Tiles have been made by man for over 4000 years – with such a rich history and reliable reputation, it’s not surprising that many of the original materials used through time still remain today, along with many by-products and variations that have evolved with them.
Each tile type has its own set of pros and cons, making each suitable for different uses.
There are three main categories that tile material can be broken down into; ceramic, quarry and stone. There are more categories and variations within these categories, but here are the main pros and cons that you will need to know when picking a tile to suit you and your home.
Ceramic – Ceramic tiles are seen as great value for money, although they may not be the cheapest tile to purchase, their long-lasting and durable qualities mean they can last the life of your home and increase its value. You can find cheap ceramic tiles at discount flooring outlets or end of line ranges if you fancy some bargain-hunting. Ceramic tiles are long-standing, low maintenance, can stand high traffic and, because they are made from scratch, can be found in a variety of colours and shapes.
One drawback of ceramic tiles is that they are porous – a glaze is applied to the tile and hardened in order to make it non-porous. It is not advised that ceramic tiles are DIY-appropriate, they require professional installation and because of their hard nature, ceramic tiles can chip upon impact.
Ceramic tiles come in many varieties, including; earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, glazed, unglazed and mosaics.
Quarry – Quarry tiles are, by comparison, quite inexpensive because they are quick to produce and don’t require a glaze on the top layer of the tile. They are thick and durable, meaning they are good for high-traffic areas.
However, because there is no glaze, quarry tiles tend to be very porous, which doesn’t make them very good for floors or kitchen surfaces. The lack of glaze also makes them susceptible to stains, they need to be sealed and polished regularly.
Stone – Stone tiles are the most natural in their look and style, they include materials such as limestone, marble, granite and slate. Although they may not be the most functional of tiles, it is their aesthetics that makes stone tiles a winner – their varied colouring and texture of natural stone, which cannot be re-created with ceramic.
However it is their look and style that can provide a drawback. Because they can vary so much, if you ever needed to repair a floor, you may struggle to find a perfectly matched tile. It is advised that you buy extra when you initially purchase your stone tiles.