Spruce up your home with new floor tiles

Spruce up your home with new floor tiles

Private Property South Africa
Sarah-Jane Meyer

Floor tiles are available in a variety of materials, colours and patterns to suit any décor. So when re-flooring your home, the endless options can make your head spin.

The following tips should help narrow down your choices.

Tile types

Ceramic tiles are durable and affordable. However, they are more inclined to chip and crack than some other types of tiles. Group 4 or 5 ceramic floor tiles are suitable for areas that handle light and medium traffic.

Porcelain tiles are denser and stronger than ceramic tiles and resistant to scratches and stains. For a seamless finish, choose rectified or joint-free porcelain tiles with epoxy grouting.

Vitrified tiles are strong and durable as well as resistant to stains and moisture. They are available in different varieties:

  • Double charged vitrified tiles have a two-tone colour, a full body and a uniform palette throughout the tile.
  • Soluble salt vitrified tiles are available in different patterns.
  • Glazed vitrified tiles have added gloss.

Natural materials like sandstone, limestone, marble and travertine are available in tile form as well as slabs.

Cement tiles are available in traditional patterns. However, because they are porous, you will need to seal them periodically.

With advancements in digital printing technology, tiles can duplicate the look and feel of natural materials like wood, marble and different types of natural stone.

Finishes

A gloss finish has an attractive sheen that reflects light, adding brightness and creating a spacious look. Unfortunately, glossy floor tiles tend to be slippery when wet, so they are not suitable for kitchens or bathrooms.

Tiles with a matte finish are non-reflective and don’t easily show dirt or stains. They are usually slip-resistant, so they should reduce the risk of falling in wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms. For maximum safety, choose tiles with a coefficient of friction (COF) value higher than 0.6.

Tiles with a semi-matte finish are shinier than matte tiles and more slip-resistant than tiles with a gloss finish.

Size

The size tile you choose will depend on which rooms you want to refloor. Large tiles need fewer joint lines, so they create a feeling of spaciousness. They are suitable for large floor areas such as living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and large kitchens.

Smaller tiles are ideal for rooms with smaller floor areas, such as bathrooms or small kitchens. You can complement them with matching wall tiles for a cohesive look.

Cost

To calculate the cost of the project, you need to know the exact quantity of tiles required for the flooring - and be sure to add 10 per cent for wastage.

Measure the length of one side of the room, then the other side.

Multiply the two measurements to get the area you need to cover. For example, if the room measures 10 m x 12m, the area to be tiled is 120m2.

If the space you want to tile is an unusual shape, draw the floor plan to scale on a piece of paper, then separate the plan into squares or rectangles. Measure each squared-off section separately and multiply the length and width of each space. Then add all the totals together to find the total area.

To calculate how many boxes of tiles you need, divide the room’s total area by the amount of space one box of tiles will cover. For example, if each box contains 10m2 of tile, you will need 12 boxes.

However, you also need a bit extra for cuts, wastage, breaks - and mistakes. So, it would be best if you always bought more than the minimum amount of tile. Multiply the room area by 10%, then add this amount to the total area of the room. For your 120m2 room, you will need at least 132m2 of tiles.

Another reason to buy extra tiles is that if you need to replace broken tiles in future, you will need extra tiles on hand to make the repairs. If you don't, you may have to replace the entire floor if the same tiles are no longer available at that time.

A good rule of thumb is to buy an extra box of tiles – in addition to the extra 10%. Then, keep them in storage in case a tile breaks and needs to be replaced.

Spending a little more upfront will almost certainly save you money in the long run.

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