If you've never taken on a tiling project before, you might be surprised by the many different varieties of tiles available. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are the most commonly used, but there are also glass tiles, cement tiles, metal tiles, and stone tiles—to name just a few. To make it even more complicated, not every type of tile works for every job and, of course, there's your budget to consider. It's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed, which is why we did the hard work for you
Whether you're shopping for an immediate project or just planning for the future, we enlisted some experts to guide you through the 12 most common types of floor tiles and wall tiles. Find out which tiles are best for every type of home project to ensure you'll love your remodel for years to come.
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Ceramic tile is one of the most common types of tile found in the home because it's suitable for many applications. "Increased durability makes ceramic tile perfect for any room in the house, such as kitchens, bathrooms, or even entryways," says Tony Castellano, senior merchant for The Home Depot. "It's easy to install, clean, and comes in hundreds of styles that can fit any design. For a bonus, if you're looking to renovate on a budget, ceramic offers a great price point."
When shopping, Castellano recommends checking the ceramic tile lot number to ensure you have a clean, uniform end result. "Additionally, make sure you understand the difference between glazed and unglazed. While unglazed gives an artistic, rustic finish, glazed ceramic tiles provide more protection for longer lasting floors."
Try: Restore Bright White 3x6 in. Ceramic Bevel Wall Tile, $2.16/sq. ft.; homedepot.com.
The other most common type of tile is porcelain, which differs from ceramic tile. "The appeal of porcelain comes from its ability to emulate natural stone, brick, or wood—and without any of the maintenance," Castellano says. "You get the same elegant finish without any of the upkeep or weathering. In addition, as it's an all-purpose tile, it comes in a variety of designs, colors, and styles to allow for versatility when designing a space. Porcelain can even be used outdoors, as it will not freeze, fade, or crack." Other applications for porcelain tile include bath or kitchen tile, high-traffic areas, and kitchen backsplashes.
The biggest drawback with porcelain tile is that installation can be tricky. While you can DIY an install, Castellano says many homeowners forget that you also need an adhesive when laying down this type of flooring.
Try: Wind River Grey 6x24 in. Porcelain Floor and Wall Tile, $1.89/sq. ft.; homedepot.com.
Glass tile offers a clean and minimalistic aesthetic to any project. Melissa Morgan, an interior designer and founder of M Interiors in San Antonio, Texas says, "The stain resistance of glass makes it a fantastic alternative to natural stone. Red wine and any acidic foods like lemon and vinegar are wiped up with ease without any permanent staining".
"A potential drawback is that glass will, of course, chip quite easily along the edges," Morgan says. For that reason, she recommends not using glass tile in high-traffic areas like kitchen and bathroom floors. Instead, she suggests using them in smaller applications with less traction, such as gently used tabletops or desks, around the fireplace, or as a backsplash.
Try: Bestview Grey 9 x 12-in Glass Lantern Mosaic Wall Tile; $12.98; lowes.com.
"Cement tiles have been around since the 19th century and they're currently experiencing a bit of a boon in modern interior design", says Docia Boylen, franchise owner of Handyman Connection, a home remodeling and repair service based in Lakewood, Colorado.
"Cement tiles are extremely versatile and can provide you with amazing patterns and colors," Boylen says. "Since the tiles are extremely porous, a patina can develop over time to enhance the pattern. They can also be sanded and resealed, like wood floors, if they get discolored over time."
The biggest drawback to cement tiles is that they're a beast to lay. Additionally, cement tile must be resealed once a month to maintain its beauty. Cement is best used in low-traffic areas and in small quantities.
Try: MeaLu Victorian Encaustic 8x8 in. Cement Field Tile in Turquoise/Blue/White, $20.99/sq. ft.; wayfair.com.
Though costly, marble tiles add an instant touch of elegance and refinement to any room. "If you're looking to add beauty to any kitchen or bath, laying down marble tiles immediately upgrades the space," Castellano says. "It also delivers texture and depth, as it's either patterned or veined. You'll never have the same piece."
