6 Types of Tile & Their Best Uses

It’s finally here -- time to update your outdated guest bathroom! The avocado green wallpaper, tufted bathroom carpet, and varnished wood paneling have been out of style for decades, and now they’re finally getting the boot from your bath as well. Congratulations: it’s happy dance time!

While searching for style ideas you’ve probably come across hundreds of examples of glamorously tiled powder rooms, lavatories, or master baths, and wondered why there are so many different tile looks and options, and which tile is the best fit for your bath. Let’s dig deep into how tile for bathrooms is truly the best choice, along with the different materials out of which tile can be made.

Benefits of Tile Flooring

When it comes to quick home improvement projects, redoing your flooring is one aspect that can have the most dramatic impact. And no other material delivers a better rate of return on your investment than the enhanced value offered by installing tile. Whether you are considering adding river rock tile to your walk-in shower, or a new subway tile backsplash in your kitchen, the natural beauty of tile will enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home, as well as prevent moisture and other substances from causing damage to your subfloor or walls.

Design Versatility

Tile is available in many varieties of colors, textures, sizes, and materials. From pristine glossy whites to linen-textured sage green, geometric and modern to old world and rustic, tile is one of the more diverse decorative elements available. Perfect for high-traffic areas, like the kitchen or living room, or humidity-plagued areas like the bathroom, tile for flooring and walls are here to stay. Installing backsplash tile over the sink or stove in the kitchen can protect the drywall from splashes and spills while keeping your overall design in check. But do not think your options are limited for using tiles on floors or in the bathroom or kitchen alone: you can install tile in any room of your home, from creating an artistic subway tile backdrop in the front hallway to surrounding an ornate mirror with metallic-sheen ceramic backsplash tiles. The number of options you have for using the different types of tiles is limited only by your creative imagination.

Dry Mop is an Easy Way to Clean Tile Flooring

Easy Cleaning

While tile made from natural stone does require regular resealing, for the most part, tile is one of the easier to maintain flooring options as well! You could never wet-mop your hardwood floor, or sanitize your carpet with bleach, but with tile clean up is a breeze! Even if your dining room floor has been attacked by a team of toddlers eating (and wearing) spaghetti, cleaning tile floors involves simply sweeping up the muck, and wiping clean with warm, soapy water. If times get really tough, and your new puppy just can’t make it to the backyard in time, your tile floors can be cleaned and sanitized without getting ruined. Yep - tile is a great floor for dogs too!

Simple to Repair and Maintain

By using a high-quality grout and sealant (when necessary), maintaining most types of tile requires little, if any effort. High-quality grout prevents water from leaching beneath the tile and causing extensive damage. In addition, tile can be easy to repair. Whether you find a cracked shower tile or a warped backsplash tile, all you have to do is replace the tile in just a few minutes. Just be sure to keep an extra carton of the same type of tile on hand to make the replacement process fast. New Homeowner Hint: sometimes home builders or remodelers will keep those extra cartons in the attic for just this kind of emergency!

Rugged Durability

Why spend money on expensive hardwood, when selecting wood-look tile can keep on shining in a high traffic area of your home for years to come. Tile is not only built to resist the damage caused by extended exposure to moisture but can withstand most daily wear without breaking down. Think about the durability and longevity it takes to withstand the stomping of snow boots, kids in soccer cleats, and endless trips to bring in the groceries every week, and you have captured the rugged durability tile flooring.

Cool to the Touch 

Did you know that floor tile possesses superior cooling properties? Tile is a natural room air conditioner in the summer, as the hard surface repels heat, and emits comfortably cool temps. The chill of a high-quality tile floor on a hot, steamy day will make every shower feel extra refreshing.

6 Main Types of Tiles

When you walk into The Good Guys’ showroom in Lewisville, Texas, your first glance will be of a myriad of flooring and tile displays. You are probably familiar with the more popular types of tiles, like ceramic tile and porcelain tile. But have you come across granite tile or glass tile lately?

  1. Ceramic Tile
  2. Porcelain Tile
  3. Glass Tile
  4. Marble Tile
  5. Granite Tile
  6. Other Natural Stone Tile

Ceramic Tile

Because it’s a contender for a large number of different applications, ceramic tile represents a versatile and popular choice for tile in home improvement projects. Affordability and durability make ceramic the ideal choice for any room in your home, including the bathroom, kitchen, and front entrance. Glazed ceramic tile offers more protection against stains or damage compared to wood, carpet, or even vinyl plank flooring.

Ceramic Tile made to look like hand-painted concrete tiles

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain is a finer example of clay ceramic tile. Made of a higher ratio of silica and quartz, and baked or fired at a higher temperature, porcelain tiles are more durable (and oftentimes more expensive) than their red clay ceramic counterparts. A wide variety of colors and patterns make porcelain tile a chameleon of sorts. Glazed, etched, and texturized, porcelain tiles can resemble hardwood planks, expensive marble, or industrial bricks. Keep in mind that a do-it-yourself project involving the installation of porcelain tile can pose a few headaches as the tile is a stronger and more dense material than ceramic, and requires a specialty tool: a diamond blade wet saw.

