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New floor tiles in an Olympia, WA home.Floor tiles are a great addition to the aesthetics of your home.

To clear up a little confusion, I am often asked whether or not I can recommend stone flooring by a customer. When a customer asks me to recommend stone flooring, what I have found that in many cases what the customer is referring to is tile that looks like a natural stone floor.

Let us first start with the definition of the term tile and then we can take a look at some of the categories of tile.

Looking to purchase, and/or have tile flooring installed by local experts? Contact us

What Is Tile Exactly?

The term tile is used to refer to any natural stone or man-made material that has been manipulated into a dimensional design for your kitchen or bathroom suitable for its intended application.

In most cases tiles are square or rectangular and are used for design and construction purposes in both residential and commercial construction.

The Different Types of Tile Flooring

Traditionally, tile can be separated into the following:

  • Natural Stone Tile
  • Clay Tile
  • Ceramic Tile

In recent years tile is not only found in its more traditional forms, but also in:

  • Composite Tile
  • Porcelain Tile
  • Metal Tile
  • Glass Tile
  • Natural Fiber Tile

Let’s go over some of these different types of tile.

Natural Stone Floor Tiles

Stone floor tiles has been made out of virtually all natural stones with granite, marble, slate and travertine being among the most popular. Others include:

Clay Floor Tiles

Clay tile is composed of high quality clay that is usually regionally specific. For example, there are areas of Spain and Mexico that are known for their high quality of clay.

Clay floor tiles are pressed or mechanically extruded in order to form the desired shape. They are usually not glazed and have a tendency to be soft and susceptible to staining and cold weather applications. Terracotta is probably the most recognizable name in this category.

Ceramic Tile Flooring

Ceramic tile is categorized as either glazed (fired) or unglazed. Glazed ceramic tile has a glazing that is bonded to the surface of the tile through a process known as firing. Unglazed ceramics do not have a fired glazed surface. Most ceramic tile is primarily comprised of lesser quality clays.

Give us a call, or do some research before you decide on ceramic floor tile.

Porcelain Tile Flooring

Porcelain tile is categorized as either glazed or through body.

While with ceramic tile the tile achieves its rigidity through being baked in a kiln, porcelain tile is formed by being pressed in order to remove all of the moisture from the tile. Glazed porcelain floor tile will have a color or design that has been baked into the surface of the tile with the body of the tile being a different color. Through body porcelain the color and design are pressed into the tile with the surface color carrying through the entire body of the tile.

Over the past few years porcelain tile has dominated all other categories of tile. The production process lends itself to an endless array of design possibilities for floor tile, and the durability of the tile makes it suitable for almost any application.