The Type of Tile You Choose Can Make or Break Your Remodeling Project

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 Vesdura Vinyl Tile
These beautifully designed vinyl tiles recreate fresh and inviting patterns that will look stunning in any room in the home. Featuring Vesdura Vinyl Tile Retro Collection
in White & Retro Light Blue SKU: 15270445

Installing tile in your home or business can add beauty and durability to any space. Before you start your next remodeling project, it’s important to understand the properties, pros, and cons of a variety of floor tile materials. Read on to learn more about the different types of tile you can choose, and how this can affect the outcome of your project as well as how it will perform long into the future.

Ceramic Tile

Salerno Ceramic Tile
A warm and inviting look for nearly any space. Featuring Salerno Ceramic Til  Impression Series in Cezanne SKU: 15270015

Ceramic tile is a popular choice for bathrooms and kitchens thanks to its beauty and durability. This popular floor tile is manufactured by baking clay at extremely high temperatures in a kiln. Once the tile is cooled and dried, it develops a tough, resilient composition that’s highly resistant to water and stains. Since ceramic tile has a low water absorption rate, it’s a popular option for rooms where water is present, such as a bathroom, kitchen, or basement. You’ll find ceramic tile glazed or unglazed, and it’s often designed in a myriad of attractive colors and patterned designs to add visual interest to any room.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile is also made of clay, and it’s also extremely durable. However, it’s a better option for many due to the fact it’s less porous and can be exposed to cold temperatures, making it a prime choice for outside use, too. Porcelain tiles can be made to mimic natural stone, brick, or wood, making it a versatile design option as well. When it comes to installation, porcelain is a bit easier to work with since it cuts much more easily than many other types of tiles. This affordable, low-maintenance tile is also easy to clean and maintain.

Marble Tile

Cabot Marble Tile
Exceptional strength, endurance: nearly as old as time itself. Featuring Cabot Marble Tile in Calacatta Gold SKU: 15196155

Marble tile adds luxurious beauty to your home with its natural veining and color variations. This sturdy, high-end tile is more expensive than many other options, but it’s also a beautiful choice if you want to make a lasting impression. Marble tile is dense, durable, and hypoallergenic which makes it a prime flooring material for many homes. The sleek and beautiful finish adds a brilliant shine, and it comes in neutral colorways for easy integration into any room.

Mosaic Tile

Mosaic tiles are typically a smaller-sized tile that’s perfect for kitchen backsplashes and other accent areas. This tile can be made of a variety of materials ranging from glass to ceramic and natural stone. Mosaic tiles have more grout lines, which means they’re a bit more difficult to keep clean. Because of its small size and the higher number of tiles over a large area, it’s best when installed in showers and for backsplashes rather than as a floor tile.

Granite Tile

Cabot Granite Tile Black Galaxy
Beautiful, durable, and easy to maintain tiles. Featuring Cabot Granite Tile in Black Galaxy SKU: 10062224

Granite tiles are natural stone tiles that add beauty and sophistication to the home. This thick stone tile is ideal for kitchen countertops, but it’s also a great choice for high-traffic areas thanks to its durable nature. Granite is highly resistant to scratches and stains, which makes it a great option for busy households. However, granite is a porous material, so it needs to be re-sealed to keep it protected and properly maintained.

Travertine Tile

Travertine comes in a variety of colors and adds a timeless look to your home. Thanks to its non-slip texture, travertine stone tiles are a good option for both flooring and walls. This beautiful quarry tile is also made of natural stone and brings a beautiful component to kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms. Travertine must be sealed in order to protect it from moisture and stains, so it’s a bit higher maintenance than some other different floor tiles.

Limestone Tile

Limestone is another natural stone tile that’s a good choice for floors. This heavy tile is a bit more difficult to work with, but it ages well and features a variety of unique colors and textures for the home. Thanks to its rugged composition, limestone is a popular choice for outdoor patio or walkway tile applications as well. It’s fairly easy to cut and install, but limestone is quite vulnerable to stains if it doesn’t get proper sealant applied to it on a regular basis.

