Don't overlook this simple yet impactful design element...grout.
In anticipation of an upcoming bathroom or kitchen remodeling project many homeowners invest a lot of time choosing materials. Combining flooring, cabinets, countertops, lighting and so forth can be a daunting task. This process can be full of angst and second guessing but once the materials come together and you determine a palette you love the excitement settles in. But, hold on to your tile samples just a minute. Whether installing tile for floors, backsplash or wainscot, picking the correct grout can often times be an afterthought in the design process. Our in-house designer Tracy Sheffield stresses the importance of grout selection to ensure your tile installation is a long-lasting, low maintenance application. So take your time and keep these quick tips from Tracy in mind when choosing grout:
Step 1: Determine whether stain free or cementitious type of grout fits your specific application and your budget. Some homeowners select a cementitious grout over stain free to reduce initial cost but they overlook the long term expense to periodically seal and maintain this type of grout. However, if the material of the tile selected needs to be sealed from time to time then it’s not such an issue to use cementitious grout because maintenance is already required. When selecting a cementitious grout Tracy suggests using a cleaner with a neutral pH and to avoid bleach and ammonia based cleaners because they may strip the sealer. There are also Grout Boost products which can be added to cementitious grout to make it stain free which is beneficial. Choosing a stain free grout may initially be more expensive but in the long run require less time, effort, and cost overall.
Step 2: Consider the manufacturer’s recommended size of the grout joints for the specific application of the material installed. This varies depending on the installation of porcelain, ceramic, glass, metal and other materials. The standard 1/8” grout joint is not always recommended by the manufacturer. If the grout joint is 1/8” or greater then the grout must be sanded to avoid sagging and cracking. This should be discussed with your installer to ensure the correct type of grout is used for the installation.
Step 3: Other points to discuss and resolve with your installer when selecting grout are the environmental factors, water application concerns, and long term low maintenance. Be sure to consider the effects of natural elements on the grout with exterior installations. Change in seasons (freeze-thaw cycles) and temperature should be thought through. There are also certain types of grout specific to water applications including fountains or pool areas. There are many grout options with urethane or epoxy technologies which address these concerns. Be sure that regardless of the installation objective to opt for a grout that is low maintenance and works within your budget considering both up front and backend costs.
Step 4: Select a grout color based on your personal preference. Grout should highlight the beauty of the tile itself and typically “disappears” when looking at the overall application. Choose a more neutral colored grout for greater focus on the tile products. By using a grout color which blends with the tile, the overall surface will appear seamless. Grout color can also be a design element which creates contrast. To enhance your design and create dimension to the tile work, choose a darker or lighter contrasting shade of grout. This can make the tile itself really pop. Consider the visual pattern you are creating with tile and grout combination you choose. Be sure to think this through in order to achieve the overall look you are aiming towards.
By using a contrasting lighter grout with the large, dark tile on the tub's retaining wall, it creates a place of interest and elevates the overall design of the bathroom pictured below.
The busy lives of residents in Northern Virginia are compounded by hectic work schedules, long commutes, and weekend soccer games. One way families combat the hussle and bussle is to get organized and establish their abodes in a way which keeps their active lifestyles on track. Homeowners also want to come home to a place of luxury and comfort. It's not just about function but aesthetics play a part as well. These days, beauty and design doesn't start at the front door but also encompasses the garage area. At Collins Tile and Stone, we are seeing many homeowners interested in upgrading their garage space to create an efficient and clean area to easily store and access their belongings for work and play. Often times, the first step in this process is to apply paint or an epoxy coating to the garage floor which creates a clean, protected surface. But these days, homeowners want a sleek, stylish look just as much as they need the organization and function. Many residents are using the installation of porcelain tile which has been used commercially because it is not only luxurious but also very durable and easy to maintain. We recently renovated a residential garage floor by installing Certified Porcelain Tile by Daltile. We installed ColorBody Porcelain tile in Veranda Solids & Veranda Tones to ensure not only a functional and protective flooring system but a visually attractive one as well. Our client chose a combination of Sapphire (P551) and Titanium (P523) in a mix of 13” x 13” and 13” x 20” field tiles with a 6” x 13” border and cove base. This design came together beautifully. The wide variety of colors and textures of porcelain tile to choose from allows the homeowner to design a space custom to their needs and liking.
