Although decorative tiles were found as early as 4000 BC in ancient Egypt, tile usage in homes did not begin until the early 1900s. Before that time, tiles were reserved for important public facilities and the mansions of the rich. Today, tile usage has exploded in modern homes, and the materials and design choices seem endless.
In general, tiles are very basic: simply a combination of clay, solvents and different minerals that are shaped and heated. However, the variations of materials, glazes, decorations and shapes are nearly endless from this point on. Consider each of the popular tile variations and make your selection based on functionality and design.
Ceramic tiles are beautiful, strong and flame-resistant. Both ceramic and glass have similar uses, but glazed ceramic tile is usually less expensive and just as simple to clean. In general, they require less maintenance than other tile options.
Since ceramic doesn’t conduct heat, won’t absorb smells, and is easy to clean, it is an excellent choice for kitchen counters. You’ll want to select glazed ceramic that is scratch resistant for this application to protect your investment from pots, pans and utensils.
As a wall-covering, ceramic tile easily accepts designs, paint or decals.
Besides its many indoor uses, ceramic tiles can also be used outside. However, in this application, weather-proof tiles are needed to adequately resist wear and tear from weather, precipitation and fluctuating temperatures.
Like ceramic tiles, porcelain is an incredibly strong, durable and low-maintenance option for kitchen counters and hard surface floors inside. “As a water-resistant and sturdy tile, porcelain is also a good choice for outdoor use,” said Garden State Tile.
Porcelain tiles works well in bathrooms or other high humidity areas and is easy to clean. If you choose porcelain floors, you’ll want to make sure it is slip-resistant to prevent falls.
Natural marble is often found in traditionally decorated homes. It brings a high-class and luxurious feeling to any home. Marble tiles are unique and beautiful and come in a variety of colors and designs. They are also incredibly strong, and if a marble floor is properly installed and maintained, it can last a lifetime.
Although marble requires sealing and is generally higher maintenance than other tile options, new products such as pre-sealed grout can make the task a bit easier.
Glass tiles are often used for wall decor and kitchen backsplashes. Glass mosaics can feature a wide variety of colors, finishes and designs, making them an excellent choice for creating a unique design.
Glass mosaic tiles, designed especially for floors, can work well in bathrooms. They can be arranged and treated to prevent slipping and are easy to clean and maintain.
Although glass tile may work for bathroom countertops, you may want to consider a more durable option if the countertop experiences high usage.
Stone tile such as granite is strong, durable and withstands heat. This is an excellent choice for kitchen countertops or cooking areas around an outdoor kitchen. Be sure to check specifications for stone tile as some may require sealing for particular uses like kitchen counters.
Porous stone tiles can be used as accents on walls or other areas where they are not in contact with oils or liquids. Natural stone is unique so the resulting design using stone tiles will be one-of-a-kind.
Textured stone tiles can be a great non-slip flooring option for bathrooms and showers. To decrease the chance for slipping even further, stone tiles can feature raised patterns as well.
Tile that looks like wood is becoming quite popular as it provides a more durable, scratch-resistant surface than real hardwood without losing the designer feel of hardwood floors. These tiles are available in a variety of colors, textures and sizes to imitate your choice of wood.
Hardwood tiles are significantly less expensive than real wood floors. If they are installed properly, hardwood tile floors can last for decades with minimal maintenance. They do not require re-finishing or re-staining and will not fade with sunlight or high traffic use.
Regardless of your home remodel project, selecting the right tile can be an exciting and educational project that will add value and enjoyment to your home.