Marble requires a lot of upkeep to keep it looking pristine. And like any stone, marble tile is susceptible to scratches and stains in addition to being difficult to clean. "Due to marble's predisposition to scratches, etching, and stains, it's best used in low-traffic areas unless a sealant is applied," Castellano says. "Many homeowners avoid using marble in countertops and instead add marble in decorative features, such as shower floors, columns, and backsplashes." By using it in smaller applications, you'll also give your budget a breather.
Try: Carrara White 3 x 6 in. Honed Marble Wall Tile, $6.98/sq. ft.; homedepot.com.
Mosaic tiles give you a chance to flex your creative interior design muscles because it comes in so many different shapes, sizes, colors, styles, and even materials. "Mosaic tiles work best on wall applications when an accent is needed. I recommend using them sparingly," Morgan says. She also notes that, depending on the type of tile you choose, mosaic tiles can look dated quickly. Keep that in mind as you select not just the tile, but the space where it will be installed.
Try: Viviano Marmo Gray and White Flower Marble Mosaic, $14.99/piece; flooranddecor.com.
Granite is a natural stone that has a similar look and feel to marble because of its natural flecks, though there are some notable differences. "Granite has been overused and tends to look like a cheaper alternative," Morgan says. That's partly because it actually often is the cheaper alternative, which is nothing to balk at if you're on a budget.
Morgan recommends using granite tiles in a laundry room or other secondary space where performance and lower cost are your top priority.
Try: MSI Giallo 18" x 31" Granite Field Tile, $11.22/sq.ft.; wayfair.com.
Limestone is another type of natural stone tile. "To achieve a truly rustic style filled with natural tones, shades, and variation, lay down limestone tile," Castellano says. "It delivers a natural appearance that's almost reminiscent of ancient architecture and design. Durable but soft, limestone is also easy to shape and cut for specific patterns and placements."
One thing to keep in mind about limestone tile is that it's a porous rock. In order to ensure it lasts for a long time, it must be sealed properly, otherwise it will crack and etch easily. Also, cleaning limestone can be a pain. "To avoid ruining the stone, homeowners need to use neutral pH cleaning agents and avoid citrus and vinegar-based products," says Castellano. "That said, the rich appearance and variety of colors or size make it a great option for really any space, especially outdoors. I recommend using limestone outdoors in a patio space to give the perfect final look."
Try: Salvador Vanilla Ledger Panel 6 x 24 in. Natural Limestone Wall Tile, $3.39/sq. ft.; homedepot.com.
Like limestone, travertine tile offers a natural, one-of-a-kind aesthetic. "Its soft, subdued palette provides beautiful neutral tones," Castellano says. "From gray to tan and beige, the swirling surface produces an elegant and unique statement."
Just like other natural stone tile types, it's easily impacted by water, stains, and traction. For that reason, travertine tile requires extra maintenance and occasional resealing. "It's best to use travertine tiles in low-traffic areas of the home. Also, to avoid scratches, etching, or stains, many designers and DIYers will apply these tiles to walls instead of floors," he says. "If you are applying it to floors, make sure you know what type of sealant to use and what cleaning products to use."
Try: Daltile Travertine Peruvian Cream Paredon Pattern Natural Stone Floor and Wall Tile Kit, $10.30/sq. ft.; homedepot.com.
Quarry tile is made with ground materials in a process that's very similar to brick (though technically stronger). Quarry tile is made from ground minerals, like feldspar, clay, and shale, that are ground together and then baked at over 2000 degrees.
"They get their name from where the ground minerals come from: a quarry," Boylen says. "Since these tiles are fired at extremely high temperatures, they are naturally dense, nonporous, and water-resistant with an extremely low water absorption rate. They can be glazed or left in the natural finish. Another benefit is that they do not have to be sealed."
Though durable, quarry tiles are susceptible to staining, so they shouldn't be used in the kitchen. Boylen recommends them for high-traffic areas since they offer a sense of purposeful design and are naturally slip-resistant.
