Choosing the right tile for your home can be hard task. We know that the result of those choices will stay around for many years to come and that can be a daunting thought!
As the largest showroom for tiles in Malta, we have helped thousands of satisfied customers find the best flooring solutions from our wide variety of quality tiles directly supplied from our Italian Suppliers – the experts in ceramics.
We have gathered 12 of the most frequently asked questions about tiles which our clients have asked to over the years and we know you’d love to know about them too!
What are Porcelain tiles and how are they different from ceramics?
Although it can be hard to tell the difference between ceramics and porcelain, their material composition and the technology used in their manufacturing is quite different.
Ceramics have been around for the past 2000 years and their manufacturing process has remained relatively the same. They are made of natural clay which usually sets them apart from porcelains. They are also identified through their glazy surface on top of a white or red clay “biscuit” which forms the base of the tile. Due to the minor variations and irregularities of the ceramic, they can give you a more aesthetically interesting result when laid out.
Porcelain is a type of ceramic tile which provides a very dynamic and functional flooring that can be used anywhere around the home. It is produced using a mixture of very fine white clay which contains quartz. This porcelain mixture is fired at a very high temperature of 1200 degree Celsius. This gives the tile incredible strength, making it less likely to chip, less porous and much more resistant than classical ceramics.
Our porcelain ceramics are produced by Imola Ceramica offering an incredibly low porosity rate of 0.05%. This is significantly less than the recommended market average of 0.5%. A low porosity rate keeps it safe from stains and makes sure that they will last a lifetime. Its natural water resistance makes it the ideal tile for areas that are prone to moisture like bathrooms and kitchens.
Porcelain tiles in Malta are also the ideal material to be used outdoors as they can strongly withstand all the elements which grace our weather all year round.
What does firing mean?
The main characteristic of ceramic tile production is that the materials are bounded together through a heating process known as firing.
Even though this process and the technology involved have greatly evolved over the years to allow for precise controls, the firing element has remained a fundamental part of tile production.
Today we are also exposed to the term known as ‘double firing”. As the name itself states, it refers to the production method which includes two separate firing phases. The tile support is developed in the first firing phase by pressing clay. This support is popularly known in the trade as the ‘biscuit’. The biscuit is then decorated with the desired colored glazes and finish as it is then fired a second time to obtain the finished product.
The double firing method has contributed to the development of modern ceramics and has provided the means to work with an almost infinite range of colours.
How strong is porcelain?
Porcelain tiles are one of the most durable flooring materials or wall covering options available on the market. The double firing process gives the tile an extremely tough formation which easily withstands scratches and weight in high traffic in areas like kitchens and halls.
However, the strength of the tiles is also largely dependent on how they are laid. It is important to ensure that the floor or surface on which they will be laid is stable, flat and free from any irregularities. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to get the best results.
Do I have to buy different tiles for floors and walls?
It all depends on what you want to achieve. Virtually any floor tiles can be applied to walls but not the other way round. However, there are still some considerations you must take before going with one single tile for both floors and walls.
Floor tiles are intended to withstand foot traffic and have a sturdy and thick structure. Thus, you must ensure that the wall to which they will be applied is able to withstand the weight and size of that tile.
Wall tiles are also intended to be more decorative than floor tiles. With the right attention you are guaranteed to find a wide variety of tiles, including stone-effect tiles or mosaics which will make your entire room décor stand out. It is important to keep in mind that wall tiles are never to be used on floors. Their thin structure is not designated to withstand abrasive forces and foot traffic, hence, they will break away.
Inspire yourself with our beautiful range of decorative wall tiles.
How many tiles should I order?
The main factor to keep in mind is the floor area of the space that you will be tiling. It is always recommended to buy a slightly larger number of tiles than you precisely need.
You must take into account any breakages and cutouts which you will need to cater for. This is especially true if the room doesn’t have a simple shape (square, rectangle) but has an organic shape (irregular shapes, circles). This means that you will need to cut a great number of tiles to fit the corners and edges.
We recommend ordering an additional 10% on the total amount tiles for simple shaped rooms.
What are Rectified Tiles?
The tile manufacturing process is a very natural one which involves a raw mixture of clay and other minerals. Getting the exact tones and precise dimensions over and over again from different batches is one of the biggest challenges in the industry.
