Tile: A sophisticated choice

We are proud to offer an array of ceramic and porcelain tile choices that can help you create a sense of sleek sophistication. Tile is natural, beautiful, versatile, durable and easy to clean-and are offered in countless colors and designs.

Whether you’re looking for hand painted tile, large format squares, unique colors, styles or finishes, you’ll find more choices and more helpful advice at Costen Floors.

Why should I consider tile?

  • One of the reasons tile has become so popular is that it is offered in a lot of natural textures that are not as slick as the old style tile you would find in bathrooms in the 50s or 60s. Modern finishes give your feet much better traction, yet are still easily cleaned—and will last virtually forever.
  • The stone look is one of the more popular tiles today. It looks like stone, costs less than stone, and lasts equally as long. Many people are adding tile to their kitchens, utility rooms, screened porches, foyers and other spaces because of its lasting value.
  • Another reason tile has become popular is that manufacturers have improved the grout that goes between the tiles that used to be difficult to clean. Special additives can be put into the grout that makes it less likely to form mold. The result is that tile is very easy to maintain.

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What's required for installation?

  • The correct subfloor structure is critical to performance. Tile, more than any other form of flooring, requires the proper subfloor system and setting materials. A double subfloor system with the total thickness of 1-1/4", over floor joists 16" on center is required. The top subfloor layer should be exterior grade plywood or an underlayment specifically designed for tile installation like cement backerboard. Special setting materials are available which allow tile installations over existing floors that are solid and already meet the above requirements.
  • Failure to provide a sturdy base can cause grout to crack and release or tile to crack. The quality of raw materials, the firing process, and the sophistication of glazing applications that create realism will determine the quality of the finished product. These quality differences are often reflected in the price.

How do I choose the proper surface glaze?

Floor tiles are rated for glaze wear and slip resistance, which are important factors to consider. Glaze ratings should exceed 3 for residential applications, with the exception of bath areas that can use tiles rated 2. Tiles with a slip resistant rating of 0.5 or better should work well in most indoor residential applications. Use caution when selecting tile for installations outdoors. Unglazed quarry tiles, tiles with heavily textured surfaces, or porcelain paver tiles, all with slip resistant ratings of 0.6 or greater are possibilities. They must also be frost resistant.

What kind of setting materials are the best?

New latex modified mortars and grouts provide better strength while also allowing greater flexibility.

Are there any precautions I should take?

Avoid dropping heavy objects on tile. Doing so can crack the tile and require replacement.
Tile from Henrico, VA from Costen Floors

Tips for tile surfaces

Basic maintenance: Sweep or vacuum floors to remove any dust or debris before using any cleaning products. Damp-mop your tile floor at least once each week (more frequently for heavy traffic areas) to decrease wear and abrasion from grit and soil.

Glazed tile: Clean regularly with an all-purpose, non-oil-based household cleaner that’s compatible with cleaning grout joints. Use an everyday multipurpose spray cleaner to remove soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew on wall tiles in your bath or shower.

Unglazed tile: Use concentrated tile cleaners that have a neutral pH for regular cleaning. These will safely remove grease, oils, and normal spills—just check to be sure the cleaner is intended for the application, use, and traffic level. Clean glass tile with any non-abrasive cleaner recommended for either glass or tile.

Tips for preventing damage:
  • Test scouring powders and sealants on a small area before cleaning the full area.
  • Use a sealer on grout joints shortly after installation and use products compatible with cleaning grout joints.
  • After cleaning, rinse the entire area with clear water to remove any cleaning solution residue.
  • Have any damaged or broken tile removed and replaced only by a qualified tile contractor.

Extra protection: Invest in high-quality floor mats and protective pads under heavy furniture for an extra layer of protection to your tile floors. Place floor mats at entrances and exits—they collect and trap corrosive substances that can be tracked in, like dirt, sand, oil, grit, asphalt, or even driveway sealer. Placing mats in high-traffic areas—in front of vanities, kitchen sinks, and stoves—is an effective way to reduce tile wear.

What to avoid:
  • Any cleaners containing acid or bleach shouldn’t be used for routine maintenance.
  • Avoid wax-based cleaners and oil-based detergents, and use sealants on grout joints only.
  • Harsh cleaning aids like steel wool pads or any scouring pads containing metal shouldn’t be used on tile.
  • Unglazed tile should not be cleaned with an agent that contains color.