Calculating How Much Tile to Buy

We receive many questions each week from homeowners looking for advice on purchasing and installing tile. This week, we’re going to tackle the most frequent question we receive, how much tile do I need to buy?

You’ve put in all kinds of time designing your new tile floor or wall, now it’s time to get serious and talk numbers. How much tile do you need exactly? And how is that affected by the size, shape, and type of tile you choose? All those aspects, and more, influence how much tile you’ll need to purchase. Whether you are ready to buy or you are planning the budget, use these four steps to determine how much tile you’ll need.

Keep in mind that once you calculate the necessary square footage, it is recommended that you purchase 10-15% more tile. This is due to breakage, accidents when cutting tile and to make sure you have tile in case a repair is needed down the road.

 

 

Think About the Room Shape

The general layout of the room is a good place to begin when calculating how much tile you need for your floor.  Most rooms are not perfectly square or rectangle. “L” shapes or “T” shapes are common, but even these are rarely that straightforward. There is always some corner that’s nipped off or a wall that isn’t completely straight. All these elements make an accurate measurement difficult. But if you start with the general shape of the room, you can easily add or deduct for the unique elements of your space. Take the measurements of every angle of your room. Measure everything twice to ensure accuracy.

 

 

Measuring the Room

The next step is to calculate the square footage of your room. Once again, the little quirks can complicate this, but for now just get the basics. For square rooms, measure the length and width of the room then multiply them together. For “L” or “T” shaped rooms, split them into rectangles that can easily be calculated then add them together.

You haven’t accounted for the quirks of the room, but keep in mind that overage is not a bad thing when installing tile. In fact, we recommend that you get 10–15% more tile than you need to cover for cuts and mistakes.  Keep a box or two of leftover tiles around just in case it goes out of stock or is discontinued–you never know when you’ll need to make a repair. Don’t forget to measure any closets or pantries that you want to include in your calculations.

 

Calculate for Angled Walls and Non-Tiles Areas

Like we said before, no room is exactly square. If you have angled walls or specific areas that will not be tiled, you don’t want to calculate for those spots. The easiest way to account for this is to deduct them from your earlier, general measurements. The easiest way to do this is to draw your room on some graph paper. Let each square represent 12 inches or one foot. With careful measurements, draw in where the angled walls are. You’ll be able to see how much to deduct from the area you calculated earlier.

 

Selecting Your Tile

Now it’s time to determine how much tile you need to cover your room. Several things are important to consider at this phase:

  • Pattern or layout of tile
  • Size of tile
  • Border or accent tile

The pattern and size of the tile are the key influencers in determining how much tile you need. In general, a diamond pattern will require more tile than a grid. See below for some common tile patterns. A word of caution, not all tiles can be installed in various patterns. Before you decide on your installation, check out what the manufacturer recommends.

 

 

If you plan to include a border or accent tiles, you’ll need to calculate separately for each type of tile you are using, especially if you are using different sizes or patterns as an accent.

If you are having difficulty figuring out how much tile flooring you need or you want to double-check your calculations, run them through a tile calculator or collaborate with one of our expert Tile Consultants or your contractor.

Why We Trust MAPEI Tile Installation Products

 

 

Laying tile is an art form. Doing it right takes practice and skill, but most importantly, it takes the right tools to get the job done. Here at Tiles Unlimited, getting the job done right is our top priority so we are very particular about the installation products we recommend. We are committed to providing you with a tile feature in your home that you can enjoy and admire for years to come. For this and several other reasons we are confident in the products available through MAPEI. For years, we’ve seen the successful results of using their products and we now trust that there will always be a positive outcome. More tile manufacturers recommend MAPEI installation products than any other vendor’s products.

 

Because Beauty Begins With What’s Underneath

 Aesthetics aren’t the only reason it’s important to rely on the best available installation products. Certainly, it’s paramount to use the best if the goal is an impressive tile feature in your home. But even the most beautiful tile job loses value if it doesn’t stand the test of time. MAPEI products help achieve longevity by mitigating the typical issues that can arise with poorly installed tile. From their Aquadefense waterproofing products to thin-sets and grouts, these products ensure that finished work doesn’t have leaks, cracks, or other problems. The result is workmanship of the highest quality and our clients are always impressed with the way the finished bathrooms, kitchens, and patios look in their homes.

 

 

MAPEI’s product lines are highly diversified. This allows us to use their products throughout the entire installation. Not only does this help ensure uniformity during construction, but it also allows us to use products that are optimized to work together.

 

High Performance Grout = Outstanding Results

Many homeowners are not very concerned with what thin-set or grout is used for their project. We can’t stress how important these items are in achieving the best installation possible. You may find tile installation products less expensive than MAPEI’s but they won’t give you the same results.

