When you believe that it’s time to update your property, one of the most important decisions to make concerns the surfaces of your home, such as the floors. Since these are some of the biggest surfaces, they inevitably play a defining role in the look and atmosphere of the space. However, they also get a lot of “wear and tear” at the same time, so their practicality is just as important as their appearance. Moisture-prone rooms, such as bathrooms, are of particular concern in this regard.
While there are countless flooring options on the market today, from flexible vinyl to elegant bamboo, when it comes to moisture resistance, few can top the properties of tiles. Besides their utilitarian nature, they are also undeniably versatile and can fit into any interior style you might have an affinity for. Tiles are not only used in kitchens and bathrooms; the right tiles can become part of any room in your home and lend it a polished look. Here is what you need to know about the different types of tiles.
Tiles have been present throughout the history of civilization ever since ancient times. As early as 4000 BC, Egyptians already made tiles to decorate their houses. Today, we can see their historical significance in the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and more. From residential buildings boasting beautiful, tiled exteriors to lavishly decorated temples, tiles have a vast presence, and their aesthetics make them a worthy addition to your home. Still, if their formidable history is not enough to convince you to bring them into your property, perhaps their impressive advantages will.
From a design perspective, the immense versatility of this material must be mentioned. Tiles have already had numerous shapes and designs centuries ago, but today, thanks to modern technology, the options are virtually endless.
Besides their versatility, perhaps the biggest advantage of tiled floors and walls is that they are extremely easy to clean. While you have to be particularly mindful of cleaning agents in case of other types of floors and have to go to great lengths to properly clean, for instance, carpets, tiles are truly a great option for cleanliness lovers. While some tiles require a little bit of maintenance in the form of sealing, most require very little maintenance and will still last you a long time.
The only downside of this material is really just the fact that it can be cold under the feet. It can be uncomfortable to stand on tiled floors for extended periods of time, however, this is nothing that can’t be mitigated with a rug or mat, should it be necessary. In fact, the cool surface of tiled flooring can even be an advantage if you live in a warm climate, such as the majority of the Australian continent.
Today, tiles are manufactured from a variety of materials with a variety of techniques. However, this makes your decision more difficult. Some tiles are non-porous and easy to clean while others are porous and require sealing. You also need to keep hardness and durability in mind. Here are the most important things you need to know about tile materials and how they will affect your lifestyle.
- Ceramic tiles are probably the most popular choice out there, and they are an overall smart one as well since they are fairly affordable and come in the biggest number of designs. From designs that mimic the look of stone all the way to intricate looks, everyone can find the one that fits their interior. There are even “faux wood” ceramic tiles that look much like hardwood but without all the maintenance and cost concerns. Naturally, since they are generally cheaper, they are also a little less resistant to chips and cracks, but they are still scratch- and stain-resistant. They are a good flooring option in low traffic areas, as well as for walls, backsplashes, and the like.
- Just like ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles are also non-porous and scratch- and stain-resistant. However, they are baked at higher temperatures and contain finely ground sand, which makes them denser, harder, and more durable. They also come in a large variety of designs and are suitable for any part of your home, even high-traffic areas and outdoor places. While they may cost a bit more, they will also last that much longer.
- Glass tiles are very aesthetic which is why they are often used decoratively. However, their elegant look has its price. Naturally, glass is more prone to chips and cracks, so you’ll probably only want to use it on your walls.
- Vitrified tiles put a twist on ceramic tiles. They contain additional components which make these tiles have a more long-lasting sheen.
- Terracotta tiles lend your interior a beautiful earthy vibe with their natural reddish tones. However, they are a little finicky – terracotta needs sealing and you need to be careful of what cleaning agents you use.
- Stone tiles are also very popular and can complement your home design with their natural look. Besides floors, they are also often used for countertops. However, it should be noted that they are porous, which makes them less resistant to staining. Natural stone tiles will typically need to be sealed in order to protect them. Many different types of stones are used for making tiles, some of which are:
- Granite – an extremely hard stone that is often used for countertops, however, it’s also suitable for flooring.
- Marble – a very high-end choice that looks fabulous thanks to the naturally formed patterns that it’s so well-known for.
- Limestone – a beautiful natural stone, however, keep in mind that it’s not very resistant to scratches.
- Slate – it has a lovely warm tone and interesting textures which can give your space a unique flair. In addition, the textures make this flooring naturally slip-resistant.
- Sandstone – typically used outdoors, sandstone can add a stylish look to any patio.
- Onyx – another beautiful natural stone, however, it’s not hard enough to serve as flooring in high-traffic areas. It’s also sensitive to certain cleaning agents so you need to take special care.
- Terrazzo is a stylish tile choice that contains a variety of materials from marble and other kinds of stone to glass. It’s durable and eco-friendly and is often used in public spaces thanks to these qualities.
- Composite decking tiles are also gaining attention recently thanks to their practical nature. They are often used in outdoor areas as they have a wood-like look and a high level of durability. They are also easy to install.
These are the most widely used types of tiles you will find, but before you set off and start browsing tiles, remember that wall tiles and floor tiles are not the same. They are made differently – not only are wall tiles often thinner and therefore not suitable to walk on, but they may also be more slippery. So, check the rating before you pick your tile of choice.
Besides the material, you will also have the freedom to choose from a vast selection of different tile sizes, shapes, styles, and pattern designs. Even simple metro tiles can be laid in a number of different ways, so the combinations are endless. From tiny mosaic tiles that allow you to create your own design through elegant hexagons and pickets all the way to eye-catching fish scales and arabesque styles, your floor or wall can become an artwork on its own. It would be impossible to list all the options here.
Besides the style, shape, and color of your tiles, the last factor that plays quite a vital role in the final look of your design is grout. Some people see grout as merely a necessity and fail to give it ample thought. However, picking the right grout color is not only an important aesthetic decision, but it can also be a major factor in how practical the design remains once it is in use. Light or dark grout can transform the look of your tiles, and it has the potential to create an interesting contrast. However, remember that light grout will get dirty much faster, and therefore requires more frequent cleaning. This can be a problem, especially if you picked smaller tiles or mosaic tiles, where the grout is more apparent.
Tiles are actually more versatile than most people would expect. Thanks to the many materials, designs, and shapes they come in, you can find suitable tiles for every part of your home. They might require a bit of an investment, but if you do it right, they will certainly be a one-time investment.