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As a homeowner, one of the critical decisions you need to make, whether you’re building your house from scratch or carrying out a renovation project, is what tiles to use in your home.
The type of tile flooring you choose can make or break your improvement project. Furthermore, the type of tiles you settle on can prevent costly maintenance issues in the future.
Understanding the types of tiles and their features can make the selection process easier.
Our ultimate guide lists some common types of tile to consider for your home. We’ve classified these tiles according to their usage, material, how they are manufactured, and more.
Table of Contents
Some of the standard tiles you’ll come across are included below:
Flooring tiles significantly impact the overall look and effect of your living space. The type of floor tiles you choose depends on where they’ll be installed.
A room that attracts a lot of traffic needs durable tiles with a stain-resistant coating. Large floor tiles provide a sense of depth, while small pieces deliver a graphic effect when laid diagonally.
Floor tile materials include ceramic, cement, artistic mosaic, elegant marble, natural rustic stone, and clear glass, which will be covered in detail below.
Wall tiles are similar to floor tiles; the only difference is that the shapes and sizes are smaller than floor tiles, and colors may be more varied. Additionally, wall tiles are less able to be compressed and are used where there are high chances of moisture.
Roofing tiles are used on sloping roofs and are an excellent alternative to corrugated iron sheets.
These tiles should be simple to install, leak-proof, and durable. Some of the roof tiles available in the market include:
- Flat tiles-These tiles have a rectangular shape and are uniform in size and shape. The installer drills two or more holes into the tiles to help fix them on the battens.
Flat tiles need to have a water absorption value that is less than 20% and compressive strength that is over 1066 PSI (pounds per square inch).
- Corrugated tiles- Corrugated tiles resemble corrugated iron sheets. An edge lap and a side lap are formed when placing these tiles. Corrugated tiles have excellent drainage and create a flawless finish.
- Pot tiles- Pot tiles are manufactured on a potter’s wheel. These tiles are placed with their convex sides facing upwards for them to lock.
The tiles have a high absorption value, making them prone to breakage. They are also not as durable compared to flat tiles.
- Mangalore tiles-Mangalore tiles are initially from India and are an economical roofing option. These tiles are simple to install and have an average life of about 20 years.
Drain tiles are used to line drains, such as domestic drains or irrigation drains. They can have a semi-circular, circular, or segmental shape.
These tiles are rare, as most people now install drainage pipes to drain water.
Ceiling tiles are installed on the inside of the roof. Instead of installing a regular ceiling, some people prefer tiles for that architectural view.
There are manufactured and natural stone tiles.
These are synthetic/artificial tiles. They are the opposite of natural tiles.
Manufactured tiles include:
Porcelain tiles are popular in leisure centers, airports, shopping malls, and other commercial locations.
These tiles have a silky-smooth finish, making them classy and elegant. Although you can use porcelain tiles for walls, they work best for floors due to their strength.
Another thing you might not know about porcelain tiles is that they are a derivative of ceramic tiles.
However, what makes porcelain tiles more durable is they are made of purified raw material minerals and are fired at high temperatures for an extended period compared to ceramic tiles. That also makes porcelain tiles less porous and more dense.
Porcelain tiles are available in a matte finish, high gloss finish, and gloss finish. Wooden design porcelain tiles are also available in different sizes, ranging from 6 x 30 inches to 8 x 48 inches.
Although porcelain tiles are durable and varied, they are more expensive than ceramic tiles. Additionally, porcelain tiles can be challenging to drill and cut through.
Ceramic tiles come in different patterns, colors, and designs. These tiles use high temperatures and natural mineral ingredients during the manufacturing process.
A mixture of dolomite, sand, talc, white clay, calcite, and feldspar is used and then poured into molds before being fired in the kiln.
One way to identify ceramic tiles is by pouring water on the bottom surface. If the water soaks in, that confirms that the tile is ceramic. That’s because ceramic tiles have a porous clay backing.
Standard ceramic tile sizes include 24 x 24 inches, 16 x 16 inches, and 12 x 12 inches. You can install ceramic tiles on floors, kitchen, and bathroom.
Although you can use ceramic tiles on the walls, you should note that they are thin compared to floor tiles. Additionally, the wall tiles are available in a matte and glossy finish.
You can also get ceramic glazed tiles that are anti-skid. Commercial grade tiles also have a skid and scratch-resistant coating, which makes them ideal for washrooms.
Ceramic tiles with a wooden design are also commonly used in homes and office spaces. Installation is simple and doesn’t need special tools.
The advantages of ceramic tiles are affordability, durability, easy installation, and simplicity of cleaning. You can also use them in kitchens, floors, and walls.
However, ceramic tiles have considerable variation, and you need to be careful when comparing the different styles and sizes available.
Cement tiles are often used on floors. These tiles have different finishes, designs, and patterns, making them versatile for interior and exterior applications.
You can choose glazed cement tiles with anti-skid features for your parking lot and pavements, while the plain ones are best used as interior tiles.
Vitrified tiles are the refined version of ceramic tiles that work best on walls and floors. The tiles consist of quartz, silica, and refined clay mixture placed in molds before passing through high temperatures.
One way to identify vitrified tiles is their mirror finish and almost invisible tile joints.
