What Is the Difference between Wall Tile and Floor Tile?

When it’s time to go shopping for the tile you will install in your home, you may encounter the terms floor tile and wall tile referring to various selections. You may also find that there is some ambiguity; floor tile can be installed on the walls, for example, and often has bullnose trim and other pieces to facilitate this. The different between the two tiles is often in how they are made, as well as how they will hold up over time in the two applications.

Wall Tile

Tiles labeled for wall use cannot be used on the floor except in very rare cases as accents in low to no-traffic areas like a fireplace hearth. They may be certified for use on countertops as well, although not always.

Ceramic tiles produced for wall use are often known as monocontura. This means that they have been fired once. The tiles are usually made of wet clay that has dried and been glazed before being fired. This makes the tile hard, but brittle and unlikely to withstand the pressure that floor tiles need to handle.

Tiles that have been given a very high-gloss glaze are at risk of the finish crazing, or cracking regardless of where they are installed. These cracks in the glaze could make the tiles susceptible to stains and chips if used underfoot. These high-gloss glazes are also very slippery when wet, which is why most floor-rated tiles have a matte finish.

Floor Tile

There are many different materials that could be used for floor tile, stone, porcelain, ceramic, or metal. Tile is often rated for its hardness and durability on a scale of 1 – 5. A tile with a rating of 2 or 3 should be used only in low-traffic, residential settings such as a bathroom floor. Tiles with a rating of 4 or 5 can be installed in high traffic or commercial settings because they are so dense and durable they will not crack, chip, or scratch even under heavy use. Any tile with a rating of 1 is reserved solely for wall use, and should not be installed on the floor.

Metallic Glazed Porcelain Tile

Looking for a modern or industrial look for your home or office? Consider metal-glazed porcelain tile. This super-modern floor tile is nearly indestructible, with a patina and shine that grows more beautiful with age.

Porcelain Floors

Porcelain floors tiles are made out of compressed clay dust that has been fired to very high temperatures. This makes them unlikely to scratch, chip, or crack so they are perfect for high traffic areas in the home or office. They can also come in sizes up to 24 or even 36 inches, making them ideal for modern homes where fewer grout lines are desired.

Metallic glazed porcelain floors have been glazed with metals such as copper and nickel to give them a sheen and industrial appearance. The advantages of using these tiles over an actual metal floor include:

  • Lower expense in purchase and installation
  • Lower maintenance
  • No scratching, denting, rusting or staining
  • Non-skid underfoot
  • Weathered, slightly worn appearance that doesn’t change beyond a slight deepening of color over the years, giving the floor an authentic look right from day one

Metallic Glazed Porcelain Colors and Styles

Metallic glazed porcelain tile comes in a selection of different metal colors and finishes, as well as a few sizes. Copper, bright nickel, and aged nickel, as well as a rust tone are all available. Some tiles have accent pieces that include faux rivets. Various architectural pieces are also available for wall installations.

Most tiles are available in 24×24, 12×24, and 36×36-inches. Some are available in smaller sizes such as 16×16 or 18×18. Many also have bullnose tiles, or can be finished with a metal trim edge to complete the installation.


Because porcelain tile is non-porous, it doesn’t have to be sealed and does not require special cleaners. The metal glaze, however, is often sensitive to acids, so a non-acidic cleaner is recommended to help maintain the look, color, and style.

Consider Metallic

Each tile has its own particular color and sheen, giving these floors incredible depth and interest. If you have a modern or contemporary home and are looking for a floor to match, consider looking into metallic glazed porcelain as your answer.

What’s the Most Neutral Hardwood Floor Choice for My Home?

Hardwood flooring has a beauty and appeal that works well with a number of different decors. If you’re planning on putting down hardwood for resale, or you just want a hardwood that will blend into the background of the rest of your interior design, complementing it rather than competing, consider installing sugar maple.

Maple is one of the most popular materials for domestic hardwood floors, along with red oak. And while red oak has a very definite pinkish, red undertone to it that warms up a room, maple is far more neutral. It has a very small, consistent grain without a lot of color variation from board to board. This makes it a good choice for background flooring. Whether you intend to cover it with throw rugs or you want a floor that will let you switch colors up frequently in the rest of the room, maple is an excellent choice.

