When looking to add the feeling of luxury to your custom home or renovated space, the type of tile selected can bring the whole room together. Tile flooring provides durability and functionality, is easy to clean and maintain while lending the feeling of permanence and stature. But with all the material options available, how do you know which style is best?
Tim Benkowski, Senior Project Manager with Balsitis Contracting, Inc., a Lake Geneva-based custom home builder and remodeling contractor, offers his thoughts on a range of tile options and what works best within different areas of the home.
Found in a variety of colors and patterns, cement tiles are porous, which may result in changes in color and pattern over time. Typically used in low traffic areas, regular resealing is required to maintain the look of the tile.
Applicable for different functions, ceramic tiles are strong and durable, resistant to abrasion and scratches, while typically being easy to install and clean. Often used in high foot traffic areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms, there are glazed and unglazed options. “An unglazed tile offers a more rustic look, while glazed, which is sealed to provide additional protection, feature a more polished look,” Benkowski explained. “Glazed tiles can be produced in a large variety of colors and patterns.”
When considering a tile for heavy traffic areas, granite is a popular choice. Comprised of compact igneous rock, they offer a unique look as a result of natural veining. “No two granite surfaces are the same, which makes them different than other stones,” said Benkowski. “Found in a range of colors, granite tiles are viewed as a high-end option. For a natural stone product they are more stain and acid resistant than other natural product choices.”
When looking to add style to a space, the use of marble tile certainly fits the bill. As a natural stone in a wide spectrum of colors, marble tiles come in an assortment of finishes, including brushed, honed, polished, and tumbled. “We recommend sealing marble tile, as that provides undetectable penetrating protection,” he said.
Available in an assortment of colors, shapes, and patterns, mosaic tiles are comprised of smaller tile pieces made from many materials including glass, stone and metal composed in ornamental patterns to make one large tile, backed by a mesh. “Great for adding depth to a room and cultivating a more stimulating look, mosaic tiles are commonly used as accent pieces,” said Benkowski. “They can resist stains and moisture, plus offer enhanced slip resistance.”
Consisting of onyx, a calciferous stone with an attractive luminousness, onyx tiles have a comparable look to marble tiles, a product of the stone’s mineral density. To reinforce them, ingredients including forms of fiberglass, mesh, and resin are added. Available in diverse colors, they are most often found within the lighter color spectrum. “This stone can be backlit for an interesting accent in the right application,” Benkowski said.
Obtainable in plain, polished, and rough finishes, the use of porcelain tile is a popular option when seeking to achieve a particular aesthetic. Sometimes referred to as Fireclay, it is made of denser clay than ceramic tile, they can emulate brick, stone, and wood. Porcelain tile is recognized for being resistant to stains, cracks, or fading.
Consisting of natural mineral deposits, slate tiles are an attractive and enduring material. Known for helping to maintain a room’s warmth, they are slip resistant due to their inherently grainy surface.
A combination of diverse substances, including glass, granite, marble, and quartz, terrazzo tiles are created through polishing, curing and grounding. “The outcome is an appealing, smooth, polished, and enduring finish,” he said.
Produced from limestone usually found around hot springs and caves, travertine tiles come in various colors and have a pitted, irregular appearance. “Travertine offers a natural look, plus it is exceptionally robust. It’s particularly popular for those wishing to be eco-friendly, as it is completely biodegradable,” said Benkowski.
A more contemporary innovation proving to be popular, wooden tiles are typically available in hardwood and faux wood. The hardwood version is low maintenance, as it doesn’t display dirt or stains, plus it is very durable. “Faux wood tiles, formulated from a ceramic-based substance or concrete, blend the look of natural wood with the durability of tile,” Benkowski said. “They are resistant to scratches and water, designed to withstand heavy foot traffic, and they are low maintenance compared to other tile types.”
Located at 901 Maxwell Street, Suite 1 in Lake Geneva, the Balsitis Contracting team shares more than 200 years of combined experience in custom home building and remodeling. Providing home building and renovation services to clients from Madison to Chicago and everywhere in between, the company is a member of several industry associations, including the National Association of Home Builders, the Wisconsin Builders Association, and the Lakeland Builders Association.
For more information or to arrange an initial consultation, call Balsitis Contracting at 262-203-3952 or visit the company online.