BLOG - Stone look v’s wood look v’s patterned
Floor tiles are designed for durability and ease of maintenance. They provide a hard surface that will endure the harsh household environment, while maintaining on going beauty and lasting colour that will enhance your environment.
It is vital to spend some time researching and selecting colours and patterns, prior to making any investment. Floors are a very large area of colour in your home and a very expensive thing to replace if you select quickly and regret later.
When selecting natural stone, the finished look will be determined by the inherent natural characteristics of the product. Natural variation will occur between tiles, as each piece is the only one of its kind in the world, and this is part of the appeal and natural attraction of natural stone. If you do not want this variety in your finished tiling project, then do not use stone. Some stone has greater variety within the product than others, and this needs to be considered during the selection process. It is impossible to select individual pieces of stone, and colours on a sample are only indicative of a broad colour spectrum of the eventual product to be supplied.
As technology advances, so has the technology in tile manufacture, as well as colour and glaze technology. Along with digital print technology we have seen amazing advances in colour and material replication on tile. For the remainder of this we will focus on the manufactured tile, be it glazed or unglazed, as this is where the technology has evolved and we can most control the final design and look.
The most notable of discernible change is in the myriad of stone and wood look tile that resembles the natural product so closely that it is not until very close inspection that the differences can be found. Digital print has gone a long way to enhancing this. Manufacturers can now take a photo of natural rock strata, for example, and separate the photo into a multitude of individual pictures, which can then be printed onto tile in a rolling pattern. This can mean one range of tile can have an almost infinite amount of different patterns, enhancing the "natural effect" sought in the manufacture process.
In general, and apart from colour, your tile look will incorporate;
-plain or slight speckle or veining,
-heavier traditional patterns, being single replications or mixed random shapes and colours.
Stone look can vary from:
- Unobtrusive minimal veining (examples include various Carrara marble copies) through to travertine look pattern,
- concrete look (being both "formwork concrete" look as well as polished or exposed aggregate look)
- Sand stone and slate look tiles with mixes of mild and heavy patterns as well as colour variation between tiles.
Timber look tiles can include:
- "New cut" timber
- Used timber look, even going so far as timber that looks like used crate or pallet material with spray paint and mould look finishes.
- Rustic, worn timber
- High gloss polished tiles that often look like petrified wood
Timber look tiles were initially created to use in wet areas where natural timber cannot be used, but are now such accurate replications that with their enhanced durability, they are now fantastic low maintenance main floor tile options.
Minimal, indistinct or non-patterned tiles always remain a stalwart. They are often used in neutral colours to provide a soft base colour for furnishings, and are often considered non-detrimental to property resale as they do not predispose a style on the property.
Beware, though, that pattern on a tile can hide dirt, and if the household has children or pets or is in an area where heavy dirt may infiltrate the building, then it may be worth considering patterned tiles, not to reduce the cleaning requirement but to hide or delay the need for constant cleaning.
Patterned tiles are becoming more prolific in the industry as fashions change, and this increases the quality of product, as well as reducing the cost of product, as volume of sales is a direct downward driver of price. Some tiles have the same pattern repeated on each tile, often the pattern flows over tiles which somewhat hides grout joints as your eye becomes involved in the pattern. Other varieties have random mixes of patterns, in both bright and muted colours, providing a warmth and texture to your surface and a finished look that does not require furniture or rugs to be the focal point.
Each product has its unique characteristics and we have been very general in our approach, it is therefore recommended that you speak to the experts on tile flooring at Complete Tiles & Stone to further confirm the appropriate product and finished look for you....and most of all, enjoy the whole experience!
Read the next blog article : Tile finishes (and can I mix them up)