Maple is also a good choice for homeowners that want a fairly durable hardwood, as well. Maple is one of the harder domestic hardwoods with a Janka score of about 1450 – much harder than pine, red or white oak, the other more commonly used domestic hardwood flooring.

This means that your maple floor is likely to hold up well and last for years to come, so no matter how many times you plan on changing the rest of your home’s décor, the floor will continue to look just as good as the day it was installed.

Finally, sugar maple is a light colored hardwood that doesn’t darken appreciably with sunlight or humidity. Some other hardwoods may start out a lighter or more neutral tone, but over time they begin to darken and their colors begin to deepen. This can be problematic if you pick paint colors and furnishing to match the original color; they may not match once the floor has been down for a few years.

If you want a low maintenance, neutral hardwood that has an almost universal appeal, consider installing maple in your home.

Updating a Brick Fireplace Surround

Brick fireplace surrounds lend a certain amount of charm and a very specific style to their surroundings. If this style and look isn’t in keeping with the rest of your interior design though, it can seem like a glaring mistake in the room. After all, the fireplace is the heart of every room, and if it doesn’t match your surroundings, it can throw the entire design off. Thankfully, there are ways you can update the your fireplace without the expense or mess needed to remove those bricks.

Paint Them

Sometimes the biggest problem with a brick surround isn’t the bricks themselves; it’s their color. Bricks are usually fairly dark, which can make the entire room seem dark as well. By giving the bricks a white wash, you can brighten up the entire space. You don’t have to paint the bricks a solid color, either; you can dry brush them to lighten them up while keeping their texture, or you can paint over them all at once. Either way, paint can completely transform the look of the surround, while keeping the texture and appearance of the bricks.

Tile Over

You can tile right on top of bricks to create any style, color, or look of fireplace surround you want. The key is to smooth out the texture of the bricks with a skim coat of thinset mortar first. Once it dries, just install the tiles as you would on any other surface. From decorative mosaics to Craftsman tiles, you can create any kind of appearance you want this way to match the rest of the room.

Put Up a New Mantel

If you like the bricks, but they aren’t working with the rest of the room try minimizing them a bit with a new mantel. Choose something large and chunky in a style and color that match the rest of your surroundings and install it over the bricks. This will make the bricks a little less noticeable, while still keeping some of their charm.

Create a Focal Point

The fireplace is often the focal point of any room. If yours is looking out of place, give the bricks an update using one of these methods to help make it the focus you really want in the room.

Should I Match My Floor and My Cabinets?

As more homeowners are choosing to install their hardwood floors in every room of the house including the kitchen, this creates some confusion about what to do with the cabinets. After all, if the cabinets are wood as well, is it better to match or to contrast the two wood tones in one room?

The Case against Matching

While it can be tempting to say I want maple cabinets; why not get maple floors as well? This can actually backfire in terms of your overall design. Wood has a lot of variation in it, even when you choose unfinished and unstained woods. Because your cabinet maker and your floor provider will be sourcing their wood from different areas, you can’t guarantee that your cabinets and flooring will actually “match”. One may be lighter or darker than the other, or it may include colors and undertones you didn’t expect. This means that you could end up with floors and cabinets that clash, rather than match perfectly.

Try Contrasting

If you want natural wood for your cabinets and your floors, consider contrasting your colors. Use a pale, clear maple on the cabinets and a dark mahogany on the floors. Mirror the floor color on the countertop to create a cohesive design. It can work the other way, too, using dark cabinets and light floors. If you really want to match species, consider staining one, such as using natural cherry cabinets with a dark burgundy stain on the floor.

Contrast with Material

If you really love the look of wood floors, but don’t want to contrast them with a different wood on the cabinets consider using a painted cabinet instead. White cabinets work well with nearly everything, particularly dark floors, while a cream colored cabinet could work beautifully with a red or white oak floor, as well as with a clear maple.

Avoid a Miss-Match

While it is tempting to try to match the woods in different places in your house, you may find this more difficult to do than you imagined. Unless you are able to luck into an exact match, play it safe and add some contrast to the kitchen. 

Color Challenge: How To Decorate With Orange – Autumn Roses Inspiration

Fall is on the way, and that means that the warm weather that is so conducive to interior design projects will soon be gone. Take heart! It also means that Fall’s spectacular colors will soon be everywhere you look. Now is a great time redecorate and possibly change up the color scheme in your home.

Perhaps you are a person who strives to change the look of your home with every season, or maybe you just love autumn colors and you want to fully commit for the next several months. No matter your reason, we have the perfect color pallet. You must be bold though! Orange is at the heart of this look and using orange in your home is a brave choice. It’s a statement color. The trick is to surround it with classic, subtle, natural colors. To help us get it right, we allowed our imaginations to ponder the beauty of this stunning collection of roses.

This pallet is very much nature inspired, but with the polish of a designers touch. In other words, you’ll find all of these colors outdoors in autumn, but not necessarily right next to each other.  Remember, in home design, you can always take advantage of the control you have indoors. 

First and foremost, start with your favorite orange. Where fall colors are concerned, orange reigns supreme! Go for a true, rich, warm orange that is easy on the eyes while also demanding attention. Next, add a cranberry red. It will deepen the pallet, and it is strong enough to both accompany the orange and stand apart from it. Ground the scene with plenty of cocoa brown. It’s earthy without taking away from any glamour.

Brown is also well suited to flooring and furniture so it will be easy to use it liberally. Although you’ll note that green is also included in the pallet, it is very much in a supporting role. The best plan for the green hue is to incorporate it with live plants or faux greenery. Last, surprise everyone by incorporating a soft, light cream color. You’ll look like a color genius. The bold colors are rather demanding, and the white will go a long way toward preventing them from seeming over bearing. Use as little or as much of as it as you like, according to whether you want the room to feel light and airy, or warm and cozy. 

Color Challenge: How To Decorate With Orange – Wedding Bouquet Inspiration

So you want a home that stands out, and your imagination is swimming with colors. It seems like everywhere you look there are bold, beautiful colors and you simply must take part! You’re on the right track. Homes that have wow-factor rarely shy away from a perfectly orchestrated set of hues. It’s a tricky thing though.

Best intentions can definitely go askew if you don’t have a selective and planned way to incorporate bold hues. The color orange is especially tough to work with, but it pays off big time. It’s fresh, vibrant and cozy. How to go about it? One easy trick is to borrow inspiration from this gorgeous bridal bouquet. 

Select a rich, soft orange as your focal point. Let it take center stage, but in a limited way. In other words, less of the orange will make it more evident. By burying it in soft pastels, it has plenty of opportunity to show its personality without taking over the room. Perhaps just one accent wall will do, if you have your heart set on orange paint.

Otherwise, opt to make it the color of choice for every key accessory. Then add a true pink to the room. It is a great partner for the orange because it has the same spunk and vibrancy, but without screaming for attention. Next, the lavender is a lovely and unexpected addition. Purple and orange? What? Yes! When done right, a soft blue-based lavender is exactly what you need to add sophistication to the pallet.  (Orange and blue are complimentary colors on the color wheel.)

Rounding out the whole color scheme with soft off-white adds elegance, and completes the look by providing the ever-important area for the eye to rest. It also helps achieve that shabby-chic look that continues to be popular, and is thus proving to be timeless. Now your turn to surprise us! If you were going to add just one more color to this pallet, what would it be?

Color Challenge: How To Decorate With Orange – Peach-Faced Love Bird Inspiration

So you want a home that stands out, and you’ve chosen color as the method to your madness. Good for you! Color is one of the boldest ways to make a statement in your home and not everyone has the “decorating courage” to pull it off.  Sometimes, though, the best intentions can go terribly awry if you don’t carefully plan out how a strong color will be incorporated into your life. Although bold colors make for fantastic interior designs, they can feel like unwelcome, overbearing guest is they are allowed to run rampant without complimentary hues to give the room balance and focus.

It’s safe to say that the color orange definitely falls under the category ‘Very Challenging.’  It’s gorgeous and rich, but it doesn’t typically fare well on its own. Orange is kind of like a loud, crazy, vivacious friend. She’s a joy to have around and she makes life fun, but with no else in the room but you two, it’s easy to tire of her quickly! Prevent orange from being obnoxious by taking inspiration from the pretty Peach Faced Love Bird.

