3 Tips for Choosing Which Material is Right for Your Tile Needs

When considering a remodel or new construction, you have already made a great stride forward if you have selected tile for a floor, wall, or countertop. Having eliminated the other choices, you can be sure that tile is versatile and available in a slew of materials, colors, styles, finishes, and patterns. Three tips to choose the correct material to suit your tile needs are to consider durability, to consider function, and to consider installation.

1- Familiarization with Common Tile Materials

Tiles come in a wide array of materials, but three choices are among the most popular: ceramic, porcelain, and natural stones like marble and slate. Ceramic and porcelain are both made by firing clay in a kiln; porcelain receives its firing at a higher temperature and results in a more durable material, while ceramic is less expensive and easier to work with.

Marble and slate are two high-end examples of natural tile materials. Slate endures longer, but marble is more highly prized for its beauty. Marble is more porous; for moist areas, experts recommend that you hone and seal the stone.

2- Considering the Durability of Tile Materials

Ceramic and porcelain tiles have a durability measurement: the PEI rating is regulated by the Porcelain Enamel Institute. Generally, basic ceramic tiles receive a rating of 0-3, indicating the ability to withstand traffic ranging from light to moderate. Porcelain can stand up to heavier traffic with an average rating of 5. Natural stone receives no such regulation. Marble is best for areas of lightest use, however, while slate can be used for walkways and areas that receive more use.

3- Considering the Function of Your Tile Needs

Ceramic and porcelain tiles both excel in versatility. You can use them in your bathroom or kitchen, for flooring, as wall coverings, and for countertops. Porcelain is superior at withstanding water, but neither is bad in that respect. Slate is also an example of variance in usage, as it can be used from head to toe of your house, as roofing, or in walkways. It is not as porous as marble, making it the superior choice in the kitchen. Marble truly shines in luxurious bathrooms, as fireplace surrounds, around hot tubs, and, with proper sealing, as countertops.

Tile Installation Considerations

Will you be attempting to install your tile yourself, or hiring professionals after making your selection with experts? Ceramic tiles are the most user-friendly of materials for your tile needs. Porcelain is a slightly more difficult medium, as it is harder to cut, but it is not as tricky as natural stone. Marble and slate are heavy and fragile. They require specialty tools to cut them and care not to break them, as this fragility is a common complaint of installers.

Armed with this knowledge, you can choose the most suitable material that is most attractive to you. Your selected material is easy to install, cost-effective, and durable. You simply need to make the final decision to start your journey to a gorgeous and practical tile installation.