porcelain tile

Product of the Week: Plank Beige

Looking for a wood look tile that stands apart from all the rest?

This is available through Home Depot.

This is available through Home Depot.

The Plank Beige porcelain floor and wall tile is a newer item, and its elaborate patchwork glaze is something truly unique and daring.  With multiple finishes all in one porcelain square, the wood look you want (and then some) is here.  With an overall beige palette, you’ll find super-realistic segments of wood finishes in varying shades of warm beige: distressed, stained, aged, or even unfinished (like plywood).  It’s seriously cool- patchwork tile is relatively common, but to have the same effect with wood? There’s nothing like it.  It’s almost a wood-look mosaic.

Another good thing about this is that every box comes with a lot of variation in the pattern. You can get creative with how you lay it out, personalizing it exactly to what you want.  That kind of flexibility is difficult to find with wood-look tile, but you can get it here. Here’s a sample pattern set up by our photographer:

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The Plank Beige patterns.

It’s durable enough for an outdoor setting and it’s slip-resistant, which means it’d be fantastic for a rustic poolside look- the contrast that wood floors provide to the cool blues of pool water invariably look great, and this would be no exception. Look at an example of wood by a pool in this tranquil setting:

 

The detail is also incredible.  Each finish is meticulously emulated down to the finest detail, including the texture.

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Detail of the Plank Beige, a beautifully ornate wood look tile.

This captivating and unique wood mix will definitely turn heads.  Take a look and fall in love with this realistically rustic tile!

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Fall Colors for 2014

It’s true: in just a few days, summer is unofficially over.  While children grapple with the levity of needing to go back to school, those with jobs grapple with the levity of an entire summer going by… again.  As we approach fall, however, some of us start thinking towards our next home project: how do we make our homes fashionable and still timeless?

The answer, of course, is in the colors. Pantone’s Fashion Color Report for fall 2014 has a lot of versatile colors whose appeal remains steady through the ages:

 

Courtesy of Pantone.com

Courtesy of Pantone.com

What a beautiful array of shades! So how do you tie this selection into your home décor? There are little things you can do to pull these colors into your home. Accents are key- pillows, tablecloths, furniture, appliances, artwork, and even the occasional accent wall are just a few ways you can keep your home up-to-date.

The chairs are one of the many pieces of this kitchen that blur the line between kitchen and dining room.

Our Tessera Subway Sage, available through the Home Depot, is a deep green that would make the perfect backsplash in this crisp, clean fall color.

 

This accent wall brings joy to a sleek, modern space, keeping it from seeming sterile.

For those that want to get a little bolder, it’s worth noting that a lot of these colors have been mainstays in home décor for decades and some bring a distinctive vintage charm to a space. Check out our Penny Round Vintage Yellow in this sunny kitchen. This is a perfect shade to blend in with vibrant fall leaves or to accommodate the bright light of spring.

The Penny Round Vintage Yellow is available through the Home Depot.

The Penny Round Vintage Yellow is available through the Home Depot.

Mixing the blue and yellow may be a bit predictable, but the pops of color and chic, modern tile lend balance to this otherwise rustic kitchen:

A tile that would make this setting a little more bold and exotic would be our Metro Lantern Glossy Blue tile, pictured below.

This is available through the Home Depot along with our full range of popular lantern mosaics.

This is available through the Home Depot along with our full range of popular lantern mosaics.

Some of the home décor pairings that are surfacing from these colors are fun and original. This eclectic mix of styles comes together boldly and combines the pink shades and the royal blue in this fall’s palette:

This palette is the perfect mix of neutrals and bold colors, however, making it suitable for a range of purposes. The Aluminum shade is a versatile pick that can be understated or coupled with other shades to really make a statement. Here it is in our Concret Rombo Vigeland:

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This tile is available through the Home Depot.

The options are limitless with Pantone’s Fall 2014 color palette, and a range of versatile hues is great for the homeowner looking to apply ageless style to their space.  Whether you jazz up your home with a toaster or a tub surround, go with the wisdom of Pantone’s palette.

Add a Dash of Backsplash

Do you think your bathroom or kitchen is missing a certain something? Are you looking for a relatively easy, cost-effective way to jazz it up? Perhaps we’re biased, but a backsplash is a great answer.  It doesn’t just add color- it totally shifts the focal point of the room, making it feel like an entirely new space.  It’s also possible to find product to suit any décor style.  If your taste leans towards the dramatic, a glass blend mosaic would probably do the trick to add the perfect splash of flair:

This customer-submitted photo of her installation of our Tessera Piano Nassau (available through the Home Depot) is proof that a bold mosaic doesn’t necessarily have to dominate the entire look of the room.

However, if you tend to appreciate a little more subtlety, there are a number of more subdued looks up for grabs, even in glass mosaics.  Take a look at this image of our Tessera Subway Blue Smoke: it’s not intrusive, but it adds a welcoming splash of color.

 

The Tessera Blue Smoke installed in a kitchen.

This is available through the Home Depot.

 

Convinced that a backsplash is your ideal solution to a lackluster kitchen? Fantastic! Here are some tips on how to plan one out using typical measurements and points of reference.

