Tile For Two?

The latest trends in tile and accessories

Jennifer Oakman of Ceramic Tileworks explains the latest changes in tile offerings to Murphy Bros. design/build team

As part of the on-going research & development commitment to our clients, Murphy Bros. design/build team members asked Ceramic Tileworks representative Jennifer Oakman to present the latest on trends in backsplashes, accessory tiles, profiles and shower organizations, as well as changes to the industry affecting quality and access to tile products in 2017.

We spend this time on your behalf to make sure we’ve checked out the latest products before we recommend them for use in your projects.

Ledger Stone - Burnt Sienna, reflecting the natural warmth of fire.

“We recently added a few new Ledgerstone options,” explained Jennifer, “One of which is my new favorite; the Rock Slate. Ledgerstone can be used to add texture to a room on fireplace wall or bar backsplashes. Another new line we are excited about is Serenity. This Ceramic wall tile comes in a great traditional 3x6 and modern 4x16. In addition the line also has a 3x9 (trending size) glass field and unique mosaics in chevron and tapers. What’s unique about this line is the glass colors coordinate with the ceramic tiles allowing multiple design options”, Jennifer point out.

Serenity - Bamboo

Another versatile mosaic we reviewed is the Metallic 1/2” x 1” glass and stone mini brick. With three colors to choose from, Metallic is a striking combination of iridescent glass with marble or slate that can be paired with a field tile or used on its own making to make stunning statement. This unique blend of glass and stone creates an organic and modern look for any feature wall, kitchen backsplash, or bathroom accent.

Metallic - Titanium

Perhaps the most overlooked element in planning a bathroom remodel is shower organization. What’s to organize you ask? Well, there’s the 3 or 4 different shampoos, conditioners, loofa, and maybe even where you’ll set your morning coffee while you try to figure out what day it is.

Tileware — Polished Chrome soap basket

Enter, Tileware, a great new solution exceptionally attractive baskets, shelves, hooks, towel/grab bars and even a foot prop. We looked at 3 popular available finishes, Oil-rubbed Bronze, Brushed Nickel, and Polished Chrome, in both Traditional and Contemporary styles. What’s most unique about this product is how it’s installed with a bracket system behind the tile eliminating the need to drill through the tile & backer boards. According to Jennifer, the systems are bit spendy, but a perfect accent for bathrooms that need to stand out.

This accessory system also has the added benefit of allowing homeowners to change out the Tileware accessories should they desire a new color or style.

Until recently grout has been, well, boring and for the most part stupid. Let’s face it, we’re talking about grout. You know, grout? What did you expect? Well, due to some insane technological advancements of late, we can now say grout has become smart—sort of like your smart phone. Well, sort of.

Standard grouts have very few ingredients, and most would think this is a good thing. Fewer things to screw up. In this case it’s not—more is actually better.

Laticrete, one of the industry leaders in such materials, has introduced Perma Color Select, enhancing grout’s strength and decreasing the possibly of staining. They also added Stonetech’s best Bulletproof sealer, with Kevlar, into the grout, eliminating the need to reseal in the years ahead.

Bullet-proof grout colors. How cool is that?

Our marketing director actually asked if it was really bullet proof, like tactical vests. “No, sorry, it’s strong, but you can’t hide behind it in the event of a shootout with the bath police,” Jennifer replied. Marketing people are a different sort aren’t they?

The benefits of smart grout:

  • Vibrant consistent colors
  • Minimizing efflorescence
  • Crack & shrink resistant

It’s also important to note that using the proper cleaning products made specifically for grout (not just tile) will help keep grout looking great.

The Italians. Actually, they’re already here. In recent years Italian factories have expanded into the US producing high quality traditional Italian porcelain. They did this to expand their market, but also to reduce the typical 8—10 weeks lead times. That’s good news for us and for you!

Speaking of the Europeans and their offerings, the trend of late has been to offer fewer and fewer bullnose options to finish tile edges. Why? Well, they’re Europeans and designs overseas just don’t follow that look anymore. But we still like our finished edges in the good old USA. So what’s a homeowner to do? Jennifer, suggests Schluter edge profiles to finish vertical tile edges with a sophisticated, clean look. Schluter’s new Trendline series is a great option for today’s popular colors.

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