Different Types of Floor Tiles

7th Jun 2021

In the recent past, tiles have been greatly characterized efficient for use in mainly the bathrooms and kitchen. This however has changed rapidly over a short period of time due to the fact that a number of us have decided to borrow the idea of using tiles for more purposes rather than the previously obvious cases. This advancement has made tiles to be more useful in covering walls and floors of different structures. Its so simple to think about ceramic and porcelain tiles when someone poses the question of different tile types. It may come as a surprise to a handful of us to now know that there are a wide variety of tiles. To name a few, they include: metal tiles, stone tiles, glass tiles and cement tiles.

The wide tile variety can be scaled down to six main types.

  • Porcelain tiles
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Marble tiles
  • Granite tiles
  • Glass tiles
  • Natural stone tiles.

Porcelain tiles – porcelain tiles are often classified as ceramic tiles because of the subtle difference between porcelain tiles and ceramic tiles. Porcelain tiles are manufactured from denser clay and treated at much higher temperatures than non-porcelain ceramic tiles. This process makes the porcelain tiles sturdier and more resistant to damage. This is therefore a key characteristic that makes porcelain tiles the most appropriate option for use as floor tiles both in interior and exterior spaces. The high quality of porcelain tile combined with its durability and design flexibility also makes it a more expensive tile option. Other than just being tough and durable, design of this porcelain tiles incorporates a touch of beauty that elevates any surface they are installed. When considering to buy porcelain floor tiles, please check the R rating for it’s anti-slip properties, especially if you have elderly or young children running around the house.

Ceramic tiles - ceramic tiles are made from natural products, these products consist of the use of white or red clay and sand. All these are later on fired in a kiln. The end product is what we term as ceramic tiles, coming out in the options of glazed and unglazed ceramic tiles. Gazed ceramic tiles have the glossy look while the unglazed ceramic tiles produce a matt finish and more texture, mimicking stone tiles. Ceramic tiles can as well be used as floor tiles in kitchens, bathrooms etc. This is because they are durable to heavy foot traffic, unaffected by stains, water, natural elements and are easy to clean and maintain. Often in the cases of floor tiles, matt tiles are a stand out, they have a traction that makes them reduce the slippery nature of other ceramic tiles. This increases resistance and purposefully explains why matt tiles are considered as floor tiles.

Marble tiles- elegance and refinement is a touch of aesthetics that is core in designing. Marble tiles are the real deal when we have a call for this. Though its very costly, marble tiles produce an alluring look. Marble tiles are hard or almost impossible to replicate as marble exudes a level of elegance and panache that is unique because it is a naturally occurring mineral. The natural stone delivers incredible depth and contrast, displaying a dazzling array colour veining, and is naturally available in a multitude of colours, from beige, green, grey, white, black, and many more. Porcelain floor and wall tiles are stronger and more durable than ceramic floor and wall tiles. A decade ago the world was generally still using ceramic floor and wall tiles. However, with porcelain floor and wall tiles, modern technology allows for magnificent designs which include a replication of real marble and awesome concrete.

Granite tiles- just like the matt floor and wall tiles, granite tiles are characteristically hard and dense and are manufactured from igneous rocks. It’s distinguished from other minerals by the speckled minerals and unique veining of this rock. The toughness of its nature gives it a good reputation for use as floor or wall tile. Granite however has a couple of cons: installation may be cumbersome because its quite heavy, can be extremely cold in humid and wet seasons, needs to be resealed periodically and its also an expensive flooring material.

Glass tiles - glass tiles are a glamorous choice for shower tile and back splash. Glass tiles possess the highest level of stain resistance, even impermeable to red wine and acidic foods like lemon and vinegar. All this can be easily wiped out of glass tile surfaces since they don’t adhere or react to it. Glass tile however falls prey to its vulnerability to easily break under very little pressure impact, hence they are preferably used as wall tiles rather than floor tiles.

Natural stone tiles- other than marble and granite, slate, limestone, sandstone and travertine are other naturally occurring materials used in the manufacture of tiles.

  • Travertine tiles are manufactured from travertine, a type of limestone that is a by-product of hot springs, natural artesian springs, and caves. The material occurs in different forms therefore offers multiple choices in tile variety design for floor tiles, wall tiles etc.
  • Sandstone tiles give the natural feel of outdoor areas. They have a stony look that makes them appear as natural stone but only at the comfort of your house.
  • Slate tiles are greatly used for flooring as they have a high resistance to slipping. Just like the matt tiles, they have a characteristic traction that makes them great in floor tiling. They also keep rooms warm for they are bad conductors of heat.
  • Limestone tiles are part of the natural stone tile types, why look back when you want a tile that is rustic, style filled with natural tones, shades, and variation? This is the excellent option.

Style and beauty in design are the perfect blend to come out with an exceptional look. Looks can not just be constrained on tiles that are all glossy or have a soft texture. Matt tiles are particularly low gloss tiles which make the interpretation of stone or concrete materials perfectly natural. As earlier discussed, matt tiles are the best when you have kids moving around the house, their non-slippery nature adds more friction to their surface hence there is perfect grip when moving on matt tiles. With all its unfinished and natural finish, matt tiles are best for the rustic theme of the house. And if you enjoy the contemporary look, you might find the look of the matt floor tiles a little rustic. If you are to choose the best tiles to be placed on busy places, then choose matt tiles. With their rough texture and surface, they are able to conceal scratches in them as well as strains. This then proves they require low maintenance, and, who would not think of beauty that saves money apart from just being exemplary in style? Considering all the pros associated with matt tiles, we recommend them for use in paving outdoor areas other than just interiors.

Nevertheless, a handful of pros can not go unchallenged. Matt tiles may conceal the scratches, but it definitely does not prevent it. In the cases where there is grease and oil spillages, matt tiles are more profound. Matt tiles have no glossy looks, thus if you want to light up your rooms consider using the other types of tiles instead. Their naturally ragged surface also makes cleaning cumbersome compared to other tile surfaces like the porcelain tiles. Generally, if you are looking for a blend of modern and contemporary design along with high functionality, then you don’t have to look beyond matt finish tiles. I bet in times to come; the use of matt tiles will be more of a rage in conceptual design.

Floor tiles come in a number of different materials, colours and design. If you are looking for floor and wall tiles in the UK, I suggest you better equip yourself with knowledge to be able to distinguish between the different types of wall and floor tiles. There are major characteristics that distinguish floor tiles from wall tiles. Most tiles are made from porcelain and ceramic, these materials mainly have a slick glossy finish. Though floor tiles are also made with these similar materials, they are manufactured to have a certain frictional percentage that will ensure they are not slippery. The surface of floor tiles also allows absorption of water but only 3%, this ensures they do not get water logged when installed in extremely watery places like bathrooms and kitchens. This however is opposed to wall tiles which allow up to 10% water absorption.

To sum up, using wall and floor tiles for your home renovation project is now a must. Trends are increasing, and more people are starting to realise the long term benefits of investing in floor and wall tiles for the home and office. Floor and wall tiles are amongst the oldest flooring types and have grown to be more versatile through better technology and easier access to materials that were once more challenging to obtain. Their diverse nature has made them to be used almost everywhere from new builds to office blocks and shopping malls, from living rooms to bathrooms, kitchens and many more others areas.