Consider the environment of the area where the tiles are intended to be installed and the technical characteristics required for the tiles. It is important to choose the right type of tiles to ensure safety and durability of the tiles for the intended function or application. Here are some tips for when selecting tiles:
Living spaces are the public areas of your home. Larger sized polished tiles generally give a more seamless and luxurious finish, while you may wish to opt for a non-polished surface if the area is frequently used by children and/or elderly. See tips for when selecting tiles.
In general, selecting low maintenance tiles for your dining room floor provides ease of cleaning. While if your dining room is connected to your living room, you may wish to use the same tile design as your living room for a more seamless and spacious look. See tips for when selecting tiles.
Tiles in the kitchen are subjected to grease, water and chemicals. Low maintenance tiles with higher chemical and slip resistance properties are recommended for kitchen floors, while glossy tiles on your kitchen backsplashes will provide ease of cleaning. For kitchen countertops select tiles with higher mechanical strength and stain resistance for hot pots to sit on and for easy maintenance. See tips for when selecting tiles.
Bathrooms are exposed to the most water in the house. As it is often wet, it is important to choose high slip resistance tiles with low water absorption properties and higher chemical resistance to bath foams, soap, shampoo, chemical cleaners and disinfectants. For wet bathrooms, smaller sized tiles provide more joint gaps which act as additional traction to increase slip resistance. See tips for when selecting tiles.
Bedrooms typically have less foot traffic, so tiles applied in this space can be from a wider range of characteristics and should generally be comfortable to thread on without shoes. See tips for when selecting tiles.
Outdoor tiles are constantly exposed to harsher conditions, hence durable tiles with low water absorption, high mechanical strength and good chemical, slip and scratch resistance are required. See tips for when selecting tiles.
Floor tiles used in commercial and public areas are subjected to heavy foot traffic and harsher abuse. In general, choose easy to maintain and durable tiles with higher slip resistance to withstand a multitude of conditions. See tips for when selecting tiles.
Floor tiles are generally hardier and more durable than wall tiles and can be applied on walls as well. Wall tiles are not recommended for application on the floor, as they are not designed to withstand foot traffic or abrasive forces.
Textured-surface tiles provide more slip-resistance and are suitable for outdoors or areas susceptible to wetness, such as walkways, driveways, kitchens and bathrooms. If smooth tiles are preferred, it is suitable for indoor application in dry areas, such as dry bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms and light cooking kitchens. If textured-surface tiles are preferred, then do note that some surface textures may trap dirt, be harder to clean and may not be so comfortable to thread on without shoes.
A single piece of tile does not always portray the design effect of a particular product range. It is always a good practice to view tiles as a carpet of tiles (and not individual pieces) at a standing distance of at least one meter away. This will give you a more realistic visual representation of the particular product.
Measure the areas to be tiled and have your drawing plans, sketches and measurements on-hand to calculate the amount of tiles required. To ensure that you have sufficient tiles to complete your project, it is advisable to buy some excess to cater for wastages, breakages and future replacements. A general guide for the percentage of excess would be to add on 5% to 10% for normal installation and 15% to 20% for diagonal installation or for rooms with many curves and corners. Use our TILE CALCULATOR to calculate the amount of tiles required.
Each batch of tiles will have shade variations, as this is an inherent characteristic of ceramic tiles. It is important to dry lay the tiles first to ensure that the shades are harmonious. We recommend to check the dry lay effect under lighting condition which is as close as possible to the final lighting condition, so that the final effect is as desired.
As ceramic tiles are made of natural materials that are compressed under high pressure before being kiln-fired at high temperatures, some shade variations will occur. Tiles will have variations in colour tones within the same batch, and more so from batch to batch. For some tiles, these variations are part of the design to give the tiles a natural characteristic and charm. In order to ensure the shades are harmonious, before installation we recommend to dry lay and check the effect under lighting condition which is as close as possible to the final lighting condition, so that the final effect is as desired.
