ x 6″, 18″ x 18″, and 24″x 24,” but a growing trend, especially for porcelain tiles, is for the pieces to be formed in rectangular planks form designed to resemble hardwood. Sizing tip: In larger living rooms, use larger tiles that are proportional to space. In smaller spaces, smaller tiles will provide visual interest, making them seem more spacious.
- Patterns: Because they can be printed with almost any color or image, ceramic tiles allow you to create very intricate patterns. Vibrant, contrasting colors can be used, mixed with different shapes and designs to build a floor that will perfectly express your tastes.
- Solid vs. mosaics: Mosaics in their modern form are ceramic tiles assembled into mesh-backed sheets of very small 1″ x 1″ or 2″ x 2″ tiles. Originally, styling with mosaic tile was a highly prized means of architectural expression, and this modern form of ancient art can bring a truly unique and vivid sense of style to your space.
- Borders: Contrasting tiles can be cut to size and then used as borders to accent the outer boundaries of a living room. Many ceramic tiles are offered in “families” that include various complementary border tiles and cove perimeter tiles.
- Accent tiles: These are unique pieces that are placed as accents or emblems within an otherwise normal ceramic flooring installation. They may contain a unique picture or have a vibrantly contrasting color adorning their surface. The purpose is to draw the eye, creating a sense of decorative beauty within the pattern of the flooring.
The Benefits of Tiles For Your Entire Home
Cost and Convenience
Tiles certainly have many advantages. First of all, they’re cheap and very easy to put into place. This means that the initial cost of renovating will be low. Better yet, is that you’ll also be able to replace tiles individually should one get damaged. If you have wallpaper in a room and that gets scratched, then you’ll have to do at least a whole new drop, whereas something like marble will be expensive to replace. With a ceramic tile however, you can quickly and easily cement the new one on to replace a damaged one – make sure when you buy the tiles that you buy lots of spares for this reason as if they’ve ceased production of your tiles you’ll be stuck with a big square gap in your pattern.
Another advantage of ceramic tiles is that they’re easy to clean. As the surface is flat and shiny there’s no way that mess can get caught in nooks and crannies or get soaked up into the tiles (which also means they will be less likely to mould than say paint or carpet). In a kitchen or a bathroom a lot of liquids are used and regularly spilled which on a carpet or wallpaper would cause serious damage – fortunately with ceramic tiles it can simply and easily be wiped off with a jay cloth meaning the room will generally appear much cleaner than it would with other kinds of flooring.
This makes tiling a great choice for many other parts of your home – your utility room for example is an area that can be prone to damage, so it will also benefit from the resilience of having tiles. Likewise, tiles can work great in living rooms if you constantly have people coming in and out. This is also true for conservatories and porch areas, and is doubly true if you have dogs and cats that bring in all kinds of much. Being able to simply wipe those marks clean is a godsend. And similarly useful, is the fact that any moisture collecting around a window will be less likely to cause permanent water damage and mold.
Another great thing about tiles is that they’re so popular, and this means that there are a massive wealth of different styles and patterns available. You can go with simple plain white for a very contemporary minimalist look, gaggles of swans dotted around if you have young children using the bathroom, a different pattern or even paint your own designs onto the ceramic (which is easy enough to do). Mosaic tiles are particularly attractive in modern decors, as are ceramic and porcelain tiles that are designed to look like granite or limestone. Dark colors, with contrasting patterns made from mirror tiles and other details can be extremely striking in any room.
Even when tiles don’t take up an entire floor or an entire wall, they can still be used in more subtle ways to add to your décor. More basically you can just create borders and skirting boards, or can outline your utilities. This can create a consistent pattern throughout your home, resulting in a more cohesive décor.
You don’t even need to have the same pattern on every tile – but can instead have mostly white with random images dotted around the room. Again this is something you could only achieve with tiles.
Note that ceramic tiles typically have more patterns and colors available as compared with porcelain – keep this in mind when making your choice.
Pros of Tile Flooring
Another benefit of tile flooring is that it is resistant to water. There is a protective layer on top of the material, so it’s stain- and water-resistant. Again, this is important in bathrooms and kitchens, as the ceramic tile will last much longer than other types of material. It also resists temperatures with high humidity, so you don’t have to worry about it being ruined during the hot and muggy summer months. Any environment that is moist will benefit from having ceramic tiles.
If you buy unglazed tile, you will need to seal it to protect the surface from any liquids it might encounter. In particular, the grout lines between the tiles can be susceptible to moisture, so make sure those are sealed. Otherwise, water can get down deep into the tiles, which will weaken their installation and put them at risk for mold grow. This will lead to costly problems down the road you will need to take care of.
Tile flooring is tough and the tiles are hard to crack. When you get a quality installation done, the tiles can last up to 20 years or even longer if you do a good job maintaining them. Even if one tile does crack, it is often only because of a severe impact, and you’ll find it easy to replace that tile. This means you’ll be able to keep your overall cost down, as you won’t have to replace tiles on a regular basis.
Cons of Tile Flooring
Tile flooring will not absorb or hold onto heat well, which means it gets quite cold during the winter. When installed in the home, this means your feet will experience a shock when they step on cold flooring first thing in the morning. This is important to consider if you’ll be putting tiles in a public place in your business where it’d be uncomfortable for your clients. The one advantage of this is that during the summer, it will feel great as people step on the cold floor when it is hot out.
Tile flooring is heavy, which means it is not the best choice for upper-story installations. If it is necessary to put tile flooring on the top level of a business establishment, a professional should first check the structure’s integrity. You need to make sure you’re not putting on extra stress that it can’t handle.
Slippery and Hard
While tile flooring is easy to clean because of its hardness, this means it is not necessarily comfortable to stand on. Resilient floors can often be softened with padded underlayment, but tile flooring cannot. Therefore, it doesn’t make for the best material for those who need to stand for hours at a time. However, you can put area rugs or throw rugs in the places where people stand the most, such as in front of a kitchen sink or behind the counter at the cash register.
Due to it being hard, that also means tile flooring is slippery. As a business owner, you want to prevent all accidents when you can. Therefore, this shouldn’t be installed in areas where water or liquid are frequently spilled on the floor, as this can injure your employees and leave a mess. The same goes for public bathrooms, as you do not want a lawsuit on your hands from a customer slipping on the wet tile flooring.
There are both pros and cons to installing tile flooring. You will want to consider several factors, such as where you plan on installing it, what your budget is, and who will be walking or standing on it the most. Many people love how durable it is and that it’s resistant to water, which is essential in a place such as a bathroom or a kitchen. However, others don’t like how heavy and cold the tiles are. You’ll have to decide which factors are important.