Home » Floor tile buying guide | All about Types, Sizes, Patterns

Floor tile buying guide | All about Types, Sizes, Patterns

When giving your home an updated look, one of the first flooring types that come to your mind is floor tile. Floor tiling is a water-resistant option that is durable, affordable, and easy to maintain.

Floor tile buying guide

It is perfect for your bathroom wall and floor, kitchen, or shower floor since these spaces are in regular contact with water. For decades, floor tile has been a go-to option and an excellent way to maintain the value of your home, and they are still trending today.

They are available in an endless combination of color, texture, and size, providing something for everyone and every style. When considering installing new tiles or replacing an outdated floor, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. We will cpver everything in your floor tile buying guide.

What is the Difference Between Floor Tile and Wall Tile?

When choosing and buying tiles for a floor, you need to keep in mind that not all tiles go on the floor. In addition, tiles come in different types; there are wall tiles, floor tiles, and even backsplash tiles. If you are not clear about the different tiles, it might be challenging to identify them when selecting tiles. 

The floor tile design is sturdy and thick enough to overcome foot traffic. The tile is impact, and stress-strength tested and has a textured surface and a higher Coefficient of Friction to make it safer and easy to walk on.  

On the other hand, the wall tile is light and thin to minimize the vertical drag during installation. Wall tile is easy to break and isn’t best for floor installations. The Coefficient of Friction for the wall tile is relatively lower and more slippery than the floor tile.

Wall tile is easy to work with, especially in bathrooms where hole drilling and much cutting need to be done. They are mainly used to decorate interior walls to avoid spills, pollution, or damage. When installing your wall tiles, ensure you get the right size and weight of the tile. 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Floor Tiles

Tile flooring comes with different benefits and drawbacks and we want to cover all of them.

Benefits of Floor Tiles

You can use floor tiles in different environments, and you do not have to worry about water, stains, or design. Some of the benefits are:

Easy to Maintain

One of the significant advantages that everyone loves about floor tiles is their ease of maintenance. If any dirt, liquid, or stain gets on it, it will always rest on the tile and not get absorbed. It is always easy to mob or wipes away dirt or stains from floor tiles. You can keep your floor tiles clean by using a vacuum with a soft brush attached to them or using a broom to clean loose dirt and debris off the floor.

When cleaning, you can remove stains with any cleaner, and the floor will not get damaged. It’s why most people use ceramic tiles in their bathrooms and kitchens, where spillage is common. Besides being easy to clean, floor tiles will not absorb germs on the floor either. 

Water-Resistant

Floor tiles contain a protective layer on top of the ceramic that is stain and water-resistant. The tiles are also resistant to temperatures with high humidity; therefore, never get worried about being ruined during muggy and hot summers.

Anyone living in a moist environment will benefit from having ceramic floor tiles. If you get unglazed tile, you need to seal them to protect them from any stain or liquid that it might encounter. Otherwise, water will get deep down into the tiles and weaken the installation.

Durable

Floor tiles are hard to crack. When quality installations are being done for your floor tiles, they can last up to 20 years or more if you do good maintenance. Even if one tile cracks, it can only be a severe impact; it is always effortless to replace it. This ensures your cost is always down, and you do not need to replace your tiles regularly.

Cost

Tile flooring is generally affordable by most people. The cost of buying tile is about $5 to $10 per square meter. Tiles on the higher will be made of high-quality materials, while those on the lower end are cheap materials. Tile flooring is more affordable than hardwood but expensive than carpet. 

Drawbacks of Floor Tiles

On the orther hand, there are some drawbacks you should consider when choosing this flooring option.

Cold

Tile flooring usually will not hold or absorb heat well; therefore, most of the time, it gets cold, especially during the winter. In this case, your feet will encounter shock when stepping on the cold floor first thing in the morning.

However, this is advantageous during summer because people will feel great stepping on a cold floor when it is hot outside.

Heavy

Ceramic floor tiles are generally heavy. For that reason, they are not the best choice for upper-story installation. If you must put tiles on the top level of your building, be sure to let a p[professional check the integrity of your structure. Importantly, ensure you do not put extra stress that the design cannot handle. 

Slippery and Hard

For those who want to stand for hours at a time, tiles are not the best material. However, you can throw rugs in places where people stand behind the counter or in front of the kitchen sink.