Try: VersaTILE 6 x 6 Quarry Floor and Wall Tile, $.53 cents/each; menards.com.
"Metal countertops offer superior durability and a chic and modern kitchen aesthetic," Morgan says. "Although the cost for this type of tile is usually similar in pricing to natural stone, it will certainly withstand the test of time in both look and function."
A primary consideration with metal tile is that it tends to scratch almost as soon as it's installed. Some people prefer this naturally occurring patina, which can soften the overall effect. If that's not your preferred finish, then metal probably isn't an ideal tile type for you. "Metal works great on any work surface, such as a kitchen, bar, or utility room," Morgan says. "I would not recommend it for baths or, depending on the climate, outdoor use."
Try: Luxsurface Penny 1" x 1" Metal Mosaic Tile, $18.29/sq. ft.; wayfair.com.
"Resin tiles are a great solution to combine styles you want," Boylen says. "These tiles look great and are water-resistant. Plus, they are perfect for the DIYer since you can make your own tile patterns. The 3D patterns are also popular with resin and it can imitate the look of water and stones."
Resin tile drawbacks include a propensity to chip, and yellow over time, especially when exposed to the sun. "I recommend resin flooring for water areas, like the bathroom and mudrooms. They also make great backsplashes and accent pieces," Boylen says.
Try: Bedrosians Ambiance Insert Rising Star 2" x 2" Resin Tile in Pewter, $6.40; wayfair.com.
How many different types of tile are there? ›
6 Main Types of Tiles.What is the strongest type of tile? ›
The three toughest tiles are granite, ceramic, and porcelain with porcelain winning hands down as the toughest. However, porcelain can be hard to work with when installing, so it's possible you'll have uneven cuts in some sections.What is the best grade of tile? ›
Grade is the numerical ranking that reflects tile quality. Grade 1: Highest quality. Recommended for walls or floors. Grade 2: Similar to Grade 1, but with slight imperfections.What is the cheapest type of tile? ›
Tile. Ceramic Tile: At less than $1 per square foot, durable ceramic tile makes an excellent inexpensive flooring option.What kind of tile is best for flooring? ›
Known for their unprecedented strength, durability, affordability, and longevity, porcelain floor tiles are one of our most recommended kitchen, living, and bathroom floor tile options! Porcelain floor tiles are made from dense clay fired at high temperatures and available in many beautiful options like stone and wood.Which tile is better porcelain or ceramic? ›
Durability: The density of porcelain tile makes it more durable than ceramic tile while being less subject to wear and tear. This makes it more suitable for commercial use as well as in the home. Water Resistance: Porcelain tile is almost impervious to water compared to ceramic tile.Do porcelain tiles crack easily? ›
Do porcelain tiles chip easily? As long as porcelain tiles are in a good condition before laying and laid correctly then no chipping should occur over time. If something extremely heavy were dropped on them then they could crack and chip but this would be the same for any flooring under those conditions.Is there a difference in tile quality? ›
Unlike other materials that are graded, the tile grading system does not indicate the quality of the tile, it just categorizes the tile by its ideal usage. For example, tile with a PEI grade of 1, which is the lowest, can last for years and look gorgeous when it's installed as a decorative wall tile.What are the disadvantages of porcelain tiles? ›
Cons to consider: Although porcelain tile is extremely durable, it does occasionally chip, particularly around the edges. This may not be noticeable with through-body composition, but it is a concern. Porcelain tile is typically more expensive than ceramic and other popular flooring materials.What does CV mean on tile? ›
closing volume (CV)
What is Level 4 tile? ›
Grade 4: This grade is a step up from grade 3 tile grades. It's still a good choice for residential uses, such as tile floors and countertops, but it can also take the heavier abuse of light commercial foot traffic, such as you'd find in a doctor's office. Grade 5: This stuff is as tough as it gets.What is the most popular tile pattern? ›
Subway tile is the most traditional and popular tile pattern, and it typically comes in a rectangular shape of all degrees and colors.What type of tile is easiest to install? ›
Best for: Ceramic tile is typically affordable, durable, easy to install and comes in a nearly endless array of colors and designs.What is the most durable waterproof flooring? ›
