When building a new home, adding on a bathroom, or renovating an existing bathroom, choosing the flooring material is often one of the hardest decisions you have to make. After all, not only do you walk on it daily, but it also has a significant impact on the overall design and look of your bathroom. Have you considered ceramic tile?
What is a Ceramic Tile?
For starters, it’s important to recognize what ceramic tile is. Ceramic tile often gets confused with porcelain and other materials, but is actually quite different. Understanding these variances will also help you understand the intricacies of what makes this tile such a popular choice.
Ceramic tiles are made from clay, minerals, and water. Because of the porous nature of ceramic, the tiles are fired and then glazed. This is where it gets the interesting color and unique visual appearance. Some ceramic is then coated with a glaze of grade III to make the tile scratch resistant.
On the other hand, porcelain tiles are made from a sand-like material. These tiles are then formed with a combination of pressure and heat. As a result of this pressure, porcelain tiles are much more dense and absorb less water than ceramic. Porcelain also has a textured appearance that makes it very similar to ceramic.
The Pros of Ceramic Tile
Ceramic tiles are used in many different rooms of the home, including kitchens, laundry rooms, and sunrooms. However, the value of ceramic is maximized when it’s used in bathrooms. Here are a few of the pros of ceramic tile in the bathroom:
- Maintenance. It’s impossible to find a maintenance-free tile, but ceramic is as close as you’ll get. While it’s smart to apply sealant every few years, tile only requires occasional light cleaning to maintain it’s beautiful appearance and condition. When the right grout is chosen and properly sealed, ceramic floors become virtually impenetrable. This is ideal in the bathroom, where floors are constantly exposed to water and moisture.
- Cost effectiveness. When you compare the costs of different tiles on the market, ceramic remains one of the most cost effective selections. And when you look at the long-term costs associated with tile upkeep, the value of ceramic increases. Whereas other tiles may need frequent cleaning and repair, ceramic holds up extremely well.
- Variety of styles. As bathrooms become major focal points of interior design in modern homes, it’s important that you have access to a variety of styles. Ceramic tiles come in all different colors, contrasts, and appearances. This allows you to perfectly match any design need. You can also get creative with things like backsplashes, showers, and more.
- Durability. The strength of ceramic is something to consider. Ceramic is ideal for highly trafficked bathrooms, such as a child’s bathroom or main floor powder room. Ceramic may not be super impact resistant (don’t drop a 30-pound dumbbell on your floor and expect it to withstand), but it will definitely hold up under years of foot traffic.
- Simple repair. Should you drop something on the bathroom floor with enough force to shatter a couple of tiles, rest easy knowing that repairs are simple. Unlike hardwood floors that require you to remove an entire plank, ceramic can be replaced by popping out the piece, cleaning, replacing, and regrouting.
Don’t underestimate the value of ceramic when considering various options. As you can see, there are a number of distinct benefits that come with making it your tile of choice in the bathroom.
The Cons of Ceramic Tile
While it’s hard to be negative about ceramic tile, there are a couple of issues that you should know about. Specifically, ceramic tile can be:
- Cold to the touch. Ceramic tile does not hold heat very well. This is great in the summertime, but tends to be a nuisance during the colder months. If cold floors give you a shock in the morning, then you’ll need to keep a cozy pair of slippers nearby.
- Heavy. The high quality nature of ceramic tiles means they’re very heavy. This typically isn’t an issue for homeowners – especially if you aren’t installing the tiles on your own – but is worth noting. If you’re using a lot of ceramic tile on a second or third floor bathroom, it wouldn’t hurt to have a professional check the integrity of the structure below to ensure you aren’t putting excess stress on it.
- Very hard. The high quality nature of ceramic means it’s also extremely hard. This is advantageous when it comes to cleaning and maintaining, but doesn’t necessarily make it the most comfortable solution for standing. If you spend lots of time standing in the bathroom, you may want another flooring solution that can be softened with padded underlayments.
Again, it’s hard to identify the negatives of ceramic tile because there aren’t very many. If you were going to narrow in on three, though, these would be the ones. The first is a personal issue, the second only applies in very unique situations, and the third shouldn’t be much of a problem in the bathroom.
The Final Verdict
In the end, ceramic is an obvious choice for homeowners looking to install high quality, aesthetically pleasing flooring that’s also cost-effective and easy to maintain. However, you should also take a look at other types of tile. Porcelain, stone, travertine, marble, and other materials certainly have their place in some homes. It would be unwise to assume that ceramic is the best choice for every homeowner.
Contact Groutsmith Dallas
At Groutsmith Dallas, we’re your grout cleaning and tile transformation experts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Whether you need tile cleaning, shower grouting, tile chip repair, or grout sealing we can help.
Contact us today and we’d be happy to provide you with a free in-home estimate and demonstration. We’ll show you why we received a 2015 Super Service Award from Angie’s List!