Despite the abundance of finishing materials, tile flooring will never lose its relevance. Let’s find out what this flooring is like and which type of tile is best to use.
1. Ceramic floor tiles
Traditional, well-known material for a long time, distinguished by its versatility. Due to good strength indicators, ceramic tiles can be installed with equal success in the kitchen, in the bathroom, on the floor near the entrance area, and even outdoors.
Naturally, before choosing a ceramic tile, you should know its category and technical parameters to purchase products that can withstand the corresponding loads ultimately.
Tiles are made from clay with various impurities (most often, alabaster and quartz sand act as their role).
The production process consists of several stages:
- directly preparing the mixture;
- it’s molding;
- Subsequent drying;
- Glazing (if necessary);
- Single or double firing.
Depending on the nuances of production, ceramic floor tiles are divided into several types.
Pressed tiles, which are molded from several types of clay at once and subjected to double firing. The outer side is covered with an opaque glaze.
The material has increased strength characteristics and water absorption of 7-15%. Lay the cottoforte on indoor floors.
Unglazed red clay tiles are fired once. The product’s surface is covered with small hard bumps, which are formed as a result of the fact that special brushes are passed over it during production.
The amount of water absorption is 3-15%. Usually, cotton is used for indoor flooring, less often on open floors or facades.
It is made from red or white clay with a single firing and glaze. In the first case, a pressed tile with water absorption of 0-20% is obtained. In the second, this value is 0-10%.
The material is resistant to subzero temperatures; therefore, it is mounted indoors and on external floors.
Tile with a compacted base. Manufactured by extrusion or pressing. Single firing. The clinker surface can be coated with enamel or the thinnest layer of transparent glass (“salt”). Water absorption 0-6%.
Due to its high thickness, minimal porosity, and exceptional resistance to aggressive substances and mechanical damage, the material is ideal for decorating indoor floors and facing street steps or as flooring for outdoor terraces and pavilions.
Dimensions of ceramic floor tiles
Ceramic floor tiles are most often made in the correct format.
The sizes of tiles that can most often be found on sale are shown in the table below:
|Width, mm||Length, mm||Thickness|
|15||15||Mainly ranges from 5 to 8 mm.|
2. Porcelain stoneware floor tiles
Considering in detail the types of floor tiles, one cannot ignore porcelain stoneware. It is made by a more laborious and complex method than ordinary ceramic tiles. Still, in the end, they get a very durable material that is resistant to wear, temperature extremes, and moisture.
Porcelain stoneware is classified by surface type, edge processing option, and structure. The area of application of the material depends on these most critical parameters. We will talk about them now.
Depending on the type of surface, porcelain stoneware
There are several types of surface, each of which has its texture, appearance and, of course, differs in terms of performance.
So, what kind of porcelain stoneware is currently offered to the consumer by numerous manufacturers?
Technical porcelain stoneware
The easiest to manufacture, therefore the most budgetary. Outwardly, it does not look flashy and usually has a “salt and pepper” texture, but it is distinguished by impressive strength and durability.
This porcelain stoneware is ideal for flooring in high traffic and high traffic areas, such as warehouses, production halls, technical rooms, shopping centers, waiting rooms, car dealerships, etc.
Matt porcelain stoneware
Its surface does not undergo additional processing, is devoid of an effective gloss, while the material has optimal resistance to moisture and mechanical deformation.
Matt porcelain stoneware shows itself perfectly when laying on the floors of public and office buildings or industrial premises, that is, wherever high demands are placed on the cladding in terms of wear.
Glazed porcelain stoneware
Visually similar to tiles, but under the layer of glaze, there is no traditional ceramics but ceramic granite, which surpasses its strength.
It can be mounted on floors in places with no significant load since it does not differ in colossal resistance to wear, scratches and chips.
Polished (semi-polished) porcelain stoneware
It has an attractive gloss; however, the abrasive polishing, which the material is subjected to during manufacture, reduces its wear resistance and increases moisture absorption.
When choosing such porcelain stoneware for flooring, keep in mind that the polished surface will become slippery if moisture gets on it. Moreover, it is quite easily scratched and requires periodic maintenance in careful treatment with special mastics.
Structured porcelain stoneware
Material with an attractive, slightly embossed, the textured surface was imitating stone, natural wood, or plaster.
It looks stunning and original, but it is not suitable for installation in places with high humidity, as it becomes slippery. You need to remember this if you want to decorate the floors in the bathroom or toilet.
Satin (polished) porcelain stoneware
It has a subtle gloss obtained by coating the tiles with a tiny layer of mineral salts before the fire.
Satin-finished ceramic granite is very durable and resistant to damage, belongs to the highest class materials, which means that it cannot be called budgetary. Indeed, it is expensive.
Mosaic porcelain stoneware
Spectacular, stylish material in demand in design solutions. It is produced both in standard collections and is made according to individual orders.
Despite the rather complicated installation process and considerable cost, it is in demand among connoisseurs of exclusive and original interiors.
Porcelain stoneware tiles depending on the structure
The main question here is how long the product will retain its original brightness and color saturation. And it all relies on the sort of porcelain stoneware construction.
Today, manufacturers are ready to provide buyers with a relatively variable assortment of outstanding finishing products. Which one suits your requirements best is up to you, of course.
Mass-colored porcelain stoneware tiles
The structure of this tile is laid at the initial stage of production when a mixture of raw materials is prepared. Mineral dyes are added to the mass, where they are mixed until smooth.
