Flooring

Guide to Types of Tiles

If you want to cover your floors and walls with tiles, you’re making the right choice. Tiles are easy to install, easy to maintain, and are stylish and durable in general. In the past, you can think of tiles as purely for bathrooms and kitchens, but it can be used in almost every room. If you want to know how to maintain and clean tiles, check it out here.

However, with so many choices, sometimes it can be overwhelming. After all, tiles come in many different sizes, shapes, and materials.

If you’re installing a new tile, you have to know what kind of tiles you will have, and what kind of tile is right for you. Here’s a guide on how to help you decide.

1. Ceramic

Checkered gray and white ceramic tiles

One of the most common types of tiles for the home is ceramic. With a good reason, it’s all-around home improvement stores. It has been manufactured for thousands of years, and essentially the process of manufacturing remains the same. Ceramic tiles are easy to clean, making it a great choice for bathrooms and splashbacks where there’s likely to be splashes of soaps, shampoos, cooking oil, and sauces.

Ceramic tile starts with clay and is worked into a material called bisque. The bisque is shaped into tiles and is fired up in a kiln for up to 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the temperature, the stronger the tile becomes. By its nature, ceramic is porous, so glaze must be applied to the tiles, then the tile is fired again make the glaze more durable.

The increased durability of ceramic tiles makes it perfect for any rooms of the house. It comes in a wide range of designs, styles, and colors. If you’re looking to renovate on a budget, this type of tile offers a great price point.

2. Porcelain

Polished white porcelain tiles

Porcelain is a common type of tiles, which differs slightly from ceramic tiles. It’s fabricated using natural clay and is made by applying heat to refined clay, which produces a denser floor tile due to higher temperatures. It can be used for both indoor and outdoor projects, and like ceramic, it’s available in a range of colors, textures, and sizes.

Porcelain is actually a variety of ceramic tile, and it’s certified by the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA). According to the PTCA, the porcelain must meet a higher standard of water absorption than ceramic. This means that porcelain is a better candidate for high moisture areas like bathtubs and showers. It has a higher water absorption rate of 0.5%, so it’s nearly waterproof.

Porcelain tiles tend to fit into two categories: glazed and unglazed. In recent years, glazed porcelain tiles became popular. They are made of porcelain body but with a layer of glazed pattern applied to the surface. Glazed tiles are resistant to water, stains, and wear and tear. Due to recent advances in technology, it’s possible to print almost anything to the surface of the tile digitally. This means you can replicate wood, marbles, and natural stones to your porcelain tile.

Meanwhile, unglazed porcelain tiles are composed of natural clays, and are incredibly strong and resistant to abrasion. It’s unglazed, so the color runs all the way through the tile. Unglazed porcelain tiles are perfect for high-traffic areas where a glazed porcelain tile might show signs of wear. It can also be polished to a mirror-like finish.

The greatest drawback with porcelain tile is that installation can be tricky. While you can DIY it, many homeowners forget that it still needs an adhesive when laying the tiles down.

3. Marble

White marble tile

Marble tiles are created from extremely durable stones that can add an instant touch of elegance or refinement to your room. Marble is commonly used as a countertop material for kitchens, but marble tiles are also popular. It can easily add beauty to any kitchen or bathroom, or any floor. It delivers depth and texture, whether the marble is patterned or veined. It can be quite costly because marble is a naturally-occurring mineral. It comes in various types of finishes, including brushed, polished, honed or tumbled.

However, marble needs a lot of upkeep to keep it looking pristine. It’s susceptible to stains and scratches, and it’s also difficult to clean. It’s best to use in low traffic areas unless a sealant is applied. Marble is usually added as a decorative feature, such as in backsplashes, columns, and shower floors.

4. Granite

Gray granite tiles

Granite is a type of igneous rock formed by cooling magma or solidifying lava Granite tile is easily recognizable because of its small natural flecks that serve as its natural design. Granite tiles vary in color richness and visual depth that makes every stone naturally unique. It varies in color richness, visual depth, and it makes every stone naturally unique.

This type of tile is another cheap alternative when you’re looking for a durable tile in a budget. Granite tiles are best used in laundry rooms or other secondary spaces where performance and lower costs are your top priority.

