Whether you're looking to redo a shower, install a backsplash, or tile a floor, knowing the difference between materials plays an important role!
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are the most popular, but glass, cement, metal, and stone tiles also have appropriate applications.
Ceramic tiles are made from clay and other natural resources. They are popular among homeowners because of their durability, ease of cleaning, and ability to work well in almost every room. Ceramic tiles are often used as floor tiles, as well as shower tiles. The ever so popular subway tiles found in kitchens and showers are usually ceramic.
These tiles are generally cheaper than their porcelain counterparts, as well as easier to cut and install. Because of this, they come with a slightly cheaper overall price tag. Another benefit of ceramic tiles is the texture. Some varieties have a textured surface that adds visual depth and dimension. You can often find tiles with ripple, waves, or raised shapes.
While these tiles are a popular choice for many residential uses, there are a few considerations. Ceramic tiles are more porous than porcelain and therefore have a higher water absorption rate. Because of this, avoid installing them in outside applications. They are also not quite as durable as porcelain, so using in highly trafficked areas is not recommended.
Similar to ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles are also made from clay and other natural resources. However, these tiles are made using a mixture of finer clay packed at higher pressures, as well as baked in higher temperatures in the kiln. Because of this, these tiles are much more durable and water resistant than their ceramic counterparts.
Porcelain tiles can be used outdoors and in heavy traffic areas, such as kitchens, baths, entryways, and outdoor spaces. Their through-body composition also means that small chips may not be as noticeable as they would be on a piece of ceramic tiles.
These tiles are a desirable solution for many applications, with the main drawback being price. Porcelain is a very strong material and requires special tools, along with acquired skill, to cut. The higher manufacturing costs also increase the overall material cost compared to a ceramic tile. It's long term durability, however, offers savings over time.
Mosaic tiles are often seen on kitchen and bathroom walls, as they are one of the most popular types of tile backsplash. They are typically made of pieces of glass in various colors and formed into a pattern with mesh backing.
These tiles resist moisture, stains, and do not chip easily. They also clean extremely easily, which may be why they are so popular in bathroom and kitchen settings.
Cement tiles have been around since the 19th century and are currently experiencing a bit of a boom in modern interior design. They are naturally slip resistant, eco-friendly, and quite durable, allowing them to be installed both indoors and out.
A few things to keep in mind before installing cement tiles are their difficulty of install and maintenance requirements. Cement tiles are thicker, heavier, and can be quite the challenge to lay. Additionally, they must be resealed once a month to maintain its beauty. Ideally, cement tiles should be used in low-traffic areas and in small quantities.
From ceilings to backsplashes, metal tiles are slowly becoming increasingly more popular. Their durability, versatility, and stylish appeal make them popular choices for kitchen backsplashes. Metal tiles are also available in peel-and-stick versions, making them popular with the DIY crowd.
A big consideration with metal tile is its tendency to scratch almost as soon as it's installed. Some people may prefer this naturally occurring patina, but if not, this may not be the tile for you. They also have a cold feel to them, making it an uncomfortable flooring choice.