How to Choose the Right Floor Tile

How to Choose the Right Floor Tile

Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri shares tips to choose the right floor tile for a luxury home

Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri shares flooring tips for various stone and ceramic tile choices including Ceramic tile that looks like concrete from the Network collection by Cerdisa. Photo credit: Cersaie

Ceramic tile that looks like concrete from the Network collection by Cerdisa. Photo credit: Cersaie

Ceramic and porcelain tile is enjoying a renaissance in high-end home interiors as large format installations that mimic wood, natural stone, concrete, and designer patterns from geometric to embossed elements. Thanks to advances in digital printing and performance properties, ceramic tiles are among the highest quality building materials for flooring with accurate renderings of natural  textures, gradations and patterns found in stone and wood look. As an Orlando Custom Home Builder, I find more and more of my clients specifying large format ceramic tile because it works well with contemporary architecture and interiors.  

As a design element, ceramic tile offers tremendous creative possibilities; however, the options can easily overwhelm. Choosing the perfect flooring for your new home requires a few important considerations. When deciding whether to go with natural stone or ceramic or porcelain tile, consider the following advantages and disadvantages to both materials.

Decide on Timeless or Trendy:

Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri shares flooring tips for various stone and ceramic tile choices including Trendy Ceramic Tile patterns and colors from a collection called Play by Imola. Photo credit: Cersaie

Trendy Ceramic Tile patterns and colors from a collection called Play by Imola. Photo credit: Cersaie

Remember the 12 x 12 and 16 x 16 tiles of the 90s, a once popular tile size that dates a home given the popularity of larger format tiles. Like most trends, ceramic and porcelain tile are not immune to the prevailing changes in tastes in home interiors.  

Digital printing technology enables ceramic and porcelain tile to replicate just about any pattern and color imaginable. You can infuse the latest trends into your living space with of-the-moment looks in ceramic tiles or go with timeless natural stone. The decision to go timeless or trendy is an aesthetic choice that should also factor in the price of the material and the installation costs.

Know Hidden Installation Costs:

Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri shares flooring tips for various stone and ceramic tile choices including Purity by Supergres Large format ceramic tile that mimics marble. Photo credit: Cersaie

Purity by Supergres Large format ceramic tile that mimics marble. Photo credit: Cersaie

The installation of large format tile can cost double or triple that of standard size tile or natural stone. Factor into the price of your flooring both the cost of the material AND the installation costs. Also keep in mind that,  larger sized tiles are not as forgiving of mistakes and imperfections in the installation process so you choose an installer skilled and experienced working with large format tile.

The installation or larger tile sizes is more labor intensive because the tile must be set extremely level. If the installation produces “kickers” (mistakes where the corners of the tile are at differing heights) oftentimes with ceramic tile, it is very difficult to smooth out those uneven spots on the floor.

As a flooring material, natural stone is more forgiving in the installation process. A “kicker” can be sanded down and repolished to even out the surface with natural stone. Unlike ceramic tile, natural stone does requires regular maintenance to reseal and/or polish the stone to make it look like new again.

Marble is a high-end stone that holds its value and exudes a luxurious look; however, it does require more maintenance than ceramic or porcelain tile. In one of my latest custom homes under construction, a 5,000 square foot Florida contemporary in Markham Woods Enclave, I chose white Carrera marble tile in an 18 x 18 format for the floors. It’s elegant, luxurious, contemporary and timeless.

Choose Rectified Tile:

Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri shares flooring tips for various stone and ceramic tile choices including Rectified tile that has all edges completely straight for installation with minimal grout lines. Photo credit: Cersaie

Rectified tile has all edges completely straight for installation with minimal grout lines. Photo credit: Cersaie

When you are choosing your tile, make sure your select a product that the edges are rectified

Installing large pieces of porcelain or ceramic tile requires rectified edges that allow the installer to place the tile next to each other within an eighth or sixteenth of an inch separation between. Rectified edges create the illusion of a big slab or monolithic surface because there are smaller almost invisible grout lines. Polished stone can come rectified as well for the same look.

For more design ideas, inspiration and information to master the learning curve of custom construction, check out my website www.imyourbuilder.com

-Jorge Ulibarri

Orlando Custom HomeBuilder