Tile manufacturers continue to raise the bar when it comes to new product lines. And even when durability is a concern for high-trafficked commercial tile applications, beauty does not have to be sacrificed. Large formats, textured finishes and a host of colors are available – even for commercial tile lines. TILE recently asked two industry professionals, Mari Anne Randall, national A&D sales manager for Dal-Tile Corp., and Anthony Santos, product associate for MSI, to weigh in on the latest trends they are observing in commercial tile designs.
TILE: In addition to flooring, what other commercial tile applications are you seeing?
MR: Walls, exterior paving and exterior cladding.
AS: Large-format tiles with superior slip resistance in sizes of 24 x 24 and 24 x 48 inches from our Arterra Collection are used in exterior applications for swimming pools, walkways, patios and driveways in hotels, shopping centers and commercial buildings. Porcelain slabs from our Stile Collection in 6mm, 12mm and 2cm are requested for commercial walls and floors that require minimal grout joints, and kitchen and bath countertops. MSI developed the Tub and Shower Panels that come in 32- x 64- and 32- x 96-inch sizes that not only designers and builders ask for, but tile contractors find these panels as a solution to a quick turnaround when remodeling bath and showers in hotels.
TILE: What sizes and colors seem to be currently popular?
MR: Anything large format for both walls and floors. A definite shift towards warmer neutrals. Brown is back. If you are still going to use gray, make sure it is a warm gray. Lots of black to bring in definition. More color is being used in commercial interiors now more than ever.
AS: Large-format sizes in 24- x 48-inch and premium marble and stone looks gained a lot of attention. For the industrial look, metallics or cement/concrete look. MSI’s Monza Marbella Collection in 35- x 35-inch square size finds its way in hotel rooms in South Florida.
TILE: In what ways has the use of tile in commercial design evolved over the years in terms of aesthetics?
MR: There are more realistic visuals -- wood, stone, etc. Larger and less grout. The wallpaper trend also has influenced the larger sizes. Seamless transition from interior to exterior floors because of the increase of amenity spaces in all market segments – multi-family, healthcare and corporate. The biophilia trend continues, bringing the outdoors in. Hospitality and multi-family both go for that “wow” factor in their amenity spaces so the tile patterns and designs have to mirror that.
AS: High Definition inkjet printing technology is capturing the beauty of natural stone and making it easier for designs to select porcelain over natural stone. Controlled vein movement and colors allow for a much more consistent look and beauty.
TILE: What are some reasons tile is an ideal choice for commercial applications?
MR: It will never wear out. Easy to maintain. Environmentally friendly.
AS: Porcelain tiles are used primarily in all commercial applications that require superior slip resistance, freeze/thaw capabilities, stain resistance, scratch resistance and require less maintenance than natural stone.