Vitrified tiles are durable and have advanced features compared to ceramic tiles. They are also easy to maintain, have texture/grain consistency, and are waterproof against scratches and stains. However, they are costly to install and cannot be repaired.
Terracotta tiles are some of the oldest tiles found in most heritage buildings. These tiles are made of clay and have a red color, which stems from the iron content in the clay.
Different terracotta tile designs work for both interior and exterior use. Terracotta tiles are a great choice if you’re looking for that vintage look.
Unfortunately, terracotta tiles tend to retain water and are not passed through high temperatures, which makes them weak. They could crack fast if left unsealed.
Quarry tiles are manufactured from grinding materials like clay, feldspar, and shale and molding them into tiles. That makes them useful for both indoors and outdoors.
Travertine tiles are manufactured from limestone found around caves and springs. Shopping for these tiles gives you a wide variety of colors.
The Romans used travertine on their buildings back in their day due to their stylish looks and durability.
In our modern age, these tiles are used in bathrooms, walkways, and pool decks where there’s high water exposure.
They are also an eco-friendly and biodegradable option, which makes them ideal for the environment.
Glass tiles are flat, small tiles installed to enhance water resistance or the strength of a surface. Some people use these tiles for decoration.
There are three types of glass tiles: cast, fused, and coated glass.
Cast tiles have glass pieces embedded into a mold that is then warmed to produce a layered appearance.
Coated glass tiles are manufactured using sheet glass under a low-temperature heat setup.
Fused tiles consist of flat glass cut into a the shape of a tile. It’s then placed in a furnace. You can find these tiles in different configurations, which makes them versatile. Some have a covering to prevent wear.
These tiles are available in different colors, transparencies and forms. You’ll also find them simple to clean, and they make a surface appear large and bright.
Glass tiles are often used in kitchens and showers to make them appear more radiant and bigger.
The only disadvantage is that they are challenging to install and are expensive compared to ceramic and marble.
Mosaic tiles are available in different colors and shapes, making them versatile. Although they are small compared to other types of tiles, they have depth and add much-needed color to an area.
These tiles are often used in kitchen/bathroom counters, floors, walls, and outdoor spaces.
Encaustic or French cement tiles are popular among interior designers and architects.
Unlike other manufactured tiles passed through fire to mold them, the encaustic tiles use a hydraulic press to create a multi-colored pattern. Although they are hand-made tiles, there are different manufactured encaustic effect tiles.
Natural Stone Tiles
Natural stone tiles are created by cutting and polishing natural rocks. The type of rock used determines the strength and physical properties of the tile.
Some of the tiles under this category are:
Marble tiles are manufactured from a soft stone or a metamorphic rock. The rock has different shades of colors.
Most people prefer marble tiles for interior decor due to their grandeur and elegant look.
These tiles are available in various sizes, depending on your preferences. The best part is that you can get a big tile and cut it to your desired dimensions.
You can also find them in different colors, the most common ones being black marble, yellow marble, green marble, and pink marble.
Another thing to note is that the marble tiles’ price will depend on the size and quality.
Premium quality tiles are expensive and sold in big sizes, while inexpensive marble tiles come in standard sizes – 24 x 48 inches, 12 x 12 inches, and 24 x 24 inches.
Marble tiles are high-maintenance and are not ideal for heavy-traffic places.
Marble tiles’ advantages are the vast color choice, elegant looks, and availability. The downside is that marble tiles have low stain resistance, scratch quickly, and are high-maintenance, which makes them unsuitable for high-traffic places.
Granite tiles are an excellent option for rustic rooms. These tiles have a speckled appearance and look polished. They also have a glossy, smooth finish on the back and are often used on kitchen and bathroom countertops.
Granite is a hard stone, and is durable and robust.
Unlike marble tiles, granite tiles have a jointless finish that gives them an elegant appearance. Furthermore, they are not affected by heavy traffic and are available in various color choices.
Nonetheless, granite tiles are challenging to cut and can be slippery when wet.
Limestone tiles have a natural look and stay in good shape for some time. These tiles have a matte finish, smooth back, and light color. Most homeowners use these tiles for flooring.
Unlike granite tiles, limestone tiles are easy to cut, inexpensive, and have varied color tones.
The downside is that these tiles can be heavy and need regular maintenance. They are also not as durable due to their soft material.
Slate is another popular tile type made of natural mineral deposits. The material is slip-resistant, thanks to its grainy texture.
Most people prefer to use slate tiles on floors due to their durability and elegance.
The only disadvantage is that these tiles are more expensive than ceramic tiles, although they can be affordable compared to marble and granite.
Kota Stone Tiles
Kota stone tiles are mainly used as floor tiles both indoors and outdoors. You can find different finish variations that are glossy or matte.
These tiles are inexpensive compared to marble tiles. The different shades of yellow, blue, gray, and light green give you an option to choose a color that matches your decor.
Under decorative tiles, there are wooden tiles, PVC tiles, 3D effect tiles, and glass mosaic tiles.
Different types of tiles are designed to meet specific needs. Whether you’re looking for something functional and practical or something decorative and elegant, there are tiles to meet your needs.
With our list above, you can now investigate the various types available, where they are used, and their maintenance needs.