Visually striking, with unmatched sturdiness underfoot, nothing communicates luxury and elegance better than tile. And if that alone isn’t enough, tile flooring is durable, long lasting, and, with some simple maintenance, relatively easy to maintain.
It’s no wonder people have been covering their floors with tile for hundreds of years!
Tile doesn’t have to stop at the baseboards, however. Tile kitchen backsplashes, tile shower enclosures, and tile tub surround enclosures all add lavishness and increase the resale value of a property.
Even though tile is all this and more, choosing tile doesn’t have to break the spirit—or the bank. There are as many different styles and materials of tile as there are tastes and budgets. The key to fitting tile into a project, whether it’s for home or business, new construction or remodeling, is choosing tile that fits into the project’s finances as well as its aesthetics.
If the aim is luxury, natural stone tile offers the most opulent choice. There are several varieties of natural stone, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
Many consider marble tile to be the most beautiful choice, but it can be among the most expensive. It’s also a softer, more porous stone, making it susceptible to scratches and stains.
For high traffic areas or settings that are going to see heavy usage, granite tile might be a better option. Granite is durable and strong and available in a wider range of colors and styles than marble.
However, some folks aren’t particularly fond of the somewhat rustic aesthetic granite offers. Also, homes and businesses with children or pets might prefer less slippery materials than granite, which can be quite slick, especially when wet.
A natural stone option that solves some of these issues is limestone, which includes travertine tile flooring. Travertine has become one of the most popular tile options in recent years, as it offers an excellent balance of durability, usability (including slip resistance) and cost savings over other natural stone tiles.
Limestone/travertine’s biggest inconvenience is that, although it is recommended that all forms of natural stone tile be cleaned with a pH-neutral solution, it is especially critical for limestone/travertine, which is more highly reactive and prone to damage and discoloration from acidic cleansers.
As great as marble, granite and limestone/travertine are, not every project calls for natural stone tile. If a particular room’s design demands more customization than natural stone can accommodate, a man-made option might suit the project better.
When most people consider manmade tile, they think first of porcelain and ceramic. However, glass and metal tiles are also excellent for certain projects, as is the trendy new kid on the block—concrete tile.
If the goal is maximum strength and durability, as well as superior water and stain resistance, a porcelain tile floor usually the best choice. Endlessly customizable, porcelain is available in a wide array of shapes, colors, and styles—it can even mimic natural flooring options, such as natural stone and hardwood. The main downside is that porcelain does tend to be a little pricier than other manmade tile options.
Ceramic tile fits into a sort of Goldilocks zone, with an appealing balance of durability, design, and affordability. Similar to porcelain, but not put through as rigorous of a manufacturing process, ceramic tiles also come in every conceivable shape, size, and color.
Although not quite as durable or water resistant as porcelain, a ceramic tile floor is usually resilient enough for most applications. Not to mention, it can be significantly less expensive than porcelain.
Although using glass and metal tiles as flooring is not unheard of, those materials are most often put to work on the wall. A tile kitchen backsplash not only adds distinction to the look and feel of the busiest room in the house, it also helps protect the wall from splashes, spills and other damage. In the bathroom, a tile tub surround enclosure adds comfort and class, especially compared to cheap and flimsy fiberglass enclosures.
The choice between glass and metal more or less comes down to which material fits with the room’s design, as both materials are about equally durable. Glass resists most scrapes and bumps better than metal, but shatters under too hard of an impact. Metal won’t ever break like glass, but it’s far easier to scratch and dent.
A relative newcomer, concrete tile has sparked the imagination of consumers and designers the world over. Beloved not just for its versatility in terms of design, concrete tile will likely outlast every other type of flooring on the market while needing only the simple day-to-day maintenance of sweeping, mopping and drying. As an added perk, concrete tile is environmentally friendly, as the manufacturing process does not heat the tiles, which means it takes less energy to make them.
Not every structure can accommodate concrete tile, however. Concrete is significantly heavier than other forms of tile, and older homes and businesses may need the expertise of a structural engineer before greenlighting the use of concrete. Also, at 5/8-inch thickness, concrete tile is much thicker than other forms of tile, which may not fit with existing walls and thresholds.
Finally, there’s the wildcard of the flooring industry: vinyl tile. Once considered a “budget” or “economy” option, the last decade has seen vinyl tile truly come into its own. Vinyl tile flooring now competes head-to-head with natural stone, porcelain, and ceramic, but without those materials’ premium pricing. Not only can vinyl tile mimic the look of the others, but it can also do so while offering a far more cushioned surface that’s easier on muscles and joints.
Downsides include vinyl’s lack of defense against both sharp objects and sunlight. Dropped with enough force, scissors or knives can dent or even puncture vinyl tile, and vinyl exposed to a lot of sunlight is prone to discoloration and fading over time.
Regardless of whether the choice is natural stone, porcelain or ceramic—or one of the more contemporary options of concrete or vinyl—it’s important to select a certified tile installer to ensure the highest level of workmanship. Flooring Masters & Professional Remodelers of New Albany, Indiana has been serving the Louisville and Southern Indiana area for nearly 30 years. Our experts
Schedule a Free Estimate