Classic Tile, Modern Looks: Discover Your New Tile in Your Home.
Tile flooring is famous for its classic look, versatility and practically indestructible composition. Because tile is naturally waterproof, it is the only flooring option that you can use literally anywhere - bathrooms, showers, mudrooms, outdoors, you name it.
To determine which tile is best for you, we’ll look at the type, construction, appearance and PEI Rating.
Types of Tile :
Tile is one of the few flooring options that you will also see used on walls, showers and kitchen backsplash. Many homeowners think all ceramic tiles are versatile enough for any application, but that is not the case.
Any floor tile can be used on walls. However, not every wall tile can be used as flooring.
Floor Tile: Think for a moment about the use and abuse your floor withstands compared to your walls? I don’t know about you, but I don’t typically have midnight dance parties while blasting my favorite 90s hits on my walls.
Ceramic floor tiles are specially designed to hold up to the abuse of heavy foot traffic. They are less intricate, less delicate than many wall-only tile options.
Typically, for floor tile, you’ll want to go with a larger tile (large format tiles and wide planks are super in right now!) and a higher PEI Rating. We’ll discuss PEI Ratings more below.
Wall Tile: Unless you are ridiculously skilled, you probably won’t be spending much time walking all over your wall tiles. These tiles require lower PEI Ratings (typically 1-2) and less durability overall.
Wall tiles are often smaller and more decorative than traditional floor tiles. Large format tiles are a little trickier to install, and wall tile is often a more challenging installation already so we recommend keeping things small.
Since wall tiles are most commonly used in showers and water-prone areas, we recommend making sure your wall tile has a glazed finish.
Backsplash: Backsplash is technically a wall tile, but not all wall tiles are backsplash. The term backsplash refers to a more compact area, typically above a stove or sink. That’s why it’s called backsplash - it’s the backing that protects your wall from splashes from cooking, dishes, aggressive hand gestures while drinking wine, etc.
Traditionally, backsplash tiles will offer the most intricate designs. They are often intended to be a design focal point adding a little pizzazz in your space.
Tile Flooring Uses:
One of the best parts about tile flooring is you can use it literally anywhere. Water, outdoor elements and commercial foot traffic are no sweat for ultra-durable ceramic floor tile.
Residential Floor Tiles: For homes and other low-traffic areas, your options are endless! As long as the tile you choose is rated for use as flooring, you’re good to go.
In residential applications, you can get away with a lower PEI Ratings (we usually recommend at least a 3) and, ultimately, a lower-cost product. Not to worry though, these affordable tile flooring options still provide superb durability in trendy, upscale looks.
Commercial Floor Tiles: For commercial environments with heavy foot traffic, you just need a little more umph in your floor. After all, tile is known for lasting decades, even centuries, and you might as well take advantage of that full lifespan.
To ensure your floor can hold up to whatever use and abuse you throw at it, we recommend choosing a ceramic tile with a PEI Rating of 4-5. These tiles are still quite affordable in terms of commercial flooring and can truly last the lifetime of your business.
Outdoor Floor Tiles: Outdoor floor tiles are the toughest, burliest of the bunch. These tiles have to not only hold up to foot traffic but also be able to withstand all the elements. Outdoor ceramic floor tiles are specially designed to hold up to direct sunlight, rain, sleet, snow, you name it!
To ensure these tiles are up to the test, they are typically finished with a tougher glaze than traditional indoor ceramic tile. They will often look less polished than indoor tiles, as well.
When you’re looking for an outdoor flooring tile, you want to make sure the surface is textured, Whether it’s a rainy day or a sunny pool party, these tiles will certainly be exposed to water, and a textured surface helps make them more slip-resistant, keeping you and your family safer.
How do you know if a tile is suitable for outdoor use? That’s easy - we tell you! Just check the product specs or use the outdoor filter to find a stylish, durable floor tile that is rated for outdoor use.
