The various types of balcony flooring tiles include ceramic, vinyl, terracotta and recycled rubber tiles. The choice of tile depends on the balcony design, the purposes for which it is used and the budget available for the flooring project. Balcony decor also plays a role in the decision, especially if the balcony is adjacent to a space such as the living room. Factors such as ease of installation, methods of cleaning, balcony decorations and furniture determine the most suitable type of balcony floor tiles for your situation.
The term “ceramic” used in relation to balcony flooring tiles includes several types of tiles, including porcelain and glass tiles. Traditional ceramic tiles are made originally from clay, which is compacted under extremely high pressure using very little water in a process known as dust pressing. The tiles are glazed on the surface with a sealant product and single-fired or baked in an oven at an extremely high temperature. This makes the tile hard, non-porous, and durable for use as a floor tile, and the glazing commonly incorporates color and design to match the tile to the balcony decor. Porcelain and glass tiles are made with finely ground sand using a similar process.
Vinyl balcony flooring tiles have advanced in recent years to mimic ceramic tiles, but without the disadvantages such as chipping, cracking, cold temperature and clogged grout seams. Vinyl tiles begin with a vinyl backing layer for durability, which is covered with a printed design. This is followed with a layer of clear film that protects the tile against tearing, and finally a layer of clear urethane to provide a smooth, scratch-resistant top coat. The tiles are easy to lay, and some designs look remarkably similar to hardwood or ceramic tiles.
Terracotta tiles are baked, clay-based, unglazed tiles that are porous and have a rustic look and feel that suits a rural balcony style. Often handmade, balcony flooring tiles can be uneven in design and the mixture of clay ingredients varies, resulting in slight color differences in the finished product. These tiles may be used on a home balcony that has light foot traffic and reduced exposure to weather, and the rustic appearance can become one of the balcony features.
Recycled rubber is a modern choice for environmentally friendly balcony flooring tiles. The manufacture of rubber tiles consists of shredding used tires and removing all steel and polyester fibers, then remolding into tiles through the application of heat. The tiles have an interlocking design that enables the user to lay them without needing adhesive, for a floor that absorbs impact and provides a cushion on which children can play. Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, these tiles are weather-resistant and easy to clean.