Take MAPEI Flexcolor CQ Grout (available in 40 colors) as an example. More expensive than ordinary sanded or unsanded grouts, it has properties that will save your installer time and money, which should translate into a more affordable installation for you. Flexcolor CQ Grout comes pre-mixed so there are no worries with using thin-set that are too thick or too watery. Flexcolor CQ Grout will not crack, requires no sealing, is stain resistant and offers incredible color consistency not found in ordinary grouts. Once dry, Flexcolor CQ Grout is water resistant as well as mold resistant. These properties will lead to the most professional installations and pretty much eliminate the need to call back your installer to fix thin-set and/or grout issues. Comparison testing of MAPEI Flexcolor CQ versus traditional cement grout has verified that MAPEI Flexcolor CQ is 30% more cost-efficient (based on typical rates of installers) and requires 65% less time to install.

 

Click picture to see video of CQ Grout in action

 

For more information about Tiles Unlimited and the way we use MAPEI tile installation products, we invite you to visit our showroom and speak to our tile experts. In particular, we’d be happy to show your real samples because the natural variation in the shades of their products might appear different according to your computer monitor’s screen colors. We strongly recommend that you make your decision from actual products in stock, rather than pictures from the website.

Selecting Your Grout Color Should Not Be an Afterthought

So now that you’ve picked out your tile, what grout color should you choose? Grout is often an overlooked design element when tiling floors, walls or backsplashes. Choosing a specific grout color could change the overall color appearance of the tile and the way that your entire project looks! The picture below is the same mosaic tile with three different grout colors (white, black, grey). Note how different the tile looks with each grout.

 

There are three general approaches when it comes to selecting grout: blending with the tile, contrasting with the tile, or neutral colors aka matching the grout. Let the selection of your grout be as important as tile selection and you’ll be able to achieve the perfect design. Make sure you choose the grout color and don’t leave such an important decision to your tile installer.

 

Blending Grout

Blending is the most common approach and what we recommend for most projects. This involves choosing the grout color that matches with the color in your tile. For example, you can blend by using white grout with our Frost collection.

 

 

Contrasting Grout

 

Contrasting your grout can be a bold but beautiful choice. If you’re looking to make the tile stand out, select a contrasting grout color to your tile. This frames each tile and draws attention to them. You will also want to look at using a thicker grout in this instance to really highlight your tile selection. This is a good choice for more decorative tile patterns.

 

 

 

Matching Grout/Neutral

 

If you’re looking for what some feel is the safest choice, select a “neutral” grout color from the beiges or greys. If you want something that will have mass appeal, a neutral matching color is the most widely recommended approach.

 

Other Grout Considerations

 

The selection of your grout color is important to achieve your desired look; however, you still need to consider the type of grout being used. Grout functions to bond tiles and stone edges together and prevent chipping so it is important you or your tile contractor understand the types of grout available.

You should also consider traffic patterns in the room where your tile and grout will be used when selecting a color. A very light grout is probably not a good idea for a busy kitchen, but could be ideal for a less used guest bath.

Ceramic Tile Offers Lowest Total Cost of Ownership

When you begin the onerous task of researching a flooring project, it is easy to see the initial costs in front of you and walk away. However, in these situations it usually pays off to look a little deeper. When it comes to choosing what type of flooring you want to install, price is going to be a major factor in the decision process. This is where being shortsighted can come back to bite you.  Some questions that should come to mind are the scope of the project, your short terms and long term budget and how long the flooring needs to last.

 

If these questions resonate with you in any way, you might want to consider engineering your project for a life cycle value.  By value-engineering your project you can perform a Life Cycle Cost Analysis, also known as a Cradle-to-Grave Analysis, to realize your full investment in terms of how your decision can affect your budget over the life of the floor.  To perform a Life Cycle Cost Analysis, you need to take into consideration all the costs for owning, operating, maintaining, and disposing of the product.

 

Many factors affect the total cost of ownership in addition to the cost of the flooring material. Other factors you should consider are installation materials, labor, contractor overhead and profit, maintenance and removal and disposal costs.

 

The Tile Council of North America, Inc. recently performed a Life Cycle Cost Analysis on 12 of the most popular flooring options, including everything from carpet to porcelain ceramics.  The results are listed in the table below and also shown visually in the chart below.

 

 

As you can see from the results of the test, ceramic and porcelain tiles have the longest expected lifespan with 50 years, driving the cost for its overall life cycle ($0.33 – $0.39) significantly lower than carpet ($1.26) and vinyl ($1.41 – $1.85) products, which need to be replaced periodically.

 

Because properly installed tile can last a lifetime, it is no wonder it is one of the greenest, most sustainable ways to build. By contributing to various credits, ceramic and porcelain tiles can help you attain LEED Certification for your project, while at the same time lowering the overall expenses over the lifetime of the project.

