Tile has been around for centuries, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a beautiful, long-lasting, highly customizable product that works on floors, walls, or as decorative accents. If you’re looking for a new floor with versatile style options and high-end appeal, tile might be the perfect choice for you.
But there’s a lot of variety even within the tile market, in terms of composition, price, applications, and more. If you’re wondering how to choose tile flooring that’s going to be the best fit for your home and family, here are some things you’ll want to consider.
Types of tile
There are two different types of manmade tile – ceramic and porcelain. Both fall under the umbrella of ceramic tile, and are both made by baking clays. However, porcelain tiles are fired at higher temperatures for a longer time than ceramic tiles, making the finished product more durable and dense, as well as more water-resistant than ceramic. In fact, porcelain tile is required to have an absorption rate of 0.5 percent or lower. Both products can use printing to achieve a variety of looks.
Natural stone, including marble, travertine, limestone, and slate, are also options for homeowners looking for tile. There are a number of differences between different natural stone types, including appearance, price, maintenance, best applications, and more, but natural stone products are going to offer the one-of-a-kind, high-end look that many homeowners prefer. With proper care, natural stone floors can last a lifetime.
Glazed vs unglazed
When it comes to ceramic and porcelain tile, there are two types of finishes: glazed and unglazed. Glazed tiles go through an extra step in the firing process, where an extra layer of liquid glass is added.
Unglazed tiles tend to be thicker and more dense, and provide better slip resistance than glazed tiles, making them a better fit for high-traffic areas of the home, like entryways, or rooms like bathrooms or laundry rooms, where there can be a lot of moisture.
Unglazed porcelain tile also features through-body color; meaning, if the tile chips, it won’t be as noticeable because the product carries its color or design throughout. Glazed tile, on the other hand, has its color or design printed on the surface, so if the tile chips, it will be more noticeable. Glazed tile, however, tends to be more resistant to staining, because of the extra protective layer.
Tile is pretty versatile and can be used in just about any area of the home. While often a mainstay in kitchens and bathrooms, tile can also be used in hallways, living areas, and even bedrooms. Because porcelain tile is generally impervious to water, it’s great for bathrooms or laundry rooms. For those living in colder climates, tile floors can also be installed with radiant heating systems, for more warmth underfoot.
Ceramic tile, as well as glass and stone mosaics, are good choices for wall applications like kitchen backsplashes. Because ceramic is a bit more delicate than porcelain, it isn’t recommended for high-traffic areas.
Since tile cannot be easily removed or replaced, we recommend that you hire a professional to install your tile floors. Square footage, room shape, subfloor issues, pattern or design preferences, and old floor removal all factor into the installation cost.
Tile floors are durable – pet accidents, spills, foot traffic, or heavy furniture won’t damage them. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are easy to clean, and won’t require much more than a simple sweeping and mopping regimen. Natural stone, on the other hand, requires a bit more TLC. Stone floors will require re-sealing every couple of years, and shouldn’t be cleaned with standard cleaners or soaps, as this can lead to discoloration.
If you think tile is the right product for you, find your local tile supplier here.
About The Author
Proud flooring aficionado and office dog mom, "Flauren" has been a professional writer and editor for more than a decade (though she still maintains her magnum opus was "The Day it Snowed Slurpees," written at the age of 6).
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