Tile Flooring FAQs

1What is the difference between ceramic and Porcelain tile?

Porcelain tile is made from finer, denser clay. It is fired at a high temperature to remove most of the moisture. This process makes the tile moisture resistant, making it great for shower and outdoor projects.

However, nowadays, ceramic tile is fired at the same temperature making it a high-density tile. So, what is the difference between the two tiles? Ceramic can absorb a little more water than porcelain. But both are extraordinarily strong and scratch-resistant.

2What is tile thin-set (or Mortar) and how do I know which one to use?

There are several different types of thin-set (or mortar) as some people know it. Choosing a thin set depends on the type of tile , the size and weight of the tile, the substrate, and whether it is an interior or exterior job.

Most jobs call for a multi-purpose or single component thin set. Most are grey in color, but it can also come in white or glass tile. As tile gets larger and larger in size and weight there is also a medium-bed thin set made especially for those large format tiles. This helps it from sinking during the installation and drying process.

Depending on how fast you want it to dry you can also use a rapid set that has a unique drying polymer. There is also premixed tile adhesive specially formulated for wall tiles.

Trowels are used to apply a thin set. The trowel size provides even application and control. The size of the tile determines which trowel size they will use.

Consult the manufacturer or Installer on which thin set would be better for your project.

3How to choose your grout line size?

There are no set rules when it comes to grout lines. It is more of a designer’s choice, but most manufacturers do put a suggested grout line on their packaging.

As a rule of thumb grout lines should at least be 1/8” or larger. With that being said, if you choose to have no to very little grout line a rectified tile is the only way to achieve that.

Rectified tile is evenly cut and uniform on all sides. The sides are exceptionally smooth to the touch. However, rectified tile may not be for DIY projects. With the absence of beveled edges, any imperfections in the installation will be more noticeable.

4What type of grout should I use?

There are several types of grout and grout additives. Powdered grout is the most common. You must mix it with water. This grout is typically cheaper but then it must be sealed or add a sealer additive instead of water.

Once you add in the cost of the sealers it can get costly and add more work.

Several grouts come pre-mixed with sealer already added. The cost is up front, but the color is consistent, and you do not have to let it dry and add sealer later.

Depending on the grout line you can choose sanded or unsanded grout. Unsanded grout is used for smaller grout lines. Unsanded grout is very sticky so works great on shower walls or vertical surfaces.

5Do I need to level my floor?

All floors should be as level as possible before starting. There are several levelers you can use.

If you are doing it yourself, you may want to use a self-leveler. The level your floor is when starting, the better your chances that your finish project will look awesome.