Slate Tile

Cabot Slate Tile
Montauk Blue
Functionality and style in any area of your home. Featuring Cabot Slate Tile Montauk Blue in Natural Cleft SKU: 15188434

Slate is a rich, deep-toned natural stone that can be installed as a flooring material, however, this tile should be installed professionally since it’s prone to cracking or splitting. When installing slate floor tile, make sure it’s used in areas with lower foot traffic. This beautiful stone is typically enjoyed for fireplace surrounds or as wall tiles rather than for flooring. While slate can crack fairly easily, it’s surprisingly resistant to visible scratching which makes it a good option for bedroom and bathroom floors.

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Factors that Determine Your Best Tile Flooring Option

There are many factors that will help determine which types of floor tiles will be best for your next project. Here are the most important things to consider so that you make the right decision for your specific needs.

Tile Hardness

Tile is rated and graded using a hardness rating from the Porcelain Enamel Institute, or PEI. For floors, your tiles should have a PEI rating of 4 or higher. This will ensure that your new tile is durable enough to be used as flooring in addition to wall tiles or accents. Grading is done by quality. Anything graded as 1 means it has no flaws or defects. Grade 2 tiles have slight imperfections, while grade 3 tiles are specifically designed just for wall applications. Always use grade 1 or 2 tiles for floors and never grade 3 – that’s just for walls (backsplashes, etc.).

Tile Porosity

Tile porosity ratings determine how many air holes or voids are in a tile which affects how much water is absorbed. Tile that is denser will absorb less water since there are fewer air holes. Impervious tiles are the least absorbent, while the porosity increases as you go up to vitreous, semivitreous, and non-vitreous tile, which is the most absorbent rating. Always choose the least porous tile possible when installing it in bathrooms, basements, and kitchens.

Strength and Moisture Resistance

You’ll also want to ensure that your floor tile materials are strong and resistant to moisture. The stronger the tile, the less it will be vulnerable to cracks and other visible signs of damage. Moisture-resistant tile (as mentioned above) is the best choice for areas with water including the bathroom and kitchen. Check the tile porosity level and hardness to confirm that it will work well in a specific room before you start the installation process.

Slip Resistance

Refer to the tile’s PEI class ratings to help determine how durable and slip-resistant it will be. Class 1 tile is for areas with no foot traffic and wall installations only. Class II tile is for light traffic or for interior walls and places where little abrasion will occur, like a small bathroom. Class III tile is good for light to moderate traffic in residential settings and for countertops or walls. Class IV is best for moderate to heavy traffic in all rooms as well as in medium commercial or light institutional applications. Finally, Class V tile is best in areas with heavy to extra-heavy traffic in all residential areas and heavy commercial work areas.

Ease of maintenance

You want to make sure that your new floor tiles are easy to clean and maintain. Natural stone tiles like granite, marble, and slate need to be treated with a sealant in order to protect them from stains or water damage. Look for durable ceramic or porcelain tiles for easy care. These smooth, durable tiles can be simply wiped clean with a mop or wet rag, and they don’t absorb water or spilled food and beverages so they stay looking newer, longer.

Luxury and Quality

Make sure the tiles you choose are luxurious and high-quality. Glass tiles look luxurious but come at a fraction of the cost of many other options, such as granite or marble. A quality porcelain tile can be an excellent choice for interior spaces. This tile is not just durable and stain-resistant, but it’s also available in a variety of textures and colors to add a beautiful aesthetic without breaking the bank or going over budget.

Stain-Resistance

Nonporous or low vitreous tile is ideal for kitchens where the flooring can be most vulnerable to stains. Install floor tiles that are stain-resistant in these spaces, and stay away from travertine or slate, which can be much more prone to absorbing unsightly stains. Check the porosity rating of the tile to ensure that it won’t absorb water or show permanent stains over time.

Modern look and Aesthetic Custom Designs

Vinyl Bathroom tiles
A great way to add color and patterns to your kitchen, foyer, bathroom, or laundry room. Featuring Vesdura Vinyl Tile – Retro Collection in White & Retro Green SKU: 15270446

If you want to create a custom look, seek out hand-painted or handcrafted tile. While this option is often more expensive than mass-produced tiles, it will definitely add a unique aesthetic to the home. Modern tiles include glass, metal, and textured tiles that add visual interest to a room. Explore a variety of finishes and materials until you find one that will be versatile yet modern for an updated look in any space.

