How many tiles do I need?
Tiles are usually sold by the square metre, so the area to be tiled needs to be carefully measured to establish how many square metres are involved. This can be done by your architect, builder or (preferably) your tiler. Also, provided your drawings are sufficiently detailed, DESIGNA's® sales staff can work-out these areas from your plans. Note that there is always a degree of wastage resulting from the cuts required to achieve your tile layout. The contingency allowance for wastage is best estimated by your tiler, but is typically between +5% and +15%, depending on the tiles being used and the complexity of the particular design and layout. Remember that it is always wise to keep several spare tiles just in case replacements are required at a later date.
What are "rectified" tiles?
All tiles vary slightly between production runs. Tile sizing is traditionally 'notional' - which means that the declared size on the side of the box (say, 300x600mm) may NOT be the exact dimensions of your tiles. Sizes change between production batches and this means that mixing & matching different production batches is seldom possible. Rectified tiles are deliberately made over-size, and are then cut on a diamond saw at the factory to a common calibre. The square, saw-cut edges allow for finer (narrower) grout joints between tiles and result in a beautiful and contemporary finished look. Rectified calibration also means that rectified tiles will still work together when modular sizes are mixed. Rectified products have increased in popularity over recent times. Note that rectified tiles need to be installed on a good surface (square & level), and your tiler should be experienced with the requirements for laying this kind of product.
Do tiles vary in quality?
Tile manufacturers grade their products as they come out of the factory. Defective products are clearly labeled "2nd Quality" by Italian manufacturers and are sold at a lesser price. DESIGNA® never buys defective, or 2nd Choice tiles and our customers can be confident that all Italian products purchased from DESIGNA® will always be 1st Quality material.
What is the difference between ceramic & porcelain tiles?
Ceramic tiles have been around for over 3000 years. They typically have a white or red clay "biscuit" with some form of glaze on top. Porcelain stoneware tiles are made from an extremely finely-powdered "clay" tablet that is dry-pressed under enormous pressure and heat - several hundred degrees hotter than ceramics. Porcelain tiles are much harder and more dense than ceramic tiles. This allows porcelain tiles to be made in very large formats that would be impossible to achieve in a ceramic tile. Porcelain tiles will also often have a coloured "biscuit" that matches the surface glaze, or have a colour and pattern that extends all the way through the tile. This avoids the common problem with ceramics where the glaze gets chipped and exposes the ugly clay biscuit underneath.
Keeping grout clean.
The secret to keeping grout clean is to ensure that all grout joints are properly sealed after tiles are installed. Your tiles will not absorb moisture through their top surface, but grout is basically coloured cement, and is quite porous and absorbent. Sealing is a simple spray on, wipe off procedure that uses proprietary product. Remember that grout seal needs to be reapplied every few years to ensure the integrity of the seal. DESIGNA® staff are happy to advise you regarding grout sealing products and procedures.
What is the difference between interior & exterior tiles?
Exterior tiles have a surface texture that helps make them slip resistant. DESIGNA® recommends that slip-resistant tiles be used outside in areas exposed to weather and rain, or around swimming pools etc. Exterior tiles are usually graded to indicate their particular slip-resistance. Note that there is always a trade-off between slip resistance and maintenance and ease of cleaning. Slip-resistant tiles will accumulate more dirt and will naturally require more regular attention.
What is the difference between wall and floor tiles?
Wall tiles (because they are not intended to be load bearing) are typically thinner, lighter and softer than floor tiles. Wall tile glazes are not designed to handle the abrasive forces from foot traffic. Increasingly, floor tiles are being applied to walls and this is no problem so long as the walls are strong enough to support their weight. However we do not usually recommend using wall tiles in floor applications.