01 Aug Tile Time
So many choices, so few that are fast and reusable
Tile – made of baked clay – is an original, natural product that sometimes gets overlooked. Its simplicity might be one reason. Its subfloor needs, thinset, grout and installation that spans days also might add to your hesitation.
But an interlocking porcelain tile floor that can be installed over most existing floors — in a third of the time it would take for a traditional installation — has removed the obstacles for those who want real tile fast. Avaire® Floating Porcelain Tile also reduces waste because you don’t have to tear out your existing floors, and because it can be moved and reused.
“The whole idea that it is reusable is a big attraction for our customers,” says Gary Cissell, director of flooring for Nebraska Furniture Mart, where Avaire tile is the third-highest seller out of the store’s eight tile lines. “It is a great environmental story.”
Most attractive, he says, is the fact that most floors can be installed in one day. Because Avaire is a floating floor that does not attach to the subfloor, there is no need for thinset, which is used to glue traditional tile to the subfloor. In addition:
— Avaire flooring can be installed over most old hard surface floors — including tile, vinyl and wood – and over most existing subfloors – including gypcrete, OSB and ¾-inch plywood.
— There is no 24-hour wait period before grouting, and Avaire flexible grout comes premixed so it can be used as soon as the floor is installed.
— Plastic spacers are not needed because Avaire’s patented SnapSys Interloc® ensures symmetrical ¼-inch grout lines.
The porcelain tile manufacturing process uses clay and primarily natural products, which produce virtually no by-products or emissions, says Barb Miller, marketing manager for Avaire flooring, based in Omaha, NE. Clay waste is recycled into the next production batch.
The grout and tile are highly stain-resistant, she says, and the tiles – available in 6-inch, 12-inch and 18-inch sizes – come in 24 colors, and are available through retailers nationwide.
The Avaire line has generated a lot of interest among customers at Flooring Depot in Portland, OR, says Ted Gibson, store owner. But the price of the product, $5 to $8 per square foot, puts it in the higher-end category for tile. The advantages of installing in one-day instead of three, reducing waste and construction dust and debris are not always enough to draw the consumer who is simply looking for the lowest price, he says, even though the labor and other materials costs are significantly lower with Avaire.
Tile is a category that offers many competing “green” attractions, including recycled content, local manufacturing and newer content trends including recycled glass, so it is often difficult for consumers to choose.
No one, however, can beat the time and ease of installation offered by the Avaire line, says Nebraska Furniture Mart’s Cissell. That has been evident since his store tested the product before deciding to carry the line.
The test, he says, involved installing about 400 square feet in the home of one of his head buyer’s in-laws, who surely would criticize anything he found problematic, Cissell recalls.
“He liked it so much, he has sold five or six jobs since then,” he says. ©