Ceramic tiles vs. natural stone: Professional advice from the interior designer
Although the undisputed advantages of the natural stone compared to ceramic tiles are acknowledged by many people, I consider it useful to return to the topic, especially since the volume of real estate investments is constantly increasing in Romania. Whether you are preparing to move to a new home or have plans to refurbish your own, you will inevitably reach to the time of choosing the material for wall cladding flooring. We discussed this very hot topic with a professional, experienced installer.
Aurel Cutieru has over 10 years of experience in interior decoration. He was involved, directly or as a team supervisor, in decoration projects with thousands of square feet of interior and exterior cladding: "... I lost the track of hundreds, maybe over thousands of square feet that I cladded with ceramic tiles and natural stone ... In recent years, however, I focused only on natural stone. It's more spectacular and gives you more satisfaction compared to ceramic tiles when the projects are ready. "
For many Romanians, "ceramic tiles" means automatically bathroom and kitchen. What a shame!
Although many people are considering the appearance, the materials used for interior and exterior decoration projects should be appreciated especially for their "technical" features: durability and waterproofing. "Surprisingly few of them consider water in wet spaces, of course.
Many believe that any glossy material is waterproof from the start, and just as naive, they think everything shines will stay like this forever. People rarely consider time and the fact that, although little by little and even if it is not visible every day, the materials wear off when stepped on. Suddenly they realize that a very nice ceramic tile pattern in the kitchen or bathroom, begins to lose the shine that delighted them after 4 years, or even it develops cracks.
The undisputed advantages of the natural stone compared to ceramic tiles
Don’t get me wrong, I know this is about money, but the customer needs to be well informed and be aware of the risks when deciding to use the ceramic tiles. Few people know, but there are many natural stones that have a lower price compared to ceramic tiles, while the customers still consider "the old style" before 1990 (during the Ceausescu era).
For many Romanians, "ceramic tiles" instantly means bathroom and kitchen. What a shame! As if there were not many stores in Romania that offer natural stone tiles at very good prices and in a great variety of materials and colors.
Huge diversity of materials and colors
If you want a flooring that can be used for many years without problems
Over time, natural stone comes out cheaper compared to ceramic tiles.
Natural stone is much superior to ceramic tile when it comes to durability because it has been developed at very high pressures and temperatures, which have caused the matter to have a very dense structure. This results in both the durability and the impermeability of the natural stone. "I am always glad when I see that people realize that tile thickness, along with product density, are the key elements to consider when you want to a flooring that can be used for many years without problems. A ceramic tile can never be compared, for example, with travertine or marble. Ceramic tile is porous and its glossy surface starts to lose color after 10 years.
Why do you think that the warranty period offered by tile manufacturer is 10 years? With natural stone, if you seal the surface, it can endure up to 100 years. At first people was scared to hear that natural stone had to be sealed periodically with professional solutions, now this seems natural. Natural stones are like people, you have to take care of their beauty. Over time, natural stone comes out cheaper compared to ceramic tiles. After the initial investment when decorating a house with natural stone, in time you add just the cost of maintenance materials, the surface sealing agents and detergents. "
Over time, natural stone comes out cheaper compared to ceramic tiles
It is very easy to replace a single tile of natural stone.
And Aurel Cutieru is right, because after 10-15 years, no matter how expensive (yes, these too can be expensive!), ceramic tiles can be visibly and irreversibly damaged. If you want to change tiles, you have few chances of finding the same shade, given the speed with which factories change patterns (except perhaps the ever boring white products!). This is not the case with natural stone products: the color difference is often unnoticed and the replacement of an isolated stone tile can be easily done.
Ceramic tiles are all the same. This is how they come from the factory.
When considering diversity, the war between ceramic tiles and natural stone seems to be a very tight one, but, on closer look, the natural stone wins by a high margin. Why? Ceramic tiles are all the same and the models are standard. This way they come from the factory. But because marble, granite, travertine etc. come from nature, their diversity is ensured by an unbeatable chromatic balance.
Aurel Cutieru: "Of course, you can combine ceramic tiles successfully, but the warmth and relaxation of some natural colors, that is, travertine, marble and others, cannot be found in a bathroom or kitchen decorated with ceramic tile. Even if there are ceramic tiles models that resemble some stones, such as marble, slate and granite, you can see even without being an expert that these products are just imitations. "
"... replacing an isolated tile made of natural stone can be done easily"
"Ceramic tiles can never render natural stone finishes ..."
Like in any field, natural stone replica fails to convey the entire original message as it should be. Natural stones reflect harmony, diversity, tranquility and the durability of the environment they come from. We would also note here another differentiating detail about diversity. Ceramic tiles cannot render natural stone finishes, such as antique, brushed or blushed.
An exceptional example of natural stone product: flexible slate
This is flexible, easy to install, has a very low coefficient of permeability and is flame retardant. There are several types of flexible slate, depending on the colors: green, red, gray, in the shades of autumn ... SKIN flexible slate can be installed on both flat and round surfaces (poles, furniture, etc.) , which can never happen with ceramic tiles. Durable as a rock, with stone appearance - the upper layer being a slate sheet, this latest German-made product makes you forget any ceramic tile patterns.
Flexible slate can be attached to both flat and round surfaces
Photo source: u-nizwa.net, longfabu.com, pinterest.com, piatraonline.ro