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are great for waterproofing. These are virtually impenetrable and will not let liquids soak in, allowing for easy maintenance and worry-free cleaning. Ultra-durable. Tile is known for being one of the most durable flooring options on the market.What color tile is easiest to keep clean? ›
Overall, when it comes to white tiles, it's easy to clean them because you can see the mess and bathroom cleaning products work well.Which tile is the most versatile? ›
2. Which tile is the most versatile? Explanation: Slate can be used as roofing shingles, it can be used indoors as well as outdoors, because of its natural looks and range of colours.What is the best color for floor tiles? ›
Floor tiles will last for many years so it is best to choose a neutral colour that will stand the test of time. The amount of natural light in your room may determine whether your floor tiles need to reflect light (lighter colours) to make the room feel larger or if a darker colour will suit.What size tile is best for living room? ›
Which tile size is better? The tile size suggested for living rooms is a size a bit larger than 12 inches up to 18 inches in length. Living rooms are the largest room in your house and so large tiles work better for them. The largest tiles also cost more per tile when compared to smaller ones.Does tile brand matter? ›
There is no much more difference between branded and local tiles durability. It's based upon the maintenance of tiles. A small one has branded tiles that have durability up to 10-15 years with good maintenance whereas local tiles are up to 13 years with the best maintenance.What should be the thickness of floor tiles? ›
As a rule, floor tile is typically 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick. Wall tile tends to be thinner and available in squares (3 inches to 6 inches). Mosaic tiles are usually the smallest tile, available in 2-inch squares. The most popular and readily available tile sizes are (in inches) 12 x 12, 16 x 16, 12 x 24 and 18 x 18.
Which tiles are best for bathrooms? ›
Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles
These are the most popular tiling materials that can be used for bathroom flooring as they are affordable, long lasting, scratch resistant, maintenance free and non-porous in nature.
Hard, dense, and solid, porcelain is resistant to most heavy stresses and can even be used in commercial environments. Be aware, though, that the hardness of porcelain can make it slightly more brittle than standard tiles, which means they can be more susceptible to cracking.Is Subway tile ceramic or porcelain? ›
Are subway tiles porcelain or ceramic? Subway tiles can be either porcelain or ceramic. Because subway tile is typically installed on walls, it is usually a wall-rated product which is typically ceramic.Should bathroom floor and wall tile be the same? ›
Floor tiles and wall tiles can match, but certainly do not have to. Most importantly, floor and wall tiles should create a cohesive look by either combining monochromatic colors, coordinating patterns with colors, or pairing complementary solid colors together for an aesthetically pleasing result.Should floor tile be matte or glossy? ›
Matt tiles have better friction than glossy tiles, which makes them non-slippery. Their anti-skid feature makes them the best option for bathrooms and other wet areas. Additionally, they are a great choice for homes with children and pets.Should bathroom floor tile be matte or glossy? ›
Spaces such as hallways, kitchens and bathrooms will all benefit from matt tiles. Unlike gloss tiles, matt tiles can better conceal smudges, stains and dried water droplets. Matt tiles do not require frequent cleaning, and when you do clean them, there is no need to be as vigilant for water and soap marks.What bathroom tile is least expensive? ›
Look for affordable ceramic and porcelain tiles for as low as $1 per square foot; mosaic tiles start at less than $3 per square foot. Keep in mind that mosaic tiles are an especially great option in terms of safety because the multiple grout lines make mosaic tile bathroom floors slip-resistant.Are porcelain tiles slippery when wet? ›
The good news is that porcelain tiles are naturally very grippy and safe to walk on even when wet; however, it's not as simple as that. There are degrees of difference in the quality and production of porcelain tiles, and some might be better for your patio than others.What type of tile is least likely to crack? ›
Due to its low moisture absorption rate (0.5% or less), porcelain is less likely to crack and is more impervious to stains.Should you seal porcelain tiles? ›
The surface of most ceramic and porcelain tile does not need to be sealed, although some require a light application of a penetrating sealer to fill the micro pores on the surface of the tile. However, the grout joint between the tiles is usually very porous and generally made of a cement-based material.