Because of their hardness, tiles are also slippery and can cause accidents; therefore, tiles should not be installed in liquid or water areas frequently spilled on the floor. It can injure people and leave a mess.

The same thing applies to public bathrooms; if a customer slips in the bathroom because of wet tile flooring, it can result in a lawsuit against the company/ building.

Tile Ratings

Choosing the type of tile you want to use for your floor or wall is both a daunting and exciting experience. Even if you have resolved to a specific ceramic floor tile, the plethora of sizes, shapes, and colors can overwhelm even the most devoted shopper. In addition to that, determining the quality of a tile is not as easy as it may look.

Before you settle on a design, you need to first decide on your planned use’s best quality ceramic floor tile. Luckily, ceramic floor tiles are classified.

Goal is to know which tile rating you should choose based on several factors such as water absorption, friction, frost rating, and Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rating.

6 Main Types of Floor Tiles

Ceramic Tile

1. Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tiles are the most sought-after tiles because they are suitable in many applications. They are made from clay materials that are mined, prepared, and then molded for use. The molding process involves firing the ceramic in a kiln and then treating it with glazed color.

Glazing is what gives the tiles a glass-like surface and a brighter color. The most significant features of the ceramic tiles include the versatility of use, high resistance to abrasion and scratches, and their long life span.

They are a popular choice for home improvement projects and are preferred for wall, floor, and shower floor applications. Because of its durability and affordability, ceramics are an ideal choice for bathroom, front entrance, and kitchen use.

NOTE: Ceramic tiles offer more protection against damage or stain compared to carpet or vinyl flooring. They come in multiple designs and incomparable colors and patterns.

Pros

  • Very durable
  • Many designs option
  • Non-allergenic
  • Impervious to water and stains

Cons

  • Can be cold
  • Very heavy
  • Hard underfoot
  • Time-consuming and difficult to install

2. Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tiles are another popular type that is classified as a type of ceramic tiles. Production involves higher ratio of quartz and silica baked at a higher temperature, making them incredibly dense and complex. They are manufactured from thick clay and possess better resistance to extreme temperatures and frost.

In addition, they are more durable but expensive than their counterparts, red clay ceramic.

Porcelain Tiles come in a variety of patterns, styles, and colors and provide a distinctive look. Texturized, etched, and glazed porcelain tiles usually resemble hardwood planks, industrial bricks, or expensive marble.

NOTE: You can use Porcelain type of tiles for outdoor applications as well. They do not crack, fade, or freeze. They can also be used in kitchen or bath tiles, kitchen backsplashes, and high-traffic areas.

Two types of porcelain tiles exist; Glazed and unglazed porcelain tiles.

Glazed contain a porcelain body covered with patterns of glaze layers applied on the surface.

Unglazed on the other hand lack a layer of glaze. Instead, their entire surface has natural clay that runs all through the whole tile.

The biggest drawback of porcelain tiles is their installation procedure which can be tricky. The tiles require unique materials like a diamond blade wet saw when doing installations.

Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Durability
  • Many designs option
  • Water- and stain-resistance

Cons

  • Difficult installation.
  • High cost.
  • Brittle, heavy, and can be slippery.
  • Grout requires sealing.

3. Glass tiles

Glass tiles contain pieces of glass that are cut and formed into different colors and uniform shapes. The tiles are available both as individual tiles and mosaic collections with a backing of mesh.

This type of tiles is ideal for shower and kitchen backsplash. They have the highest level of stain resistance compared to any type and are even waterproof to acidic lemon juice and red wine.

Glass tiles come in multiple transparencies, colors, shapes and be combined with other materials just as stainless steel. They can make surfaces water repellent, more durable, or used for decoration.

Compared with other tiles, they are the most rigid and break easily under stress. You will find them most commonly in bathrooms, placed on walls, in form of decoration or window details.

There are also glass tiles for the floor but are usually textured to prevent slippage when wet. They can be opaque or transparent depending on the combination of glass and other components.

During the installation of glass tiles, you need to use backings such as green board, cement board, drywall, or concrete.

Pros

  • Unmatched beauty
  • Zero water absorption
  • Eco-friendly
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Requires professional installation

4. Sandstone tiles

Sandstone tiles are popular and beautiful natural floor covering with distinctive styles. They look cozy and classy. We know them since ancient times and have proved to be very reliable floor options. Sandstone tiles are very durable and ideal for putting in high-traffic areas. You could use them outdoor and indoor.