 

According to these results you can see how important it is to plan your project based off its complete life cycle value, rather than the initial cost. Just because something might cost more upfront doesn’t mean it will be less expensive over the lifetime of the floor.

Grout Color Matters!

You spent weeks searching online and in tile stores for that perfect tile for your kitchen project. You take it home and your tile installer lays out the tiles. You look and confirm you’ve made the right decision. Your tile installer returns the next day to grout the tile. It’s 5:00 and you’re leaving work. You can’t wait to get home and see your new kitchen floor. You walk in the door, look at the completed project and begin to cry as it looks nothing like what you saw in the showroom.

What Happened?

Grout is more than just the glue that fills the space between tiles and holds them together– it is a vital part of the design and the key to loving the end result. Grout color selections have grown over the years; today you can find grout in virtually every shade of the rainbow to blend or contrast with your tiles. By simply selecting a different color, the look of the tiles can shift from traditional and classic to modern and sleek.

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Blended Perfection

Generally speaking, a grout that blends with the base color of the tile allows the detail of the tile to shine through; the tile itself becomes the focus. The color, pattern, and veining of marble, travertine or porcelain tiles come forward when the grout is matched to the tile.

This works well in small spaces when you want to visually expand the room; instead of the installation pattern of the tile being the focal point, the graphic nature fades into the background, and the beauty of the tile itself shines through.

With marble or other natural stone tiles, sometimes the default choice is a grout color that matches the base color of the tile. This can be a great option when you want a simple and classic look that draws the eye into the marble’s natural color variation and veins.

Creative Contrast

Contrasting grout, on the other hand, highlights the graphic nature of the installation. But, using contrasting grout doesn’t have to be visually jarring. When paired with a darker tile, light grout picks up the colors of the natural stone countertops and backsplashes, creating a cohesive and beautiful look.

If you want a more contemporary take, using classic white subway tiles, grey grout is the answer. In fact, this is one of today’s hottest trends. White subway tiles are clean, simple, and classic; but this design twist, using dark gray grout, transforms the look and feel of the space highlighting the tile layout.

Since the contrasting grout, whether darker or lighter, is going to bring the design pattern more into focus, consider a chevron, herringbone, or vertical offset pattern for additional visual interest.

Choosing the right grout is more than just about color and whether to contrast, or not. Make sure to pay attention to the type of grout you choose. The two most common are “sanded” and “non-sanded”. Sanded grouts are less expensive, but can scratch certain tiles, including glass and marble, so be cautious. They are, however, generally safe for porcelain. Non-sanded grouts tend to cost a bit more, but don’t let price be the sole determining factor.

Many look at grout as a commodity item but nothing can be further from the truth. The more expensive grouts like MAPEI Flexcolor CQ have properties you won’t find in ordinary grouts such as not needing to be sealed, color consistency and will not crack. If you’re using glass tile in your installation, you want a specialty grout like Bostik’s Dimension grout. Designed for use with glass tile, it will allow light to reflect and refract, bringing out the beauty of the glass that ordinary grout can’t as it blocks light.

When designing your project, grout selection is a vital step. As you start to narrow down your tile choices, start looking at the myriad of grout colors available. Ask yourself these key questions: “Do I want the tile itself to stand out, or let the graphic pattern take center stage?” “Do I want a more seamless appearance, or a more linear one?” For more ideas and inspiration on how to create your perfectly tiled space, visit our new online Inspiration Gallery!

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The expert Tile Consultants at Tiles Unlimited stand ready to assist you in designing your dream project as well as making the grout you select will achieve the final look you desire.

Hot Trend: Affordable Under Floor Heating For Every Room In Your House

Meet Warmup, the world’s best-selling electric floor heating brand. Warmup products can be used indoors and offer a host of products for outdoor use in driveways, pipes, roofs and gutters. If you hate shoveling your driveway, you need to take a look at Warmup.

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Warmup outdoor heating systems are composed of electrical cables and mats connected to moisture and temperature sensing controllers. When placed in concrete, asphalt or under pavers or stonework, Warmup snow melting products prevent the accumulation of ice and snow on roof and walkways.

The main benefit of electric heated systems over glycol-based systems is that they are much simpler to design, and considerably less expensive to purchase and install. All Warmup outdoor products carry a 10-year warranty.

In Your Bathroom

The bathroom was originally designed to be purely functional but it is now an important place to relax and unwind. Installing under floor heating will add luxury when you want to pamper yourself and take the chill off tiles on a cold morning. This space is a personal sanctuary that sets the tone for both the beginning and end of your day. Having a floor heating system is also widely considered a key selling point, adding value to your home.