Tile Flooring Construction:
As the flooring world expands, you may notice that you’re starting to see floor tiles in many new materials - vinyl, wood plastic composite, even laminate. But, traditionally the term tile refers to ceramic and stone.
When we speak to tile flooring, we’re referring specifically to ceramic tile. However, even in ceramic tile, there is a lot of variety.
Ceramic Tile: Ceramic floor tiles are made from clay that is pressed and kiln fired, making it extremely durable. Since clay is a naturally occurring material, ceramic tile is an environmentally-responsible flooring option that has maintained its popularity for centuries, even in the face of new flooring technologies.
Porcelain Tile: Porcelain tile is a type of ceramic tile. All porcelain tile is ceramic, but not all ceramic tile is porcelain.
Porcelain floor tiles are known for being the best of the best - the toughest, most durable and most impervious to water. They are denser and more durable than other ceramic options.
The biggest visual difference between porcelain and non-porcelain ceramic tiles is that porcelain tiles have a through-body composition. That means the colors and look are consistent through the entire body of the tile from top to bottom.
Other ceramic tiles, however, contain a red body (just like the clay they are made from) with their color/design only on top. This means that if a tile gets chipped, porcelain tiles will still maintain their look, while traditional ceramic will show the red body color.
Most outdoor and commercial flooring tiles are porcelain. For residential use, you can use either regular ceramic or porcelain tiles. However, porcelain tiles are recommended for showers and other areas where a large amount of water will be present.
When looking for ceramic floor tiles, you’ll notice you have different “body” options. It sounds a little bit like a bad dating app, but with tile flooring, the “body” simply refers to what’s below the glaze.
You will typically find 3 types of tile bodies to choose from.
- Body Match: This is what you’ll see in porcelain floor tiles where the body (inside) of the tile matches the glaze (outside). This becomes important if you ever chip your floor and can’t replace the tile immediately.
- Red Body: This is typical in traditional ceramic tiles. You will see a decorative top layer, but the inside of the tile maintains the red clay color. This is not typically a problem unless your tile becomes damaged.
- Double Loaded: Porcelain tiles can also go through a process known as doubling loading. In this process, extra design and textures are added to the top half of the tile. In this case, the top half of the tile does not match the bottom half. This often yields more appealing visuals but could be problematic if you get a deep gash or chip in your tile.
The finish is simply the top layer of your tile. There are 3 common types of finish for ceramic floor tiles.
- Glazed: The glaze is like the finishing touch to your tile. It works like a bodyguard to protect your tile from moisture and stains. Most ceramic tiles are glazed, but people sometimes prefer the natural, earthy look of unglazed tiles. Additionally, the glaze can cause these tiles to be more slippery when wet so we recommend using a textured tile if you plan to use a glazed tile in a bathroom or water-prone area.
- Polished: For a truly flawless surface, polished porcelain floor tiles are ground down to a high polish just like natural stones like marble and granite. A polished finish protects your tile from absorbing dirt and debris, offering you a sharper looking floor with less maintenance.
- Unglazed: Unglazed ceramic tiles have no extra finish added after firing. They often look more earthy and natural than glazed ceramic tiles, but they are not quite as impervious to liquid or as easy to maintain. While these tiles can (and are) still used in rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens, they will require more maintenance than their safeguarded glazed counterparts.
Tile Flooring Looks:
This is the fun part Tile has come a long way in terms of looks.
Previously, tile resembled traditional stone, offering a classic, muted look that was beautiful but not necessarily exciting. However, technological advances have changed all that! Wood-look tile flooring is now taking the world by storm, and you’ll even see some surprising decorative looks, as well.
Wood-Look Tile Flooring:
It’s no surprise these gorgeous tiles that look like wood are just about the hottest thing on the flooring market. In fact, manufacturers are now able to mimic all the hottest wood flooring trends with textured looks and everything.
You’ll now see wood-look tiles even mimicking the trending textures of solid hardwood, including wirebrushed, handscraped and distressed looks. Each textured wood look comes with its own unique style and character.
