Installing new tile is a great way to update the look of a space and add lasting value. Not only is floor and wall tile endlessly customizable, as it comes in a variety of different styles and materials, but new tile flooring can also add to the overall comfort and durability of your home.
Whether you’re looking for kitchen backsplash ideas or deciding what floor tile material to use, it’s important to consider both aesthetics and function. You’ll want something that can hold up against daily use in the kitchen or bathroom, so consider the guidelines below as you search for the right tile for your space.
What is the best material for wall or floor tile?
Evaluate your lifestyle and the area that you want to add tiling to. Is it a high traffic or use area? Is it outdoors? Will it be exposed to moisture on a regular basis? Knowing the location and the type of wear and tear that an area will experience is vital to making a design decision. Some common wall and floor tile materials include:
Ceramic:Ceramic tile flooring is a great choice in any area that’s exposed to moisture, outside elements or a lot of foot traffic. It’s a highly durable material and typically treated with an abrasive to prevent slips, making it well suited for floor tiles. While ceramic tiles are a pricier option, they will age well. Just make sure there are no flaws in the glaze, or if they are unglazed consider sealing them so they become stain resistant.
Porcelain: Porcelain is often chosen for wall and floor tile because it’s dense, hard and even more resistant to wear and moisture than ceramic. Porcelain floor tile can also be designed to make tile that looks like wood. Wood tile is a popular choice for bathrooms or other places that are especially moisture-prone and unsuitable for real wood. When choosing tiles for various parts of the home, you can consult the Porcelain Enamel Institute’s rating system. Ratings range from one to five, with one and two being strictly for walls and countertops, and three to five for floors.
Glass: The smooth, glossy finish of glass tile makes it ideal to accent any space, but one of the most popular applications is in a glass tile backsplash. Glass wall and floor tiles come in a variety of finishes and looks, and can create a beautiful focal point in the kitchen. The material also doesn’t stain, fade or scratch easily, so you can depend on its durability for use as bathroom tiles. In particular, glass is a great option for shower tile because it’s highly watertight, so water or moisture permeating the surface is not an issue. Similarly, its weather-resistant qualities make it the perfect pool tile.
Granite, Marble, Slate and Other Natural Stone: These materials are extremely durable and hard and are great for a statement-making stone backsplash or tile floor. They are typically more costly and often require either a sealing treatment or extra maintenance, so be aware of what’s involved before purchasing them. However, a granite or marble backsplash can look especially elegant and polished in the kitchen. These strong materials can also be wise choices for long-lasting wall and floor tile.
What style of tile do I want for my space?
The color, patterning and type of tile you choose for your home can make a big difference in the look and feel of a space. It can be exciting to create an entirely new look through your kitchen backsplash tile or bathroom floor tile — there are endless options to choose from! For example, a clean white subway tile backsplash is a classic choice that will stand the test of time. If you want to go for something a bit more visually striking, a herringbone backsplash will do the trick. Fish scale tile, which has a rounded look, can look beautiful in bathrooms or homes with a beachy style. If you’re looking to quickly and easily add a pop of color to your home, peel and stick backsplash tile in a vibrant pattern is a popular solution.
Once you’ve chosen a material, picking out one of the many types of wall and floor tile patterns can also be a big decision. Ceramic floor tile can come in beautiful Mediterranean patterns, while wood-look tile can offer rustic or farmhouse style. You might also consider the size and shape of your tiles when thinking about the look you want to go for. While square or rectangular tiles are a classic choice, hexagon floor tile is visually intriguing and can work with a variety of styles.