Learn more about all the options you have when choosing tile for your home.
Durable and low maintenance tile is the classic flooring for moisture prone rooms. I'm Lacey Howard. How do you know what's right for you when there is a multitude of shapes, sizes, and colors to choose from? All types of tile are very durable and resistant to stains, odors, fire, scratches, and water. Tile can be categorized into ceramic and porcelain. At first glance they look similar. The difference comes in their durability. Porcelain tile is baked at a much higher temperature and is harder, denser, and nonporous. Porcelain is a great choice for floors. Wear shows less because the color permeates the tile body. Ceramic tile is a mix of clays molded into a shape and hardened by firing. Ceramic tiles can be glazed which gives the tile its color and nonporous, impermeable finish for interior walls. Unglazed or thorough body construction offers a more dense durable surface, perfect for heavy activity areas. Tiles come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Tiles as large as 16 and 24 inches square are a popular choice as they allow a solid surface look because of fewer grout lines. At the other end of the spectrum, tiny mosaic tiles are at their largest 2 inches squared. They look tricky and time consuming but they come mounted on a mesh backing for easier installation. No matter a tile size, check for its ASTM rating. Tiles are measured on moisture and slip resistance as well as abrasion. Abrasion resistance is broken into classes. Class 1, the weakest, is suggested for wall applications only. Class 3 can be used for residential floors. Class 5 can be installed anywhere, even commercial setting. Slip resistance is rated by a tile's coefficient of friction or COF. Look for high COF numbers for wet floors. Another important rating for floors exposed to water is moisture absorption. Non-, semi-, and vitreous tiles are suited for indoor use only. Impervious tiles are frost proof and can be used in exterior areas where freeze-thaw conditions exist. Finally shade variation is an inherent element in all ceramic products. If you want consistent color and texture, look for low variation ratings. If you embrace naturally occurring changes, random is the highest shade variation available. I hope this overview of tile flooring has given you an idea of what options might work best in your home.