types of floor tiles

When you update a room’s flooring, it can feel like you’re getting a whole new room. If you make the wrong choice, though, the excitement of a new look will fade in a hurry.

As popular as tile flooring is, there are countless types of floor tiles to choose from, from ceramic tile to porcelain and more. While that gives you the selection to choose the perfect tile for each room, it means you’ll need to take more shopping time to make the right choice.

So how do you find that one tile that fits your room like a glove? Start with these tips:

Tips for Choosing Between Types of Floor Tiles

Getting up to speed about various types of floor tiles can help you narrow your search. Start with these tips:

1. Read Up on Hardness

Floor tile might be decorative but it also has to stand up to your home’s activity. One easy way to find tiles that are up to the task is to check their tile hardness rating.

The Porcelain Enamel Institute, or PEI, has an easy-to-use rating scale. It ranges from 1-5. Tiles with a PEI rating of one are the least durable, and they’re only suited to walls rather than floors. The higher the PEI rating, the more traffic a tile can withstand.

It’s also important to think about the type of traffic your home has. If you have kids or pets, it’s best to go with a higher PEI rating for your tile. While twos and threes may be fine for your home’s bathrooms, a four or five is best for busy areas like kitchens and hallways.

2. Find Out How Porous Each Tile Is

On top of hardness, each type of tile also has a different amount of water it will absorb. If a tile absorbs too much water over time, it may not last as long.

Think about where your tile will and how much moisture it may encounter. In bathrooms, in particular, you should use tile with as little porosity as possible.

Keep in mind that how porous a tile is will also impact how stain-resistant it is. Porous tiles will stain in a hurry because they’ll absorb some of the spill. This tends to make them a poor fit for kitchens and dining rooms.

3. Consider Your Tiling Plan

A great way to customize your flooring is to create a design with your tiles. Perhaps you’ll lay them in diagonal lines or have a unique pattern. As you shop for tile with a design in mind, ask yourself: how many tiles will I or an installer need to cut for this pattern?

As durable as harder tiles are, they’re more difficult to cut. This is a key consideration as you decide between porcelain and ceramic tiles, for instance. Porcelain tiles are far harder than ceramic.

As you shop, you should discuss your plans with a knowledgeable professional who knows what the job will entail.

4. Look At a Sample In the Room

If possible, get samples of the tiles you’re considering. Bring them home and put them in the room where they would be laid.

In many cases, it’s hard to envision how a material or a color will look in the room. The lighting will affect the tile’s appearance as well. Looking at samples will help you find the perfect tile that complements your walls, furniture, and more.

5. Learn About COFs

The Ceramic Tile Institute has a way to measure how much friction a tile has. This is called the coefficient of friction, or COF. You might see a specific number or you may see a term alone.

The CTI has three categories: slip-resistant, conditionally slip-resistant, and questionable. A slip-resistant tile has a COF of 0.6 or higher. A questionable COF is 0.5 or less.

In general, of course, the more friction a tile has, the safer it will be in your home. It’s most important to pay attention to COFs in bathrooms and other rooms with high moisture, though.

In some cases, a tile may not have natural slip resistance but you can get a coating that adds some friction.

6. Consider Less Traditional Tile Looks

The world of floor tile has opened up to include a larger variety of looks and styles. One popular option is to choose a tile that looks like hardwood. It tends to be more durable than hardwood and easier to keep up as well.

Another common choice, especially in modern homes, is a tile that looks like concrete. It offers an urban, industrial look with the easy upkeep of tile.

7. Keep Your Budget in Mind

Of course, every home improvement needs to fit into your budget, and some tiles are more economical than others. For instance, while they’re less durable, ceramic tiles are often less expensive than porcelain tiles.

Make sure you find out the square footage you need before you start shopping. Ask about any installation fees and the costs for grout, backer board, and other materials. This lets you gauge how much you can afford to spend per square foot of tile.

As you shop, don’t forget to look for flooring specials as well. You might be able to get a higher quality of tile within your budget.

8. Factor In the Maintenance

Another important factor to consider is how easy a tile is to maintain. For instance, the more porous a tile is, the more often you’ll need to clean it. If your cleaning time is limited, be sure to ask a professional for low-maintenance types of tile.

Finding Your Perfect Floor Tiles

It’s always exciting to make improvements to your home and take pride in the way it looks. Don’t let an overwhelming selection of tile take the wind out of your sails. The tips above can help you understand the different types of floor tiles, narrow your search, and end of up a beautiful result.

If you’re ready to start shopping, reach out to our flooring experts for professional guidance.

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