The Beauty of Natural Stone
Natural stone tiles such as sandstone, limestone, granite, slate, marble and terrazzo have a wonderful authenticity stemming from their unique range of soft colours and grained patina. They’re easy to maintain provided they are properly sealed and looked after. They are fabulous for hallways and corridors, kitchens and utilities, bathrooms and boot rooms. In areas where splashes might occur, choose a matt or textured surface to prevent slipping, bearing in mind that the rougher the texture (and the edges), the more rustic the look. For kitchens, avoid marble as it can stain and corrode – consider a marble-effect porcelain tile instead.
Stone floor tiles come in a range of sizes, from tiny mosaics through to huge slabs, and in various shapes including brick, square, rectangular and more – stone can be cut in inventive ways, with borders and insets added for extra appeal. The pattern in which they are laid will affect their appearance, for example simple rows, a repeated grid, a chevron or an irregular pattern. Spacing and the shade of the grout also has an effect. For these technicalities, it’s best to consult an expert.
Ceramic Tiles for Versatility
This group also includes porcelain tiles, rustic brick pavers, unglazed terracotta (‘quarry’) tiles, Victorian encaustic mosaics and a range of imitations of wood, stone and marble. Ceramic tiles are heat- and water-resistant, hard-wearing and low maintenance, but aren’t kind to dropped crockery!
Ceramic tiles are a great choice for bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, conservatories and utility rooms, and may even work for dining rooms and living rooms. They are versatile, available in many colours, shapes, sizes, patterns and surface textures, so can be used to introduce dramatic impact or provide a subtle background.
Also important is shape, size and how the ceramic tiles are laid, whether rows, grids, brick bond or an intricate design, such as those used for mosaic tiles in a hallway. Update this Victorian style with encaustic-style tiles in updated colourways. Extra-large tiles, very small mosaics, or long, thin tiles give a chic effect laid in a chevron or a stacked pattern. Contrasting coloured grout makes inexpensive, one-colour tiles look more interesting.
Underfloor heating is perfect for stone and ceramic floors, conducting and retaining heat well, and warming rooms up relatively quickly. It also frees up space (no need for wall-mounted radiators) and eliminates cold spots. Underfloor heating creates an even, ambient heat and is energy efficient too!
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This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum