Whether you want to replace your dining room floor, update your shower walls, or just add some interest to your kitchen, installing tile in your living space is a great place to start. Tile is a versatile product that can bring in a range of colors and textures to many areas of your home. However, shopping for tile can become a little confusing if you’re not sure what to look for. Here are some tips to help you out.
Tile is available in a variety of materials, textures, and finishes.
- Ceramic tile is made of compressed, solidified clay and minerals. There are different types of ceramic tile, such as glazed, unglazed, porcelain, quarry, and terra cotta. Each has a different look and finish, from old-world style to mirrored and everything in between.
- Stone tile can be made of granite, slate, marble or limestone. Polished stone will have a smooth, reflective finish that is ideal for walls and accents. Heavily-textured stone, by contrast, provides slip resistance and a rustic look.
Some tiles can withstand heavy traffic, moisture, and even freezing temperatures while others are more suited as interior accents only.
- Ceramic tile is rated by the amount of moisture it absorbs. Non-vitreous tiles absorb greater than 7 percent of moisture, making them best for indoor use. Semi-vitreous tiles absorb 3 to 7 percent of moisture. Vitreous tiles absorb 0.5 to 3 percent of moisture. Impervious tiles absorb less than 0.5 percent of moisture, making them best suited for exterior use.
- Tile also has a COF (coefficient of friction) rating. It is rated on a scale of 0-1 with numbers higher than 0.6 representing non-slip surfaces.
- You should also consider a tile’s PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) rating. This measures surface wear on a scale from 1-5, with grade 1 best for wall use and grade 5 best for high-traffic areas.
Now that you know the basics, you can feel more confident shopping for tile that not only meets your style demands, but also suitable and durable enough to last for many years.