How do I Plan a Backsplash?

Start by visualizing it.  It’s usually best to center the backsplash behind a sink or a cooktop- there must be a focal point.  Once the focal point has been determined, use graph paper to plan around outlets, cabinets, windows and appliances.  Though the backsplash should cater to your specific requirements (factor in the practical uses of your kitchen, any storage needs, and physical capabilities of those using the space), the average backsplash is about 15”-18” high- the height from the counter to the base of the upper wall cabinets.

 

How do I calculate square footage?

When installing tile, you will be measuring the required coverage using square feet. This entails measuring the length of the space (in feet) and multiplying it by the width (in feet).  If you are tiling more than one room and require a combined number of square feet, simply measure the square footage of each space individually and add them together.

How much overage should I purchase for my project?

We highly recommend purchasing 10% more tile than the exact calculated square footage. This is to account for cuts, possible breakage, and any future repairs needed- if you need to touch it up later on, the tile may not be available, or what we have may not match your current installation.

When purchasing your tile, please make sure to note the square footage per box or sheet.  They aren’t usually split into an even number of square feet so it’s important to know how much you need.

To calculate your total (including recommended overage), follow this example:

If your backsplash area is 10 feet x 3 feet, you have 30 square feet that need coverage. Move the decimal point over once to the left- that’s 3, which is 10% of 30- and then add that number onto the square footage. You would need to purchase 33 square feet of tile in order to meet your requirements plus to recommended overage.

An advantage to having some leftover tile… maybe you can make your backsplash a little bigger than originally planned! Take a look at this one, which goes all the way to the ceiling:

 

If you’re looking for some stainless steel tile, we have a variety of items that make fantastic backsplashes! Check out our whole selection here.

If you have any questions, as always, get in touch! Don’t forget: take a photo of your beautiful installation of our products and send it over to photos @ merolatile.com- you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card!

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Glaze Application and Dye Lots

Glazing methods have advanced as the technology has evolved.  While screen printing used to be the primary mode of transmitting the images and color onto tile, the introduction of digital imprinting has revolutionized the industry and provided boundless opportunities for patterned tile.

Even though the patterns are consistent, it’s inevitable that as different batches are produced certain factors vary slightly.  Each different manufacturing run is called a dye lot, and it refers to the tone as well as the sizing of each individual unit of tile- these factors can vary up to 10%.  Acknowledging this is important: the cartons are marked with dye lots (usually abbreviated with a T and a C for tone and caliber) and each individual order will be pulled from the same dye lot.  We advise that you keep the dye lot number handy in case you need additional tile so we can try to provide an exact match.

For reference:

  • Screen printed tile has a “frame” effect, as they are imprinted per individual tile:

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Our Westport Marron is a screen printed tile.

  • Digitally printed tile goes right to the edge and continues to other tiles. This is how wood-look tiles are able to look more realistic; the pattern varies on each tile, which helps them look more authentic.
Our Castle Antic is a digitally-printed wood look tile.

Our Castle Antic is a digitally-printed wood look tile available through the Home Depot.

When making your tile purchase, be sure to look at this detail! It’ll be helpful to tell exactly what type of pattern you’ll have.

For Your Consideration: Picking a Tile for Outdoor Installation

It’s no secret: as the weather gets warmer, outdoor home improvement projects dreamed up in the dark recesses of winter start to take shape and become a reality.  Gardens are almost in bloom, lawns begin to grow, and outdoor entertaining becomes an option.  A patio becomes so much more welcoming when it’s given custom touches to make it feel more like a home and less like an appendage onto the house.  Tile is a perfect choice for an outdoor space, as many varieties are durable, frost proof, and slip-resistant.

Durable tile comes in so many designs that it’s easy to get that perfect look.  But what factors should determine whether a tile is suitable for a patio?  Here are some tips on picking the right product.

Make sure it’s suitable to your climate. As previously discussed, ceramic and porcelain tiles differ in the amount of harsh weather they can stand.  In milder climates, either ceramic or porcelain will do- it’s entirely dependent on your taste.  In extreme climes, however, porcelain is denser and more impervious, making it frost resistant.  When choosing the flooring for your space, think carefully about where it will be installed and the weather it will be exposed to.  Your design options are not limited, as both materials offer a wide range of looks.

Check for a high PEI rating. A tile’s PEI rating determines how well the glaze will stand up to dirt and wear.  The higher the rating, the more scratch-resistant the tile.  For patio installations that will be getting foot traffic, we recommend a tile with a PEI rating no lower than IV- this is a good way to ensure it can withstand the dirt and foot traffic standard (consider the possibility of pets, kids, and guests) for an outdoor application.