Sandstone tiles go well in bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, and living spaces. Usually come in various styles, sizes, and colors. You can be sure, they will bring a fantastic earthy appeal to any used place.

Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure they last longer. Preventative steps are also crucial in protecting the tiles for many years to come. You can arrange furniture pads on the surface of the tiles to avoid scratches.

If you are a big fan of using natural materials for your outdoor space and indoor, sandstone is an ideal option.

Pros

  • Natural beauty
  • Durable
  • Easy to replace broken tiles
  • Eco-friendly

Cons

  • Absorbs water
  • Can scratch dent over time.
  • Slippery when wet
  • Limited color options 

5. Terrazzo Tiles

Terrazzo tiles are durable floor options capable of several beautiful and unique finishes to fit your specific tastes. Terrazzo is a combination of mixing marble, chips of granite, quartz, glass, shell, and other relevant materials to epoxy resin binder or cement. Preparation processes involve curing, grounding, and polishing. The outcome of this is a shiny, smooth, attractive, and long-lasting surface.

Because of their slippery nature, terrazzo tiles are not a good choice for installation in homes. They are best in public places because of their long-lasting feature, and they quickly are refinished, ensuring they are looking new.

Terrazzo comes in verities of colors and a selection of glass, marble, and shell aggregates. The aggregate size determines the uniqueness and design of your terrazzo floor. 

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Limitless design
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Indoor and outdoor applications

Cons

  • Generally cold
  • High initial cost
Marble Tiles

6. Marble Tiles

Marble is a widespread natural stone used as slabs and tiles for floors, walls, and countertops. Marble tiles are often known for their quality, nature of the rock, and normal sparkle. They are unique, stunning, magnificent to look at, and highly durable.

Marble tiles are available in a wide range of colors and multicolor mixes. With these tiles, you can achieve a variety of decorative schemes. They can be cut into triangles and rectangles of different sizes to create intricate mosaic installations.

Unlike several other natural stones, marble can take a very high polish, achieving a shimmering and silky-smooth look when appropriately designed. With them, you can achieve the most heightened sense of elegance in a specific space in your building.

The installation procedure for marble tiles is tricky since the marble is brittle, and they require special tools to cut and drill.

Pros

  • Natural material
  • Elegant with an upscale appearance
  • Easily polished
  • Adds real estate value

Cons

  • Slippery and brittle
  • Scratches and stains easily.
  • Relatively expensive
  • Cold underfoot

Related posts: Honed vs polished marble & Cultured Marble

What type of tile is best for floors?

All tiles are not made equal. Different tiles differ in several factors such as size, color, texture, design, or even durability. The suitability of varying building spaces also varies. For a long time, tiles have been a popular choice for bathrooms, but now homeowners use tiles in other places like kitchens, dining rooms, hallways, laundry rooms, entryways, and mudrooms. 

For purposes of durability, ceramic tiles are the best tiles for your floor. The most outstanding features of ceramic tiles include their versatility of use, high resistance to abrasion and scratches, and their long life span.

The cost of the ceramic tiles depends on the material, design, and size. They come in multiple designs and incomparable colors and patterns. Their durability and affordability make them an ideal choice for bathroom, front entrance, and kitchen use.

In addition, Ceramic tiles are easy to cut; You can easily cut them by yourself if you like DIY projects.

What tile thickness is best for your floors?  

Knowing the thickness of your tiles when planning a renovation is a beneficial thing, especially in determining how high your floor may end up. The thickness of your floor tiles depends on the material used and the style of a specific tile.

In general there is no standard thickness for floor tiles but are typically 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick. The thicker the tile, the stronger it is and less likely it to break.

