Tile is one of the most versatile materials you can use for the floors in your home.
But if you’ve ever visited a flooring store for ideas, you were probably overwhelmed at the possibilities. You’ll find every color of the rainbow. Patterns – yep, you’ll find a huge selection. Tiles come in a wide variety of sizes too.
Where do you start?
How do you decide?
Tile is a great choice for the high-traffic areas of your home. Tile can last for years with proper care and maintenance. And durability? We can’t say enough about how easy tile is to maintain. It’s a great choice in a busy home.
But before you pick on color or pattern alone, there are a few things you should know about tile material. In general, tile can be placed into three different categories: clay (porcelain and ceramic), stone, and glass.
Think of clay tile as the workhorse of the industry. This is where you’ll find high-quality tile at economical prices. This is also where you’ll find the widest selection.
Clay tile is made of clay. Manufacturers quarry clay, press it into a mold, apply extreme pressure, and heat it to a high temperature to seal it into size. Clay tiles are a great choice for high moisture areas of your home, including the kitchen, bathrooms, entryways, and laundry room. They are one of the most durable materials to install, and offer water-resistance where you need it most. Plus you can’t ignore the colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes that make clay tiles the perfect product to install throughout your home.
You’ll find clay tiles listed as ceramic or porcelain.
For ceramic tile, materials such as shale, gypsum, and sand are combined and molded together, then are worked into a material called bisque. Once molded, they are fired in a kiln at extreme temperatures; the higher the temperature, the stronger the tile. Yet ceramic tiles are porous right out of the kiln. A glaze is applied before they are placed back into a kiln and fired again.
This molding process gives ceramic tile its versatility. If you can dream up a color, pattern, style, or size, chances are there’s a ceramic tile option to fit your needs.
Porcelain tile is a form of ceramic tile that meets higher moisture standards. According to the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency, porcelain tile is ceramic tile that has a water absorption of 0.5 percent or less. The clay used in porcelain tiles is more refined. It’s fired at higher temperatures. It’s manufactured under greater pressure than its ceramic counterparts.
That also means porcelain tile has more flexibility in the manufacturing process. If you want the looks of natural stone with the benefits of clay tiles, porcelain is your answer.
It’s hard to ignore the natural beauty of stone. It combines rustic good looks with strength and durability.
Natural stone is quarried in different places throughout the world. It’s slabbed, finished, and cut to size. Because stone is natural forming, they vary in size and strength, depending on the material you select.
Granite is a popular choice for countertops and backsplashes. It also makes a great choice for flooring. People select granite because of its strength and durability. It can be polished to resist scratching, and is completely waterproof when sealed. When people select granite for their countertops, they choose it based on color variances and unique veining. When you apply granite to flooring, these unique patterns can be carried throughout the home in beautiful ways.
Marble tile offers many of the same benefits as granite. You’ll find the colors, shapes, and sizes can give any room in your home a personalized touch. However, marble is more porous than granite, which means it’s more susceptible to stains and scratches. If you install marble in your home, especially in high traffic areas, proper maintenance and sealing will be required on a regular basis.
If you’re looking for an earthy, natural look, you can’t go wrong with limestone. While color and pattern choices are minimal, if you’re looking for an earthy, unique texture, you can’t ignore limestone. Limestone is less dense than both granite and marble, and is easily stained and scratched. Regular maintenance is mandatory to keep limestone tile looking its best. But if your goal is to create a natural look throughout your home, give limestone a second look.
Slate is also a durable stone tile that adds a dark, modern look to your home. Depending on how it’s quarried, it can take on a textured look, or honed and smoothed for a softer finish. Its hardness means its water resistant, making it an excellent choice for high traffic areas in your home.
Like limestone, sandstone is a softer stone that comes in lighter shades of brown, tan, red, and gold. It’s beautiful in the right area, but it’s porous and will stain and scratch easily. It’s also softer underfoot than other stone choices, making it a good choice if you’re looking for smooth surfaces with natural beauty.
When you’re looking to add uniqueness and a punch of color to a room, it’s hard to ignore the possibilities glass tile brings to the market. While glass tile made its way to design centers a few decades ago, it’s never lost its reputation for being able to bring a little bit of fine and whimsy to surfaces throughout your home.
Keep in mind that glass tiles can crack under pressure. You’ll most likely find splashes of glass tiles built into backsplashes and used as accents. They are usually smaller in size, and allow you to create unique patterns by installing one tile at a time.
What’s Right For Your Home?
If you’re remodeling your home and looking for the perfect tile to include in your design, the best place to start is by stopping by our showroom and start comparing your options. With a little bit of thought and planning, the sky’s the limit with what is possible with this material. You’ll find every color, size, pattern, and shape you can think of, and even some you didn’t know existed.
Stop by today to see our entire tile selection today.