Glazed vs. Unglazed Floor Tiles

There are some distinct differences between glazed and unglazed tiles that could affect your project. Here is some more information regarding glazed vs. unglazed floor tiles to help you decide which is best.

Is glazed tile better than unglazed tile?

Glazed tile undergoes a firing process that leaves a smooth, sleek finish behind. Glazed tile looks beautiful, but it also has a few downsides, which we’ll discuss below. While glazed tile has some perks, it’s not necessarily better than unglazed tile for every application. It really depends on how you want the finished product to look and how durable it will need to be.

What are the pros and cons of glazed tile?

The pros of glazed tile are that it presents a smooth, sleek, and shiny finish that adds a luxurious look to your floors. This tile is also easy to keep clean thanks to the smooth finish. However, due to its high luster, glazed tile shows scratches more easily, and it’s also not as slip-resistant as unglazed tile.

What are the pros and cons of unglazed tile?

Unglazed tile has a more earthy aesthetic than glazed tile, so it’s not available in as many colors or finishes as glazed tile. This option is ideal for areas where you want a durable tile that adds a neutral look to the room. Unglazed tile is thicker, more durable, and more scratch-resistant than glazed tile, making it a better choice for areas with high traffic or moisture.

Wood-Look Floor Tile

If you love the look of hardwood but don’t enjoy the high maintenance, wood-look floor tile is an excellent alternative. This flooring is durable and comes in a myriad of finishes that can range from stark white to gray and brown in a range of neutral shades.

Cabot Italian Porcelain Tile - Saddle Wood in Colonial Wood
This tile goes well with both traditional and contemporary décor. Featuring Cabot Italian Porcelain Tile – Saddle Wood in Colonial Wood SKU: 15221432

What is wood look tile?

Wood-look tile is commonly made of porcelain or ceramic and comes in plank shapes similar to real wood. This floor tile has a texture that resembles the grain in real wood, but it’s thicker and installed differently than actual hardwood. You don’t need to worry about sealing, sanding, or refinishing wood look tile. It provides you with the beauty of wood without the extra care that hardwood floors require to keep them looking new. This tile also resists scratches and stains quite well, making it a great long-term choice for flooring.

Tips for Maintaining Floor Tiles

To maintain your new floor tiles, make sure you wipe up spills as soon as possible. Most floor tiles only need to be swept clean or mopped to keep them looking new and in good condition. Depending on the type of floor tile material you install, you may need to coat it with a protective sealant to ensure that it doesn’t absorb water or other liquids.

Floor Tile FAQs

How long does tile flooring last?

According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders, ceramic and porcelain tile can last between 75 to 100 years. Natural stone tile like granite or marble may last longer, at approximately 100 years or longer.

Can tile flooring be repaired?

Most tile flooring can be repaired by simply removing the damaged tile and replacing it with a new piece. Grout lines can crack or become brittle over time, but all that’s needed is some new grout to fill in the gaps. Certain types of tile can be repaired with a special repair kit to fill in cracks. If you repair tile this way, make sure you get a color match so that the repair isn’t visible once it’s complete.

Is tile flooring waterproof?

Install non-vitreous tile flooring to prevent water from absorbing into the material. Almost all tile flooring is waterproof to some degree, but always check the porosity, especially if you plan to install it in a kitchen, basement, or bathroom.

Can tile flooring be painted?

Tile flooring can be painted, but it’s not recommended. The paint can peel over time, especially if it’s in moist areas of the home. Painted tile can also peel or show damage if it’s installed in high foot traffic areas of the home.

Can tile flooring be regrouted?

Most tile flooring can easily be regrouted, as long as the tile is adhered properly and isn’t loose. Most homeowners can regrout their tile flooring DIY with some fresh, new grout and a few tools like a trowel and sponge.

Can floor tiles be used on walls?

Floor tiles may be installed on walls, although they may be too heavy and could fall off if not installed properly. Make sure you choose the correct adhesive if you plan to install floor tiles on the wall. Wall surfaces should be clean and free of dirt or debris before installation to ensure the best adhesion.

Can floor tile be used for a shower?

Mosaic tiles are ideal for showers, but you can also install glazed porcelain or ceramic tile in this part of the bathroom. Check to ensure that the tile is completely waterproof before installing it in a shower or other part of the bathroom.

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Adrienne Brookbanks