Create a Subway Tile Backsplash

Whether you want to spice up the look of the kitchen or the bathroom, backsplash tiles will get the job done, even under a tight budget. Rectangular subway tiles, once relegated to the New York Subway system, have risen in popularity in recent years as the pinnacle tile shape for backsplashes. Subway tiles are easy to customize using differing lay patterns, lending dimensionality of design to any room. As they are more neutral in terms of shape and style, subway tiles pair well with both intricate and minimalist decorum.

Glass Tile

Sparkling glass tiles are a glamorous choice for backsplash or shower tile. Compared to other tile, glass tiles possess the highest level of stain resistance, even impermeable to red wine and acidic lemon juice. Falling prey to one disadvantage, glass tile has a relative ease to chip and crack if an item is dropped upon it, so this product works best on your wall.

DIY Idea: Glass Tile Mirror Frame

Imagine gleaming glass tiles surrounding the large mirror in your new bathroom. Reflecting and bouncing light throughout a naturally lit space is a great way to make a small bathroom look and feel bigger! 

Centsational Style - DIY Mosaic Tile Bathroom Mirror

Marble Tile

Often considered one of the more expensive natural stone tile materials, marble is an elegant and bold choice, as it exudes a level of elegance and panache that is hard to replicate with other materials. Deeply veined with natural mineral lines, marble is created under immense heat and pressure -- and can take the heat and pressures of daily life extremely well. Perhaps no other type of tile can elevate a space to dramatically as marble tile. The natural stone delivers incredible depth and contrast, displaying a dazzling array color veining, and is naturally available in a multitude of colors, from green, gray, beige, white, black, and many more. When selecting marble tiles or slabs, be sure to inspect the material for any rough areas, as these may require extra sealing to protect against stains due to its porous nature.

All Along the Walkway

The walk leading up to your front door should represent an extended welcome mat, greeting guests who are visiting your home. Make that voyage to your door as welcoming as possible, with the added curb appeal of a natural stone tile walkway or a tile-inlaid porch. The Good Guys flooring and remodeling company in Dallas, TX recently tiled the porch of this beautiful home in McKinney, Texas. Using off white stone tile in a brick lay pattern, the finished look is a class act.
Tile Porch Entryway

Granite Tile

With its naturally appearing specks and flecks of color engrained within, granite is another natural rock tile used both in countertops as well as in flooring. Granite is significantly harder than marble and therefore less prone to chips and cracks. Being relatively waterproof, granite is also a fantastic choice for wet areas or countertops, as it will not absorb moisture or stains. Typically found in larger format slabs, granite is not a material for the penny pincher or the cost-conscious.

Stone-Topped Countertops

Many natural stone and ceramic tile manufacturers have started making larger format tiles. These behemoth tiles are often heat-tolerant and may be used as an alternative to more costly natural stone slab countertops. If you want the look of custom granite or marble countertops, at a fraction of the cost, this option may be a good one for you!

Entryway Floor Tile

It’s been said that first impressions make lasting impressions, and when your first view of an entryway is dazzling granite, that view stays with you! Take a peek at this expansive granite-laid home foyer, installed by The Good Guys in Dallas, Texas.

Other Natural Stone Tiles

Marble and granite are not the only natural stone options available for tile, however. Slate, limestone, travertine, and sandstone are porous materials, so if they are to be used for flooring inside your home, you will want to seal them regularly to protect against stains or discoloration. Nonetheless, these stones do make an optimal option for some of your other home projects!

Stacked Stone Tile Fireplace Facade

Forget about engaging in a costly masonry project for a fireplace facelift; get the look of a stone fireplace without the pricepoint with stacked stone tiles! These rough-edged rocks add texture and interest to a fireplace, without being a distraction. Another great tile option for a tile fireplace surround would be porcelain tiles, so long as they have been certified by the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA) as a tempered or heat-safe tile for fireplaces.

Tile Makes a Splash by the Pool

When selecting a tile to surround your pool, be sure to choose a tile with a slip-resistant, rough or textured top layer or sealant. With natural rock, creating contrasting designs is a breeze -- well-versed tile installers can add seal to the tiles in patterns and designs that are only visible when wet!

For Added Safety, Choose a Textured Tile by the Pool

The Bottom Line

I know, I know -- after sharing all of these great tile ideas with you, what started as a simple bathroom remodel has now become a laundry list of home improvement projects you just can’t wait to start! The Good Guys team of professional flooring experts and installers can help check off that list quick as a wink (and with the newly added remodeling division, even larger changes to your home’s layout or design are no problem)! Whether you add a stylish ceramic backsplash tile or install rugged granite bathroom floor tile, having this knowledge in your back pocket about the types of tile and the best uses for tile will give you a hand up on creating your own ideal interior.


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