Thanks to the great advances in the technology crafted by our expert Italian suppliers, we now have Rectified Tiles. Larger sized tiles are manufactured at once which are then cut out into smaller sizes with a diamond saw. The edges of the tiles are mechanically finished by grinding and trimming to get the precise dimensions and surfaces. This ensures that there is precise conformity in colour and size from one batch to another.
The refined proportions of rectified tiles also means that the grouting used when laying the tiles is kept to a minimum which gives your house a seamless appearance, especially if the grouting colour matches that of the tile.
What types of finishes are available?
A 21st century house décor requires a great variety of surfaces, colours and finishes to complement the precise design characteristics of your dream home.
Generally, the surface of a tile can be glossy, matte, polishes, satin or natural. Today we are also able to accurately replicate the effects of concrete, marble, stone and wood on tiles. These unique visual characteristics on the tile are obtained through the innovative technology available today which allows us to create different finishes through different processes during manufacturing process.
The variety is endless. It is up to you to go with the tile finish which suits you best.
Have a look at our range of tiles and all the different finishes available.
What are the best tiles to be used outdoor in Malta?
The beautiful patterns and colours of tiles can offer an excellent backdrop for your patio, terrace, front porch and even garden passages. There is no limit to what tiles you can use indoors and outdoors. The main factors to consider are the structural characteristics of the tile itself.
One of the most important factors you need to pay attention to is the tile’s slip resistance. A tile can be very slippery when wet and thus can pose an accident hazard. You should go for a tile which has a slightly gritty surface. The invisible grit immensely increases the floor’s grip, providing a superb traction when walking on the tile especially when it becomes wet.
Outdoor tiles are also exposed to the elements and are more prone to accumulate dirt and dust than indoor tiles. There will always be a slight trade-off between slip resistance of the gritty surface and the cleaning it requires. Outdoor tiles will naturally require more regular attention.
Will ceramic tiles in Malta affect the temperature of the house?
Ceramic tiles are inherently some of the coldest flooring options available. They are an excellent go-to solution for floor tiles in Malta as they can keep our houses chilly during our hot summer months.
Nonetheless, the physical properties of ceramics also makes them an excellent material which is capable of transmitting heat. They can be easily warmed up with rugs or with proper insulation underneath. These solutions can make ceramic surfaces warm and may be a delightful cozy feature throughout winter.
Are tiles difficult to upkeep and maintain?
Unlike natural stones, most tiles need absolutely no polishing or refinishing to maintain!
Our tiles are specifically manufactured for the modern household. You can be assured that the beauty of your tile will be sustained without any specialized products or extreme effort. All you need to do is sweep and mop the tiles to keep the surface looking great.
How do I choose the right colours and shades?
The colour of the tile is denoted by its shade and tone. Thanks to porcelain tiles and double firing, today we have an immense variety of colours available.
As previously mentioned, it is very difficult for a manufacturer to keep exactly the same shades between one production batch and another as the natural components of the tile will always vary slightly. To provide better practicality, this variation is denoted in terms of a coded range where V1 means that all the tiles have a uniform appearance and V4 means that the tile has a substantial variance.
The colour of the tile can also vary when viewed under different light conditions or alongside different furniture. We recommend taking a tile sample home to be able to work around the conditions specific to your requirements.
How will I know which tiles will suit me best?
Although floors are not the highlight of our homes, they are the basis on which we will design all the room’s décor and furniture. Every room has different specifications and functions and that should be complemented through the tiles chosen.
To start off, you need to think about the style you want your dream home to have. You need to work with that style, making sure that whatever you choose in one room flows with the rest and not go against it.
The functionality of the tile goes beyond its durability as a surface but has implications on the entire appearance of the room. Simple decisions like going for larger tiles to make a room feel more spacious can leave an impressive difference.
At B&M, the largest showroom for tiles in Malta, we offer a complete selection of tiles across our entire second floor. Our trained staff are determined to guide you through over 74 lines of tiles available and to help you choose the tile which perfectly suits your necessities and bring the best out of your room with a seamless finish you’re proud of.
BONUS: Configure your space
Try out our suppliers’ virtual experience, crafted to help you plan out your dream tiles:
Simply upload a photo of your room, or use one of the ready-made template. You can then customise all tiles according to your preference, giving you a real feel on what your dream interior will really look like.