Tile and Stone Glossary

A helpful glossary of tile types for remodeling projects, including marble, granite, travertine, and slate

Natural Stone: Granite

Granite is a natural stone created from magma that has cooled beneath the earth's surface. It's available in a wide array of colors and textures, and it's harder than other natural stones, making granite countertops a popular choice. Granite tile is perfect for high-traffic areas.
Courtesy of AKDO

Natural Stone: Marble

Marble is a natural stone created from limestone that has been crushed and heated by the earth for millions of years. Marble tile is available in a variety of colors, and the surface can be highly polished. Marble flooring, countertops, and walls are prone to scratching and etching, but the material can add instant elegance.
Courtesy of Ann Sacks

Natural Stone: Limestone

Limestone is formed from the remains of ancient marine life that have been crushed by the earth's pressure. Usually seen with a honed surface, it may feature visible fossils and is often found in brown, beige, and yellow tones. It can also be used for flooring.
Courtesy of AKDO

Natural Stone: Travertine

Travertine is a limestone formed from minerals that have been dissolved in groundwater and pushed through the earth's crust by water. Travertine tile, a multilayer stone, is available in a variety of earthy colors and offers a sophisticated choice for walls and floors.
Courtesy of AKDO

Natural Stone: Slate

Slate is a fine-grain stone created from shale and clay transformed by heat and pressure. Featuring a textured surface that's naturally slip-resistant, slate flooring can be used inside and out; slate tile can also be used on walls and countertops.

Natural Clay: Ceramic

Ceramic tile is created from a mixture of clays that has been pressed into shape and fired in a kiln at high temperatures. Both glazed and unglazed ceramic tiles are offered in a range of sizes, colors, and designs.
Courtesy of Ceramic Tile Trends

Natural Clay: Porcelain

Porcelain is a type of ceramic tile that is extremely durable and impervious to water absorption. Most porcelain tiles are also frost-resistant, making them excellent for both exterior and interior areas. Porcelain tile is available in a wide range of sizes, colors, and designs.
Courtesy of AKDO

Natural Clay: Terra-Cotta

Terra-cotta floor tiles are made from a mixture of sand and clay that has been molded into shape and fired in a kiln at high temperatures. These naturally brownish-red tiles can bring a rustic look to flooring, walls, and countertops.
Courtesy of Country Floors


Glass tiles are impervious to liquids and resist staining. Often found as small mosaic tiles (sold on mesh-backed sheets), glass is best used on walls or low-traffic floor areas. The tiles are available in a wide range of stock colors and can be ordered in custom color blends.
Courtesy of Hakata

Specialty Tile: Metal

Metal tiles can be made from solid metal or from resin with a metallic coating. Available in a range of finishes, including bronze, copper, and stainless steel, metal tiles are often used as accents in conjunction with other types of tiles.
Courtesy of Crossville Ceramics

Specialty Tile: Leather

Leather tile offers a unique look for walls and floors outside of the kitchen and bath. Real leather floor tiles can be embossed with a variety of textures and will develop a natural patina.
Courtesy of Ann Sacks

Ceramic Tile with Digital Images

These glazed ceramic tiles feature high-resolution digital images fused onto the surface. When the tiles are fired in a kiln, the glaze essentially prints the designs on them. A variety of designs are available, including river rocks, water, shells, and bricks.
Courtesy of Imagine Tile

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