Tile with Style – Do It Right


Tile with Style – A Triple Entendre.

As a tile contractor I am often asked: “What’s in style with tile?”  It is not a trivial question.  The decision to chose one material or design pattern over another can have a significant impact on visual effect, installation cost and home owner satisfaction.  That said, here is a summary of the latest trends in residential tile installations.

In recent years tile manufacturers have developed “large format” tile creation technologies and have promoted the idea that bigger is better.

Porcelain Tile Installation Using Rectified Tile.
Porcelain Tile Installation Using Rectified Tile.

So, a top trend in tile today is large format tile, often using non-square, rectangular shapes. Designers have been quick to pointed out that there are visual advantages to this format. They proclaim that rectangular tiles allow for more design options since they offer a visual contrast to traditional square tiles.  They say that linear tiles used vertically on walls can help to add height and openness to a space.  And large format tiles mean fewer grout lines.  And everyone knows that larger tiles help make a small room appear bigger.   It all sounds great, but, the devil is in the details.

Tile size is growing bigger in both commercial and residential projects.  Designers appreciate the beauty that large stretches of stone tile can bring.   In commercial applications, designers sometimes choose tiles that measure by the foot rather than the inch.  Homeowners seem to be a bit more hesitant about going “Large Format“, for some very good reasons.  At Boyer Tile, the most commonly requested large format size, in a rectangular tile, is 12-in. by 24-in.  In a tradition square pattern the most commonly requested large format size has been 18 or 19 inch tile.  Most recently, that trend has moved to 24 inch tile.

From a designer’s point of view, the change from 19 inch to 24 inch tile is no big deal. From a tile contractor’s point of view, it is humungous.  The amount of installation preparation involved increases exponentially, as does cost.  And, when the large format installation in finally done, the result might not be more visually appealing.   Lack of regard for those consideration by a designer illustrates poor judgement.

For example, take a look at this “Design Idea” featured on Pinterest.  The most basic principle of architectural  design is that “form ever follows function”, implying that the form or look of a space is secondary to its practical functionality. A designed and decorated space isn’t truly a success unless it is able to be used and enjoyed by the people for whom it was designed.  Based on Architect Louis Sullivan’s principles of design that Pinterest example is a complete failure.  When first impression tell you something is really different in architectural design, chances are there are good reasons why you haven’t seen it before.

"tile with style" example image
Pinterest image originally found on jetsongreen.com.

Picture this scenario – Your guest stumble into this room and trips over one or more elevated planks. Realizing the danger in moving about, he sits himself on a four legged chair.  Naturally, it too is wobbly, as there is no level surface to be found.  Uncomfortable with his new perch, he attempts to reach safer ground.  The attempt fails as he trips again and falls to the floor with blood now flowing from his nose.  That blood then spreads out over the wooden floor and finds its way into cracks and crevices.  Now, ask yourself, how do you clean up that mess?

I do not mean to disparage the workmanship of the craftsman who did this installation.  I suspect a great deal of time and effort went into this work.  My sainted grandmother had a saying that applies here:  “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. ” It doesn’t matter what material you’re working with, if you start with poor quality material the end result will suffer.  In this particular case the craftsman spent many hours to produce this result.  More than likely, had he started with high quality material the time he spent on the project would have be significantly shorter and the final product vastly superior.  The rectified porcelain image shown above illustrates what can be done with truly high quality tile.  That installation could not have been accomplished with a tile of lesser quality.

The phrase “Tile with Style” is at least a triple entendre.  It can describe a stylish tiling material, a styling trend or a command to the craftsman to produce his finest work with the materials he is provided.  Tile with Style – Do It Right!

My tiling service areas include Port St. Lucie (PSL), Fort Pierce, Stuart and Vero Beach, FL.

In St. Lucie County Boyer Tile LLC. services Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie West, Tradition, Torino, Tesoro, Lake Charles, Lake Forest, Magnolia Lakes, PGA Village, The Vineyards, St James Golf Club, The Cascades, and Fort Pierce, FL.

My tiling service areas include Port St. Lucie (PSL), Fort Pierce, Stuart and Vero Beach, FL.