Tile is the flooring material of choice anywhere you want durability, low maintenance, and long-lasting style. Whether you choose ceramic, porcelain, terracotta or concrete tile, you benefit from a durable, low-maintenance floor that will last for many years if installed correctly. Tiles are available in a wide array of colours, patterns, textures, sizes and shapes, so you can create a unique design to suit the look of any room in your home.
Both these types of tiles are made from natural clay, a long-lasting eco-friendly material, but ceramic tile is a composition of clay-based products, minerals, and water. Whereas porcelain tiles are made with special clays and minerals then fired at extremely high temperatures. The result is that porcelain tiles are generally harder, denser, and more durable than ceramic tiles, plus their colour extends through the thickness of the tile, making scratches and chips less noticeable, but on the downside they are more difficult for DIY installation.
But both ceramic or porcelain tiles are great for floors that are abused by kids and pets in the household, the surfaces are scratch-resistant and they withstand spills and pet accidents well. Terracotta tiles are another type of tile manufactured from clay materials, but these come unglazed and are porous, so require sealing to prevent stains and dirt from accumulating. They do however have a distinctive character thanks to their imperfections, rough edges, and pitting. Nowadays you can get ceramic and porcelain tiles that mimic the look of terracotta but are water-resistant and therefore don't require sealer.
It's possible to save money on labour and install tile flooring yourself, but you'll have to seriously weigh up the pros and cons, as to ensure that your tile lasts a lifetime, it must be installed properly. But if you are confident you can do a good job, then you will need a tile cutter, tile nippers, a trowel, and a tile float. Remember to allocate plenty of time, as even a small bathroom will easily take two entire weekends to complete, one weekend to lay tile and another for the grouting. Good measuring skills, proper tools and patience are a must, you will also need the physical ability to work on your knees for extended periods of time.
The most important thing is when choosing a tiler is to find someone who is professionally qualified and trustworthy. Asking someone who says they can tile like a friend or family can be an expensive mistake and things can be difficult to put right, whereas a professional tiler gives a guarantee to put your mind at rest. You can find recommended tilers near you by using the free quote service on this site, just enter in brief details about your tiling project along with your contact information - then sit back and wait on local tilers getting in touch with quotes for your job!
Professional tilers will be able to supply proof of previous work carried out so you could ask to contact their previous customers for references. Never settle for the first quote you receive, unless the tiler has come highly recommended by someone you know. Normally the best way to hire a tiler is to shop around and compare cost and quality, remembering that getting the cheapest price is not necessarily the best deal. It definitely pays to spend some time making sure you get a professional tiler and that you both agree on exactly what the job entails.
Most tilers will quote for jobs by square metre (m2), prices start from around £30 per m2 but there are many factors which can have an impact on the final price. Floor tiling quotes will rarely include removing existing tiles, carpets or lino for example, so if you are not presenting the tiler with a clean, smooth floor ready to tile, expect to pay more! Tiling kitchen floors can also involve extra costs if washing machines, cookers, fridges or other large appliances need to be moved (in fact tilers are unlikely to become involved with removing gas or electric cookers which strictly speaking require removal/reconnection by a competent tradesman).
Prices quoted generally include tiles and grout plus labour, however some prices will only include grout plus labour when you are supplying the tiles, so when comparing quotes ensure you re comparing for exactly the same work! Another point to consider is that fitting very small floor tiles is more labour intensive than fitting large floor tiles, so choosing smaller tiles will often increase the labour costs. Always check before job commences that the tiler is aware of the size of tiles you are providing to prevent any last minute price haggling.