Tile and Stone is a hardwearing, enduring material, falling under the category of masonry. What is masonry? Well, the word can describe two related things both the material used, as well as the actual construction, using those materials. Beyond rough and cut stone and ceramic tile, masonry materials include brick, plaster and stucco,
and various forms of concrete.
What’s the common thread? Masonry is quite strong and can do anything from decorate an interior as well as protect an exterior. Walls can be built, showers can be decorated, paths can be lined and counter tops can be poured – all using materials from the masonry group.
But let’s get back to what you are probably most interested in. Tile and stone. What can be confusing to some is that certain tile types are not suitable for every application. For example, one needs to take a great deal more into consideration when selecting tile for the floor than for a wall, primarily due to wear and safety issues.
For walls, just about anything will do, making the art of wall decoration all that more spectacular, with unlimited possibilities for expression.
So, where might you use tile or stone? Mostly in bathrooms, in the kitchen as decoration above a countertop or in the entryway. Those areas that need a hardwearing product that also can handle water.
Tile is pretty much a shoo-in for the bathroom area, don’t you think? Because when you consider other products to choose for a shower stall, for example you will want something that can handle the water. Paint over wallboard won’t do it. Neither will wallpaper. Fabric? Don’t even think about it. When it comes to an area that is receiving a big dose of water on a daily basis, your first and only thought should be tile, stone or some other impermeable wall material.
Yes, there are other potential products for a shower area. Metal would be one. Glass, too. But 90 percent of the time – most people want tile or stone. Tile is not just available in squares and slabs of varying sizes, but also in a variety of trim shapes and sizes that will accommodate just about any horizontal or vertical area. Some product lines won’t offer as much in the way of functional trim as others; so make certain you note of all design specifications before you choose the product.
There are four categories of tile, which are based upon the level of vitrification. What’s vitrification?
In layman’s terms, it means to change or make into glass or a glassy substance, especially through heat fusion. Now, vitrification as a method of creation can be applied to more than just tile. But with tile, it’s all about water absorption rate. The four categories are Nonvitreous, Semivitreous, Vitreous and Impervious.
The water absorption rate will determine how the tile is used – be it outside, in a wet or high-traffic condition, in hot or cold climates. To make it simple, the nonvitrious tile has the highest water absorption rate, making it prone to stains, cracking and chipping and at the other end of the scale, Impervious tile, as you can probably imagine from its name, has an extremely low water absorption rate and is appropriate for just about any application, including being frost proof. Vitrification is determined in this manner: A dry tile is weighed, then soaked in water, then weighed again. The beforeand- after difference in weight is what determines the percentage of water absorbed.
This is important information for you to keep in mind when you are specifying a tile. Will it be indoors or out? Will it be subjected to water?
Another decision you will need to make is in regard to tile color. There are four different color variations: V1, V2, V3 and V4. The “V” stands for variation. Here’s an easy way to remember it.
V1 is considered a uniform appearance. That is, if you were to buy a box of tile, and you pulled one piece after the other out of the box, and they would all look the same. No color variance. One color. V1.
V2 is considered having slight variation, which means that there might be a mottled quality to some of the tiles that complements the other. That is, the while the tile color is consistent, the pattern or texture may change somewhat. V2 usually is two colors.
V3 is considered to have moderate variation. This may be a case where you open that box of tile and you pull out three different colors but they all look terrific together. One tile might be 100% brown, the next is 75% brown and the last one is very light – maybe just 25% brown. All the same color, but different and distinct variations of it. Three colors. V3.
Finally, a V4 color palette will be a random variation.
Think about painting the exterior of your home, for example. You might have a primary teal blue on the shakes, but then you decide to paint the door a deep forest green and then trim the windows with a cafe latte brown. This is what you might also find in a set of V4 tile. Random colors – but they all harmonize well.