Ceramic, Porcelain, & Stone



What is the difference between ceramic vs. porcelain tile?
Porcelain tile is similar to ceramic tile, but is much stronger and harder. Porcelain has a fine sand base (as opposed to a clay base) and is fired at higher temperatures than ceramic. Some porcelains are glazed (the color is only in the glaze coat) while some are through-body, meaning the surface color goes all the way through the body of the tile. A through-body porcelain will not show chips and scratches as easily. 
How easily does tile chip/break?
Both ceramic and porcelain are capable of chipping; however they do not chip easily. Broken tiles are normally the result of improper installation.
How do you take care of ceramic tile?
Ceramic tile is very easy to keep clean. Sweep or vacuum as needed and mop with a mild detergent (like Spic-N-Span or Mr. Clean) or ceramic tile cleaner. Don't use harsh abrasives. Sealing your grout makes it less porous. Manufacturers recommend sealing your grout once a year to keep it looking its best.

What size tile looks best in a kitchen? In bathrooms?
Most people use 12 x 12's or larger in kitchens. If you want to make your bathroom seem bigger, a larger tile or a tile installed on the diagonal will accomplish this.

Do you match the grout color to the tile or contrast the tile?
That is personal preference; a matching grout will blend in with the tile, while a contrasting grout will stand out. A white grout discolors very easily. Darker grouts are easier to maintain.

Is it more expensive to do a border or pattern?
Yes, the more labor intensive and intricate the designs or details of your installation, the more it will cost. Remember that tile is the most permanent floor covering so now is the time to install exactly what you want!

How level does my floor need to be for tile?
As with all floors, the subfloor will need to be level and flat prior to installation. This is to prevent damage to the tiles and to give you the best installation possible. Leveling will be assessed during your in-home estimate.

Do you do install backsplashes? Tub and shower surrounds? Fireplace surrounds?
Yes, over the decades of our business, Alternative Flooring has expanded our breadth of services to include installation of backsplashes, tub and shower surrounds, and even when requested, tile fireplace surrounds.  

When do I seal the grout?
At Alternative Flooring, we recommend that you seal the grout 72 - 96 hours after installation and thereafter on a yearly basis.
You will need to stay off your tile floor for the first 12 hours after it has been installed. This is to keep the tiles from shifting or moving while the adhesive is drying.
Preferred Product Brands Used
We recommend using tile products from Dal Tile.  The product is known for superior quality and consistency.