Which tile to choose

Tested on personal experience: a person in the bath (directly) is sometimes illuminated by progressive ideas. And he, as the school textbook assures us, jumps out of the bath and shouts ‘Eureka!’ carries this idea to the masses. Especially goes to relatives and friends.

And you know – that’s how it was. It was in the bathtub that I again overtook the idea of ​​renovating an apartment, perhaps inspired by the coming New Year (however, like the New Year, this idea comes to me all the time …) Suddenly I really wanted to build a nest, dragging building materials into the apartment – linoleum there … wallpaper … no, it’s probably better to start with the bathroom tiles. Indeed, how much can you admire the white and blue squares when in the shops of the city tiles of all colors of the rainbow appeal to my attention??

But is it only color that attracts us in ceramic tiles (aka tiles)? Is it practical? – Yes. Is it durable? – certainly (my white and blue squares, for example, are older than me). Hygienic and environmentally friendly … and finally – ‘she’s just beautiful’! However, when choosing ceramic tiles, you should not rely solely on their beauty. Ceramics is a complex material, the slightest non-compliance with the production technology of which leads to the appearance of a marriage, often hidden. How to make the right choice? Let’s try to figure it out.

WHERE ARE YOU FROM. Adorable child?..

Our market today includes tiles made in Italy, Spain, France, Czech Republic, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, UAE, Korea, as well as products of local manufacturers.

Traditionally, Italian firms are known as the trendsetter for this material in Europe. However, the Spanish use exactly the same technological equipment. In addition, Spain exports to Italy raw materials for the production of ceramics – granular clay. Therefore, it is believed that in all respects, except for design, the products of these countries are identical.

The most durable, according to experts, is a tile made of red clay, covered with a layer of fused glass, and not with traditional glaze. One of the best manufacturers of such tiles is the Spanish company Vives..

White clay tiles, produced by most firms, for example, in France, are considered slightly less durable than their ‘red-skinned’ cousin. However, this can also be viewed as an advantage: in the event of a burnout, red clay loses strength, but does not change color. When making ceramics from white clay, this type of marriage cannot be hidden. However, when it comes to eminent European manufacturers, you shouldn’t worry about it. The entire production process is controlled by a computer, into which data on the thickness and format of the tiles are entered. If at least one of the specified parameters is not met, the tile is immediately destroyed.

In recent years, the quality of ceramics produced in Turkey has improved. True, in our country it is sold at prices that are often equal to those of Italian tiles. All over the world, Turkish products are much cheaper.

Not so long ago Czech ceramic tiles were the ultimate dream of our consumer. And, by the way, it is not in vain – its quality is quite high (my white-blue squares, which have not lost their appearance and have not cracked, convincingly testify to this). Of course, against the background of Italian delights, she looks like a modest debutante among ‘movie stars’, but she has a good future.

MY FAVORITE COLOR … MY FAVORITE SIZE…

As you know, there is no dispute about tastes. And yet there is not exactly a fashion for tiles – but certain trends. Now, for example, two are ‘fighting’, directly opposite: to use a tile of a larger size (up to 40×60 cm) or a smaller one – up to 5×5 cm.

The prevailing opinion that large tiles look ridiculous in a small bathroom has been successfully refuted by many designers. In their opinion, it is enough to experiment with shape and color..

But opponents of ‘gigantomania’ should remember that the smaller the tile, the more qualifications it requires for high-quality installation..

Today, interiors decorated with natural stone are very popular all over the world. Demand creates supply – and many firms began to produce entire series of tiles with a glossy and matte surface imitating malachite, lapis lazuli or jasper. To each his own. But we want to warn you that a drop of water that has dried on a glossy tile leaves traces the more noticeable the darker the tile. So a bathroom tiled with dark malachite or black marble is, of course, beautiful. But you will have to wipe it daily.

Yes, but would you like some more decorative elements? Borders, decors, corners … Patterned tiles – decor – carries the main theme of the collection, there should not be too many of these tiles, just as there should not be too many decorations. Sometimes they add up to a composition – and then the owner’s task is to correctly fold the squares. And then, lying in the bathtub, trying to understand whether he succeeded or not…

IT’S GOOD THAT YOU ARE SO FLAT AND GREEN…

Let’s be honest: in Spain, Italy, and Turkey, there are a lot of small industries that are not so zealous about the accuracy of the tile manufacturing technology. In addition, there is a chance (albeit small) – to run into fake products of well-known companies. Therefore, looking after this material, it is necessary to check its quality..

The most important are two parameters; accuracy of adherence to geometric dimensions and moisture resistance, Fortunately, they can be checked without special equipment.

The tiles should be perfectly flat (sometimes Italian tiles have a uniformly concave shape to create a special design effect, but such tiles are very expensive and you are unlikely to find them in hack shops). To check, one tile, cleaned of the protective transport layer, is placed on a flat surface and all corners are pressed in turn. The tile should not move – it lies flat on the surface. The same operation is done by turning the tile over. The same effect speaks for the quality of the product..

You can go further – and carefully lay out a meter or two tiles on the table as it should lie on the wall. All conditional ‘seams’ must be absolutely straight. If there are deviations, either abandon the purchase, or get ready for the hard work of calibrating the tiles.

Another tip that is more difficult to follow before buying. Still, it would be very nice to put the tiles in water for 12-14 hours, then take them out and inspect them carefully. There should be no microcracks on the glaze surface.If they appear, then the tile will crack on the wall after three to four years.

FROST RESISTANT. CHARACTER NORDIC…

Have you noticed: on the boxes with tiles, on the side or on top, there is a label with pictures and letters? These icons deserve attention, because it’s not for nothing that manufacturers draw them so persistently..

For example, tiles intended to be laid on the floor are marked with a foot icon on a black background. If the background is light and shaded, and the foot is black, then the tile is more durable. An image of a hand indicates a tile for walls, and therefore, no matter how high-quality the product of this type is, it will not lie on the floor for long. The snowflake indicates the frost resistance of the samples, and the icon in the form of a stylized flame with numbers 1 or 2 indicates the number of times the coating has been fired. As a rule, the frost resistance indicator is also an indicator of the low water absorption of the tiles..

Another type of marking is alphabetic characters. AA – this symbol indicates that the tiles are not afraid of the effects of chemicals. Slightly less stable tile with one A. The lowest resistance is for tiles with O marking, intermediate – for B and C.

So, we will assume that theoretically we are prepared for the purchase of tiles. There is little to do – to bring our knowledge to life. Let’s not postpone anymore?..

Lina TIMOFEEVA

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