What are the Different Types of Ceramic Tile Designs?

Sarah A. Kleven

Ceramic tile comes in several types of designs, some of which suit different functions. Different kinds of ceramic tile designs are used for flooring applications compared to wall applications. Those two categories then are further broken down into different types of textures and finishes. The types of ceramic tile designs include glazed, unglazed, porcelain, travertine and marble.

Some tile designs are better suited to wall rather than floor applications.
Some tile designs are better suited to wall rather than floor applications.

There are glazed and unglazed ceramic tile designs that can be used for either flooring or wall applications. Glazed ceramic tile features a baked-on gloss finish, which sometimes can be slippery and scratch easily. This limits its use as a floor application. Glazed ceramic tile is stain resistant and moisture resistant, however, which makes it useful as a countertop or wall application.

Porcelain ceramic tiles are a popular choice in heavily trafficked commercial areas as well as in homes.
Porcelain ceramic tiles are a popular choice in heavily trafficked commercial areas as well as in homes.

Unglazed ceramic tile designs do not have a finish. This makes them vulnerable to staining. Unglazed tile does score better marks as a floor application, however, because the lack of finish provides better traction. This type of ceramic tile design is mostly used outdoors.

Porcelain ceramic tile designs are quite versatile. They hold up against stains and temperature extremes well making them good for indoor or outdoor use. They also wear well, because chips and cracks are not as noticeable as glazed tile chips and cracks. This makes them a popular choice in heavily trafficked commercial areas as well as in homes.

Natural stone is another popular ceramic tile design. These include travertine and marble tiles. High cost can be a factor with natural stone tile, so ceramic tile manufacturers have started creating ceramic tile designs that feature natural stone faux finishes. These finishes include varying textures, patterns and chiseled and hammered edges.

Aside from the material used in ceramic tiles, installers can achieve varying ceramic tile designs by using decorative medallions and mosaics in their floor or wall patterns. These medallions or inserts come in a variety of colors and shapes. Incorporating them into borders or throughout a flooring pattern, for example, can drastically alter the visual aesthetics of a ceramic tile design.

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