Selecting Ceramic Tile
It’s possible to find ceramic tile to match any color scheme or decor theme in a home. You will find pieces in soft and muted colors and textures. Bold designs and deep colors area also available. You will also find a variety of shapes such as hexagons, octagons, rectangles, and squares. Size also varies, ranging from 4.25-inch squares to as large as 24-inch squares. If you opt for handmade pieces, you may find small variations in size.
You have many different finishes from which to choose. You might opt for high-gloss, matte, smooth, glazed, unglazed, textured, polished, or unpolished. Pieces with a high-gloss finish will appear exceptionally shiny. The downside of this finish is that scratches will appear easily. The matte finish will appear dull, which can protect against scratching.
The edging will have variations. A rounded edge, known as a “cushion edge”, is harder to apply grout between its pieces. A squared edge is easier for beginners to grout. The bullnose edge is ideal for specific areas where you will leave surfaces only partially tiled with exposed edges. You might also choose scalloped edges as a special feature.
Thickness varies between 1/4 inch and 3/4 inch. In general, thicker ceramic tile is more durable. These pieces will resist cracking and breaking more readily than the thinner ones.
Manufacturers try to limit color differences by packing similar shades together in cartons. Packaging will also have shade and run numbers stamped on them to enable consumers to purchase similar color runs. Some people opt to embrace color variations, trying to produce bold differences intentionally to create a unique look.
It’s likely that you will find some imperfections. Always choose pieces without chipping, pitting, and spotting on the surface. If you find these imperfections, they indicate problems with glaze application. It’s possible that glaze missed certain areas, or dirt could have been introduced onto the surface during the process. Manufacturers will assess and separate by grade according to imperfections. Resist the urge to purchase low-grade pieces, as you will likely get tiles with pitting, cracking, or spots.