As a result, the color of porcelain stoneware is uniform over the entire thickness of the tile. It will not change at all, even during the most intensive use and abrasion of the coating.
Partially painted porcelain stoneware tiles.
Although such a coloring method involves adding pigment only to the top layer of porcelain stoneware, which reduces production costs and slightly reduces the cost, in terms of performance, such tiles are no worse.
It does not “fade” or “shed,” so the floor tiled with it will look perfect for many years.
Porcelain stoneware by type of edge processing
Another parameter that does not hurt to pay attention to. The price of the material, the installation method, and the appearance of the already decorated surface depend on it.
See the difference between edged and unedged tiles and choose the one that suits you best.
Rectified porcelain stoneware tiles (edged)
This option of ceramic granite is considered the most expensive in terms of price because the procedure for cutting the edges of a tile with a laser is responsible and not cheap.
Yes, the material cost is not tiny, but you buy products, each tile of which has precise dimensions, without the slightest errors in the parameters of the edge. When laid, a seamless floor covering is obtained, visually representing a 100% monolithic surface.
Raw edge porcelain stoneware
In terms of manufacturing, it is simple; since its edges do not undergo any processing, it usually has a not too intricate and spectacular appearance, so the price for it, of course, is lower. Nevertheless, it has an impressive strength factor, retaining its original characteristics for decades.
It is most often used to create floor coverings in factory workshops, car dealerships, airports, waiting rooms of railway stations, and other spaces with an intense human flow or with a load from special equipment.
Dimensions of porcelain stoneware floor tiles
The most common sizes of porcelain stoneware for floors are shown in the table below:
|Width, cm||Length, cm||Thickness, mm|
|30||30||Varies from 8 to 14 mm. |
Less common: ultra-thin – 3.5 mm and with a large thickness – up to 25 mm.
3. Stone floor tiles
The demand for tiles made from natural stone is understandable because this material has long been an alliance of practicality and aesthetics. The beautiful texture of the rock, combined with its strength and durability, makes it possible to create elite interiors not for years but decades.
After facing, the floors look truly rich and non-trivial, retaining their attractiveness throughout the entire period of operation, and the versatility of color solutions of stone tiles allows you to embody the most original design ideas.
Stone tiles depending on the type of material
The variety of stone types is so great that the market of finishing materials is replete with offers. However, only tiles with exceptional durability are used for flooring.
For its production, rocks are used that are most resistant to mechanical damage and not subject to deformation. Products made of granite, marble, travertine, and onyx are top-rated.
The most durable, cracks and chips do not appear on it, it is not afraid of temperature changes and moisture, it is not scared of the effects of aggressive chemicals, does not absorb fat, and is easy to clean.
Due to these properties, such tiles can be installed in bathrooms, kitchens, near entrance areas, and open pavilions on administrative, public, industrial, or technical floors.
In addition to durability, it has a decorative effect: the surface is monochromatic, granular, or covered with large blotches of a contrasting shade.
In terms of resistance to mechanical damage and immunity to aggressive environments, this tile is inferior to granite, but temperature drops and high humidity are also not afraid. Plus, bacteria do not multiply on their surface. That is why marble tiles are often chosen for bathrooms, where hygiene is a topical issue. But it is not very suitable for the kitchen floor, as it can absorb grease, the stains of which are pretty challenging to remove.
The interweaving of veins, both slightly noticeable and bright, gives the marble surface a special decorative effect – the floor will look spectacular, beautiful, and presentable.
In terms of strength parameters, it stands between granite and marble products. Kitchens, dining areas, and bathrooms are all excellent places to put it. Differs in exceptional decorativeness: the surface of the stone is covered with wavy lines in contrasting colors.
The material is often used not as a monolithic floor finish but to create accent spots by mounting onyx tiles in small areas.
Although travertine is slightly inferior to the materials described above in strength, high temperatures and moisture are not afraid. Ideal for bathrooms and toilets, creating a cozy atmosphere in these rooms with a claim to the original design.
The slightly porous surface gives the tiles a velvety visual appearance. The warm tones of travertine (from light cream to dark walnut) make it possible to combine it with natural wood finishes successfully.
Stone tiles depending on the type of surface treatment
The appearance of a stone tile naturally depends on the method by which its surface was processed.
Today, several processing options are used in production:
- Artificial aging.
As a result, they get products that are completely different in texture.
Polished stone tiles
In the process of polishing with an abrasive, it acquires a noble shine, while the main background of the stone becomes slightly darker, due to which the original pattern will appear more pronounced and clearly.
One point should be taken into account: polished material becomes slippery when water gets on it, so it is not advisable to lay it in bathrooms.
Sanded stone tiles
It is characterized by a slightly rough surface – the best option for finishing the floor in the bathroom or the hallway. It will not be slippery, so you don’t have to worry about safety.
The ground product does not lose its strength at all as a result of processing. It lasts a long time and performs flawlessly.
Glazed stone tiles
Has a smooth, but not shiny, but matte, visually velvety surface. Glazing is mainly applied to stone rocks that have a light color and not too pronounced pattern.
After processing, even on monochromatic stones, the texture appears much brighter, which adds decorativeness.
Aged stone tiles
An original way of processing, which is used to add a touch of nobility and luxury to the surface. Often this method is used to process marble tiles.
As a result, it acquires a more refined and status appearance, which will look extraordinary in the interior.
Classification of floor tiles depending on the operating conditions
Do not be surprised – such a division also exists, and we will tell you about it. When determining the class and marking the tiles, their durability is considered, that is, the ability to withstand mechanical damage and abrasion.