...for rooms that at times are both formal and casual, decorative and
simple, tough and elegant.
For some buyers, for particular areas of a home or business, tile is often the
hands-down favorite flooring choice. It can be formal or casual, dressed up or
down, dazzlingly decorative or stunningly simple.
Recently a group of designers from the California-based flooring companies,
Peninsula Floors, Inc., and JPS Surface Solutions, gathered to discuss flooring
options. It wasn’t long before they were extolling the virtues of hard-surface
"I think for a certain group of buyers, tile is always their choice," said
designer Mary McMurrin of JPS Surface Solutions in Newport, CA. "Especially in
areas where they have hygienic concerns -- kitchens and baths -- they will
always choose tile."
There’s no denying the crisp, cool beauty of ceramic, porcelain, and stone. Or
the cleanability and easy care these natural products afford.
"I find that because homebuyers are so busy these days, they want a
maintenance-free floor," commented Gaylene Higgins, who’s with JPS Surface
Solutions in Corona, CA. "Tile tends to require the least amount of maintenance
of the flooring types."
Tile is also no problem to repair. If one breaks, it’s an easy matter to pop it
out and replace it. If water spills, even a lot of water -- no problem there,
either. If a tile floor is installed and maintained properly, and the grout is a
darker color, sealed to repel soil and stains, maintenance is a breeze.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles provide some of the most versatile interior design
possibilities, sporting an almost limitless array of sizes, colors, textures,
and designs. Most of the materials used in making them are from the earth
itself, while stone tile is actually quarried -- so each of these tiles tends to
create an immediate natural ambience, a quality of timeless beauty, and a look
that’s decidedly upscale.
Like nearly every other category in home fashion -- furniture, fabric,
decorative accessories -- flooring has lately felt the impact of the trend
toward surfaces that are antique, distressed, and worn. Many ceramic and
porcelain products have a vintage look that conveys a sense of history and
almost ancient beauty.
According to Robin Phelps, Design Center Operations Manager with Peninsula
Floors in San Jose, size variations are also being seen these days. There’s
everything out there from tiny tiles for mosaic applications to large, rather
sheet-like squares of ceramic. "I would say that the larger tiles are very
popular right now," said Phelps. "18X18 and 20X20 -- these seem to be the most
And yet another important direction has been noted in this popular flooring
segment. "What we’re seeing is that more tiles are being made of porcelain,"
said designer Doreen Gaul, VP of Design Centers, JPS Surface Solutions in
Westlake Village, CA. "It is a lot more durable. Consumers are getting wind of
the fact and asking for it. Porcelain is also much more affordable than it used
to be. Those qualities -- that it’s durable and affordable -- make it a good buy
for a consumer."
Gaul went on to expand the notion of what porcelain is and does, and its
benefits: She described, for example, porcelain that looks like stone but
doesn’t have to be sealed to avoid stain and odor absorption, so it’s especially
easy to maintain. Another excellent buy for the consumer, said this designer,
noted for taking superb care of her clients.
The consumer who’s intrigued by a handsome array of flooring choices that
includes the look of rustic stone, slate, travertine, or marble, or who’s elated
by the idea of easy upkeep, has every reason to consider ceramic and porcelain
tile with enthusiasm. And she’ll be in the company of some very fine designers.