Styles and Features of Tile

Glazed

  • coated with glass-forming minerals and ceramic stains
  • typically have a matte, semi-gloss or high-gloss finish
  • offer better stain and moisture resistance than unglazed
  • high gloss finishes- more slippery and show scratches
  • matte or textured finishes- help with traction and scratches, dirt is less visible

  • Unglazed

    • hard and dense
    • various surface treatments and textures
    • typically installed outside
    • good slip resistance
    • do require sealing to help prevent staining

    Porcelain

  • fall in the ceramic tile category
  • hardest and densest tiles available
  • color goes all the way through
  • non-porous
  • resist scratching
  • can withstand temperature extremes

  • Size

    • manufactured in sizes ranging from 1” to 24” square
    • normally boxed and priced by the square foot
    • tile size is relative
    • referred to by nominal size, not its actual size
    • during firing ceramic tile will shrink by about 10% in size
    • most popular are larger sized tiles (13” by 13”, 16” by 16” and 18” by 18”)
    • determining tile size starts with the size of the room
    • small rooms don’t necessarily call for small tile
    • incorporating a larger size tile in a smaller room will visually increase the size of the space
    • fewer grout lines will help create a cleaner surface appearance
    • using a tile size that’s too small creates more grout joints that may make the floor look too busy

    Cost-effective alternative

    • consumers prefer ceramic tile over stone due to price and maintenance
    • tile can also be made to feature heavy textures, chiseled and hammered edges, and resemble tumbled stone
    • tile texture is related to its style
    • feel of a tumbled stone or slate looking ceramic tile will be irregular and somewhat rough
    • tile simulating marble or granite will have a very smooth, polished feel
    • textures also vary in degree of shine, ranging from dull to semi-gloss to glass-like

    Exterior

    • tile is a versatile product
    • outdoor tile features non-skid finishes designed for safety
    • outdoor tile is resistant to frost
    • tile manufactured for outdoor use has very low water absorption, minimizing the cracking, chipping and other effects of expansion when the temperature falls below freezing

    Customization

    • manufacturers also offer decorative inserts, medallions and mosaics
    • tile size 2”x2” and smaller are usually referred to as mosaics
    • often used with different colors to create a pattern or decorative inset
    • smaller tiles also come in different shapes, such as hexagon
    • patterned borders can be made up of different size tiles
    • variations in color, shape or size can be patterned within a room, or across adjoining rooms
    • “field tile” -the more prominent tile that is throughout the largest areas
    • floor and wall tiles may be designed to look similar
    • floor tiles are generally thicker and are textured to be safer to walk on

    Grout

    • impacts the overall look
    • type of cement that is used to fill the space and provide support in tile joints
    • two types of grout; Portland cement based, and epoxy based
    • both may have sand added for additional strength
    • Sanded grout is for tile joints 1/8th of an inch and larger
    • Unsanded grout is an option used in joints that are smaller than 1/8th of an inch
    • can be pigmented to many colors, shades and hues
    • pigment is added to the cement at the job site when the grout is mixed
    • color and thickness will change the appearance of the floor
    • white or a light colored grout highlights the color in tile
    • dark grout with a light tile, or light grout with a dark tile, will emphasize the geometric pattern of your layout