Wood-look tile floors make your home look warm, current and expensive. Choosing an ultra-durable tile over finicky hardwood will offer you an elegant look with without the worry and maintenance of solid hardwood.
Stone-Look Tile Flooring:
Natural stone looks are increasingly becoming more popular due to their surge in accessibility. With current advancements to flooring technology, these stone-look ceramic tiles are more convincing than ever before.
Stone looks are extremely popular in kitchens and bathrooms. The continued demand for these natural looks in affordable ceramic floor tile is pushing manufacturers to go beyond, offering beautifully convincing stone looks in a variety of natural looks.
Popular stone looks include:
- Marble: Clean and classic, showing impeccable style. Shhh...they’ll never know it’s not real marble.
- Limestone: Known for its fossilized patterns, a limestone-look ceramic tile will instantly elevate the look of your room without the maintenance associated with soft, fussy limestone.
- Travertine: Popular in neutral brown tones, travertine appears more textured than marble and other natural stone looks.
- Slate: Often in darker natural tones with higher color variation, slate-look tiles provide a distinctive look that makes your flooring a focal point in your space.
In tile flooring, shade variation refers to each individual tile. You will find everything from low shade variation where almost all tiles look identical to high variation and random looks where there is a large disparity between tiles and planks.
High variation and random variation are currently trending as they most closely resemble natural materials. Medium-variation tiles will yield a more traditional (but less realistic) look.
Tile Flooring Colors:
You can find ceramic tile flooring options mimicking all the hottest colors in natural stone and wood flooring colors, such as white marble, chalky slate, hickory or acacia wood, etc. Find trending gray looks or go with an airy blonde wood or white stone.
You can also find fun, bright colors in decorative looks for something a little different. These options don’t typically resemble your natural materials, but they’re a fun upgrade if you’re looking for that splash of color.
Tile Flooring Shapes & Sizes:
Traditionally, tile flooring only came in squares and wider rectangles. Now, wood-look tile planks are taking the flooring world by storm, soaring above traditional shapes.
Additionally, you’ll see the presence of hexagon and mosaic tiles adding visually appealing trendy shapes to a previously dull area.
Right now, large tiles and planks are all the rage. They make your space look larger and provide fewer grout lines than smaller tiles.
Tile Flooring FAQs:
Still, have questions about Tile? Check out some of our most frequently asked questions.
Is tile waterproof? Tile is naturally extremely water-resistant when installing properly. Now that doesn't mean all tile can be installed in the shower, tub or even pool. You will want to find tile specifically designed for wet locations which come with some additional features like slip-resistant tile to avoid damaged tile or even injuries.
Can floor tile be used on walls? Most floor tiles can be installed on the walls. Depending on the size, weight, and installation location for the tile are all factors when installing floor tile on a wall. You will want to consult with your contractor beforehand. Wall tile, however, can not be installed on the floor. Wall tile is typically a thinner product again to keep the weight of the tile down to be installed on the wall. Wall tile installed on the floor will crack and break with everyday traffic because of its a thinner product than floor tile.
What's the best way to maintain porcelain and ceramic tile? Whether you choose porcelain or ceramic tile, you can confidently purchase each knowing they come with a low-maintenance product for your project. A simple broom or mopping will keep your tile looking new with everyday traffic. You will, however, want to clean and reseal your grout once a year to keep the tiles in tip-top shape with everyday use.
How much does it cost to install tile? Like most design and building products, the cost of installing tile varies. Depending on your project there can be a wide variety of options, the cost ranges from $2.00 to $100.00 per square foot. The best practice is to get three different quotes and then choose the best option for you.
What does it mean backsplash is mounted on a sheet? Do you have to peel the sheet off to install it? And will each piece interlock for install? No, you do not peel the sheet off of backsplash. The sheet is there to keep the design of backsplash to make installation easy while grouting the product into place. Each sheet is designed to work interlock or installed together flawlessly.