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In Your Bedroom

Bedrooms should be warm and inviting. The even heat distribution and comfortable room temperature make under floor heating the perfect choice for a bedroom, creating an ideal environment for relaxing and recharging after a long day. You can enjoy more space and decorate freely as the room’s design, depending on your bedrooms heat loss, is not restricted by the space taken by radiators.

Heat any shape or size of room, from the basement to the bedroom, the sunroom or the home office, under carpet, laminate, engineered wood and other floating floors, using Warmup Foil Heating Mats!

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After extensive research, Tiles Unlimited chose Warmup for a number of reasons including 24×7 customer support, a technical helpline to assist you prior to installation, their Safety Net guarantee and 30-year warranty on all indoor products. We were also impressed with their new thermostat with companion app to allow control of your heating from your smartphone.

What is Tile Floor Warming?

Radiant heating is fast becoming one of the most popular heating solutions for homeowners in the United States. Homeowners in Queens are constantly preoccupied with reducing their electricity usages and electric bills, always looking for new ways to save on energy usage. Radiant heating ticks all the right boxes.

There are typically two kinds of radiant heating solutions available in the current marketplace. The first of these is dry-system radiant tubing that uses electric powered tubes that lie between the floor and plywood layers underneath. The second is a hydronic radiant heating system that uses looped tubes to pump water underneath the floor. A boiler or another form of water heater heats the water itself.

Conserve energy with radiant heating
The amazing thing about radiant heating systems is that it is possible to integrate features like solar heaters into their mechanisms. Hydronic radiant heating systems can use solar heaters placed on the roof of a house to heat up the water that flows through the tubing underneath the floor. While there are still improvements to be made with regard to solar heating, it is still considered a far more sustainable way than other forms.

Experience improved comfort levels
While some individuals may be satisfied with traditional heating systems, the truth is that there is nothing better than waking up and walking on a floor that is already heated. Individuals can enjoy the experience knowing that the tile floor warming system is not only working efficiently, but reducing their total energy usage as well.”

What Types of Tiles Need to be Sealed?

3337_FILA MP90Tile floors and walls are a common sight in Queens or Long Island houses, not just because it looks appealing, but also because of its durability and easy maintenance. Despite that, there are some guidelines that you need to adhere to, if you want your tiles to be low-maintenance. Tiles fend off various pollutants daily to keep up their appearance and one of the most common and damaging pollutants of them is moisture and water. Tiles are able to provide resistance to the seepage and absorption of water, lending long life of your floor and masonry.

2835_sealerSome tiles need to be sealed to acquire that property of resistance to absorption. Most ceramic and porcelain tiles are naturally resistant to moisture; therefore don’t require sealing (with the exception of some types). But other stone tiles like granite, marble, slate, travertine etc. require sealing to be completely resistant to moisture. The best way to know about the sealing requirements of the tiles on your floor, countertops or walls, is to ask the Tiles Unlimited vendor about it right away, when you are making your purchase.

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Another important thing for you to remember is the fact that your tile floor has two parts: tiles and grout. While some kinds of tiles don’t require sealing (most ceramic and porcelain tiles fall under that category), grout, being naturally porous, does require sealing. Most floor installers skip sealing grout because of its need to be cured first.

To ensure the best sealing jobs and technical assistance regarding tile flooring and other residential/commercial masonry, and their installation/maintenance in Queens or Long Island, contact Tiles Unlimited.

How to Install Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles can be installed virtually anywhere; floors, walls, bathrooms. To have your walls or floors tiled, it’s a great way of avoiding moisture accumulation, and it makes cleaning a lot easier.

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Installation of ceramic tiles can be done yourself with some handy tools. Follow these simple steps to have ceramic tiles adorned your house.
Clean up the area where you’ll install the tiles. Also, roughen up the wall or floor with sandpaper so as to give the mortar a better base to cling on to.
Put the mortar on the wall and spread it evenly. You can use a tiling trowel to do this. If possible, start applying the mortar from the edges.
Now start installing the tiles from the corner, taking care to align them properly with the edge of the wall. Do this for about 8 tiles at a time as the mortar might dry up, preventing a better curing.
The tiles in the last row will probably need to be cut according to the space. This can be done using a snap tile cutter, which can be bought or rented from your local Queens or Long Island store.
Leave the mortar for about a day to allow for curing. Apply grout to seal the edges and spaces between the tiles.
Clean up the excess grout using a sponge dipped in water. This will make the tiles hazy so rub it with a clean dry cloth later on.

Cement backer board can also be used underneath the ceramic tiles to allow for better adhesion. Also be careful while placing tiles as removing and re-installing it can be problematic. You can use tile-spacers to allow for uniform tile spacing. Otherwise, have the professionals at Tiles Unlimited install your ceramic tiles to your floor, wall, or bathroom today! Don’t worry with the fuss and let us take care of all your tiling needs in Queens or Long Island. Call us at 866-798-3454!