Home Improvement

How to Choose the Best Floor Tile Type?


Looking for the best floor tiles for your home or business premises? Not only do tiles look great, they have advantages over other types of flooring. But with so many different types of flooring tiles available in Melbourne and all over Australia, how do you choose the best for you?

Before we look at types of floor tiles, let’s consider the advantages of tiles.

Why choose floor tiles?

Firstly, tiles are hardwearing in the indoor areas of your home, as well as outdoors on your patio, and around your pool. They’re unaffected by moisture and temperature extremes.

You can relax with a tile floor—you might cringe if someone spills red wine onto your carpet, but mopping liquid from tiles is easy. Flooring tiles make sense not only in your kitchen and bathroom, but also in other heavily-trafficked areas of your home.

The advantages include:

  • Simple maintenance. When installing tiles, keep extras. If a tile is damaged, you can easily replace it.
  • Hygiene: wipe your floors to clean them, and you’re done. If someone in the family has an allergy, tiles make sense.
  • They’re eco-friendly. You’re not sacrificing trees as you might for wood flooring. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are made of clay.
  • Cost-effectiveness. Your tile flooring may cost less than other types of flooring, and last longer.

Let’s look at popular types of floor tiles—they’re available in different types of materials, as well as in many colours and shapes.

The list below is numbered for convenience; there’s no suggestion one type of tile is better than another. Nor is the list in any way complete: visit a supplier, to be surprised at the amazing materials (including metal) which are used for floor tiles today.

1. Ceramic and porcelain tiles: great looks, as well as durability

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are made from kiln-fired clay, and just as in chinaware, porcelain is tougher than ceramic, although both are highly durable.

When it comes to flooring, the primary difference between ceramic and porcelain is that porcelain tiles absorb less water. Ceramic tiles are made of several types of clay, with additions like sand.

Porcelain tiles on the other hand are manufactured with denser “porcelain” clay, as well as additions. Other materials, such as the mineral feldspar are added to the porcelain clay. Then the porcelain is fired at higher temperatures: both the clay and additions make these higher temperatures possible.

When you compare ceramic and porcelain tiles, you’ll see immediately that porcelain tiles are much heavier.

Since they’re made of clay, both ceramic and porcelain tiles are available in a variety of colours and forms. They can even be made to look like wood, stone, terracotta, and cement.

2. Beautiful natural stone: sophisticated and elegant, indoors and out

Love the look and feel of natural stone? Many types of stone, such as travertine, slate, granite, sandstone, and marble, are available as floor tiles.

Popular choices include:

  • The ancient Romans used travertine in public baths, temples and statues. You can see those travertine buildings today, thousands of years after construction.
  • Elegant slate is available in many different colours and varieties for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Love the look of granite? As an igneous rock, formed inside volcanoes, you can imagine that it’s extremely hardwearing. It’s available in endless colours, to suit any decor.

3. Cement: eco-friendly, made to last

In recent years, cement tiles have become very popular. Not only are they available in a bewildering array of colours and patterns, they’re hardwearing. Whether you use them indoors or outdoors, you’ll enjoy their looks.

An added benefit: cement flooring tiles can be sanded down, and resealed during renovation if you wish.

4. Terracotta: warm and cheerful

Love rustic looks? Terracotta tiles may not be the most hardwearing, but they’re cheerful and friendly. Made of clays, as are ceramics, they’re available in many different shapes and colours.

Other considerations when choosing tiles

With so many choices of materials and colour, how do you choose the best flooring tiles for your needs? Start by thinking about your budget, and visit suppliers, so you can touch the tiles.

Other considerations:

  • Take measurements of the areas you’d like tiled. For larger rooms and living areas, you may choose larger tiles, for an open, uncluttered appearance.
  • Consider your home’s design, and colours you’re using—as well as the look and feel you want in various rooms.
  • Floor colours, and layout styles. Choose a neutral colour for flooring tiles if you haven’t chosen wall colours. Tiles can be laid in many patterns too.

The best floor tiles are the ones you love

Love terracotta? Or ceramic tiles? The best tiles are those with which you feel comfortable and adore. They’re hardwearing, so you’ll only need to choose once.

Linda Simmons
Linda Simmons with a degree in Interior Design, has been transforming spaces through her keen eye for aesthetics since the mid-2015s. Her extensive experience in architectural design, interior aesthetics, and home improvement is reflected in her insightful articles, which have been a part of our platform since 2021. Linda is also a seasoned speaker at various design symposiums, sharing her knowledge and passion for innovative and sustainable design solutions.

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