While most of our projects are for individuals or families, we also understand that each project we design exists within the greater context of the community. Community involvement creates meaning and balance for our office, and it enriches our design process. Not only do we view our projects with the perspective of the client, but also as part of the city, and the green building movement.

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Green Tile

Need help choosing the right tile for your home? RD Architecture can help – here’s part of our thought process for making tile selections:

Of all the selections that go into a home tile seems to be the most challenging for home owners. There are so many choices for size, color, texture, pattern and the cost range is enormous. How do you go about narrowing down the choices without visiting every tile store in town? And how do you consider the green aspects of selecting tile?

Try to make your choices as timeless as possible. Tile is one of the more permanent parts of the home. We’ve seen many 50 and 60 year old ranch homes with the original bathrooms intact. Consider neutral colors or a color scheme you will never tire of and be sure that your tile setter is skilled. In a bathroom, well installed tile that is adaptable to different color schemes for towels and other accessories ensures you’ll be happy with your space for a long time.

Tile comes in large sizes – 24” x 24” for example and as mosaics, smaller tiles on a backing, and in every size in between. Looking at design magazines will help you understand what’s right for you. Keep in mind that mosaic tile can be expensive – for both the material and labor. Don’t forget to select slip resistant tile for bathrooms and other wet area. Small children slip on wet floors easily, and older folks need secure footing too.

Tile is made from different materials. Through-color porcelain tile is a great choice. There are also glazed tiles, glass tile, and natural stone tile. Less expensive tile may be glazed with a white, red or brown clay base. Most of our projects use porcelain tile. (In case you are wondering – the clay that creates porcelain tile is highly refined and purified. It’s denser and more durable than less processed clay.)

Different tile lines come with different trim pieces. It’s important to check out what’s available before you finalize your choice. Some tile may not come with trim pieces to turn a corner well, or base pieces. In general through color tile has the greatest flexibility for detailing.

On top of these considerations you’ll want to make green choices. Manufacturing location and recycled content are the two things to pay attention to. There are lots of wonderful imported tiles, and it’s easy to get caught up with the look of a tile rather than wondering about where it’s made. US tile manufacturers have geographic information on their web sites. For example at American Olean’s website you can type in your zip code to find production plants within 500 miles. Daltile has plants all throughout the US and offers a location list on their web site. Crossville is another good choice for the east coast, with a plant in Tennessee. And if you insist on having Italian tile, there’s a company, Florim, that produces porcelain tile in Tennessee as well. With the weight of tile (and our country’s efforts to become more energy independent) it’s worth knowing which manufacturers produce tile near you.

Recycled content is also something to look at. Recycled glass tile has been around for a while now. Oceanside Glasstile, started in 1992, is dedicated to a well rounded approach to sustainability. Making tile with recycled glass keeps waste out of landfills and their mosaics provide an endless opportunity for creativity. For clay based tiles, manufacturers are using post industrial waste in some products. For example Crossville can reuse tile discards to make new tile.

Choosing tile can take some time, but hopefully with a little research you can choose a tile that not only looks good, but also leaves you feeling good.