<h2 style="margin: 10pt 0in 0pt"><font size="3" color="#990000">The renovation revelation: Top tile trends for today’s renovations</font></h2><p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">(ARA) – Slow recovery or not, you’re ready to renovate — you just can’t live with your ugly, old energy-inefficient kitchen anymore. And stepping into your bathroom makes you feel like you walked through a time warp.</span></p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt"><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">More Americans will continue to choose remodeling the homes they’re already in over moving into new construction in 2010, real estate experts predict. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders foresees "decent growth" for the renovation industry in the coming year, according to the association’s National Outlook report. And kitchens and baths continue to top the list of the rooms both current homeowners and potential buyers most want to update.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">When renovating your home for the long run, it makes sense to choose materials that offer outstanding design flexibility, affordability, durability and eco-friendliness. Ceramic tile continues to be a favorite choice of savvy designers, builders and homeowners seeking those qualities for home renovations.</p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"> </p><div style="text-align: center"><img src="../images/tile-design-trends.jpg" border="0" alt="Tile Design Trends" title="Tile Design Trends" width="420" height="315" /></div>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">So what are the hot trends in ceramic tile for 2010? The Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association of Spain, which represents Tile of Spain branded manufacturers, offers insight into what’s new and hot in this timeless building material:</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Green is still great</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Homeowners continue to demand more eco-friendly, sustainable building practices and materials for both renovations and new construction. Ceramic tile meets the demand for green renovation materials, with eco-friendly qualities such as:</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">* Manufacturers have improved production methods to be more environmentally responsible.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">* Ceramic tile aids in heat retention.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">* It’s naturally resistant to bacteria.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">* Tile does not require cleaning with harsh chemicals or solvents, so fewer toxic elements are flushed into the ecosystem.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">* It doesn’t release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other gases into your home’s atmosphere.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Slim is in</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Tile is getting thinner. You can now buy ceramic tile in thicknesses of just 3, 4, 5 and 6 millimeters. Slimmer tile means it’s easier to handle, cut and lay, so installation is faster. And you can apply it directly over old tile, eliminating the hassle of removing old tile and reducing the construction waste sent to landfills. Plus, because the tile is lighter and slimmer, it works well for walls and other vertical applications.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Additionally, a slim tile means green building benefits such as maximum energy savings, and a decrease in the amount of raw materials used and carbon dioxide emitted during manufacturing. Lighter weight also means less environmental impact during shipping, and less adhesive mortar is required to lay the tile.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>The best form of flattery</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Advances in digital printing technology allow ceramic tile to imitate almost any finish. You can now find ceramic tile that mimics the look of some of the most popular types of stone and wood flooring, including marble, slate, granite, classic parquet, exotic woods – even distressed, reclaimed and weathered planks. When it comes to renovating a kitchen or bath, ceramic tile is a great way to get the look of stone or wood without the expense and inconveniences of special maintenance.</p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"> </p><div style="text-align: center"><img src="../images/bath-tile-designs.jpg" border="0" alt="Bathroom Tile design" title="Bathroom Tile design" width="300" height="388" /></div>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Imagine the look of wood in high-traffic, high-humidity areas without the risk of warping, scratching or staining. Wood and water don’t mix well, so until the advent of wood-look ceramic tile, renovating homeowners had to forego the warmth and beauty of wood in areas where the material might be exposed to water, including kitchens, baths and pool surrounds.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Bright on color, big on texture</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Glossy tiles, with surfaces that feature both gloss and matte patterns, are enjoying new interest from designers and homeowners. Metallic patinas are also prized. As more Americans strive to shed recession blues, bright colors are on the rise. Pantone just announced that turquoise is the color of the year. Whether it’s the color of the day or the year, you can find it in tile. If you want a more soothing sensation from your tile, you can create calming effects with polychrome color combinations of cream, gray, white and camel. For more ideas on renovating with ceramic tile, visit <a href="http://www.spaintiles.info/">www.spaintiles.info</a> .</p>  <p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">Courtesy of ARAcontent</span></p></span>