Interior Design Ideas: Floor Tiling
Floor tiles come in every conceivable form: hard, soft, warm, cold, light, heavy, easy to lay, difficult to lay … Sizes, colours, patterns and textures likewise vary widely.
It is important when using heavier rigid tiles or slabs (such as ceramic and quarry tiles, marble, slate or terrazzo) that they are laid on a floor that can bear their weight and which is absolutely level. Floorboards should be covered with(masonite) or ; concrete should be covered with cement or sand screed. You may have to call in a surveyor or engineer to check if a floor can bear the load, particularly in upstairs rooms and hallways.
TYPES OF TILES
Made from baked clay, ceramic tiles are very hard and strong. Popular colours are the natural shades of yellow through brown, but other colours are available as well. Textures vary from smooth and shiny to knobbly; there are also patterned, hand-painted and unglazed varieties of tiles.
Ceramic tiles are heavy, cold, noisy and hard — an object dropped on them is more than likely to break.
Lay the tiles on level floors such as screeded concrete or plywood-covered floorboards.
Normally square or rectangular, quarry tiles come in a range of warm, natural shades. They are made from unrefined alumina clay high in silica (quartz). Because they are water- and grease-resistant, they make practical floors for kitchens and hallways, although they are hard, cold and noisy. Lay on screeded concrete.
Bricks for indoor use (paviors) are hard-wearing, water- and grease-resistant, and warmer than either ceramic or quarry tiles. They can be laid only on ground floors, in a mortar bed. They come in a range of colours, including not only the standard red, brown and yellow, but also blue, purple and green. They often look best in a rustic setting or when linking interior rooms to the garden — for example, as a hall or kitchen floor.
The most practical way of using marble is to lay it in thin sheets or tiles, because marble slabs are very expensive and very difficult to work with. Tiles should be laid in cement on concrete or on a perfectly level strong wooden floor.
Like other hard tiles, however, marble is cold, heavy and noisy.
Suitable for ground floors only, slate slabs are very heavy, expensive, unwieldy, cold and noisy; they must be laid in cement on concrete. Despite all these disadvantages, slate is a very beautiful material, typically in shades of grey and with a rippled surface. It can be effectively combined with other materials — marble, wood, etc. — and is impervious and durable.
Stone floors have a mellow, ageless quality that suits contemporary settings as well as period ones. A variety of types of natural stone can be used for flooring. These include granite, sandstone, York stone and limestone, either in slabs or, more economically, cast with cement. Some types will stain easily.
Terrazzo consists of marble or granite chips set in thin tiles or slabs with concrete or cement. Smooth, tough and elegantly flecked with colour, terrazzo must be laid on screed. It can be expensive.
Made of various materials, including marble, clay and glass silica, mosaic tiles are nowadays available with a peel-off backing to facilitate laying (which must be on smooth screeded floors).
Made from pressed and baked natural cork, these tiles make a warm, comfortable, quiet and durable floor. Make sure you buy flooring-grade tiles; lay them on a smooth floor, using. Cork must be properly sealed.
Vinyl, Rubber and Linoleum Tiles
These materials are available in tiles as well as sheet form. Because they are softer, cheaper, quieter and warmer than most hard tiles, they are a popular choice for utility areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. They are also extremely easy for the amateur to lay.