Research slip resistance. Depending on where this tile will be installed, slip resistance can be a huge factor in your decision. Assuming there will be slippery conditions outside (rain, a pool, spilled margaritas), it’s important that you set up a space that’s safe for you and your guests. You can find slip resistance information on the product overview section of any given item on the Home Depot website. See the below screenshot from the Home Depot page for Attica Gris indicating the location of whether an item is slip resistant or not:

Pick one that suits your style! Are you going for a rustic or natural look? Or something sleek and modern? Through tile, any look is possible. Whether you’re building an outdoor retaining wall, lining a pool, or using this as a major focal point and social center for your home, loving your tile is of utmost importance!  Tile lasts a long time (possibly centuries) so if you’re not absolutely positive it’s for you, keep looking.  It’s imperative to love your home- from the ground up.

 

Sources: here, here, and our resident experts.

 

Installing and Caring for Stainless Steel Tile

Our Meta Steel Hex tile, available on HomeDepot.com

Our Meta Steel Hex tile, available on HomeDepot.com

Did you fall in love earlier this week? Was it with our Product of the Week, stainless steel penny round tiles? We don’t really blame you. It’s a seriously fabulous product. But people are a bit leery at the thought of putting metals in their home, specifically a spot like their walls, which may see a bit of wear and seem a little harder to install. Fear not… it’s a lot less intimidating than it may seem, and it’s worth the research to have such a hardy material in your home! Here are some things to keep in mind when installing and caring for stainless steel tile.

  • Measure the surface area you’ll need to cover, and then add 10% onto that to compensate for any damage or extra cuts (this is generally recommended for all tile purchases and installations).
  • Use a silicone-based adhesive or mastic to stick the mesh-backed tile to the surface where you’re installing it.
  • We also strongly recommend using non-sanded latex-based grout, as sanded grout may scratch the stainless steel top.
  • As with all tile installations, it is extremely advisable to use all new products: a fresh, new sponge; new buckets for grout and water respectively (any leftover residue from past projects may wind up in the grout or the water, potentially scratching the surface of the tile); and a brand new float- preferably the softest you can find, as being gentle during installation is essential to the finished look. Here at the warehouse, we use a float that’s a bit foamy.
  • While sponging as you grout, make sure you go in one orientation (up and down or side to side). Swirling the sponge around may leave stains.
  • If necessary, cut this tile from the rear with a diamond-tipped wet saw to prevent uneven edges. You can then treat and smooth the cut edges with fine sandpaper or a metal file.

Once you’ve successfully completed your beautiful installation, all you need to do to keep it clean is use warm soapy water and a soft, clean sponge! Here is a photo from a customer of our alloy quad tile as a backsplash:

Our Alloy Quad series is available through the Home Depot.

Our Alloy Quad series is available through the Home Depot.

These simple steps will keep your stainless steel tile looking great through the years. Just as you bought stainless steel appliances for their durability, the same goes for tile. With a little upkeep, you’ll have this timeless glinting metal for as long as you like!

 

You can find other general tips about installation here.

 

Source: our resident experts.

Product of the Week: Stainless Steel Penny Rounds

We all have that one room in our homes that just needs a certain something.  It’s not really that the space around it isn’t nice, but perhaps it just isn’t quite as you envisioned it. Not enough character? Not bright enough? Lacking some sparkle that you need in your life? Look no further: stainless steel penny round tile is here.

The Merola Alloy Penny Round, available through the Home Depot

The Merola Alloy Penny Round, available through the Home Depot

Penny rounds are a classic shape. They came about, much like subway tiles, around the Industrial Revolution in an attempt to keep everything more hygienic (or at least give the appearance that it was) as indoor restrooms became more commonplace.  As tile evolved in terms of shape and aesthetic, penny rounds became a little less popular but never fell out of favor- much like subways or hexagons, they are a timeless look with vintage origins.

Fast-forward to the past five years: the surge in demand for metallic tile has resulted in inspired and artistic mosaics that have really accented the versatility of the material.  Check it out when mixed with other textures:

The Tessera Square Alpine tile is available through the Home Depot.

The Tessera Square Alpine tile is available through the Home Depot.

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A closer look at the Tessera Square Alpine.

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The Fusion Linear Lorraine, a glass and metal mix mosaic tile available through the Home Depot.

However, in the face of all this innovation, ageless looks stand tall: stainless steel penny rounds are tremendously popular. The addition of a glittery sheen to such a versatile look brings this vintage look into the 21st century.

That doesn’t mean it has to go in with other futuristic looks, though. It works with a range of styles. Check out this stainless steel penny round backsplash in this craftsman kitchen:

It coordinates beautifully with the dark colors of the island and the cream cabinets on the wall. Not to mention the fabulous way it contrasts with the copper pots- brilliant!
When paired with polished granite, the effect intensifies. Look at the reflective properties that come together here. This installation is sure to brighten the room:

Just because it’s an up-to-date look doesn’t mean it can’t work anymore with its vintage brethren! Here it is as an accent with some vintage-look subway tile. It acts as a medium-tone between the bright white tile and the dark walls and black accents, accomplishing an effortlessly clean and coordinated look.

As versatile as the original penny rounds that surfaced in the 1900s, stainless steel penny rounds are a perfect example of teaching an old dog new tricks. By adding the stainless steel caps, the look is brought up-to-date while retaining its classic allure.

Curious as to how to care for metal-topped tile? Stay tuned for a post dedicated tips for cutting, installing and caring for your new look!