Too Many Choices, Understanding Floor Tile Options


The floor tile section of a home improvement store is at once, a beautiful array of modern tiling options, and at the same time, the cause of many questions. There are so many products available it is difficult to decide on which. And often the more interesting the material, the more experience is required to install it. It is important to have some information before deciding which tile product will be right for your project, as well as the most cost effective. There are several considerations that need to be addressed. Such as the traffic load of the area. Is there a moisture involved? And what kind of surface you are beginning with. If you know all of that, the next step is choosing your tile type. Here are the main varieties.

  • Ceramic: Most floor tiles belong in this category. This is also the category with the most variety of shape, size, and patterning. Ceramic tiles can also be the least expensive option. But don’t assume that makes ceramic a lessor choice. There are ceramic tiles available to suit nearly any project and there some very exclusive options that are basically individual artworks on their own. Ceramic tiles are a good choice for DIY projects because the basic techniques for application are easily learned. These days Ceramic tiles are mostly applied with thin set mortar, using a backer board attached to the subfloor but these tiles can be applied straight to many other surfaces with the right floor tile adhesive
  • Stone and Porcelain: Stone tiles can require more advanced skills. Stone doesn’t cut like ceramic, and the application of grout is more complicated. Stone is generally an expensive choice and often the size of stone tiles is much larger than ceramic tiles. Making the application a more advanced proposition.
  • Cement: Cement tiles aren’t all that common yet. They appeal to people looking for that stark industrial look. They can be applied in a similar way to ceramic and stone tiles, but so far, they are limited in variety, and may not be as durable as traditional choices.
  • Floating Wood and Laminates: Floating wood products and the lookalike laminates are relatively new options. Because they emulate wood planking, they are not considered floor tiles. But they provide the same function and they come in consistent rectangular shapes which makes them a kind of tile. Depending on the project, these might be the easiest to install, and very cost effective. But special care must still be made about having a level and dry subfloor.
  • Rubber and Vinyl: Rubber flooring is the most forgiving of surface variations. The application is also within the grasp of most DIY enthusiasts. It can be a good choice for kids play areas, home gyms, or high impact locations. It is rarely elegant or beautiful, but it makes up for that with durability and an added degree of safety.

Applying floor tiles can be a rewarding experience, make sure to get some good advice before you begin, and take care to make proper measurements to ensure you order enough product. When done with the right care and attention, tiling can be a transformative experience for you and your home.