Flooring tiles come in many different materials, styles and uses. Here we break down the basic definition, and uses, of those tiles most popular in today’s home renovations.
What are Ceramic tiles? Ceramic tiles are made from clay fired in a kiln. A coloured glaze is added, and the tile is fired again, making the colours that have been applied come alive in vivid variations. Ceramic tiles can be slippery, so they are usually treated with an abrasive if they are to be used as floor tiles. Unglazed ceramic tiles, called quarry tiles, are also available. They stain easily, so they should be sealed for use as flooring. Remember that slick surface tiles are not ideal in places like the bathroom, pool changing rooms, or anywhere water may collect.
Terracotta is clay that has been fired but not coloured, the same material used for garden pots. It is usually left unglazed. The colour can vary, due to variation in the mineral content of the soil, but usually has an orange cast. Terracotta floor tiles absorb liquid, so they have to be treated before use indoors. The Terra Cotta tiles have long been a great choice for those that may be interested in adding flooring to a Sun room, or in green rooms where you will be dealing with dirt and water on a regular basis. Terra Cotta adds natural warmth and beauty, but should be treated and sealed if you are considering this choice in any interior room of your home.
Terrazzo tiles are formed from marble or other stone chips embedded in concrete. The surface is polished to a high sheen and is extremely durable. Terrazzo floor tiles are beautiful and easy to maintain. Clay has been used for floor tiles from ancient times. Today, the clay can be processed in a number of different ways, resulting in several categories of tile. Terrazzo flooring was seen a lot thoughout the 1960’s and 70’s in new construction.
Porcelain tiles are clay tiles fired at very high temperatures. This creates a dense tile that is quite resistant to moisture. The Porcelain Enamel Institute rates the hardness of porcelain tiles for use in light traffic areas, group I, to extra heavy traffic areas, group V. Mosaic floor tiles are usually made from porcelain, ceramic, or glass formed into squares of less than two inches (2.5 cm). The squares can be arranged to form a picture or a repeating pattern. Artisans create unique floors using mosaic tiles. The tiles are also available in standard patterns, which can be purchased attached to a backing for easy installation.
One of the most cost efficient means of flooring, Vinyl tiles have come a long way since their origins and now have a lot of versatility, and style like never before. Vinyl tiles were developed after World War II. Today, the process is so sophisticated that vinyl floor tiles can mimic any other material, from hardwood to porcelain.
Linoleum tile is increasing in popularity because it is made of natural materials with low-energy processes. It contains no toxins and is mildly antibacterial. Early linoleum was only available in muted colors, but today bright, vibrant colours are also available. This may be one of the most affordable means of flooring on the market today. There are unique features to this product so be sure to always do a thorough research to make sure it is the right product for your renovation.