The Tile Selection Process

Consider the interior environment that you will create

- Color will make the room look larger or smaller.
- Size will detemine the number of grout joints. Large-unit tiles work equally well in large or small rooms. Smaller tiles are usually intended for smaller rooms or to create a pattern.
- Direction will create either a visual flow or a distincitve area

To make a room appear:

Larger - Light-medium colors or large format tiles
Smaller - Medium-dark colors or small format tiles

Lighter - Light-medium colors
Darker - Medium-dark colors (dark colors work best in rooms with plenty of natural light)

Warmer - "Warm" colors
Cooler - "Cool" colors

Neutral color - Larger tiles with coordinating grout joints or stone tile with thin coordinating grout joints
Color accents - Inset color using field tile or decos

Larger with a visual flow - Using the same tile from room to room
Distinctive rooms and areas - Change the size, the direction or use decos

Tile Types

Glaze is "liquid glass" that has been sprayed or poured onto the surface of the tile. Extreme heat causes the tile to be fused together and harden. Glazed tile must meet the same criteria as unglazed tiles, with two additional tests: thermal shock and crazing.

Common sizes
1"x 1", 12"x 12" and larger.

First quality tiles are manufactured with up to 5% visible facial defects. However, the installer is allowed 0% defects. It's important for the installer to discard the defective product or use the tile for cuts.

- Standards: Glazed tiles have ANSI standards for determining facial defects, sizing, warping, wedging, etc.
- Function: The following factors may affect the hardness, strength and wear resistance of glazed ceramic tile:
- Temperature: Higher kiln (oven) temperatures typically produce a harder glaze.
- Color: Dark colors (such as blacks or blues) are typically more prone to scratch than lighter colors.
- Gloss levels: Shiny glazes are not usually as abrasive resistant as matte finish glazes.

When specifying or installing glazed floor tile, consider these characteristics

- Slip resistance
- Wear resistance
- Maintenance requirements
- Chemical and stain resistance

Be sure to determine the function, limitations, and suitability of the product. Do not make your selection based solely on color, style or appearance.

Caring for Ceramic Tile

All ceramic tiles are stain resistant and require very little maintenance. A basic maintenance program would be to dust mop and spot-mop as necessary, then mop with a cloth-mop and neutral cleaner on a regular basis. However, some tiles will have better dirt hiding capabilities than others, and some will be easier to maintain than others.

Dirt hiding capabilities
Tiles with texture and multiple colors will hide dust and dirt better than tiles with smooth, monochromatic colors.

Slip resistance
A ceramic tile surface is more slip resistant than almost any other flooring surface. However, be aware that an abrasive surface will require an occasional deep cleaning.

Glazed ceramic tile floor will never need sealing, waxes or coatings of any kind. Some through body porcelain tiles may; check with the porcelain manufacturer to verify requirements.

Tracked in dirt is abrasive and can damage your floor tile. Sweep floor regularly to prevent loose dust & abrasive particles from scratching your floor. Sweep floor with a dust mop or vacuum sweeper (without a beater brush or bar).

Mop floor weekly to maintain appearance using a string or cloth-type mop.
Sponge mops can streak your floor and shouldn't be used. Clear water or neutral pH cleaners are recommended for ceramic tile and grout surfaces. Follow manufacturer instructions on cleaning and rinsing for best results.

Protect your investment

- Equip furniture legs with felt floor protectors. Dirt and sand imbedded into plastic or wooden legs act as sandpaper as furniture is moved across your floor.
- Place rugs or mats both inside and outside of exterior entryways.
- Place rugs or mats at areas around kitchen sinks and dishwashers to prevent impact damage from dishes and utensils.
- Damaged ceramic tile floor can usually be replaced and restored to original condition if you have extra tile available from your specific shade.
- Purchase several extra pieces to keep on hand for repairs.
- Contact a licensed tile contractor to make the repair.

Never, Never, Never

- Never seal or wax your ceramic tile. These coatings are unnecessary. They will attract and hold dirt on your floor surface.
- Never use vinegar or bleach for regular cleaning. They can adversely affect the tile and grout with continual use.
- Never use steel wool or abrasive cleaners for ongoing maintenance. They can mar your tile surface if used repeatedly.

Keep this in mind
Your ceramic tile can be maintained with minimal effort. Follow these basic care and maintenance guidelines and your floor will retain its beauty for years to come.

Caring for Stone

Natural stone is an investment that will give you many years of beautiful service. Stone is a natural product and simple care and maintenance will keep it looking beautiful. These are recommendations from the Marble Institute of America

Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the stone surface. Use trivets or placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that can scratch the surface.

All stone surfaces
Clean stone surfaces with neutral cleaner, stone soap (available at hardware stores or from your stone dealer) or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Change the rinse water frequently. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.

Floor surfaces
Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean, non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn as the attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface.

Bath and other wet areas

In the bath or other wet areas, using a squeegee after each use can minimize soap scum. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Frequent use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface.

Vanity top surfaces
Vanity tops may need to have a penetrating sealer applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. A good quality marble wax or non-yellowing automobile paste wax can be applied to minimize water spotting.

Food preparation areas
In food preparation areas, the stone may need to have penetrating sealer applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. If a sealer is applied, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use on food preparation surfaces. If there is a question, check with the sealer manufacturer.

Outdoor pool & patio areas
In outdoor pool, patio or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use a mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.

Do's and Don'ts

- Do dust mop floors frequently
- Do clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap
- Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing
- Do blot up spills immediately
- Do protect floor surfaces with non-slip mats or areas rugs and countertop surfaces with coasters, trivets or placemats
- Don't use vinegar, lemon juice or other cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine or onyx surfaces
- Don't use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners of tub & tile cleaners
- Don't use abrasive cleaners such as dry or soft cleansers.
- Don't mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas.
sealing and maintenance

Q: What is it?
A: Artisans Metals are a lightweight, affordable metal tile that is made with real premium metals, special polymers and ceramics. Each tile comes from an original hand-carved design. The tiles and other pieces sre real living metal coatings they are subject to oxidation unless clear coating is special ordered.

Q:: Are there variations in tone and color?
A: The tiles are consistent and do not vary from lot to lot like ceramic tile. They do contain real premium metals, so slight surface variations will occur randomly.

Q: Where can I use the tiles?
A: Wall tiles are appropriate for any interior, vertical surface. The floor tiles can be used on floors (or walls) for any interior, residential and light commercial application.

Q: Can the tiles be installed in showers or other wet areas?
A: Yes. They can be used in all wet areas, such as backsplashes and shower/tub enclosures. The tile’s coating protects the metal surface from the oxidizing effects of water.

Q: Are there places where I can’t use the tiles?
A: They should not be used for countertops, exterior applications, or in swimming pools or hot tubs (pool chemicals can harm the protective coating over time).

Q: How do I install the tiles?
A: The tiles are installed using standard tile setting methods (use polymer fortified thinset or epoxy). They are easily cut with a wet-saw and can be drilled with a high-speed drill.

Q: Are there special installation situations?
A: Yes. To ensure a proper bond, high temperature installations may require epoxy adhesive and grout. Three common applications are 1) behind kitchen cook tops that don’t have a back-guard, 2) fireplace surrounds, and 3) steam rooms.

Q: Will cutting or drilling affect the coating?
A: No. Cutting will not affect the coating and the metal surface will still be protected.

Q: How do I clean the tiles?
A: The surface can be cleaned with any ordinary household cleaner. Harsh chemicals like bleach should be wiped away shortly after application. Scouring pads steel wool and other abrasive implements are not recommended.

Q: Will the tiles scratch?
A: The protective coating will prevent most scratching. However, striking the surface with a sharp metallic object, or cleaning with scouring pads, steel wool, or other abrasive implements may create an abrasion.