Ceramic Tile and Natural Stone Now Surfacing
in New Areas of the Home

By Ron Treister

Eastern Floors - March/April, 1998

Eastern Floors Magazine Cover 1998

On the Cover: Featured is a waterjet-cut ceramic installation at the Brass Mill Center in Waterbury, CT. Installer Rheinschmidt Tile & Marble, Burlington, IA, utilized materials cut, designed and assembled by Fairfield, IA-based Creative Edge Corp. and manufactured by Crossville Ceramics and Laticrete International. Photography by Dennis Griggs.

own homes," she explains. "Media rooms contain all the amenities we need for entertainment and relaxation -movies, video games, audio systems, complete with popcorn and drinks. Ceramic tile offers simple cleanup as well as soundproofing qualities that make it ideal for these areas.

"Consumers are taking advantage of the living space often found right outside their doors. Covered courtyards, swimming and spa areas all are easily adapted to ceramic tile," Mevius concludes. "Today's rustic looks dovetail nicely with natural surroundings. Experiment with a large modular pattern on the floor, an intricate listelli or mosaic on a garden wall, decorative trims on a pool surround - let the imagination soar."

Continued

Years ago in the United States, ceramic tile installations were relegated to the "wet areas" of the home. In kitchens, one would see the commodity item, 4 inch tile, on the walls or as a back-splash. In the bathroom, it was installed in any number of ways and, of course, larger foyers were the scene for grand tile statements.

But as installation methods were updated (i.e. use of thin-set became widespread), and sizes, shapes and patterns were offered in greater variety, and when the American public became more knowledgeable about the attributes of this material, the type of applications became more varied.

"The U.S. tile industry is enthusiastically embracing the wide open mindset of today's domestic consumer with regard to areas deemed appropriate for ceramic tile installation," says Judith A. Mevius, marketing communications supervisor for American Marazzi Tile. "Once, it was just the bathroom and kitchen, but now the whole house is fair game. The walls, the counter-tops, the floors - all are open to interpretation with ceramic tile and the myriad decos and trim pieces in the marketplace."

Mevius adds that the increased blending of home with office with entertainment outdoors has significantly expanded the opportunities to utilize ceramic in unique, personalized ways. The ease of maintenance and sanitary properties of ceramic tile are appealing to families with children or for those affected by allergies.

Also, she notes, personal computers have become common in many homes. The non-conductive properties of ceramic tile make it ideal for home offices. Static electricity buildup is not a problem with ceramic tile, so computers and other appliances remain in a more stable environment.

"The respite we seek from the pressures of the outside world is now often found right in our