The COVID-19 pandemic has generated widespread concern for both public and personal health, which has led to a collective shift in human behavior – people are staying home more, traveling less, using copious amounts of hand sanitizer, and paying much closer attention to the concept of “wellness.” Of course, this means that priorities within the real estate industry must also shift in order to accommodate rising demand for cleaner buildings, outdoor amenities, sustainable design, and all-around healthier spaces. Many developers – especially those in the multi-family residential and commercial sectors – will be forced to take a closer look at their current and future projects and make design changes wherever necessary.
Whether new builds, full renovations, or minor upgrades are in order, Italian ceramic tile is the perfect solution for the job. Here are four ways Italian tile can be used to boost the value proposition of commercial and residential real estate properties.
Countless studies over the past several months have shown that COVID-19 can be transmitted through contaminated surfaces. That’s why hygienic, easy-to-clean materials – like Italian ceramic tile – will become a crucial element in all future commercial and residential real estate properties. By its very nature, ceramic tile is resistant to mold, mildew, and bacterial growth. Some Italian manufacturers even offer tiles with integrated antimicrobial technology that actively kills up to 99.9% of bacteria on the surface. Ceramic tile is also inherently non-porous, which means that it does not absorb foul odors or retain dirt, allergens, or other harmful irritants. And unlike plastic-based materials, Italian ceramic tile is free of VOCs and toxic substances, so it does not contribute to unhealthy air quality. In fact, because of these inherent properties, ceramic tile can actually help improve the air quality within a space.
With COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns, the human population as a whole is craving a connection to nature – perhaps more than ever before. It’s scientifically proven that being surrounded by nature has the power to reduce stress, improve cognitive function, and enhance one’s mood and overall wellbeing. That being said, biophilic design elements will become the norm in future real estate properties, and Italian ceramic tile is a great solution to meet this demand. Italian manufacturers offer a variety of plant-like tile designs with floral patterns and motifs, earthy colors, and hyper-realistic graphics that bear uncanny resemblance to natural materials like wood, stone, and marble.
A recent study conducted by Realtor.com revealed that one of the top “must-have” items for prospective homebuyers at the moment is an outdoor living space. Especially in multi-family housing units and urban office buildings – where indoor spaces tend to be smaller and neighbors are very close together – amenities like rooftop terraces, open-air fitness centers, and outdoor workspaces will become highly desirable. Italian porcelain pavers can simplify the process of creating these attractive, yet functional outdoor spaces. Measuring ¾-1” thick, porcelain pavers can be dry-laid on top of gravel, grass, and sand or installed on a raised flooring system. They are also frost- and UV-resistant, and with special anti-slip surfaces, they are safe for commercial applications. Thanks to innovative digital production processes, these outdoor pavers come in a wide variety of surface effects and designs – many of which resemble materials like wood or marble, which would typically be an impractical choice for outdoor surfacing.
Along with greater attention to public health and wellness, the global pandemic has inspired widespread appreciation for the concept of sustainability. The residential and commercial real estate industries may witness a dramatic shift in this area, as both everyday consumers and corporate clients are growing more aware of sustainable design in the spaces and places they occupy. From single-family homes and apartments to workspaces and retail stores, responsible product selection can help minimize a building’s overall environmental impact. Italian ceramic tile is inherently sustainable, primarily made with natural and renewable resources like clay, sand, and water. It’s also very durable, so it can last generations without having to be replaced. And even at the end of its life, Italian ceramic tile can be recycled and used to create new tile products. Investing in Italian ceramic tile products can help designers and developers earn points toward LEED certification which, in turn, earns points with potential clients.
Italian tile is also an ideal solution for renovation projects. A growing number of Italian manufacturers offer ultra-thin porcelain tiles measuring just ⅛-¼ inch thick, which can be installed directly on top of existing surfaces without adding much height to the overall installation. This is an eco-friendly, cost-effective approach for developers, because it eliminates much of the cost, labor, and waste associated with demolition.
For more information on the Italian tile industry and a gallery of inspiring products, visit www.ceramica.info/en.