Shopping for tile might seem overwhelming at first due to all of the different types of tile available, but it doesn’t have to be.
Some tiles are used for floors in areas where there’s high traffic, while other tiles are fragile and designed for walls only. Keep in mind that every floor tile can also be used as a wall tile – but the opposite isn’t true. If you’re just tiling your walls, you can choose what you like. But, when you’re tiling a floor, you need to be a bit more choosy. Here’s a guide to the most popular tile types and how select the right one for your project.
Ceramic is one of the most popular types of tile. Made out of clay and sand, then molded and fired in a kiln, it’s durable enough to be used for flooring in high traffic areas. The tiles can either be glazed or unglazed, but they’re usually glazed on one side (the side that goes up). Ceramic tile has a much longer life in comparison to other flooring materials due to its scratch resistance, color permanence and strength. Ceramic tiles are also water-resistant, making them an ideal choice for bathrooms, basements, kitchens, porches, laundry rooms, and other moisture-prone areas.
Porcelain tile is similar to ceramic tile, but there are slight differences. Porcelain tiles are generally slightly stronger than ceramic and offer greater design flexibility. Porcelain tiles are made out of a clay-like material, just like ceramic, but the clay used to make porcelain tile is more refined and purified. It’s also fired at a higher temperature, resulting in an extremely dense and hard material. This means porcelain tiles are highly durable and moisture resistant, making them ideal for areas of the home that can get wet—even outdoors.
Travertine tile is made out of natural stone. It’s durability makes it a popular flooring choice, boasting comfortable neutral color tones while adding texture to a room. These tiles are cut at precise 90 degree angles, which makes installation easy because you can place them directly next to each other. Travertine is not recommended for areas with moisture because of the tile’s porous nature.
Slate tile is a fine grained, metamorphic rock that is best suited for floors. Slate tiles in their most natural state, known as ungauged, can vary in thickness and overall size. Techniques such as ‘back buttering,’ or building up adhesive on the back of the tile in order to make it lie flat are sometimes needed, making installation more time-consuming. Gauged slate, which is generally more expensive, will save on time and costs because the tiles have been ground down to a consistent flatness. Slate tiles can be used indoors or outdoors.
Marble is one of the most popular stone tiles, but it isn’t as durable as others. It’s most often used for flooring, on bathroom walls, and on fireplace surrounds. Due to its porous nature, marble is not recommended for kitchens unless the stone is sealed.
Granite tiles are extremely durable and more affordable than marble. Each tile has a different appearance, but once it’s polished, natural granite will maintain its glossy finish for a long time. It can be installed virtually anywhere.
Glass tiles are generally used for walls and backsplashes due to their fragility. One of the main benefits of using glass tile is its versatility. Whether you want the finish to be clear and shiny, reflective, rough, an opaque color, or all of these options simultaneously, the design options are endless. Glass tiles are resistant to stain, mildew, and allergens and can be used in any room.
Now that you know what tile is best suited for your project, stop in to Farha’s Carpet and Building Supply at 808 W. Harry in Wichita, and view our large selection.