Tile is Tops in Beauty, Flexibility; Least in Lifetime Cost

(ARA) – If you’d been born in the early days of tile (around 4,000 years ago) you could never have afforded the luxury. Once reserved for royalty and the wealthy, ceramic tile is now the most economical type of flooring available, according to an independent study commissioned by the Tile Council of North America.

The study, released in early 2006, compared all types of ceramic tile, including quarry, porcelain and mosaic, to 12 other flooring types such as hardwood, laminates, concrete, stone, carpet, terrazzo, vinyl and poured epoxy. Over the lifetime of the average floor, tile lasts longer, costs less per year to maintain, and less overall than any other type of flooring, the study revealed.

“Is it any wonder that tile has long been the product of choice for anyone who wants a beautiful, durable design element in their home?” asks Tamara Christian, president of National Trade Productions. Christian’s company manages Coverings, the annual exposition showcasing the newest trends in ceramic tile and natural stone. “Tile has always been popular, and homeowners are finding increasingly creative ways to use it in their homes.”

Commonly used in kitchens and baths, tile can be employed creatively in every room of your house:

* Front door – You’ve probably seen the tile house numbers that hang near the front door. But what about framing the door itself with tile? The technique can convey stately elegance or playful whimsy, depending on the type and color tile you choose.

* Entryway – Dress up a foyer with a colorful tile mosaic. Or, welcome your guests with polished porcelain tile for extra durability and beauty in this high-traffic area of the house.

* Window seat – Your family’s favorite spot for reading, can also be a prime snacking location. Tile makes a window seat easy to clean and more decorative.

* Media room – Not everyone views a 72-inch TV screen as a thing of beauty. You can turn a room-dominating screen into a design statement by adding tile. For wall-mounted flat screens, consider a tile frame. Natural stone can be a perfect foil to high tech equipment when used to define and accent an alcove for video equipment.

* Exercise room – Top spas around the world know the value of tile to enhance workout areas. The flexibility and ease of cleaning make tile a smart choice for areas where people will be sweating and showering.

* Dining room – More than one picture-perfect dining room has been spoiled by a spill on the carpet. Tile offers superior ease of cleaning and exceptional design flexibility in this showcase area of the house.

* Family room – Another high traffic area of the house that benefits from the durability and beauty of tile is the family room. For maximum impact, consider covering the entire floor with a rich ceramic tile. Or, protect the most used areas by placing a large tile area in the middle of the room and carpeting the perimeter. Tile also enhances the beauty, safety and ease of cleaning for the fireplace and hearth.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Caption 1: The richly textured, natural hue ceramic tile (Tiburon Collection from United States Ceramic Tile Co.) floor and framing of the fireplace offers a warm transition from a comfortable living area to an elegant dinning room. Photo courtesy of United States Ceramic Tile Co.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tile Council of North America is a trade association representing manufacturers of ceramic tile, tile installation materials, tile equipment, raw materials, and other tile-related products. It commissioned Scharf-Godfrey, an independent construction cost consulting firm, to conduct a Life Cycle Cost Analysis of various types of ceramic tile compare to other flooring types.

Coverings is the world’s leading showcase for ceramic tile and natural stone. This year’s exhibition and conference takes place from April 4 to 7 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. More than 1,200 exhibitors from 56 countries will showcase trend-setting products, designs, applications and services. In addition to the exhibition, the four-day event will feature educational programs focusing on all aspects of the flooring, ceramic tile and natural stone industries, from tips for installation to design trends. For more information, visit www.coverings.com.