What are the Different Types of Floor Tiles?

Article Details
  • Written By: Lou Paun
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
In 1961, the Kennedy family was given a puppy named Pushinka; her mother was one of the first Soviet space dogs.  more...

October 17 ,  1777 :  The British surrendered to US military forces in the Battle of Saratoga.  more...

Tile flooring is attractive, durable, and easy to clean. Some tiles can be installed by the homeowner. There are floor tiles to suit every use, every taste, and every pocketbook.

Stone flooring has been in use for millennia. Today, stone floors create a feeling of luxury. They can create of mood of great formality or relaxed informality, depending on the type of stone. Generally, marble floors are the most formal and flagstone floors are the most informal. The natural variation in color and pattern make stone floor tiles very beautiful, and they are very durable as well.

Terrazzo tiles are formed from marble or other stone chips embedded in concrete. The surface is polished to a high sheen. Terrazzo floor tiles are beautiful and easy to maintain. Clay has been used for floor tiles from ancient times. Today, the clay can be processed in a number of different ways, resulting in several categories of tile.

Terra cotta is clay that has been fired but not colored, the same material used for garden pots. It is usually left unglazed. The color can vary, due to variation in the mineral content of the soil, but usually has an orange cast. Terra cotta floor tiles absorb liquid, so they have to be treated before use indoors.


Ceramic tile is made from clay fired in a kiln. Then a colored glaze is added, and the tile is fired again, making the colors very vivid. Ceramic tile can be slippery, so they are usually treated with an abrasive if they are to be used a floor tiles. Unglazed ceramic tiles, called quarry tiles, are also available. They stain easily, so they should be sealed for use as flooring.

Porcelain tiles are clay tiles fired at very high temperatures. This creates a dense tile that is quite resistant to moisture. The Porcelain Enamel Institute rates the hardness of porcelain tiles for use in light traffic areas, group I, to extra heavy traffic areas, group V.

Mosaic floor tiles are usually made from porcelain, ceramic, or glass formed into squares of less than two inches (2.5 cm). The squares can be arranged to form a picture or a repeating pattern. Artisans create unique floors using mosaic tiles. The tiles are also available in standard patterns, which can be purchased attached to a backing for easy installation.

Vinyl tiles were developed after World War II. Today, the process is so sophisticated that vinyl floor tiles can mimic any other material, from hardwood to porcelain. They are inexpensive and easy to install.

Linoleum tile is increasing in popularity because it is made of natural materials with low-energy processes. It contains no toxins and is mildly antibacterial. Early linoleum was only available in muted colors, but today bright, vibrant colors are also available.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 14

Very informative post. I have limestone tile flooring which brings an entirely unique level of luxury and visual warmth to interiors. Thanks for sharing.

Post 12

Can rectified tiles be laid over existing old mosaic tiles?

Post 10

What type of polish can we use on terraco tiles?

Post 9

Which tile is non environmentally friendly? They all are environmentally friendly, right?

Post 8

It is advisable to remove the existing wall tiles before laying the new one. if new tile is pasted over existing tile there may be air gaps, which may tend to make the new ones fall.

Post 7

what is the difference between ceramic tiles and vitrified tiles?

Post 6

can rectified tiles be laid over existing old mosaic tiles?

Post 4

It's very good to tile over old tiles as long as the old ones are well fixed. A different size is best so joints don't line up.

Post 3

What are the best types of kitchen floor tiles? I cook a lot, so I want something that is easy to clean, but also not so hard on my feet.


Post 2

@TunaLine -- While you technically could put new tiles up over old tile, it's really not a good idea.

Besides being more difficult to apply the tiles and keep them on straight, your new tiles would fall off much more easily than if you put them directly on the wall.

It's easy to pull the old tiles off, and you can also take the opportunity to inspect the wall for moisture damage and apply a moisture resistant backer board.

So, the long and the short of it is, while you could, you really shouldn't.

Post 1

Is it possible to tile over old tiles, the way you can put new wallpaper over old wallpaper? I want to install some new tiles in my shower, and didn't know if I had to take the old ones down or if I could just slap the new ones on top.


Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?