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Time to Consider Tile

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by The Tile Shoppe

In its most simplistic description, tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material. Yet somehow, out of this seemingly humble depiction, only tile has the capacity to offer the creative diversity and functionality that artists, designers, and homeowners crave.
  Karen Mattoon, Showroom Manager of Homestone Gallery Tile & Concrete Boutique, talks about what a homeowner needs to know about tile and its trends.
Q: Why should someone consider tile over othermaterials? 
KM: Tile covers a lot of territory and details! It’s the most durable floor covering … you can’t scratch or stain it. But people are always afraid of grout. What they don’t realize is that grout technology has really evolved. There are epoxy and polyurethane grouts and additives to help seal it. It cleans easily and lasts a lifetime if you select the right product and have it properly installed. And I highly encourage using a professional installer. If you plan to install it yourself, you must be equipped with accurate knowledge.
Q: Can you elaborate on how far tile has come? 
KM: People tend to get trapped in what they think is right and miss beautiful opportunities to do something fabulous. Get away from your preconceived ideas that may be dated. Go to a profes-sional tile person and get exposed to ideas. Tile has so many uses – back splashes, interior flooring, kitchen foyers, fireplace surrounds, feature walls. I’ve seen gorgeous, tiled, enclosed porches; decorative ceilings; and radiant heated floors.
Q: What is the critical difference between a tile professional and a sales person who sells tile?
KM: When tile is relegated to a section in a large box store, chances are the salesperson is not a dedicated tile professional. A tile professional is a specialist who can provide superior service, knowledge, and product. Plus, professionals don’t sell on commission so you won’t be oversold with extras that installers typically provide. And in stores that specialize in tile, you will be exposed to vetted, well-made products. That affects functionality and style!
Q: Speaking of style … what’s hot right now?
KM: Large scale tiles, some measuring up to 24” x 36” are very trendy. They create floors that look like stone, marble or cement. It’s a very urban look. But with large tiles, a well-made product is essential. A poorly made product can be warped and not glazed properly so it won’t clean well and is prone to staining. Blunt edges mean you can’t get a tight seam.
Q: Anything else?
KM: Oh yes! Floral patterns made from cement or pressed porcelain are a throwback to tropical home styles. Restorations are also popular. To bring an older home back to life people want to guard the character and are using old-school marble mosaics that were popular in the 1920s and 30s.

Those little mini-sticks of glass are going out of favor and giving way to laser cut mosaics, usually out of marble. Walker Zanger and Mosaique Surface are the industry leaders. In glass tiles, people want authenticity. Avoid glass that’s painted on the back. Oceanside Glasstile sets the bar for glass mosaics. Oceanside actually manufactures its glass!

With trends in tile, go for authenticity. Things that are authentic to themselves will last the test of time.  

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