Elise Bloom
Interior Design-Building and Renovating in Israel- a tell all guide.

Setting the tone – Types of flooring

Firstly I’d like to say how very excited I am to be writing about topics that I love and sharing this important information with all of you! I hope you find it informative and interesting and I look forward to bringing you up to date with interesting information on Interior Design both from within Israel and from around the World! If you have any questions or would like further advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/IVORYInteriorsbyEliseBloom

With that I’d like to set the tone…or the stone as you would have it by starting from the ground up and discussing flooring.

As one of the most important features of any interior, the floors you choose will set the tone for the look and feel of the space.

When it comes to flooring it’s often difficult to know where to start given all the options that are available and that’s just when it comes to tile, let alone other flooring types!

In this three part blog I’d like to discuss the different types of flooring that are available throughout stores in Israel and the different features to look out for with each one.

Firstly let’s talk about tile and what to look out for because when it comes to tiles, size does matter!

As one of the most important features of any interior, the floors you choose will set the tone for the look and feel of the space.

Size Does Matter:

To start with I’d like to debunk a little myth that I hear over and over again with my clients who opt for tile floors. People often think that small tiles are for small spaces and large tiles are for large spaces. This is simply not correct especially if you are trying to maximise the feeling of space-something that everyone wants to achieve, especially in Israel where every square meter counts!

My rule of thumb for tile size of floor tiles is to buy the biggest tile that you can afford, especially if you have a small space to work with. Using small tiles like a 30x30cm in any space will make it feel smaller than it is. This is because smaller tiles require more grout lines and grout lines give reference to the size of a space and create a busy look-something which you would want to avoid especially in a small space. The larger the tile, the less grout lines you will have and the more expansive the space will look and feel.

Something important to be aware of when choosing tile is that often the larger the tile, the more it will cost per square meter (this is true for all tile types except for mosaic tile as mosaic tiles are small but significantly more expensive than any other tile, This is because of the work involved to lay them). You may find an increase in cost too, when it comes to installation of larger tiles -especially if you are buying ‘off-the-plan’ with a project as they tend to charge more for specifying larger tiles.

Private contractors around Israel are however becoming more familiar with laying larger sized tiles. As a general rule 80x80cm or 90x90cm tile is seen as a more standard size and often won’t incur an ‘extra’ fee for laying.

As the larger tile sizes become a more popular option for consumers, their availability in stores is also increasing. The more popular and arguably more beautiful floor tiles in stores do not come in smaller sizes of 30x30cm like they once did. In general the more popular tiles tend to start from 60x60cm and upwards and there are more and more options becoming available in larger sizes than ever before.

The very latest product on the market is panels of up to 150x 300cm! These large panels look fantastic but usually require your contractor to install a substrate tile (or ‘sug bet’ as they are commonly called in Israel) which ensures a flat surface to avoid cracking. It is however always best to check with the sales people in the store and/or the tile manufacturer for the technical specs of the product. This is always a good habit for any item that is being installed in a project but specifically for the larger panels as they are still fairly new on the market not all contractors are familiar with their specific requirements. In order to avoid costly mistakes and additional charges It’s always best to have these items specified on the plan by your designer and make your potential contractor well aware of what you have specified before starting.

On The Edge:

Now that we’ve chosen the tile size, the next thing to be aware of is the tile’s edges- a seemingly small detail that actually has a very large impact on the overall look of your floor!

There are two main types of edge finishes for tile to be aware of -both when it comes to granite porcelain tiles or real stone tiles for both floor and wall tile. The first type of edging is a laser cut finish. Laser cut tiles have a very sharp flat finish that give a sleek flat modern look. To put it simply they are cut at a 90 degree angle.

The second type is of course non-laser cut edged tile or what I refer to as a rolled edge. Generally I avoid these types of tiles unless going for a very specific look. This is for a number of reasons- first and foremost is availability. Most of the larger tiles are only available with laser cut edges. This is quite simply because they more popular and arguably are better looking and thus the stores tend to carry more of these types. The second reason to avoid non-laser cut tiles is that they tend to give the appearance of even larger grout lines due to the rolled edge. In some cases when planned purposefully this can be a desirable look but for majority of the interiors that I design the opposite is true and thus we avoid the rolled edge tiles.

Finish It Off:

When it comes to the tile finish, there are three main finishes that are available; Matte, Shiny and Lappato. Lappato is a combination of Matte and Shiny- I like to refer to is as a semi-gloss- sometimes appearing almost speckled in the glossy area of the tile. As far as what is most popular today and most contemporary (even when designing a more traditional style interior) a Matte finish is the way to go.  High Shine or Gloss tiles are typically the hardest to keep clean and in Israel this is of course a major consideration due to the dust factor because let’s face it -we live in a desert!

This brings me to the next consideration when choosing tile and that is colour/ grain. This too is often not just about style or preference but also practicality. It must be said that really there is no fool proof dirt-hiding floor, unless you go with the Terrazzo which had its hay day in Israel back in the 70’s!… and funnily enough is actually making a bit of a comeback…however assuming we are not going to go with Terrazzo, what is the next most practical choice? I always recommend a veiny floor to clients who really want to minimize seeing dirt. Anything with a natural vein will hide dirt to some extent. Of course white shiny tiles are the least effective at hiding dirt!

So now you know a bit about selecting tile floors- stay tuned for our next instalment, “setting the tone part 2” where we discuss other types of flooring including wood and stone floors.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions!

About the Author
Elise is a qualified Interior Designer running her business from her Jerusalem-based office. She has over 8 years experience in the field in Israel. Elise made Aliyah from Melbourne Australia. She has keen eye for detail and vast knowledge of the ins and outs of the field. This coupled with her unique aesthetic makes her an authority on all things Interior Design. She works with the top suppliers in the country and offers a bespoke service to her clients.
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