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Tile and stone installation

Confused about your choices for stone and tile flooring? Lyle Morris from Interior Floor Designs makes your options clear.(Image courtesy Interior Floor Designs)

SPONSORED — If you’ve walked into a flooring store recently, your head is probably reeling with all of the stone and tile flooring choices. Ceramic tile, porcelain tile, stone, what’st the difference? Pete talks to Lyle Morris of Interior Floor Designs to help tell the difference.

Pete says the differences in ceramic and porcelain tile usually stem from how the tile is actually made. Both start from a clay, mineral and water substrate and are hardened with pressure into a tile with a desired pattern or texture.

“The most important difference is, during the manufacturing process, when porcelain tile is fired, it has what’s called a rectified tile,” Pete says. This means the firing process is very tight with porcelain; the dimensional sizes are controlled very accurately, he says. Ceramic tile is not as controlled, which results in small differences in the surface. “If you want a very uniform surface,” Pete says, “you should go with porcelain.”

This gives you the opportunity to have clean grout lines and a more modern look, he says.

Another difference, Pete adds, is porcelain has a lower water-absorption rate, “because it’s a denser tile.” If you’re doing some kind of indoor-outdoor application, he says you want to watch the material; high rates of expansion and contraction can crack your tiles.

If you’re looking for stone flooring, you have a few choices. Quarried stones like granite, limestone or quartz can give your home a different look and feel depending on what stone you choose.

Limestone is the softest stone you can use for flooring, followed by marble and travertine, Lyle says. “Granite’s going to be the hardest,” and slate is right in the middle.

Lyle says travertine or limestone makes a good entryway stone tile; the color is very uniform, he says, and you’ll usually be limited to two tones. The stone itself is polished, and then to protect against wear, it’s sealed upon installation.

Marble also makes a good entry stone, as well as a good stone for the bathroom. Lyle suggests using marble in smaller areas where it’s less prone to scratching, but also might get wet. “It can be sealed,” he says.

While extremely popular for countertops, Lyle says you can also use granite for flooring.

Listen to the whole show.

Interior Floor Designs is a proud sponsor of Home Matters.

Home Matters with Pete can be heard on KIRO Radio every Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 6 a.m. or anytime at Like Home Matters on Facebook.

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