The amount of traffic in a room can have an impact on the type of tile that you select. Rooms are generally identified as having low, medium, or high traffic, but you must always consider your particular circumstances and lifestyle. For instance, the kitchen is generally considered a high traffic room, but if you live alone and don't cook, it may be the lowest traffic room in your whole home, opening up your flooring options. One caveat - if you plan to move in the next few years, keep in mind that potential buyers may have different needs, so stick with a tile material that is appropriate for normal use. Bathrooms, bedrooms, and dens are considered low to medium traffic.
One way to determine if the tile you are considering is appropriate is to find out the tile's PEI rating. The Porcelain Enamel Institute rates tiles based on how well they stand up to wear and tear, with 1 being the least durable and 5 being extremely durable. Level 1 is suitable for low traffic areas while level 5 is usually limited to commercial or industrial applications.
Ceramic floor tiles are the most popular choice in homes today. They hold up well in most areas of the home and come in a vast range of colors, sizes, and styles. Other good choices for floor tiles include porcelain, stone (marble, limestone, slate, and granite), quarry, and wood.
Glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles, as well as sealed or treated stone tiles and quarry tiles, are all water-resistant, making them a good choice for bathroom floors. These tiles may be slippery, especially when wet, so choose one with a rougher texture or non-slip coating.
Mosaic tiles are often used for shower floors. Their small size means that the floor will be broken up by more grout, which reduces the slip factor. They are also commonly used to create a kitchen backsplash.
The downside of ceramic, porcelain, stone, and quarry tiles is that they may be cold, especially under bare feet. This can easily be remedied with an area rug or bath mat. A more expensive option is to install an electric floor heating system under the tiles.
Traditionally used in commercial settings, metal tiles are increasingly being used in homes for both floors and walls. They can be used alone or with other tiles to create a unique and stunning room.
Wood is yet another option for both floor tiles and wall tiles. Parquet tiles are made of different sizes, shapes, and styles of wood glued together in a single tile to create a unique pattern. Wood is also used for wall tiles, typically in kitchens.
If you are looking for an inexpensive, durable, and low maintenance option, vinyl tile is a great choice. A frequent choice for kitchens and bathrooms, it is also a good selection for a children's playroom.
Floor vs. Wall Tile
Wall tiles cannot be used for floors, as they are typically thinner, slipperier, and less durable. On the other hand, floor tiles can be used on walls. Tiles of any shape, size, or material can be used on walls. Traditionally used in kitchens to create a backsplash or in bathrooms, they're a great way to spruce up your walls.
While tile prices range within different materials, as a general rule, stone and glazed porcelain fall on the high end, ceramic is a good mid-range option, and vinyl is the least expensive option.
Finally, be sure to check out the great tile stores and find tile installation experts on Kudzu.com.