Tiles 101

December 05, 2019

Tiles are one of the biggest, most expensive and most permanent decisions you make in your home. When deciding on tile, the main considerations to keep in mind are size, style, texture and, most importantly, use. Consider what the floor or wall you are going to tile is to be used for; the durability required; the proportion of room or wall when choosing size; the style of the tile to help convey the look such as rustic, traditional, modern, contemporary, and the texture of the tile for traffic, underfoot, cleanability.

The main applications that we use tile in are in entranceways and mudrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. This is because tile is one of the easiest types of materials to clean. If properly maintained and cleaned, tile will retain its shine, durability and beauty for decades.

Installation & Preparation

There are different installation methods for tile but preparation should be looked into in detail before starting the installation. Make sure you have the right materials such as bonding material, grout, a sealer and the right tools for cutting the type of tile you’ve chosen.


  • Natural Stone: Marble, Slate, Granite, Travertine, Limestone, etc.
  • Ceramic
  • Porcelain—the most durable


  • Generally the most expensive
  • More colour variation
  • Needs to be sealed
  • Timeless expression


  • Honed: The surface of the tile is sanded to create a matte finish.
  • Tumbled: Tumbled with gravel and bearings, giving it a rough-hewn, aged appearance.
  • Brushed: A wire brush is used to give the surface of the travertine tile a worn, textured surface.
  • Filled: The pores in the travertine tile are filled with colored resin or cement to produce a pristine, solid surface.
  • Polished: Sanded and polished, producing a shiny look.
  • Antiqued
  • Flamed
  • Acid Washed

Do’s and Don’ts


  • Seal tile annually.
  • Wipe spills immediately.
  • Use PH neutral cleaner or stone soap to clean.
  • Use coasters and trays in bathroom to avoid etching (water rings) from water.
  • Put mats in entryways to protect your travertine tile floor from scratches that could potentially be caused by dust and sand coming from shoes. Hall runners and area rugs also give additional protection to the travertine tile floor.
  • Dust/mop floor regularly to free from dust and debris.


  • Use vinegar or any other acidic cleaners to clean.
  • Most stone is sensitive to acidic substances and will damage your tile.


  • Used as flooring for centuries
  • Durable and easy to maintain
  • Warm and elegant
  • The smooth shiny surface prevents allergy-causing antigens
  • Easy to sanitize and keep clean
  • Remains cool
  • Metamorphic rock that has undergone years of heat and pressure to produce the strong and highly durable material which we use in construction.
  • Vein-like patterns present in marble is its signature characteristic
  • Great flooring choice if you have pets
  • Must be sealed (suggested once per year)


  • The most naturally slip-resistant surface available
  • Durable
  • Good in wet areas
  • Colour and pattern vary greatly in most slates
  • Clefted natural finish that can be smoothed
  • Can be uneven and tile thickness can vary
  • Choose sealant to enhance look—from matte to gloss


  • Mostly used commercially
  • Durable
  • Non-porous—impervious to water and stains
  • Resistant to heat and metal abrasion
  • Makes a great countertop and backsplash
  • Has both Interior and exterior applicability


  • Durable and attractive
  • Famous structures like the Roman Coliseum stand as a tribute to the long-lasting nature of travertine as a building material — used for 1000s of years
  • Travertine is related to marble
  • Removed from the earth in large blocks then cut into tile
  • Cross-cut = cut with the grain of the stone bedding and on the same layer as it is formed in the earth
    • Uniform texture and colour
  • Vein cut = the travertine is cut across the layers of the stone bedding
    • Mottled, tiger-stripe effect when cut into tiles.


  • Ceramic and porcelain
  • Basic difference between them:
    • The most common ceramic is made by baking clay in a conventional kiln at average temperatures.
    • Porcelain tiles are made from fine grain clay fired at an extremely high temperature. Highly resistant to staining and wear.


  • Kiln fired
  • Bisque (body) made up of clay and minerals backing
  • Covered with water resistant glaze (liquid glass sprayed or poured) fused with heat
  • Glaze is usually coloured
  • All natural products form the earth
  • Glaze is non porous and stain proof
  • Cost-efficient


  • Most durable and easiest to clean simply because of their hardness and overall density.
  • Most durable and easiest to clean simply because of their hardness and overall density.
  • Finer denser clay(less clay more feldspar), fired at higher temperatures makes it more durable than ceramic
  • Unglazed tile has an earthy, natural look while
  • Glazing gives it better resistance to moisture and stains.
  • Almost as hard as granite
  • Harder and denser than ceramic
  • Frost-resistant, and often frost-proof
  • Highly resistant to stain, scratch, and moisture
  • Hard wearing material, which is resistant to harsher cleaning agents, scratches, stains, fading, heavy loads and fire.
  • Easily installed in heavy traffic areas.


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