A kitchen apron is one of those interior elements that are subjected to extreme stress. Therefore, most often it is made from ceramic tiles. How to choose it, how to calculate the number of tiles and consumables for laying, read this article.
Choosing a tile and calculating its number
Like most other jobs, our process begins with preparation. A kitchen apron can have completely different shapes and sizes. Therefore, the easiest way to select a tile is if you know in advance what the distance between the upper and lower cabinets will be. We will start from the 0.6 meter standard, and if your kitchen differs in the size of the apron, we will immediately offer some tips for getting out of such situations:
- If the kitchen apron is less than 60 cm in height, proceed according to the standard scheme. In this case, we start the lower row of tiles behind the cabinets.
- If the apron height is 1–2 cm more than 60 cm, we also calculate the number of tiles according to the standard, and cover the remaining centimeters with a kitchen skirting board.
- If the standard is significantly exceeded, it is necessary to act on the situation. It is possible to calculate the number of tiles per row more or to plant a part of tiles for the lower cabinets. Sometimes you can use a frieze that compensates for the missing centimeters in its width.
Now let’s get back to the question of choosing a tile for an apron. When choosing the color and structure of the tiles, it is best to start from the material from which the work surface will be made, the countertop. Most furniture showrooms can provide you with a sample of the shade with which you make your choice. Let’s immediately give a few general tips that will be useful when choosing a tile:
- darker colors are more susceptible to contamination;
- glossy tiles will require almost daily cleaning, especially in the sink area, where splashing water can stain the tiles;
- Considering the increased stress on this part of the wall from wall cabinets and vibration during cooking, use heavy-duty adhesives and epoxy grouting compounds.
Consider three options for selecting tiles by size, although in each individual case, different approaches are possible..
The first of our offerings is a special 100×100 kitchen tile collection. In fact, the sizes of these tiles range between 94×94 and 97×97. This margin is made taking into account the distances for the connecting seams. That is, six of these tiles, laid out in height, are just suitable for a 600 mm high working wall. As a rule, such collections are accompanied by decors, friezes and borders that fit perfectly into the overall picture. The main advantage of this tile size is the ability to show your own imagination as much as possible by placing decorated tiles in different combinations..
The friezes help to avoid trimming, and the borders cover the extra millimeters of the wall that remain open after gluing in cases where the apron height slightly exceeds 600 mm.
Among the tiles of this size, one can note the collections of the Polish companies Opoczno and Cersanit. Their indisputable advantage over similar collections of Spanish and Italian companies is their low cost with high technical characteristics:
- the degree of abrasion 3-4;
- high quality yellow clay;
- thickness 8 mm.
A classic example of the use of such a tile can be seen on the example of the Jesien Bez collection from the manufacturer Opoczno. This option is very suitable for rustic kitchen design..
Collections are accompanied by friezes 200 mm long, which, when placed vertically, not only decorate the overall pattern, but also solve problems with forced trimming, having a width of 20 to 50 mm.
The second option that can be offered for the design of the apron is the popular 250×200 standard with or without two horizontal frieze strips with a thickness of 50 mm. Among the producers of such collections in the middle price range, one can note the Czech manufacturer Lasselsberger and the already mentioned company Cersanit..
The latter has a subsidiary in Russia, thus, purchasing such collections as, for example, Gzhel, you will significantly gain in price.
The layout options for such tiles are quite diverse. It can be placed horizontally in three rows. Here there is a benefit in saving money on the purchase of relatively expensive friezes, which may be needed only for vertical positioning if necessary to avoid clipping. At the same time, this arrangement excludes the use of decors, the pattern of which assumes a vertical layout. In this situation, if you are not satisfied with a solid-colored work wall, you can experiment with two colors, placing tiles of different colors in a checkerboard pattern, evenly across a row, or randomly. The classic version of the arrangement of tiles of this size is vertical gluing with insertion of stripes from friezes. Depending on the pattern on the friezes and on your own imagination, you can place the tiles from bottom to top in the following ways:
- frieze / tile / frieze / tile
- tile / frieze / tile / frieze
- frieze / tile / tile / frieze
- tile / frieze / frieze / tile
A non-standard, but very original way of placing such a collection is asymmetry. One vertical row is a frieze / tile / frieze / tile combination, the next is a tile / frieze / tile / frieze combination. Etc. This option requires a perfect match of the thickness of the seams, since consumption in a fraction of a millimeter will spoil the overall pattern.
The last option, which has gained particular popularity recently, is the use of a large slab with a height of 600 mm. As a rule, seamless tiles with a standard size of 333×600 or 316×900 are used. Such tiles are glued either vertically with a working wall height of 600 mm, or horizontally in two rows with a height of 670 mm ± 1–2 mm. The apron from this tile looks especially impressive if the countertop is made of marble, since the main shades offered by manufacturers also repeat the structure of this material.
Among the manufacturers are the Spanish company Porcelanosa, as well as the relatively inexpensive Polish counterparts of the manufacturers Tubadzin and Cersanit..
One of the placement options involves cutting the tile in half lengthwise. Solid decors occupy the middle, and top and bottom they are framed by cut tiles.
Now that the choice is made, let’s move on to the purchase itself..
Buying tiles, glue and grout
If the tile you have selected is available from the retailer, be sure to check the following when purchasing:
- The tiles must be identical in tone and caliber, which can be checked by the markings on the boxes.
- Even if the boxes are sealed, it is a good idea to open them and check each tile for chips or breakage. If you find them, be sure to replace.
- It is recommended to transport the tiles by placing the packages on their side, tightly to each other, having previously wound each of them with tape.
The main problem that can arise directly when buying an already selected tile is its lack of stock. Then the suppliers offer to place an order. When drawing it up, be sure to agree on the timing, demand a guarantee that the tone and caliber will match, and be sure to make a margin of 5–6% in case of a battle. The latter is necessary so that you do not have to wait 2-3 months until a replacement is delivered to the goods damaged during transportation.
The choice of adhesive should be based on the thickness of the tile. In any case, it is recommended, as mentioned earlier, to buy durable and moisture resistant glue. This is especially true for the version with 333×600 tiles, the thickness of which is 10 mm, that is, even its own weight has a high load. The following brands can be recommended:
- Litoplus K55 by Litokol;
- Ceresit CM77 UltraFlex, suitable for all types of tiles;
- Ceresit CU22 from Henkel, the universally recognized.
In any case, before purchasing these and other adhesives, read the instructions in detail..
Grout selection is best done with a tile sample. Considering that the working part of the wall in the kitchen is often dirty, exposed to vibration, and in the area of the stove it can heat up, we recommend using high-quality epoxy grout. Among such materials, one can note the grouting mixtures of the Italian manufacturer Litocol, whose representative offices and subsidiaries are located in Russia and the countries of the former USSR. By purchasing this product, you can also receive all the necessary recommendations for its use. From the assortment offered by the company, a series of Litochrom Flex or Starlike grouts with various additives can be distinguished.
Mapei’s ULTRACOLOR or ULTRACOLOR PLUS are among the cement trowels. This grout is available in 30 shades, it has an anti-fungal barrier and a hydrophobic effect. This mixture also contains special polymers that increase the strength and viscosity of the grout..
When choosing the color of the grout, try not to make it much brighter than the tile itself, unless it is necessary to create contrast.