Stone & Tile Tips and Buying Guide

Exquisite Stone & Tiles is pleased to present our web visitors with the following guidance and advice on how to best select and maintaining stone and tile products. We trust this aids our visitors in making the right decisions on which stone and tiles to choose, and for what applications, and we remind our customers that one of our stone and tile consultants is on stand-by and ready to help. Engage with one of our consultants for a free no obligation consultation through our contact us page.


Why Use Stone or Tiles ?

Tile, whether made of natural stone, glass or ceramic, has been continuously transformed over recent decades. Once a material relegated to the kitchen or bathroom, the design potential for your entire project, indoor and out, has never been so great. Whether you are trying to evoke elegance and luxury, the rustic and natural, the contemporary and minimalist, or the eclectic and artistic, tile and stone has the capability to articulate your vision. The traditional constraints are a thing of the past: tile can be warm, it can look soft, it can be quieter, it can be safer to walk on, it’s eco-conscious, and can be more cost-effective than other floor coverings.


Why Choose Natural Stone Tiles?

The beauty of natural stone is that no two pieces are ever the same. Each piece has natural characteristics such as color, veining and markings, as well as hardness and porosity. Variations in natural stone are to be expected and enjoyed. Natural stone is the best choice for the customer looking for the aesthetic authenticity that only stone can provide.


When Choosing Natural Stone Tiles - Keep In Mind The Following:

The samples you view at your retailer may have completely different veining patterns or color variations compared to the stone installed in your home. It is best give yourself enough time to allow the showroom to order a current sample.

Be aware that irregular markings, lines, veins and crystallisation are not cracks or imperfections, but rather a natural part of the stone’s beauty.

Please remember that it is not possible for you to hand select your natural stone; variation should be expected. Many retailers offer premium stone lines, which will have been pre-sorted to ensure a consistent grade of quality and color. If this is important to you, you should expect to pay more.

Natural stone varies in hardness, which is the scratch resistance of a mineral.

Stone is extremely dense yet also porous; to prevent stains it must be sealed with a penetrating sealer. Regular maintenance and care are essential to the lifespan of your natural stone.


Why Choose Ceramic Tiles?

A ceramic tile is clay that's formed, glazed and baked. Remarkably, for ceramic tile's long, illustrious history, very little has changed. The same ingredients are still used, and the process is still basically the same, though it has been updated and automated to allow for faster production. A well-designed, well-installed tile job can increase the value of your home, and will last the life of your home or commercial project.


When Choosing Ceramic Tiles - Keep In Mind The Following:

The raw materials that ceramic tiles are made of come from the earth which, together with water and firing, produce a natural high quality product. Choosing tile in your home décor is a simple choice you can make that can have a global impact.

The extended life of tile products greatly increases their value. Though the cost of tile installation can be equal to or somewhat higher than that of comparable products, reduced maintenance and repair costs make tile a better choice. Tile installations retain their stylistic appeal and physical condition much longer than other products.

The nature of a ceramic surface prevents anything from sticking, and grease can be eliminated easily. Their ability to act as electrical insulators, helps to make ceramic surfaces repel electrically active atmospheric dust, thus contributing towards our material ease.

Ceramic surfaces prevent humidity and the development of colonies of germs and fungi that are easily generated in surfaces with deficient permeability. The action of these organisms is progressive and may cause stains on the surfaces and deterioration on their inside. Ceramic tiles are the obvious choice for any area exposed to water.

Ceramic surfaces do not require any maintenance after they have been laid except normal cleaning. Their resistance to abrupt temperature changes, chemical and biological agents, their hardness, resistance to friction, gives them durability. Their incombustibility also helps to prevent the spread of fires. Under almost all imaginable circumstances, tile will not burn, scratch, etch, melt or show wear patterns.


Why Choose Glass Tiles?

Glass tiles have a unique appearance unachievable with conventional tiles. The vibrancy and depth of color combined with the reflective quality of glass results in a unique and dramatic effect. Although glass tile has a history almost as long as ceramic, a recent surge in popularity has caused imitations of poorer quality to be rapidly produced all over the world. The quality control, design aesthetics, and warranties of reputable glass tile manufacturers are arguably worth the price difference.


When Choosing Glass Tiles - Keep In Mind The Following:

Glass mosaic tiles are suitable for both internal and external applications, as they are impervious to frost, sunlight, and water.

They are easy to clean, maintain, and they never discolor.

They can be used in a virtually unlimited range of applications: kitchen and bathroom backsplashes and walls, showers, borders, pools and spas, and even floors.

They range in size from tiny mosaics to large format field tiles, and can be assembled to create any composition from a simple blend to an elaborate tapestry.

Glass is more rigid than ceramic or porcelain tile, so glass tiles break more readily under the duress of substrate shifts.

Glass mosaics come assembled in a variety of ways, each requiring a different installation method.

Specific setting materials are required for different products based on size, transparency, scratch resistance and grout size.


Why Choose Premium Installers & Setting Materials?

Purchasing the proper tile for your home does not ensure that you will obtain the desired look. Installation is paramount to the overall look of a product. Things to consider:

Skilled Installers

Only well-trained, experienced installers can produce the highest-quality installations. Many materials install differently, and often a “one size fits all” contractor might not be the best fit for your premium products.






Correct Method & Materials

Not all installation methods and materials are suitable for all applications. Make sure your contractor will use a TCA Handbook method rated for the intended application or a method that is fully specified and warranted by the manufacturer for the application. You can find suitability, recommendations, and warranty info for installation systems and materials on manufacturer web sites. Find the Product Data Sheet or other manufacturer recommendations for tile, backer boards, bonding materials, membranes, grouts, etc.


Use Premium Setting Materials

Industry experts agree this one of the easiest "insurance" policies for preventing installation problems. All types of setting materials are available in various performance grades. Premium setting materials are designed to address the specific needs of the vast array of tile options today, and provide warranties to support their claims. Don’t let your contractor choose for you; ask your retailer to educate you about your options. Consider the following when talking with your contractor:



Crack Suppression: cracked substrates can lead to cracked tile.

Leveling: the first step to ensuring a proper installation.

Waterproofing: make it premium now, you won’t have to repair it later.

Sound Control: could this be helpful in your home?

Floor Warming Systems: keep you comfortable while lowering energy bills.

Glass mosaics come assembled in a variety of ways, each requiring a different installation method.

Grout: premium grouts can inhibit the growth of mildew and resist stains.

Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance is essential to the life of your material. Make sure your contractor is using the right products at the right stage in your installation.




Sealers: Stains on stone, tile or grout can be permanent. Protect your surface against both oil-based and water-based stains with the right sealer. Sealing also makes everyday clean-up easier.

Cleaners: Cleaners that are acid-based may visibly damage or etch some types of tile and stone. Use everyday cleaners that are non-acidic and non-abrasive, or ones specially formulated for tile, grout and stone.