Tile Flooring Introduction
Tile typically refers to manufactured pieces of ceramic clay, natural stone or porcelain. For centuries, natural tile has been used in building design as both a flooring solution, a wall covering, and in decorative backsplashes – and it’s still commonly in use today! We’ll dive into more detail to show you the many features that have allowed tile flooring to stand the test of time.
What is ceramic tile?
Ceramic tile is a natural product that consists of clay, water and other minerals coated with a colorful ceramic finish. Some of the features of ceramic tile include:
• Highly durable when properly installed
• Resistant to scratches, stains, odors, dirt, fire, allergens & bacteria
• Easily cleaned with a regular wet mop
Modern technology enables tile manufacturers to create products in just about any color, size, shape and texture, giving you practically endless options for customization.
What is natural stone tile?
Stone tile can refer to flooring made from any number of mountain-born minerals. Some common types of natural stone tile include marble, granite, travertine, sandstone, slate and limestone – each of which varies slightly in its properties. Some key considerations when shopping for natural stone tile are:
• Whether the material you choose is impervious to moisture – some stones are, some aren’t, but various surface treatments are available to help
• Because stone tile materials come from the Earth, they feature rich natural variation – meaning that every stone floor is completely unique!
• Stone is natural and nonpolluting, eco-friendly from manufacture to disposal – purchase locally sourced stone to cut down even further on your impact
Stone will help you to create a space that looks and feels natural, giving your living spaces a direct connection to the natural world that’s hard to beat!
What is porcelain tile?
Porcelain is actually a ceramic material, and you may hear the two words used interchangeably. However, there are some specific benefits and differences that porcelain tile flooring apart from the overall ceramic tile category. At a basic level, porcelain tile is:
• More impervious to moisture than ceramic tile
• Able to be used both indoors and outdoors
• More dense & durable than ceramic tile
• Slightly more expensive than ceramic up front
So, while from the same family of tile, porcelain has its pros and cons when compared to ceramic.
So, which tile flooring is the best?
This question doesn’t have one straightforward answer – the best flooring for your needs will depend on the type of room you’re renovating, your lifestyle and your personal style. Read on for our tips & considerations for choosing the best tile.
In a bathroom: Ceramic or porcelain mosaic tile
Bathrooms are some of the smallest rooms in your home – and for a small room, small tile is best. Try a mosaic tile for a beautiful pattern that also serves a practical purpose. Installing smaller tiles means you’ll have more grout lines, which will ultimately provide more traction in a moisture-prone room.
Dolphin Style Tip:
Are you renovating a full or half bathroom? If there is no bath or shower in the room, you can cut costs by opting for a ceramic tile, since there is less of a chance of moisture damage. For a full bathroom, porcelain will be the more durable choice.
In a kitchen: Glazed porcelain tile
Kitchens are high-traffic areas, often the central hub or your home and a place where you’ll spend plenty of time preparing meals & entertaining guests. Choose a glazed tile that will be impervious to moisture. Porcelain is better than natural stone, for this reason, and it’s also sturdy enough to stand up to impacts from dropped dishes without scratching.
Dolphin Style Tip:
Make a small kitchen feel larger with larger tiles! In addition, you can opt for a darker grout color to help hide potential stains better.
In a living room: Natural stone tile
Living areas & bedrooms commonly feature hardwood as a hard-surface flooring, but natural stone tile can be a beautiful alternative, especially in warmer climates like Florida. Tile stays cool, and can be paired with one or more area rugs to add some cushion.
Dolphin Style Tip:
Try a wood-look stone tile! This durable alternative to wood is designed to look like the natural wood, but features the added durability of natural stone. Stone also distributes heat better than wood, which is great if your home is equipped with radiant heating during the cooler months.
Is tile flooring waterproof?
In short: No, tile flooring is not waterproof, and neither is the grout between tiles. In fact, tile & grout will actually retain water if not properly installed.Luckily, this isn’t a huge issue even for tile in a bathroom – as long as your tile isn’t regularly submerged in water, it likely won’t sustain too much moisture damage.
Here are some tips to help keep your tile in proper condition for watery environments:
• Tile can (and should) be sealed to prevent water penetration
• Grout lines, especially in bathrooms, should be kept tight
• Choose textured tiles to add some grip to your floors and prevent slipping
• If you’re choosing natural stone tiles, avoid non-vitreous materials
Still have questions about tile flooring? Get in touch with the experts here at Dolphin Carpet & Tile! We deal with more tile than any other flooring material, and our team has accumulated many years of industry experience that will help to guide you to the right flooring solution for your needs.