Pros: affordable, attractive, easy to clean, durable
Cons: need to have more varieties available in store
My husband and I recently remodeled our kitchen. We spent a great deal of time looking for the right flooring product. We wanted something durable, attractive, easy to clean, stain resistant, scratch resistant, and also something that was easy on our feet. We found the TrafficMaster Ceramica line on display at home depot. We decided to give it a try and have been very happy with our decision.
The TrafficMaster Ceramica line includes a variety of sizes and colors, most of which are special orders at Home Depot. My local store does have a few displays of the colors and sizes that they carry in stock (not sure if all Home Depot’s have the displays). Although TrafficMaster sells a 12 x 24 tile option, only the 12 x 12 styles are carried in my local Home Depot. They are for sale by the box (30 tiles per box), or you can purchase individual tiles. When we were making our initial decision, we purchased individual tiles in 3 different colors so we could make our decision in our own house, analyzing how the tiles looked at different points in the day as the lighting changed.
TrafficMaster Ceramica tiles are a vinyl tile product made to look and feel like a natural ceramic tile. The tiles have variations in color similar to what you would see in a natural tile product. In addition, the tiles do not follow a pre-designed pattern like most ceramic tile look alike products do; each tile is unique, which makes the product look very realistic. Also, if you run your hands (or feet) over the product, the tiles are not smooth; there are slight bumps and divots similar to true ceramic tiles.
This product can be used with or without grout. We chose to use grout to keep the look as realistic as possible. My husband and I did not personally install the tiles; our contractor did this for us. However, we did watch the installation and discussed the product in depth with the contractor. Installation starts the same as a standard tile product in that you need to start with a clean, flat surface. For best results, chalk lines should be drawn. Because we wanted our tiles grouted, we needed to purchase spacers and the special grout made specifically for TrafficMaster tiles. Glue is not necessary is as the tiles are the peel and stick type.
Our contractor had mostly great things to say about the installation of the TrafficMaster Ceramica tiles. The adhesive attached to the tiles worked very well and no additional glue was needed. The tiles are relatively thin (about 1/8thof an inch or perhaps even slightly thinner), which made them easy to cut. At the same time, though, it did make using the spacers difficult. They also commented that they had to take special care when using the grout as it had to be applied more thinly than in a typical grout application. The grout takes a little longer to dry than a typical grout; we could not walk on the new floor for 24 hours (standard for all tile installations), but then we had to be careful for an additional 6 days and minimize walking on the floor as much as possible as the grout takes a full 7 days to completely set.
TrafficMaster promotes their Ceramica product as being highly scratch resistant and stain resistant. It also comes with a lifetime limited warrantee. I do agree, they are very stain resistant. Wilt 3 young boys we have spilled cranberry juice, tomato sauce, and many other colorful things on this light beige floor. However, the floors are still the exact same color now as it was over a year ago when it was initially installed. Furthermore, I can see no signs of wear in the high traffic areas such as near the refrigerator or the kitchen table.
Regarding the scratch resistant features, I do agree it is highly scratch resistant. When we purchased the sample tiles we took a pocket knife to them and tried to damage them but couldn’t. Again, with the 3 boys, chairs are dragged across the floor constantly with no ill results. Our contractor, though, did manage to scratch a few tiles by moving the oven into place without anything underneath for protection. We initially wanted to ask the contractor to replace the damaged tiles but we had issues with him and did not want to delay the process and further than it had already been delayed. Instead, one day we will call and see if we can put in a warrantee claim. As it is a lifetime limited warrantee, we are not in a rush to do it right away.
TrafficMaster Ceramica tiles are also shock resistant. I do agree with this. Our old floor was ceramic tile and we broken many a plate or glass when dropped on the floor. With these tiles, though, we have yet to break anything. Also, I work in the kitchen often (I make cakes as a hobby) and the tile is much more forgiving on your feet than a traditional ceramic tile. It is also much warmer and does not have that cold feel associated with tile floors.
In terms of the cost, if purchased by the case at Home Depot these tiles are about $1.39 per square foot. That is equal to or less than the cost of most real ceramic tiles. The grout is slightly more expensive than regular grout, but since you do not need much of it, the cost does not really become very significant.
My favorite feature is that not one single person who has visited my house in the past year has realized that these are vinyl tiles. I have many compliments about the floor, and I always take that as an opportunity to point out that it is not a ceramic tile floor. People literally get down on the floor to feel the tile because no one ever believes me! It is funny to see. In fact, I have had two friends go out and purchase this product for their homes in the last year. Too bad I don’t earn a commission on these sales!
In summary, TrafficMaster Ceramica products have many great features. They are durable, affordable, and a great alternative to traditional ceramic tile. My only real critique is that they only have two sizes available currently, the 12 x 12 square tiles, and 12 x 24 rectangular tiles (special order). I would have liked to consider other size options, such as 16 x 16 or 18 x 18. I had also wanted to consider a patterned floor, incorporating a smaller tile (like a 6 x 6) with a rectangular tile (but smaller than 12 x 12). Although I like the color I chose, they really only have a few color options as well. Alpine Marble beige is neutral and on the lighter side. Home Depot stores also carry a color called Shasta, which is a warmer neutral color but with red undertones, and a grey color called Cool Grey. All other colors are special order, and personally, I would not pay for a special order product without seeing a sample first.
I consider my TrafficMaster Ceramica floor to be one of the best features of my new kitchen. It works well for this crazy family of 5 and we have no regrets. I highly recommend this product to anyone.