Finding The Perfect Flooring3 September 2021
Artisans of Devizes’ Creative Lead, Grazzie Wilson, shares her expert advice on finding the right flooring for your next project
Here at Artisans of Devizes we know that choosing tiles is an exciting venture, but it’s also one where you need to have your wits about you to ensure you get it right first time and avoid any costly mistakes.
Firstly, think about the size of the tile. Tiles come in a vast range of sizes, from 7.5 x 15cm metro bricks to large format 60 x 120cm tiles. The main thing to consider is how the tile will look in the room. I personally don’t always agree with the concept that a larger format tile opens the space and makes it feel larger. Sometimes the larger the tile, the less tiles you can lay on a floor (particularly in a small bathroom) meaning that you have grout lines in unusual places. If you are going for larger tiles, check how many tiles will work in the space to ensure that the placement works well visually.
When selecting the tile material, check with your client on how the space is going to be used, who will be using it and what the lifestyle is of that user. Bathrooms for instance are spaces for relaxing. So from an aesthetic point of view, think about the colour palette, the shapes that create interest and how you want your client to feel when they are in the room, as different colours will impact on the mood. Bathrooms and kitchens should have a good slip rating as well as being easy to clean and care for. For something super-easy, go for porcelain. For something that is a little more maintenance, consider natural stone.
Think about the installation too. Will large format slabs be manoeuvred into the room easily? If the same tile is to be used for floor and walls for a seamless look, will the supporting walls take the weight? Porcelain is a popular choice as it is lightweight and versatile. Check if the product you have in mind is suitable for use with underfloor heating too, if that is something on your project brief.
Another thing to consider is grout lines, as these will make an impact on the final result. The smaller the tile, the more grout lines and this can make the space look busy. If lots of grout lines are unavoidable, consider using a coloured grout in a similar shade to the tile.
Before you buy, order samples. Either a swatch sample (a small cut of the full tile) or a full tile sample (the best for helping you envisage how it will look in the project). Both of these will help you to see the true colour, texture and finish up close and personal. We also offer 30 x 40cm samples on our large format tiles, including natural stone. These are particularly helpful in showing the pattern and tonal variations of natural stone products such as limestone and marble where no two are the same.
Ahead of fitting the tiles, it is important to consider layout and how you would like them to appear, ideally creating a rough design sketch beforehand. Not only will this help you determine how many tile cuts are needed, helping you order the correct amount, but it will also help to confirm that you have the right size tiles for the space.
If your chosen tile is a natural stone product, make sure you have it properly sealed and with the right product for the job. Our natural stone, encaustic, crackle glaze and terracotta will all require sealing. Once your tiles are installed, you will need to use an impregnating sealant for protection against fading and staining, such as Stone Essentials Stain Block (or for crackle glaze tiles, a crackle glaze sealant). This should be applied after they have been installed and cleaned using Stone Essentials Deep Clean or similar, but prior to grouting, in accordance with the product label.
You should apply a second coat after grouting and consider applying a surface finish such as Stone Essentials Stone Shield or a wax polish as this will offer further protection and give an attractive patina, although in non-wet areas only. This would be applied after grouting once fully dry (around seven days depending on humidity).