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Tile Selection

Tile Selection – Common Questions and FAQ’s About Tile & Tile Installation

Why should you use tile? 

Tile, whether made of natural stone, glass or ceramic, has many benefits ranging from beauty and artistry to durability and practicality.  Traditionally, tile is know for its use in the kitchen and bathroom, but its sense of design, elegance, and natural beauty is now extending into new areas of the home.  In addition, the durability of tile can make is more cost-effective than other types of flooring.  With so many reasons to choose tile, it is important for homeowners considering remodeling or renovation to seek out a tile expert and visit a nearby tile showroom.

What types of tile are available? 

There are dozens and dozens of types of tile and they fall into a number of different categories.  Ceramic Tile can be glazed or unglazed is available in plain colors or decorated.  Natural Stone Tile is made from granite, slate, marble or limestone and can be used for flooring, walls or countertops. Porcelain Tile is a type of ceramic tile with very low absorbency.  Mosaic Tile is a very small type of tile often used for intricate designs and can be made of glass, porcelain, ceramic or natural stone.  Quarry Tile and Terracotta tile are natural clay tiles often used in flooring. 

The finish of tile is also an important consideration.  Tiles can be polished to give a high gloss or tumbled to provide a more natural finish.  Some tiles are more absorbent, porous, or soft and may require sealers to provide strength and prevent staining, chipping and scratching.

What are some of the differences between various types of tile?

  • Ceramic & Porcelain tiles are man-made products that try to give the look of a natural stone tile.   They come in a wide array of colors and their color and patterns are consistent since they are a man-made product.  They are hard, brittle and heat resistant and provide a lower cost option to natural stone tile. 
  • Glass Tile is one of the latest trends in kitchen and bathroom decor.  Glass tile is hard and comes in many different colors, sizes, and shapes making it suitable for many contemporary designs from wall and flooring tile and mosaics.
  • Granite Tile is the most durable tile and is broadly used in both commercial and residential settings because of its combination of strength and beauty.  Granite can be used inside and out for flooring, walls and countertops.  It is available in a wide variety of colors and provides a sense of natural beauty and quality.
  • Marble Tile is used for floor and wall tiles as well as bathroom vanities and countertops.  It is available in a variety of colors and provides a natural look and feel in any application.
  • Slate Tile is found most often in flooring and fireplace surrounds.  It is very durable and resistant to damage, but needs to be installed with a firm sub-flooring because it is not flexible and could crack if not installed properly.
  • Travertine Tile is used in a range of indoor and outdoor applications including floor tile, wall tile, and countertops.  It is a stone consisting of calcium carbonate and has pores and holes and is chosen because it provides a natural and rustic look, or the pores can be filled in to provide a more uniform appearance.
  • Limestone Tile comes mostly in neutral tones and is used inside and out to provide a natural look.  It can be used for floors, walls, vanities fireplaces and is available either polished or tumbled and acid washed. 

What types of tile patterns are there?

The pattern you choose can have as much impact as the type of tile you select.  You can choose from “one tile” patterns where all tile is the same size, or “two tile” or “three tile” patterns that use multiple sizes of tile.  For wall and backsplash tile, adding a border tile or accent tiles can make a striking design statement.  Whether you are looking for a basic grid, diamond, herringbone, checkerboard pattern or a more intricate design, it can help to look a lot of patterns and work with an experienced tile designer to find out what is right for you.

How important is it to have an expert installer?

There is no substitute for having an experienced tile installation expert handle your tile installation.  After taking hours to design and select your dream kitchen or bath remodeling project, and investing a good deal of money in the materials, putting the project in the hands of an expert tile installer help ensure you get the job finished the right way with no surprises. 

What can I expect when I talk to a Triangle Granite & Tile expert?

You should expect someone who is easy to talk to, who listens to you, is experienced, and who loves to help customers like you bring their designs and remodeling ideas to life. 

Do I need an appointment when visiting your showroom?

You are always welcome to drop by our showroom during working hours, but it can be more worthwhile to call in advance so we can make sure one of our tile experts can dedicate time to you.  Also, we can have you think about what you can do to prepare for a showroom visit.

What should I do to get ready for a showroom visit?

To get the most from your tile showroom visit capture your ideas on paper, take photos of the room, and cut out pictures of designs that you like from magazines.  If you have needs for particular colors bring samples or swatches, and think about whether you want a particular feel such as modern, contemporary, elegant, or rustic.  You should also think about your project timing and budget.

Is it better to come to the showroom first or to have a Triangle Granite & Tile expert come to my house?

It can work either way.  Historically, most of our customers have come to our showroom first to meet a designer, get ideas, and start their project.  But recently, more and more of our customers seem to prefer starting off in their own home.  Nowadays, many customers are using the Internet to get their initial ideas so it can work out well to have one of our designers come to your home to talk through your project.  This also works well because we may be able to take you to one of the showrooms in out network that is located close to where you live. 

Can I check out samples?

Yes, it is no problem to check out samples so you can take them home and see how they look in the right environment. 

Is there a showroom near me?

Unlike many tile experts who may have only one showroom, Triangle Tile & Granite, Inc. uses a network of showrooms across the Triangle area.  This gives us the advantage of having access to a huge inventory of tile and also of being able to take many of our customers to a tile showroom that is conveniently located near their home or business.

What if the showroom doesn’t have what I am looking for?

No showroom can stock everything, but Triangle Tile & Granite, Inc. uses a network of showrooms across the Triangle so the chances are, if one showroom doesn’t have what you are looking for, we will know another one that does.  Our tile experts are in showrooms almost every day so we know the best place to find what you are looking for.

How important is it to think about the setting materials for the tile project?

There are so many other things for customers to think about, we don’t like to bother customers about setting materials.  Setting materials are an important part of the completed project, but if you select a high quality, professional tile installer like Triangle Granite & Tile, you can leave that to us.  But if you have any questions about setting materials, we’d love to discuss it with you because we love the details.

How do you prevent mold and mildew in bathroom and showers?

A good installation combined with selection of the proper type of grout is the best first step.  In addition, since grout is not waterproof and will absorb water as the shower is used, it is important to seal the grout when the surface is new.  Ask your tile installation expert to make sure they select resistant grout and also seal it.

How important is the grout and grout installation?

Selecting the right grout and installing it the right way is very important to the look and longevity of your tile project.  If you have beautiful tile, but choose the wrong grout color or texture, it can lead to disappointment.  If the grout is not applied properly in a bathroom shower, it could create nooks and crannies for mold or mildew to develop.  And, in kitchen wall tile and backsplash, you want to make sure that cracks do not develop over time and take away from your beautiful design.   Make sure you have an experienced tile installer to handle the finishing touches of your project like a true professional.

Bathroom Tiles

Do you have your own inventory of tile?

At Triangle Granite & Tile we have a granite and tile showroom in Raleigh where customers can see examples of our craftsmanship and also see how we fabricate granite to exacting specifications. 

We used to carry our own inventory of tile, but over the years, we learned we could better serve our customers by working with a network of tile providers.  This is because there are so many types of tile it is hard for any one showroom to carry the diversity of product necessary to meet the needs of every customer.  In addition, with the growth of the Internet, it is easier for many customers to learn, browse, and make initial decisions online.  In this environment, it works better for us to start by listening, and then to take our customers to a tile showroom that is most likely to have what they are looking for and one that is conveniently located.

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