Floor Tile Styles

Today, there are many floor tile styles to choose from. They include:

  • Biophilia: The style evokes a natural and untreated wood look.
  • Spa Style: With the style, the tone is muted, creating a spa-like feel. The tone brings a relaxed feel and evokes the sky, sea, sand, and forest.
  • Oversized: Involves the use of extra-large ceramic tiles to simplify your home maintenance.
  • Stone Cold: This involves designing your tiles to look like marble or any other precious stones. The design uses printing technology to achieve designs like book-matching veins.
  • Retro Concrete Inspirations: Takes the retro concrete tile trend

Floor Tile Shapes

When it comes to selecting the right-shaped tiles for your space, you have several shapes you can choose and below are some of the common tile shapes:

  • Subway tiles (Rectangular tiles)
  • Diamond-shaped tiles
  • Brick tiles
  • Round ceramic tiles
  • Chevron tiles(parallelograms)

Floor Tile Sizes

Finding the size of the ideal tile to enhance your home environment can sometimes be tricky. 5 most common tile sizes currently in the market are:

  • 12” × 12”
  • 12” × 18”
  • 18” × 18”
  • 12” × 24”
  • 24” × 24”       

Floor Tile Patterns

The common tile patterns you can find today include:

  1. Herringbone: A classic layout that made up of V-shaped rows of 45 degrees angled tiles
  2. Offset/staggered brick: A very popular tile pattern that has each tile start at the center of the tile below it
  3. Stacked vertically: In a stacked vertical pattern, tiles are stacked vertically, spotlighting the height of your space by making the walls look taller.
  4. Pinwheel: The pinwheel pattern uses smaller tiles at every corner of the large square tile to imitate a pinwheel look.
  5. Random: The pattern involves experimenting with different tile colors (three to four or more) to achieve a particular impression.

Floor Tile Finishes

Different tiles come with different finishes that can help you clad your home with your distinctive style. The finishes you can choose from include:

  1. Glazed finish: Glaze is a layer of glass that is often added to tiles to enhance aesthetics and ease the cleaning. Glazed tiles are non-absorbent.
  2. Glossy finish: Glossy tiles have a shiny and reflective surface that brightens up space. You can use them on walls and floors.
  3. Matte finish: These tiles have a hard and granular surface with a non-reflective matte finish. They create a traditional or rustic look.
  4. Textured finish: These are slip-resistant tiles with a good grip. They are ideal for wet areas like the kitchen and bathrooms.
  5. Lappato: These are tiles that have been polished but not deep enough to attain a full reflective polish.

What grout is best for floor tiles

When talking about grout, the cement used to fill the space and offer support in the tile joints. There are usually two types of grout used when doing home installations:

Epoxy-based and Portland cement-based. Both groups have sand added to offer additional support to the tile joint. 

Premixed and ready-to-use tile grout is the best because they relieve you of the stress of mixing it yourself. The ready-to-use tile grout is ideal for restoration and new tile grout installation.

Custom, Alabaster PMG333QT 1-Quart Simple Premium Grout

Most of the products offered are stain-resistant, shrink and crack resistant, and used for grout joints from 1/16-Inch to 1/2-Inch width.

How to install your Floor tiles?

Before starting your installation process, you need to keep in mind that your floor will be O.5” higher after the installation.

1. Find the center point of the room.

Tile installation starts at the central point of the room. You can draw lines and do some measurements to establish the center of your room.

2. Lay Out the Tiles

Layout your tile starting from the center and following the drawn chalk lines. Make sure you put spacers between the tiles to ensure there is proper distance between the tiles.

3. Install the Center Tile

Using an adhesive recommended by your manufacturer, install the center tile. The adhesive is applied to the floor while the tile is pressed against it, twisting it a little bit to secure it into position.

4. Install the Remaining Tiles

Using the center tile as the point of reference, you can now install the remaining tiles in the rest of the room. When installing tiles, they are to be in a straight line. Ensure to press spacers into the tiles so that you can establish grout lines.

5. Mix and spread the Grout

When mixing grout, you need to ensure consistency. Spread the grout at an angle to the grout lines to ensure that the grout is forced as far as possible into the joints.

6. Clean the Tile

After you complete working the grout into the joints, use a damp sponge to wipe off the residue. You need to be careful not to pull any grout out of the grout lines.

It’s always important to allow the grout to cure a light haze, and then you can wipe with a soft, damp cloth. You can use also grout cleaner for more efficient cleaning.

ULTIMATE GROUT CLEANER: Best Grout Cleaner For Tile and Grout Cleaning, Acid-Free Safe Deep Cleaner & Stain Remover for Even the Dirtiest Grout, Best Way to Clean Grout in Ceramic, Marble. 1-Gallon