5. Mosaics

Brown mosaic tiles

Mosaic tiles give you a chance to show off your creative interior design tastes. These tiles consist of small pieces arranged on a sheet. When laid out and grouted, it gives the impression of thousands of tiny tiles put together like a mosaic. It can be made of glass, porcelain, marble, ceramic, stone, and even pebbles.

Since it comes in many different shapes, colors, sizes, styles, and materials, it gives you a good application when needed. These kinds of are used frequently as accents. It comes with a lot of grout joints, which means mosaics make it great for adding extra grip. These kinds of tiles are perfect for patios and wet room showers. It’s recommended that you use them sparingly, because it may look dated quickly when it’s not maintained properly.

Mosaic tiles are first used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, and it’s still incredibly popular today. Only a few types of coverings can match the appeal of mosaic tiles. It truly adds up to the appeal of the home.

6. Cement

A brown cement tile

Cement tiles have been around since the 19th century, and it’s back in fashion again, especially for modern, industrial-style homes. It’s made of a body of pressed cement left to cure, rather than being fired in a kiln.

Cement tiles are extremely versatile, and it can give you amazing colors and patterns. Some cement tiles are extremely porous, and a patina can develop over time to enhance the pattern. It can also be sanded and resealed if they get discolored. The disadvantage of getting cement is that it’s not easy to lay. Cement tiles must be resealed once a month to keep it beautiful. It’s recommended for low-traffic areas and in small quantities.

7. Glass

Textured glass tiles

Some people may not be aware of this, but you have the option to use glass tiles. It’s a fantastic alternative to natural stones, and it adds a beautiful appearance to the home. Red wine and acidic foods can be wiped up with ease on glass tiles. It’s easy to wipe up and clean because it’s not prone to excessive absorption of odors and impurities.

Glass offers a modern, minimalistic, and clean aesthetic. These tiles are available in a wide range of colors, plus they upgrade the look of the walls when combined with other finishing materials like granite, wood, marble, and Dutch tiles.

The potential drawback to glass is its proneness to chipping, especially along the edges. This is why glass tiles aren’t recommended for high-traffic areas like kitchen and bathroom floors. Instead, it’s better to use in smaller applications with less traffic and traction, such as backsplashes, and around the fireplace.

8. Quarry

Quarry tiles are made of ground materials that are very similar to bricks. The name implies that it comes from a quarry, but sometimes it’s not the case. Quarry tiles are made from ground minerals like clay, feldspar, and shale that are ground together and baked at over 2,000 degrees. Since these tiles are fired at high temperatures, they are naturally dense, water-resistant, nonporous, and has an extremely low water absorption rate. It can be glazed or left in its natural finish. It’s also susceptible to staining, so it’s not suitable for the kitchen.

Quarry tiles have a rough surface, which means it’s perfect for flooring for outdoor areas and in high-traffic areas because it’s naturally slip-resistant.

9. Terracotta

Brown terracotta tiles

Terracotta conjures up images of plant pots and sunny Mediterranean holidays, but do you know that the name itself is derived from the Latin word that literally means “baked earth?” Terracotta is one of the most humble forms of tile. It’s produced by shaping a special clay into the mold and firing up in a kiln. Some artisan creators of terracotta tiles leave it up to dry naturally in the sun. It gives off a warm, reddish-brown color perfect for recreating the rustic or country style at your home.

However, natural terracotta tiles are extremely porous and prone to staining or cracking. Nowadays, it’s much more sense to invest in man-made terracotta, which will give you the same effect and weathered look but is easier to clean and maintain.

10. Limestone

Limestone is a type of natural stone tile that can provide you a rustic style filled with natural stones, variations, and shades. It gives off a natural appearance that almost resembles ancient architecture and design. It’s softer yet durable and easy to shape to be cut for specific placements and patterns.

One thing to keep in mind about limestone tiles is that it’s a porous rock that must be sealed properly. Otherwise, it will easily crack and etch. Also, cleaning limestone tiles can be a pain because you have to be careful about the cleaning products you use. The cleanser you can use to clean your other surfaces effectively may not be applicable to use for limestone. To avoid ruining the stone, you can avoid vinegar-based and citrus products.

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