With this type of tile application in a garage, it was imperative to use a stain proof grout. We recommend using SpectraLOCK Pro Premium Grout by Latricrete International which is a 100% solid epoxy grout with high durability. The long life of both porcelain tile and SpectraLOCK Pro Premium Grout creates a low maintenance flooring system and transforms a garage into a showcase. An extremely durable and low maintenance flooring sysem with a luxurious look is achieved by homeowners with the installation of porcelain tile.
Looking for the latest and greatest trend in bathroom remodeling? We asked our in-house designer Tracy Sheffield and she explained that homeowners are walking away from hum-drum makeovers and looking for a feature that stands out while at the same time bringing the overall design scheme together. We’ve all seen a beautifully designed mural or a painted wall to highlight a vertical surface within a room. As an expert in the tile design industry, Tracy has noticed clients are more open to using focal accents throughout their space beyond just the wet areas where they are typically placed.
A Contemporary Flair
For a more contemporary style, Tracy suggests creating a full focal wall comprised of one accent product such as Oceanside Glasstile. This is achieved by installing an accent tile from floor to ceiling on the wall behind either the vanity or free-standing tub or both. Repeating the tile used in the accent wall throughout the bathroom as wainscot adds richness to the room as well. In the wet areas, Tracy recommends floor to ceiling waterfall accent features with the same accent material. This is simply a vertical tile application creating a waterfall effect or a linear line of sight adding dimension to the space. (http://www.houzz.com/waterfall-tile)
A Traditional Touch
A more traditional approach is the use of highly decorative mural features. Discriminating homeowners find the use of a standard 4” border less desirable, especially with the array of beautiful materials available today being incorporated into residential designs. Traditional applications typically consist of wainscot throughout the space with a decorative accent border placed toward the top. Tracy suggests continuing the wainscot border around the vanity and tub as backsplash. This creates a seamless transition between areas within the bathroom and combines function with aesthetics. Often the materials used within the border of the wainscot are artfully applied to a mural feature on the main focal wall such as a basketweave tile pattern or brick mosaic tiles placed in a chevron pattern. The use of glass, metal, wood, and stone tiles as decorative elements, are widely used in today’s interior design applications. A final tip from Tracy is to decorate the tub face, bench face, and niches to reflect the mural and wainscot details as well. This allows the homeowner to truly enjoy the beauty of the design and materials on a larger scale. Regardless of your personal style, the artful and updated use of accent walls and murals in bathroom designs stands out in today's trends.
Tile patterns are repeated throughout this luxurious bathroom with the shower mural serving as a focal point anchoring the design.
There were numerous opportunities for tile industry experts to share and learn from one another about new innovations and trends within the tile trade at this year’s Total Solutions Plus 2013 last week in Bonita Springs, Florida. Our very own Buck Collins, Founder and President of Collins Tile and Stone, had the privilege of introducing Arthur Mintie, Director of Technical Services at Laticrete International, Inc., as he shared his technical expertise about Barrier Free Design. A curbless or “barrier free” walk-in shower creates a seamless line in the bathroom floor making it easily accessible for those who need wheelchair access or have trouble entering either a traditional bathtub shower or one with a curb. These days, homeowners and designers are integrating barrier free showers to gain a contemporary and progressive feature within the bathroom. This is where function meets edgy. This design feature was not always a realistic option for homeowners. Once cost prohibitive, products and installation methods of curbless or “barrier free” shower design is now becoming main stream. With the advent of new technologies and integrating new installation approaches the use of barrier free showers is more appealing as well as more affordable with new shower pan kits. Buck predicts that the barrier free shower feature will become the norm in most new bathroom renovations and designs within the next five years. This is not a passing trend but one which is “breaking barriers”, so to speak, in bathroom design and renovation.
