Tile Floors & Wet, Snowy Boots

Winter means snow, ice, salt and more is being tracked into your home and damaging your floorsTile floors are a great investment for entryways where people enter your home. Tile floors won’t absorb water the way a carpet might and wood flooring while beautiful, reacts poorly to any water that gets into cracks or penetrates the surface. Ceramic tile is extremely durable and waterproof when sealed properly so it’s a great solution for entryways into your home. Yes, tile is also cold and harder than other flooring materials but the trade-off in worthwhile.

Why not enjoy the weather and protect your home at the same time? This is especially true for children who have lots (many parents would say, too much) energy and playing outside regardless of the weather is a great way to use up their energy and we all need more exercise.


Doors and Floors Where Tile is a Great Solution

Think about all your exterior doors, doors that open up to unconditioned (no heat/air conditioning) space.  There’s one door that gets used most of the time and that’s rarely the front door. Most family members use a side door coming in directly from outside or through the garage. Does this entry room/space have a tile floor today? If you don’t have tile, check the floor and see how well the high traffic area looks compared to a corner of the room. When you make changes now you can enjoy the new floor and it will reduce the stress of getting your home ready to sell in the future.

Ideally the primary door into a home has a place to hang coats and jackets and someplace convenient to sit down and remove your outdoor shoes or boots. There should also be a table to place anything you’re holding while removing your jacket and shoes. That’s where you’ll keep slippers. Let’s take a quick survey of your entry doors and rooms where there’s water.

Door or Room
Condition, i.e. if selling? Flooring TODAY IDEAL Flooring Target to Replace
Front Door        
Side Door        
Door to Garage        
Sliding Patio Door        
Laundry Room        
Mud Room        
Powder Room        
Master Bath        
Shared Bath        
Guest Bath        

When you find there are 2 or 3 different rooms/spaces where it makes sense to upgrade to a tile floor, it doesn’t mean you have the money to do it all at once. Here are tips for prioritizing these projects. Getting opinions from 1 or 2 real estate agents, what is typically called a punchlist for selling your home will give you a head start towards that day in the future.

  • Your top priority should be preventing water damage as this will show up in a home inspection, and repairs are more costly than preventive measures taken today.
  • When you have carpeting that is pretty worn that will need to be replaced before you sell your home, why not replace the carpet now with a nice tile floor that you can enjoy for a few years.
  • Maybe you have tile but there are cracked tiles and/or grout letting water penetrate to the sub-floor below. You want to repair tile/grout problems now to extend the life of the tile floor you already have.

Tips for Buying Tile for Wet Areas

We’ll leave your tile design for another article. We need to stress here that very smooth tile can become dangerous when wet. Ceramic tiles most suitable for wet areas are ones that do not absorb water and have a rough surface to prevent slipping when wet. For areas around exterior doors as well as kitchens.bathrooms, a non-vitreous tile is recommended.

Glazing helps block water absorption by adding a layer of ground glass and re-firing the tiles. This is the most popular type of tile in the US (more than 50% of the tile sold) so you need to find a rougher tile for flooring that even occasionally is wet like your front door. No industry standards have been agreed to yet so be careful when shopping, and ask about the “friction rating” for any tile you’re considering. The closest standard comes from the Americans with Disabilities Act which has set the following guidelines, Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF):

  • For level walking floors – 0.6 SCOF
  • For walkable ramps – 0.8 SCOF
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  • http://WEBSITE Gretchen Dock

    Interesting article RE: tile in wet areas. I have also had success using commercial-grade linoleum in high-traffic areas (it’s a heavy-duty product like the old “battleship” linoleum our grandparents had in their kitchens). But now it comes in all sorts of great colors and textures. In fact, you can cut out designs with this stuff (see the entrance area at the Children’s Hospital in Boston with all of the animal cutouts). I also use waterhog rugs in entrance areas to handle rain and snow.

    • http://www.hometips4women.com/ tinagleisner

      Gretchen, OK … you’re right about linoleum and that’s exactly what I recommend for basements which get wet more often than we like. For living areas though, that visitors see like the front door and sliding patio doors, you aren’t likely to use linoleum although there are some that look like tile. Thanks for the tip on the waterhog floor mats, so I checked them out and they even have some environmentally green ones (lower right corner).

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