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Know The Right Floor Tiles For Your Home Renovation

Floor tiles are a very practical flooring option, particularly for homes in Singapore due to our tropical climate. They can also be used to add a decorative accent to an otherwise minimalist space.

Choosing the right floor tiles for your renovation in Singapore can be challenging because there are so many options available on the market. In the case of ceramic & homogenous tiles, they are usually a popular choice among homeowners because of easy maintainance, relatively good durability and cost effectiveness.

There are a few key points you should first be aware of when you browse through different types of floor tiles with the renovation contractor or flooring specialist. 

By understanding the different types of floor tiles, their characteristics and how they can be best utilised for your home renovation, it is an essential ‘first step’ that could help you in making appropriate choices for the long term.

What Are The Different Types of Floor Tiles?

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Ceramic Tiles - They are often made from clay and quarried materials fired in a kiln, followed by an extrusion, dry press or slush mold that applies pressure to create a tile.

Ceramic floor tiles may be glazed or unglazed. These are commonly used in many households due to their affordability, durability and easy maintenance. 
 

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Porcelain Tiles - This is another type of ceramic tile. The clay used to produce porcelain tiles are more refined. Because they are fired at a higher temperature, it also makes them more resistant to moisture, staining and water.

As porcelain tiles have at least 50 percent feldspar content added during kiln drying, they are also more durable and better suited for heavy usage than ceramic tiles. However, they are more pricier than ceramic tiles.

Homogeneous Tiles - This is another term for Porcelain tiles. They come in full porcelain body with no visible crack lines and spots. Homogeneous tiles lasts longer and they do not warp as easily compared with the cheaper ceramic tiles.

They also have a rougher surface texture, making them non-slippery which are ideal for kitchens, bathrooms or other high traffic areas.

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Natural Stone Tiles - They may come in the form of Marble, Granite, Sandstone, Slate, Travertine among others. Each of these has slightly different characteristics.

If you are considering to use these tiles for flooring, it's important to understand their properties in order to help you determine which ones are appropriate for indoor or outdoor usage. 

With the exception of Granite and certain Slates, take note that natural stones are porous and needs to be treated with a sealing agent periodically to protect its surfaces.

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Marble - This natural stone is valued for its elegant designs and durability. They are usually the favoured choice in many upscale properties.

However, it is also susceptible to stains and scratches, and requires regular surface maintenance in order to upkeep its lavish appearance. They are also expensive. 

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Granite - You will usually find them available in polished, honed or natural cleft forms. This is a very durable and dense natural stone tile, thus making them suited for bathroom floorings.

Take note that polished granite tiles are very slippery when in contact with water, therefore these are not recommended for wet environments. Granite tiles should be sealed during and after installation. 

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Sandstone - This is a beautiful natural flooring choice that is popular for its distinctive style. They are technically rocks (soft rocks) and and can last for decades if properly cared for.

Sandstones are quarried from the cores of mountainsin giant slabs, which are then processed and refined into smaller pieces. As such the colors and patterns of individual pieces are completely unique.

The fact that it is extremely porous also means they are vulnerable to damage from liquid stains, mold and even warping in extreme cases. For this reason, they are not commonly installed inside our local homes but more for the outdoors. 

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Slate - Almost as hard as granite, they are layers of flat, hard packed stone that are compressed into solid pieces by the weight of the earth. With this very strong composition, it makes them resistant to cracks, scratches, breaks, and chips.

Naturally porous like all stones, they have to be chemically sealed after installation. For optimal care, an yearly re-application of sealant is recommended for best effect.

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Traveltine A type of limestone that forms around mineral spring deposits, this sedimentary stone is generally sold in tile form and comes in a variety of earth tone colors. 

Compared with Slate and Granite, they are fairly soft and thus is prone to chipping and scratching. Traveltine tiles are heavy and costly, hence, they are generally not a popular choice here.

Bear in mind that different types of tiles will have different properties that could limit where they can be used. For example, marble is very absorbent while slate tiles have a tendency to trap dirt.

Your renovation contractor will be the best person to make recommendations so as to help you avoid these pitfalls.

What Are The Different Ways to Lay Your Floor Tiles?

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Straight Lay - This is a classic method that is perhaps the most common. The floor tiles are arranged in evenly straight rows across the floor.

Running Bond - This method is commonly used for laying uneven or rectangular tiles. The floor tiles are laid offset from each other to create a brick-like pattern.

Diagonal - Tiles are set in a diamond pattern that runs from the corner of a room, creating diagonal lines across the floor. In some cases, smaller tile sections are placed between a diagonal lay to create an accent point.

Pinwheel - In this method, the tiles will be alternated with different types of rotating pattern in a hopscotch manner across the floor.

Other than selecting the right type of tiles, there are different methods of arranging them in your home to create a pleasing visual effect. 

Before actual renovation begins, discuss with your renovation contractor or interior designer to finalize the design theme and colour accent of your home. This will help to determine the type of floor tiles and laying method when they commence work.

For example, some may opt for a diagonal lay if they are using two colors to create a checkerboard pattern.

In other cases, natural materials with uneven edges are used in a manner that will not leave too much space in between tiles, as this can compromise the integrity of your flooring.

Intricate floor patterns may also require a border to create different sections or spaces in a room. When you receive tile samples they may be laid out in a specific pattern that denotes how they will be laid in your home. 

Take all these pointers into consideration during the selection process, so there will be no surprises for your home renovation.


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