Tile is one of the oldest and best materials for use in a bathroom. Its surface is waterproof, and it looks great, too. In Pittsburgh, bathroom tile is about as commonplace as Steelers jerseys or Warhol paintings, but just because it shows up in homes all over Allegheny County doesn't mean that your bathroom tile can't be unique as well as functional.
Types of Tile
For the most part, Pittsburgh bathroom tile is either ceramic or porcelain. Porcelain tile is the glossy stuff that is generally found in shower stalls and on your walls. Though porcelain tile is a type of ceramic tile, all ceramic tile is not porcelain. Ceramic tile is used for walls and flooring and can often have the appearance of baked clay or brick.
Benefits of Bathroom Tile in Pittsburgh
The most striking benefit of bathroom tile in Iron City is its ability to withstand copious amounts of moisture for extended periods of time. Many Pittsburgh bathrooms contain tile that was put there more than half a century ago. A new shower or tub surround might be able to boast modern good looks at relatively low prices, but whether they have the durability of tile will take a long time to prove.
As far as appearances go, it's hard to imagine a classic Pennsylvania home without a tiled bathroom. In keeping with the long and rich history of Pittsburgh, bathroom tile gives aging southwestern PA's claw-foot tubs and antique fixtures a suitable backdrop. Tile, itself, has its own lengthy history, and its presence in just about any room brings an air of authenticity with it.
The Problem with Grout
Sometimes a bit of sacrifice is necessary in order to keep a material in good shape. When it comes to bathroom tile, Pittsburgh's moist environment plays a large role in how not the tile, but the grout in between it, ages. When there is a lot of moisture in the air, it takes things longer to dry. When certain materials remain wet for long periods of time, it is likely that mildew will form. As many Pittsburgh area homes have poor ventilation, and the area itself is quite moisture rich, grout between bathroom tiles is likely to breed, and be stained by, mildew. Though mildew stains are particularly difficult to remove from grout, grout replacement is generally inexpensive and can even be done without professional help.
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Pittsburgh Flooring Tile
While ceramic tile's color is baked in and permeates the entire depth of the tile, porcelain's color usually comes from a hard glaze on its surface. The difference in these processes gives porcelain a broader spectrum of colors, but makes plain ceramic tile a better choice for flooring, since the color cannot be worn through. When picking out flooring tile, Pittsburgh residents should pay special attention to where it will be placed. Some tile becomes very slippery when wet and has no place where people need to walk. Other floor tile has a textured surface that makes it much easier to walk on outside after a light rain or inside after a dip in the tub.
Prices of Bathroom Tile
Tile installation varies greatly in price by the job. In Pittsburgh, bathroom tile installation from top to bottom can cost as much as $4,500, where simply redoing a shower might only cost $1,000. The best thing you can do as a homeowner is to get multiple estimates for what your job will cost, but remember, sometimes it's better to pay a little more for a place that comes highly recommended.