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What to consider when choosing tiles?

Ancient Mesopotamian used tiles which were mainly glazed and coloured bricks to make low reliefs on their famous Ishtar Gate of Babylon in around 575 BC. During the Middle Ages in Europe, tiles were primarily used for religious and decorative purposes with monasteries and churches featuring colourful and ornate tiles on floors and walls. Medieval tiles often depicted religious scenes and motifs. In the 17th century, the city of Delft in Netherlands was famous for their blue and white ceramic tiles, known as Delftware.

Gothic Revival and the Art and Craft movement during the Victorian period in England had made tiles a popular choice of material in interior decoration. The Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries brought advancements in tile production techniques. Machine-made tiles became more accessible and affordable, leading to their widespread use in homes and public buildings. Tiles have remained standard building material in kitchen and bathroom to this day.

Modern technology has enabled the creation of highly specialized and durable tiles. Today, tiles come in a wide range of materials, including ceramic, porcelain, glass, and natural stone. They are used for various purposes, such as flooring, wall coverings, backsplashes, and artistic installations. Contemporary tile designs encompass a wide spectrum of styles, from traditional to ultra-modern. However, like any material, tiles have their pros and cons:

Pros of Tiles:

Tiles are highly durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic, making them suitable for high-traffic areas like entryways, kitchens, and bathrooms. They are relatively easy to clean and maintain. Most can be cleaned with simple household cleaners, and they are resistant to stains and water damage. Tiles do not harbour allergens or dust mites, making them a suitable choice for individuals with allergies or respiratory issues.

Tiles are heat-resistant and do not burn, making them an excellent choice for areas near stoves or fireplaces. They are also highly resistant to moisture, making them ideal for bathrooms and kitchens. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are fire-resistant, providing an added layer of safety in case of fire. When properly installed and maintained, tiles can last for decades, making them a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Tiles come in a wide range of styles, colours, shapes, and sizes, allowing for extensive design flexibility to match different aesthetics and design preferences. Many tiles are made from natural materials like clay, porcelain, or glass, which are eco-friendly and can be recycled.

Cons of Tiles:

Tiles can be cold to the touch and hard underfoot, which can be uncomfortable for some people. Using rugs or underfloor heating can mitigate this issue. Some tile surfaces can become slippery when wet, creating a potential hazard, particularly in bathrooms or kitchens. Non-slip coatings or textured tiles can help address this issue. Some types of tiles, especially ceramic, can be brittle and may chip or crack if heavy objects are dropped on them.

Installing tiles can be a complex and time-consuming process. Proper installation requires skill and precision, which can add to the overall cost. Tiles require a smooth and level subfloor. If the subfloor is uneven or not properly prepared, it can lead to cracked or uneven tiles. The grout between tiles can be susceptible to staining, mould, and mildew if not properly sealed and maintained. Regular cleaning and resealing may be necessary.

While tiles offer long-term value, high-quality tiles and professional installation can be expensive compared to other flooring or wall covering options.

Tiles are a versatile and durable choice for various applications, but they may not be suitable for every situation. The choice of tile type, proper installation, and ongoing maintenance play significant roles in determining the overall performance and longevity of tile surfaces. Consider your specific needs, budget, and design preferences when deciding whether tiles are the right choice for your project.


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