The industry standards for shade variation is as follows:
As ceramic tiles are made of natural materials that are compressed under high pressure before being kiln-fired at high temperatures, some size variations will occur. When tiling one area, it is necessary to use tiles from the same batch with the same sub-sizes for optimum aesthetics. To accommodate sub-size variations and prevent buckling, the recommended tile gap is a minimum of 3mm for floor tiles and 1.5mm to 2mm for wall tiles.
Polished tiles are usually less stain resistant, as the polishing process exposes microscopic pores. Spills trapped in the microscopic pores can be difficult to dislodge, hence to avoid possible staining it is important to quickly clean any spills before they dry.
Tiles are fired at high temperatures, making them hard and relatively non-resilient. It is best to avoid impact from hard objects.
Hollowness can occur due to insufficient adhesive coverage, wrong adhesive used and/or incorrect installation techniques.
This is usually due to insufficient coverage of adhesive under the tile corners.
If cracks run in lines across several tiles, it is likely due to excessive movement in the substrate during shrinking and curing, or underlying structural issues.
The probable causes are insufficient width of tile joints, insufficient or absence of movement joints, wrong adhesive used, poor workmanship such as uneven substrate, shrinkage and expansion of overall flooring system, insufficient curing time and/or structural movement of buildings.
Known as ‘crazing’, these fine hairline cracks on the glazed surface of the tile can be due to manufacturing defect, excessively thick adhesive application during installation, or high cement contents in the mortar causing high shrinkage during curing of the cement.
The white powdery substance is an effect known as efflorescence, where soluble salts rise to the surface of a cement-based substrate. The powdery substance can be cleaned with mild diluted acid or vinegar, but there is no sure way to prevent reoccurrence. Efflorescence does usually clear up over time with repeated cleaning, unless there is an ongoing issue with rising dampness from the substrate.
The glossy surface of polished porcelain is subject to a natural phenomenon known as optical hazing, which presents a smoky haze when the surface is struck by oblique light sources, such as the early morning sun, halogen and white lights. Optical hazing is not considered a defect and does not affect the technical characteristics of the tile. The effects of optical hazing can be minimised by careful design planning, such as the use of curtains and blinds and careful placement of furniture.
A proper grout is formulated to have properties of good abrasion resistance, compressive and flexural strength, low shrinkage and low water absorption. While a cement mix is rigid and does not have these properties.
Crumbly grout is usually due to poor mixing and application. Before applying, mix the grout thoroughly to a consistent, thick and creamy paste. Ensure that the grout is compressed into the joint and completely fills the joint without voids. It might also be possible that the grout has not fully hardened and cured before the floor was open for use.
Grout joints or tiling gaps are required to accommodate substrate movement underneath the tiles, minor tile size variations, shrinkage of cement, to provide allowance for workmanship and to serve as vents for adhesive to cure. The recommended minimum tiling gap is 3mm for floors and 1.5mm to 2mm for walls.
Before installation, it is always recommended to:
It is important to always check the information on the cartons to confirm that the tiles purchased are of the required specifications.
During installation, it is always recommended to:
After installation, it is always recommended to:
Sweep or vacuum your tiled floors regularly to remove loose sand and other contaminants before wet mopping. Do not use metal pads or brushes for cleaning as these can wear out the glazed layer of the tiles. Gentle all-purpose household or commercial cleaning agents that do not contain hydrofluoric acids or its compounds can be used. It is recommended to choose a product that does not contain ammonia, as ammonia can cause discolouration to the grout joints. For polished tiles, wipe dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots and to increase shine. Neutral pH concentrated tile cleaners can be used for unglazed tiles to remove oil, grease and spills.
A gentle all-purpose cleaner, water and a clean cloth, sponge or non-metallic brush can be used to remove soap scum, cooking oil and mildew on your tiled walls. The cleaned area should be rinsed thoroughly with water and dried. It is recommended to choose a product that does not contain ammonia, as ammonia can cause discolouration to the grout joints.
No surfaces are damage proof, hence avoid dragging heavy objects across tiled floors that are not specified for heavy-duty use. Clean spills immediately and avoid exposing tiles to permanent inks to avoid possible staining. It is also important to use only non-abrasive cleaning agents and products.