Floor Tile — Floor Tiling

Floor Tile - Floor Tiling

Starting with the Romans, Floor Tile Is the Most Popular Floor Cover Around

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After all, what better way to cover your floor? Most people, when they think of floor tile, think of ceramic and porcelain. But floor tile can be made of lots of different materials—marble, granite, linoleum, vinyl, and even wood (in parquet form). In this article, we will cover the full spectrum of floor tile, providing many resources for you to explore different off-shoots of this popular finish floor .

Why Floor Tile?

Floor tile is the most do-it-yourself floor covering you can buy. From the easiest to install (resilient tile) to the more difficult (tile), floor tile is still within the range of most do-it-yourselfers’ skill sets.

Floor tile comes in predictable sizes and installs predictably. As opposed to sheet vinyl or carpeting, tile comes in small boxes that can be easily carried and hauled around in a car.

Not only that, floor tile appeals to every aesthetic. Like your flooring to be organic and natural? Then choose wood parquet flooring. Are you into the strength and austerity of stone? Marble, granite, and travertine are among the many stone flooring tiles you can choose. Or if you want the resilience of a man-made product, there is vinyl tile.

A Surprising Variety of Floor Tile Materials and Styles

Once you begin to look at every type of floor tile out there, you see that it encompasses far more than just the vinyl stick-on tiles that most people are familiar with. You have your choice of:

  • Ceramic Tile. The workhorse of floor tile. Cheap and easy to install. Usually 4 square or larger.
  • Mosaic Tile. Small tiles that usually come with a mesh backing.
  • Parquet Tile. A wood tile, rarely used, but a good way to add wood to your home without the expense of laying down floorboards.
  • Linoleum Tile. A retro flooring choice that has slowly been coming back into style.
  • Carpet Squares. Tile or not? Your decision. But we include it here to show how varied the world of flooring tile can be.
  • Floating Tile Floors. Wait, you mean you can install real porcelain tile without grout and mortar? Yes.
  • Glass Tile. Typically found in smaller sizes such as mosaics.
  • Combination Tile. Ceramic plus resilient tile make up combination tile.
  • Rubber Tile. Often made of recycled materials, rubber tile is highly green and eco-friendly and is usually used in garages, play-rooms for children, or gyms.
  • Cork Tile. Cork tile installs easily—much like resilient tile—but offers the greenness of being a natural, rather than a synthetic, product.
  • Stone Tile. Want the real thing? Quarried tile, such as slate or travertine, gives you a high-end floor with commensurate prices.

Kitchen vs. Bathroom Floor Tile

Understandably, floor tile in general works great in both the kitchen and bathroom. Flooring tile can stand up well to both the moisture and the high traffic demands in either room. But which kind of floor tile and how do the two rooms differ?

Nearly all types of tile listed above will work in the kitchen and bathroom, except for cork and carpet squares.

Best floor tile for the kitchen? It’s debatable, but I put in a vote for ceramic or porcelain tile. Both types of tile can be as inexpensive (or expensive) as you like, and they can come in larger sizes—which look better in the bigger spaces of the kitchen than the small tiles.

For bathrooms, again this is a personal choice, but I believe that once again ceramic or porcelain are the winners. But in bathrooms, mosaic is an additional flooring option. Even if you’re hankering for the authentic look of slate or other stone, it’s possible to find ceramic tile that looks so much like slate, it’s hard to tell the two apart from a distance.

New, Surprising Floor Tile Choices

Two of the newer tile flooring developments are floating snap tile and combination tile.

Floating tile flooring combines several types of flooring that you might be familiar with already. It’s like porcelain tiles, but with the snap-ability and floating properties of locking laminate floor boards. But it’s not made of laminate: it’s real porcelain or ceramic. Confused? Intrigued?

One leading brand name is SnapStone. Each porcelain tile rests on a unique plastic tray, and it is this tray that locks into place with adjoining trays. Not only that, the trays help you align the tiles to square and they act as risers for the tile. Floating tile is a boon for any DIY tiler who isn’t happy about dealing with mortar (though you still need to grout these tiles), though some homeowners who have installed this flooring complain about cracking.

The other development is combination tile. If you like the ease of vinyl tiles but their look, combination tiles may be just the thing for you. These tiles are porcelain and ceramic, but with a cushioned base of resilient tile and with the clear wear layer that is the hallmark of strip laminate flooring. Combination tile can be fitted snugly side-by-side, just like vinyl tile, or it can be spaced apart for grouting.


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