5 Ways to Minimize Risk Through Thoughtful Floor Design
The ideal in floor design is to achieve superb aesthetics in every project while also ensuring design integrity and minimizing risk. Risk within the project and risk to the designer’s reputation and bottom line can be minimized with thoughtful floor design, combined with careful and diligent specification of tiled surfaces. Here are the top 5 factors to consider before specifying tile:
How busy is the area you’re tiling? If it is a heavily trafficked public space, careful tile selection is a must. The American aesthetic, unlike that of Europe, which values a time-worn patina, prefers that finishes remain looking the same as the day they were installed. Sourcing porcelain that is wear-resistant is key to satisfying this requirement, whether the concern is office areas with chair-drag, public high-traffic areas or stair treads.
When designing for spaces that need to endure large static or dynamic loads, it is essential to assess a tile’s breaking strength and Modulus of Rupture before specification. Proper installation is also key. Don’t just think about day-to-day traffic, but also consider maintenance needs. A tile floor that gets normal foot traffic may also be a space that requires heavy machinery to maintain, such as lifts for washing high windows.
High tech porcelains have many of the basic characteristics for green building, but many do not carry the third party certifications required for LEED accreditation. Currently only one brand, Mosa, carries Cradle to Cradle product certification allowing for extra points in LEED accreditation. Be sure to check with the manufacturer and on the certifiers’ websites.
Make sure that if your tile is going to have to endure freeze/thaw conditions or if it is specified for high heat areas, such as fireplace surrounds or stove backsplashes, that you check with the manufacturer for the tile’s Thermal Shock Resistance.
Tiles without accurate face dimension can be warped or uneven, causing unsightly shadows where thicker tiles are installed above thinner ones, ruining a clean aesthetic. Worse, on floors, it can be a trip hazard. Edge tolerance that allows for a small and tight grout joint helps with the installations’ maintenance schedule as well as its look.
To specify thoughtfully, just bear in mind that the key characteristics that separate porcelains in terms of quality and integrity are the same criteria you will use to determine a product’s fit with your project’s requirements. Read more about floor design.