Is porcelain stronger than ceramic? ›
Both tiles are made from a clay mixture that's fired in a kiln, but porcelain tile is made from more refined clay and it's fired at higher temperatures. This makes it denser and more durable than ceramic tile.Is thicker tile better? ›
Because they are stronger, tiles with a thicker thickness are less likely to break or crack than tiles with a thinner thickness. Because durability of porcelain floor tile is important in preventing cracks and damage, you may want to choose thicker porcelain tiles for flooring, especially in high-traffic areas.What type of tile is best for kitchen countertops? ›
Ceramic tile is impervious to heat and water, and when properly glazed, it won't stain. Proper sealant helps ensure grout won't discolor or stain, and large-format tiles cover a lot of area with minimal grout lines. Still most popular out west, ceramic tile is a solid option worth a second look.What are the 3 types of tiles? ›
Whether it's ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tile, this versatile floor and wall covering is available in a variety of colors, sizes and textures. Certain types of tile such as marble are great for creating a luxurious master bath, while others such as slate work better in high-traffic areas.What is the most popular tile pattern? ›
Subway tile is the most traditional and popular tile pattern, and it typically comes in a rectangular shape of all degrees and colors.What is tiles and its types? ›
Tiles are manufactured furnishing materials commonly used to cover internal walls, ceilings and floors. They can be simple and functional or decorative and elaborate (such as mosaics). Tiles can be manufactured from a wide range of substances, both hard (e.g. ceramic, porcelain, stone, marble, clay, slate, glass, etc.)Which type of tile is best for wall? ›
These are processed in order to make them more durable and resistant to scratches, stains and acid spillage than any other tiles. You will have a range of colours to choose from in this variety of tiles, and they are suitable for the walls as well as the floors of all kinds of spaces.
2. Which tile is the most versatile? Explanation: Slate can be used as roofing shingles, it can be used indoors as well as outdoors, because of its natural looks and range of colours.What type of tiles are best for living room? ›
For this reason, porcelain tiles are often considered the best tiles for the living room floor. Porcelain tiles are hardwearing, largely slip-resistant and extremely strong.What tiles make a room look bigger? ›
Gloss tiles reflect natural light, which can help make a room look lighter, in turn creating the impression of increased space.
What is the hardest tile pattern to lay? ›
The Versailles pattern stands out as one of the most complicated and exquisite tile layouts. This puzzle-like design is made up of different sized rectangles and squares. While Versailles is commonly designated for floor designs, don't be afraid to display it across the walls of your home.What is the easiest tile pattern? ›
STRAIGHT LAY PATTERN
This is the most commonly used tile pattern of all, and the easiest to do. The tiles are simply laid side by side in a straight line, to give an overall even grid pattern. It's a good choice of pattern for rooms where you don't want the tiles to distract from other design features.
You can experiment with ceramic bedroom tiles to create contemporary or modern looks with a huge variety of designs. They are moisture-resistant so cleaning them is very easy. Another virtue of ceramic tiles is that they naturally stay cool, so they are THE bedroom tiles in hot and humid weather.
Durability: The density of porcelain tile makes it more durable than ceramic tile while being less subject to wear and tear. This makes it more suitable for commercial use as well as in the home. Water Resistance: Porcelain tile is almost impervious to water compared to ceramic tile.What are the disadvantages of porcelain tiles? ›
Cons to consider: Although porcelain tile is extremely durable, it does occasionally chip, particularly around the edges. This may not be noticeable with through-body composition, but it is a concern. Porcelain tile is typically more expensive than ceramic and other popular flooring materials.Does tile brand matter? ›
There is no much more difference between branded and local tiles durability. It's based upon the maintenance of tiles. A small one has branded tiles that have durability up to 10-15 years with good maintenance whereas local tiles are up to 13 years with the best maintenance.