A beautiful curbless steam shower installed by Collins Tile and Stone.
Total Solutions Plus 2013 is underway in Bonita Springs, Florida from October 26-29. This annual conference creates a forum in which tile industry leaders meet to discover new innovations within the trade. This summit fosters industry-specific education for the experts by the experts. The program offers seminars and demonstrations where attendees focus on tile industry trends bringing home these new ideas to their designs and applications for their customers.
Buck Collins, Founder and President of Collins Tile and Stone, is passionate about providing the highest quality workmanship regardless of technical issues which are often inherent with tile installation and application. As an NTCA Technical Committee Member, Buck focuses on solutions to each design-build remodeling project. Total Solutions Plus 2013 will provide Buck with many opportunities to examine current topics and issues encountered within the tile industry. Buck will attend two ACT Certification Demonstrations including Membranes and Large Format Tile as well as Mudwork and Showers. What will be the take away this year? We can’t wait to learn more from Buck upon his return so we can share with you.
Spa Features Right at Home
Collins Tile and Stone could not be more thrilled to share with you a recent bathroom remodeling project currently featured on the cover of TileLetter magazine published by the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA). The first impression of this large-scale master bath remodeling project leaves an overall big impact but still allows the eye to rest on unique features throughout the bathroom. What takes this custom design to the next level? It's all in the details. The designer, Tracy Sheffield, worked with the homeowner to fabricate a design rich in beauty and function creating a spa-like setting at home. This master bathroom blends materials which create modern day features with traditional elegance to be enjoyed for years to come. Be sure to take inventory of the seamless application of multiple tile systems and design features within this luxurious bathroom project. Wainscoting comprised of Crema Cappuccino stone and mixed brick marble mosaics drape the walls of the entire bathroom, in addition to the water closet. The floor system is anchored by Emperador Light marble basketweave with a perimeter border of Crema Cappaccino marble tiles heated with the high quality Laticrete floor warming system. Notice too the custom step up to the soaking tub featuring the same mixed brick marble mosaics, as well as the double tray ceiling paralleling the perimeter border of the marble floor.
Custom Steam Shower
A distinctive design objective of this project encompassed transforming the existing 7’ x 4’ shower to a lavish steam shower using porcelain tile to compliment the intricate stone floor and wainscoting. The steam shower features four vertical body sprays, as well as, a handheld shower head and additional rainhead. Despite the technical challenges of selecting sustainable materials subject to a steam environment and engineering the correct water pressure in a large space, quality workmanship and performance were achieved. Collins Tile and Stone converted this space from simply functional to a spa experience at home. Tell us what you love about this bathroom!
To learn more about this custom bathroom remodel and the technicalities of this design, visit the Laticrete Projects Spotlight area here.
Collins Tile and Stone was proud to participate in the Coveings 2013 Installation Design Showcase. Once completed the Master Bathroom was absolutely stunning. Pictured below are Collins Tile and Stone President, Buck Collins and designer, Mark Williams of Mark Williams Design Associates giving a presentation on the installation to the audience on the final day of Coverings 2013.
The Installation Showcase is complete!!
Yesterday was a busy day as all the final touches were put in the showcase, as we prepared for the debut in the afternoon. Below are some pictures of the painting, installation of fixtures, lighting, and more. The end result is stunning! See photos below of the final master bathroom. Again, we would like to thank all sponsors, and Mark Williams of Mark Williams Design Associates.
Boyd Lighting: At Boyd Lighting continually strives to be your first, un-substitutable choice for decorative lighting. To achieve this, they create beautiful, distinctive, commercially flawless products that satisfythe focused design and illumination needs of the high-end crossover commercial and residential lighting markets.
We would like to thank all of our wonderful sponsors once again!
