Ceramic & Stone Tile Buying Guide

Ceramic tile flooring and stone flooring are among the oldest types of flooring in the world. They remain popular today because they are affordable, durable and very attractive. There are many styles available to suit the needs of almost every home, so you’ll always be able to find something for your home flooring project.

This guide to tile and stone flooring provides detailed information about this popular type of home flooring. You can also learn about the products we carry, how to install tile, and of course the care and maintenance of tile flooring in the linked guides.

Materials, Lengths and Patterns

Another appealing quality of ceramic tile is that it is made in so many different patterns, colors, sizes and designs. One-inch square tiles are available and so are 48-inch long tiles. Squares, rectangles and other interlocking shapes can all be made. There is virtually an endless number of ways to create a custom tile floor.

Ceramic
Made from clay and minerals, these glazed tiles make good insets, or accent pieces. Ceramic tile is easy to clean, durable and available in many styles and textures. If you have kids or pets, consider textured tiles, as they are less slippery and a safer flooring option.

Porcelain
Porcelain tiles are ceramic tiles that have been fired at a higher temperature for a denser tile. With a greater density, porcelain is more resistant to moisture, making it a great choice for bathroom floors. Porcelain tile can be finished with a photo realistic layer allowing it to emulate a whole range of different styles, making it one of the most versatile flooring choices available. 

Natural Stone
Sedimentary rock such as travertine, sandstone and limestone, igneous rock like granite and metamorphic rock such as slate and marble are available. Depending on the type of stone you select, stone tiles can complement a wide range of styles from rustic to contemporary. You’ll also find that no two tiles are alike, giving your space unique character.

Wear and Durability

Tile and stone are among the toughest, most durable home flooring choices. Ceramic tile is made in different grades. The higher the grade, the more resistant it is to scratching and chipping. Some stone is harder than other types too. The thickness of the slabs will also play a role in its durability. Generally speaking, marble is not as strong as slate or granite, so should be used in bathrooms and other locations where it won’t get heavy or rough traffic. Most ceramic tile and natural stone flooring should last 50+ years, and some will be in good shape for decades longer than that.

Current Trends

For stone, hues of gray and blue are increasingly popular, though sales of classic beige hues remain steady. In ceramic tiles, the move to larger tiles continues. Tiles 10” square and larger are the fastest growing segment of the market. Textures such as those that simulate leather, wood grain or fabric are getting a lot of attention.

Tile & Natural Stone Flooring FAQs

Q: Is tile flooring installation a do-it-yourself project?
A: Tile is among the most difficult types of flooring to install properly. From getting lines straight to mixing and installing the grout, it takes experience to ensure a job well done. The same is true for natural stone flooring.

Q: Where is natural stone quarried?
A: The most popular sources of stone flooring are Italy, China, India, Canada, Spain, Mexico and the United States.

Q: Are there grout options for tile and stone floor?
A: Yes. You’ll need the right type of grout for adherence, but the grout can be tinted to accent or blend with the material you are installing.

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