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Monthly Archives: October 2016

  1. Mosaics - how will you use yours?

    Mosaics - how will you use yours?

    Mosaics are incredibly versatile and can be used to bring any room to life, whether you’re looking for a subtle splash of colour, a contrasting texture or striking metallic accents. Made up of individual pieces of glass, stone or metal held together on a mesh backing, the choice of designs is huge and there are lots of ways you can use them.

    Full walls or splashbacks

    One of the most simple yet effective ways to use mosaics is to tile entire bathroom walls or kitchen splashbacks with them. Because the mesh backing can easily be cut to size they’re ideal for fitting into awkward spaces, such as around kitchen units or in alcoves. For a neutral finish natural stone mosaics in marble or travertine are the perfect choice, and they come in a wide range of shapes from small bricks to on-trend hexagons. Mosaics that combine different textures are very popular right now, like our White Marble Mix Finish Hexagon. Glass mosaics such as our Iridescent Diesel or Pearl Mosaics offer a luxurious finish that will add a real wow factor to walls in any room, whilst modular mosaics such as our Mercury Modular Mix are a popular choice for contemporary splashbacks.

    Feature floors

    Natural stone mosaics are suitable for floor as well as walls, and they’re ideal for bathrooms or wet rooms as the grout lines provide extra grip. Why not use marble or travertine mosaics to zone different areas of a room – for example on the floor and walls of the shower area in a wet room. Natural stone mosaics can also be used on hallway or conservatory floors to create a practical yet striking entrance, which works particularly well in a country cottage or period property. Please remember that natural stone mosaics should be sealed before and after fixing to ensure they retain their good looks.

    Borders and features 

    One of the most popular ways of using mosaics in bathrooms is to cut them into strips to create borders or feature panels between ceramic or porcelain wall tiles. This allows you to personalise your bathroom design without blowing your budget as just a few sheets can make a big difference. Linear mosaics such as our Glass & Stone Fusion mosaic are the ideal choice for borders or feature strips as they can be used either horizontally or vertically and their neutral tones will blend well with a variety of different tiles. For a bolder look, why not team a colourful or iridescent glass mosaic with plain wall tiles? 

    For a classic style, run a horizontal border around the full circumference of the walls just below mid height with ceramic or porcelain wall tiles above and below. For a more contemporary finish, use full sheets of mosaic to create eye catching feature panels, for example running vertically behind the sink or in the shower enclosure. Many modern bathrooms now have built in storage alcoves in the walls, which are the ideal place to add a touch of colour, shine or texture with a mosaic that co-ordinates with the overall colour scheme but adds a point of interest.

    Be creative!

    Mosaic tiles aren’t just for bathrooms or kitchens, any room can be transformed with them. You can even use mosaics to transform furniture and create something unique, such as a mosaic tiled table top, shelves or a vanity unit. Small square mosaics can also be used to tile curved walls or objects, making them even more versatile. The only limit is your imagination, but if you’re stuck for ideas sites such as Pinterest are a great place to look for inspiration. Have fun and make your room truly personal to you with our wide range of mosaics.

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  2. Whats the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?

    Whats the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?

    When you’re choosing wall or floor tiles for your home you will no doubt come across references to ceramic and porcelain, but you may not fully understand what they both mean. So this week I thought it would be helpful to try and answer one of the questions we’re most frequently asked – what is the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?

    Ceramic Tiles 

    Ceramic tile production is made up of many processes, but to put it simply, raw ingredients such as clay and sand are mixed together and pressed into the shape of a tile using extreme pressure. The tiles are then fired in a kiln at very high temperatures to create a plain base tile, also known as a bisque or biscuit. The biscuit is coated with glaze to give it its colour or pattern, then it’s fired again to set the glaze. The glaze coating on the finished tile makes the front surface waterproof, although the back of the ceramic tile is still porous which is why the gaps in between tiles have to be grouted to ensure no water can get through.

    Ceramic tiles come in lots of different shapes, sizes, patterns and finishes, from small glossy tiles with a bevelled edge like our Metro range, to large format 33x100cm wall tiles with a matte finish like our Sutton range. It is possible for a texture or structure to be pressed into the tile during the production process, which creates feature tiles with a 3D finish such as our Icon Grey decors or Java Wave wall tiles.

    Ceramic tiles are a popular choice for domestic interiors, particularly for bathroom and kitchen walls. Many ceramic tiles are also suitable for floors, particularly for low traffic areas. They’re easy to cut, install and maintain and offer excellent value for money.

    Porcelain Tiles 

    There are two different types of porcelain tiles – glazed porcelain and through bodied (also known as full bodied) porcelain.

    Glazed porcelain tiles are made in a similar way to ceramic tiles, but the ingredients contain finer porcelain clays and they’re often fired at higher temperatures. This makes porcelain tiles more dense and less porous than ceramic tiles, and they are therefore more hard wearing and suitable for both floors and walls in any room. As glazed porcelain tiles are glazed in the same way as ceramic tiles, the choice of colours, patterns and finishes is just as varied. They also come in larger formats such as 60x60cm, like our contemporary concrete effect Porto range of porcelain floor tiles.

    Through bodied porcelain tiles are made using a similar method but instead of having a glaze applied to the surface of the tile, the colour or pattern forms part of the body of the tile due to the mixture of ingredients. This makes them even more hard wearing than glazed tiles as there is no glaze to wear away, and in the unlikely event that a tile does become chipped, the visible tile underneath will be the same colour as the surface so it won’t be as noticeable. The choice of patterns is much more limited though, and they are often plain colours or gently speckled. Through bodied porcelain are often polished to give a very shiny surface, such as our Super Black and Super White polished porcelain tiles

    So which should I choose?

    For domestic interiors it doesn’t matter too much, especially if you’re buying wall tiles, so the choice will be based more on which designs you prefer and what your budget is. If you’re buying floor tiles for high traffic areas such as a hallway or kitchen you may prefer to choose porcelain tiles as they’re more hardwearing, though for a bathroom where most of the traffic will be bare foot ceramic tiles are perfectly acceptable.

    I hope this helps to answer the common question of ceramic versus porcelain, but if you’d like any more help and advice please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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