Notice how only about ¼ of the bird is the boldest color – the deep and vibrant orange. As the orange is rather dark, and could thus be too intense, balance it by using the warm yellow liberally. Yellow is a lovely choice for paint or furnishings, such as a chaise. Round out the color scheme with a neutral pink that will blend in naturally, especially when used for accessories. Then throw in an unexpected neautral by incorporating a subtle gray-violet such as the color that extends through the end of the bird’s wings.

People will be impressed by your unique choice and the gray-violet will add a touch of sophistication to an otherwise approachable and friendly color pallet. Once the room is complete, it will feel feminine, fresh and bright. So much so, that you just might find yourself on your way to the pet store…to buy a pet bird! Before you grab your keys and purse, though, tell us which animal is your favorite for design inspiration!

Floor Styles For Various Tastes

Flooring is one of the most important parts of the house. Because it often takes the brunt of most activities from mere walking to playing, it is important to carefully choose which material and style to use.


Fortunately, there are many flooring options available in the market. The homeowner can opt for different textures and colors depending on his preferred style.




In order to emulate the informal elegance that is associated with rustic styles, old wood planks that feature nail holes, knots, cracks, saw teeth and milling marks should be considered. These old or even salvaged planks give off a sense of aged grace.


Modern and Sleek


To complement a modern design palette, polished concrete floors can be used. Aggregates can be slightly exposed in order to introduce some accent. The shiny finish easily matches additional smooth surfaces within the room.


Seaside Escape


For those who live near the beach and for those who simply love the seascape, patterned and painted floors are a great choice. Stripes of blue and white, for example, can brighten up the room. Coastal motifs such as compasses, shells, and fishes can also be stenciled on bare wooden floors for a playful look.


Bold Retro


Retro is often characterized by bold and fun patterns. Therefore, when choosing the retro look, contrasting tiles placed in a checkerboard pattern is a great choice. Another is shag carpeting with fuzzy throw rugs.


Art Deco


Similar to the retro style, the art deco is also associated with black and white tiles. However, vibrant colors are added in order to make bold statements. The colors most commonly associated with this style are yellow and purple as well as tones of blue-grey. Metals such as gold, silver and chrome are also used in order to add some accent to neutral background colors. Tiles with rich curved and geometric patterns can also be incorporated in the floor design.

We are happy to help with any questions you may have about finding the perfect look for your individual taste.  Feel free to ask!

What Backsplash Can I Use With Ubatuba Granite?

Ubatuba granite is one of the most popular choices for kitchens around the country. It works with nearly every color of cabinet and style of kitchen, which is why people keep choosing it. Unfortunately, once they’ve chosen it or had it installed, they often end up asking the same question: What backsplash can I use with it? The answer is in the stone itself.

The Colors of Ubatuba

At first glance, Ubatuba appears to be almost black in color. A closer inspection will reveal, however, that this is far from the truth.

Ubatuba is actually a green granite that also contains numerous flecks of other colors including:

  • Black
  • Cream
  • Gold
  • Turquoise

Like all stones, no two pieces are exactly the same, so the colors you find in your counter may vary slightly. Yours may have more gold and no turquoise or it may have lots of blue and turquoise and very little black. So when choosing your backsplash, it’s important that you have a sample of your counter, not a showroom sample. If you have just chosen the counter, ask for a corner piece to be cut for you; if you are having it installed, request the sink cutout piece to use for this purpose.

Picking the Backsplash

Like any backsplash, your first step should be determining what you want the overall look to be. Do you want a simple subway tile backsplash for a Country kitchen, or do you want something more contemporary and show stopping like a honey onyx mosaic in a fan pattern? Take a look through some kitchen magazines for backsplash styles that catch your eye; don’t worry about what counter they are paired with, the idea is to get a sense of what you want.

Once you have a basic idea, it’s time to pay a visit to your tile showroom with your piece of Ubatuba. Speak to your design consultant or kitchen designer about the style you like, and ask to see what’s available in that style. Hold the Ubatuba sample up to the tile and try to find a tile color that matches one of the flecks in the stone – cream, gold, or turquoise usually. This will ensure that your new backsplash matches your counter perfectly, while also meeting your style needs.

We are happy to help with any questions you may have during the process of choosing your backsplash.  Feel free to ask!