USG is North America's leading producer of gypsum wallboard, joint compound and a vast array of related products for the construction and remodeling industries. We are also the global leader in the manufacture of ceiling suspension systems and are recognized as the premier acoustical panel and specialty ceiling systems innovator. Our family of products provides creative building solutions that set new standards for productivity and efficiency, helping contractors and architects deliver high quality and innovative designs.
MAPEI-MAPEI has developed into a worldwide leader in the manufacture of total systems for the installation of floor coverings in commercial and residential construction. Mapei's installation products include mortars, grouts, adhesives and admixtures that ensure customers’ satisfaction with any floor covering they choose. Innovative new products developed by Mapei's R&D Department continually keep MAPEI well-positioned in the minds of professional contractors.
Crossville Inc. -Founded in 1986, Crossville® is America’s choice for quality porcelain tile, metal accents and glass mosaics. Family owned and operated, it’s our value system – green thinking, quality products, family first - that sets them apart from other tile manufacturers and makes us... uniquely Crossville
Schluter Schluter-Systems is committed to providing reliable ceramic and stone tile installation systems that not only solve problems but benefit the entire tile industry as well. As part of this commitment, they have invested considerable resources in testing products to relevant industry standards. Such testing is performed both inhouse and by independent laboratories, including the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), the Terrazzo, Tile, and Marble Association of Canada (TTMAC), and the National Research Council in Ottawa, Canada.
Rubi Tools - RUBI produces all the tools required for the building of professional and machines required to complete the most ambitious and prestigious building products.
European Design Masters/Sigma - European Tile Masters, Inc. it the sole US distributor for Sigma tiling tools.
Primo Tools - While Primo Tool Company, Inc is a new and innovative company, its heritage in the tool industry is both long and broad. One of the founders, Rich Maggio, literally grew up in the tool manufacturing company. His grandfather founded Superior Featherweight Tools in 1944 in Los Angeles, CA. Rich started working on the factory floor while still in school. Eventually, he took over the sales management and sourcing responsibility for the entire company. Superior Featherweight ultimately grew to be one of the most recognized and valued brands for tile, masonry, cement and drywall tools. "Innovative Tools...with..."Professional Results".Primo Tools
ANN SACKS -ANN SACKS offers a collection of high end tile, stone, luxury plumbing products and hardware for both residential and commercial applications. ANN SACKS is continually inspired to embrace new ideas, to explore the relationship of tile, stone and plumbing in imaginative and unexpected ways. And while we are always looking forward to what's next, our past is firmly rooted in
TOTO - TOTO is the world’s largest plumbing products manufacturer. They offer a complete line of commercial and decorative plumbing fixtures and fittings, faucets, accessories, shower and flush valves, as well as lavatories, toilets, Air Baths and urinals. More than 1,500 TOTO engineers and their colleagues are committed to achieving the seamless integration of performance, conservation, technology, and innovation
Proggenpohl -A world of innovative kitchen ideas and inspiration awaits you at Poggenpohl’s Atlanta Kitchen Design Studio. Open to the public as well as the architectural and interior design community, the Poggenpohl showroom offers full service kitchen design and installation – taking your dreams and making them a reality from conception to execution. And every Poggenpohl kitchen is uniquely customized to reflect your personal sense of style, function and space.
Boyd Lighting: At Boyd Lighting continually strives to be your first, un-substitutable choice for decorative lighting. To achieve this, they create beautiful, distinctive, commercially flawless products that satisfythe focused design and illumination needs of the high-end crossover commercial and residential lighting markets
Noble Company is the premier manufacturer of premium quality membranes for waterproofing, crack-isolation, and sound reduction. Founded in 1946, Noble Company products are used on some of the highest profile projects such as City Center in Las Vegas, and Burj Khalifa in Dubai (tallest building in the world). In addition, Noble Company manufactures preformed wall niches, benches and the FreeStyle Linear Drain. All Noble products are proudly made in the USA.