Understanding Tile Tile comes in a variety of styles and types which offer different features and benefits, so figuring out which tile to purchase is difficult, but if you use the standard icons and language on the packaging, you can easily identify whether the product is right for your project. Grade Tone Represents the quality of the tile when visually inspected Variation in look from one tile to another within same tile package − Grade 1 = No imperfections at 3’ Low tone means tiles are nearly identical − Grade 2 = No imperfections at 10’ High or heavy tone means tiles vary greatly in color and/or pattern − Grade 3 = Major imperfections Home Depot only sells Grade 1 tiles Water Absorption C.O.F Stands for water absorption and lists the amount of water the tile will absorb Stands for the coefficient of friction and represents the slip resistance of the tile Value equals the percentage of the tiles weight in water it will absorb Scale ranges from 0 to 1 Higher score means better slip resistance Package may list slip resistance for both wet and dry tiles Frost Resistance Indicates the tile is frost resistant No tile is freeze proof Tile must be vitreous or impervious to be frost resistant High Definition Also known as reveal imaging or 3D printed Creates the look of other flooring products, like stone or hardwood, with the features of porcelain tile − Non-vitreous tile absorbs more than 7% − Semi-vitreous tile absorbs 3% to 7% − Vitreous tile absorbs 0.5% to 3% − Impervious absorbs less than 0.5% PEI Stands for Porcelain Enamel Institute and is a rating of the durability of the tile Higher number means better flooring − Use PEI 1 & 2 on walls − Use PEI 3 in residential floors and walls − Use PEI 4 & 5 in commercial applications Copyright © 2014, Homer TLC, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Tile Types The differences in tile are not just about style. The composition of the tile affects the tile’s functionality and performance in different environments and applications. Questions to consider Indoor or outdoor? For installation outdoors where there could be moisture or frost, select a lessporous tile. Porcelain, quarry, and terracotta tiles are good for outdoor use. Wall or floor? As a rule, any tile that is rated for installation on a floor can also go on the wall. But tile that’s specified only for walls is not durable enough for the floor. Textured or smooth? Floor tile that is too smooth can cause slips and falls, especially in a wet environment like a bathroom. Porcelain Natural Stone Very hard Natural material shows variation in tone and texture Durable Water resistant Characteristics vary by type of stone Frost resistant Can go anywhere Ceramic Easy to cut Generally less costly Good for indoors and dry environments Not as durable as porcelain Glass Marble − Soft to medium − Absorbent − Variety of colors Travertine − Soft − Absorbent − Variety of earth tones Granite − Hard − Absorbent − Acid resistant − Variety of colors Slate − Soft to hard − Absorbent − Variety of colors − High maintenance Quarry and Terracotta Decorative & stylish Hard and durable Does not absorb water Great for outdoor patios Cannot go on floors Water and frost resistant Copyright © 2014, Homer TLC, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Subfloor Beneath every finished floor, there is a rough floor, or subfloor. The type of subfloor you have affects the type of finished flooring you can install. In new construction, you can easily see what the subfloor is made from. In a home where there’s already carpet or other flooring, here are some rules of thumb to help you determine what subfloor you have. What kind of subfloor is it? Above grade – wood subfloor On grade − Basement or crawl space – wood subfloor − No basement or crawl space – concrete subfloor Below grade – concrete subfloor Where can you install? Carpet can go over: Laminate can go over: Plank or plywood Plank or plywood Particle board or OSB wood OSB wood Concrete Concrete Hardwood Engineered hardwood can go over: Tile can go over: Plank or plywood Plank or plywood Concrete (if the flooring is specially designed) OSB wood (with backer board) can go over: Concrete Vinyl can go over: Plank or plywood Plank or plywood OSB wood Particle board or OSB wood (with ¼” sheet of plywood) Concrete Concrete Copyright © 2014, Homer TLC, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Tile Set Tile set refers to all of the products which go into installing a tile flooring project. Below are several of the major tile set categories and their key features and benefits. Subfloor Preparation Backer Board Seal seams, fill cracks and holes, and level floor before installing tile Boards made of cement or fiber cement combination Use between the tile and the subsurface to provide a strong, even foundation Use appropriate products that match your subfloor type Adhesive Attach with thin-set and screws Moisture Barrier Use in wet areas to prevent moisture from damaging subsurface Use to adhere tile and backer board to subsurface Thin-set mortar: − Form of cement Rolled waterproofing membranes: − Mix with water and apply with a trowel − Underlayment sheeting − Place under backer board Mastic: − Form of glue Liquid waterproofing membranes: − Easy to use in pre-mixed container − Resembles paint − Apply over backer board using brush, roller, trowel, or sprayer − Only use on walls − Do not use in wet areas Grout Sealer Use to fill the gaps between the tiles Apply with grouting float Protects tile and grout from stains and moisture penetration − Use sanded grout for widths > 1/8” Apply with sponge, brush, foam roller, or spray bottle − Use unsanded grout for widths < 1/8” or glass tile − Topical sealers create protective barrier on top of tile and grout Available in a variety of colors − Penetrating sealers absorb into tile and grout Copyright © 2014, Homer TLC, Inc. All Rights Reserved.