Tile – whether ceramic, porcelain or stone – is one of the most popular floor coverings for the kitchen. Find out which material is right for your home renovation. Following are basic types of tile for flooring and walls:
Ceramic vs Porcelain Floor Tile
The workhorse of kitchen and bathroom floor surfaces, ceramic tile is called both ceramic and porcelain. The difference in names hinges on water absorption rates.
Tile that absorbs water at a slower rate is officially called porcelain and is best for high-moisture spaces like bathrooms. The kitchen — a place where moisture is definitely present but not in the quantities found in bathrooms — can have tile rated as porcelain or not.
Sizes rang from 6-inch squares to 16-inch squares. The ubiquitous 12-inch square ceramic tile is being edged out in popularity by the larger 16-inch square tile. Even larger tiles are being installed in kitchens where space permits.
The Coefficient of Friction (COF) rating determines how much slip resistance the tile has. Higher numbers provide better resistance to slipping. A COF of 0.50 (dry) is recommended for flooring. Keep in mind, though, that the more slip resistant the tile, the more difficult it is to wet-mop.
Glazed Wall Tile
As the name implies, glazed wall tile is best used for walls only. If rated for walls, it cannot be used for floors; however, flooring tile can be used on walls.
The most popular wall tile sizes are subway (tile with a width-to-height ratio of about 2:1) and 4-by-4 inch tiles.
PEI Wear Ratings tell you if the tile is best suited for walls. Ratings graded I or II mean that this lighter-weight tile is best suited for wall installation (lighter is better when installing on a vertical surface). PEI I and II tiles cannot be used on floors, as they will not be durable enough for foot traffic.
Mosaic tile is best used for backsplashes and walls. Mosaic tile certainly can be used for floors, but this application isn’t popular because its many grout lines make clean-up harder and it tends to have a “busy” look.
Mosaic is the one type of tile that does not deviate from two sizes: 1-inch square or 2-inch square. Sizes smaller than 1-inch square are not practicable, and anything larger than 2-inch square cannot rightly be called mosaic. Mosaic can be either square or hexagonal.
Glass mosaic does a great job of capturing and distributing light throughout the room.
Natural Stone Tile
Natural stone tile – granite, marble, slate, and travertine – works well for walls or for flooring where moisture is not of concern.
Sizes range from 6-inch square upward. Larger size natural stone tiles can make a room look magestic.
By definition, the natural stone tile will have rectified edges (this means that the edges are cut). Ceramic tile can be rectified or non-rectified.
Unglazed quarry tile is used for flooring, inside or outside. With a COF of 0.8 and greater, quarry tile provides excellent slip resistance.
Sizes usually range from 3-inch squares to 12-inch squares.
Not all quarry tile is brick-red. While red is the most popular color, you will also find this tile in tan and gray. Due to the difficulty in cleaning quarry tile, darker colors are recommended for home flooring. If you choose to install lighter colors, sealing the surface will aid in cleanup.
Paver tiles such as pressed clay or concrete tiles are suitable for exterior walkways, floors, pool decking, pool linings, and patios. Interior residential use is not recommended unless for high-traffic areas where aesthetics are not of great concern, such as mudrooms, furnace rooms, work areas, etc.
Paver tiles are thicker (ranging from 3/8″ to 1/2″) with dimensions ranging from 4- to 12-inch squares.
Look for COF rating of .60 or greater.
Have Questions? We Can Answer Them!
Davis Floor Covering has thousands of samples and swatches of carpet, vinyl, hardwood, laminate, stone, and tile in our Fort Smith showroom at 3401 S. 79th St. (behind Vic’s Tires Goodyear on Rogers Avenue). Stop by anytime, or contact us now for more information and to request a free quote!