Flooring and Carpeting/bathroom tiles

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zebrino calacatto
zebrino calacatto  

bari natural travertine
bari natural travertin  
Hello!  We are building a house with 4 bathrooms (many children).Our taste is not fancy or extravagant, but durable, washable, long lasting.  We need to choose floor and wall tile for all 4 bathrooms. (or we could go with linoleum, I guess). What do you suggest for flooring and then for the walls around the bath/shower?  Ceramic, porcelain, travertine? Polished, honed?  We are not very educated in choosing, but my husband would like me to do so- then, he can begin installing.  I am attaching 2 pictures of tiles I like (b/c I can't attach more).  But, I would rather use the advice of someone experienced .  We thank you,  Tacy

Answer
Thank you for your question Tacy..

   The decision of what to go with is mostly subjective. What I love may not be what you love. We raised three kids and a big dog at times and so over the years my/our taste for tile changed. Early on I installed a smaller format tile with a decorative dot and while it was "trendy" after a few short years I was hammering it out. I changed format to a much larger example that was a 16" light bodied ceramic tile which served us nicely (including the dog). Now...I have 18" honed Travertine as the evolving material selection has reached it's end for me. With the kids around and their friends and all that goes with that the Ceramic/Porcelain option is where I think you guys should be. Travertine is great but is prone to abrasions, nick, dings....whereas Ceramic/Porcelain isn't. You will want to have something that has a textured surface but not a "deeply" textured surface. Just a material that is not slick or smooth which has their own special kind of problem so slipping around (especially when guests are over) is not a promotable item. I would lean towards as large a format (size) as you can stand with 18" the bottom end and 20" the top end. With this you will eliminate about 70% or more of the average grout joint that you as a mom would have to try to keep clean...lets help mom by increasing the size of the "tile" and decrease the amount of grout to maintain. The two examples you have provided are opposite ends of a spectrum. The Travertine is great but until you get all your kiddo's out of the house lets reserve that for when you guys are empty nesters (it's great I can tell you in advance). Porcelain is your most durable but anymore Ceramic is running a close second. If you go with a Ceramic tile purchase one that has a light colored "bisk" which is the actual "body" of the tile or the reverse side. Should there be a chip or scratch in the glaze you won't see the dark bisk or body show through making it more noticable. The light colored body will not show much at all making your life and worry easier to live with. I feel the same about the bath walls stay with as large a format as you can stand because in the end you will be glad you did when all you have to do is wipe down the tile and not scrub the grout joints. When making a choice with your grout color choose one that dissappears into the tile color. You are paying your hard earned money to see "tile" not "grout" so lets not make it stand out and keep the joint as small as possible. Polished material ie: Natural Stone looks great so long as the polish stays intact...but can be a nightmare should there be abusive traffic or hard water in a shower. Honed is much better as far as not showing stuff but in both cases it needs to sealed to protect whatever the finish is. This creates a maintenance event that must be continued to keep the level of protection going. As a busy mom or dad you don't want to purposely add more things to do in your life. Keep is simple. Now you kinda offhanded mentioned vinyl....sometimes vinyl serves a purpose most often in a laundry but when you have budget constraints or can't come to a consensus about what kind of tile to go with it can buy you time to work over your choices for a short time and then be "removed" (not tiled over) and install your real choices....ok? That's it Tacy...I hope this gives you something more to consider. Take your time and if you have more questions feel free to return anytime and I can help you again.

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Perry Vellenga

Expertise

Ceramic Tile/Marble. I can answer questions about floor preparation, tile selection, layout questions, performance of products, expectations of finish, compatabilities, questions about grout and epoxies, evaluating an installer, asking the right questions to check competence...more? 33 years this August 2012/ many years in commercial application from exterior finishes to Mall store fronts/ interior finishes like floor packages in stores inside Malls examples: The Limited, Lerner/NY, Lane Bryants, Bombay Co., Now involved in Residential new construction covering all types of interior finishes and designs.

Experience

I worked in an exclusive field of floorcovering called "Tenant Development" which is by invitational bid only, by way of a National bid list. These are large floor packages usually over 3500 sq. ft. of 18" x 18" Marble and Granite and many other types of Marble and sizes. They are specialty stores where the floor package can cost upwards of $50,000 for one store. I have also done "Structure" stores and J. Riggins stores, Lane Bryant,Express and Body Shop stores where wood flooring is used. Presently work for a National Flooring Company in the Residential new construction arena that covers most interior design elements..Granite Slab tops/wood flooring both job finished and prefinished ect..

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My response's are published all across the Internet and picked up by multiple Interior Design sites and Industry related web sites where people have questions...

Education/Credentials
too many most of which don't count...

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