Tile floors are great for high traffic areas. The beauty of using tiles are the different looks that can be achieved. It is also important to know and understand the different properties of the tiles. Understanding what the different materials are and the advantages of each help choosing the proper material for a job.
Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles
These tiles are affordable and stand up to heavy traffic, although there is a difference in the material that they are made of.
Ceramic Tiles – These are made from clay material formed into a mold. Traditional ceramic tile is non-porcelain tile made from white, red and or brown clay and other minerals
Porcelain Tiles– These are made from clay and minerals as ceramic but contain 50% feldspar that acts as a “flux” in the kiln drying process, melting into a glass-like material and bonding all the molded ingredients together. Porcelain tiles are more expensive than non-porcelain and can be harder to work with. They do have greater durability than ceramic tiles and are highly stain resistant. They also have through-bodied color so in a situation of a chip, the color is throughout the tile not on the surface.
Finishes on tiles are typically glazes that increase stain, scratch, moisture resistance and help with traction.
Natural Stone Tiles are another option. These tiles are beautiful and vary due to the characteristics of the natural stone. Some natural stones are denser and harder than others. Depending on the characteristics some tend to be better for a different application.
Granite- very dense and hard comes in an array of colors and patterns
Slate – very dense and durable naturally textured
Marble- more porous than granite, therefore, it needs to be polished and sealed more frequently.
Limestone – less dense than granite or slate, and can be easily stained therefore not a good choice for a high trafficked area
Travertine – a type of limestone that is warm in color, has pitting or divots. Special care for sealing is recommended
The polished finish can give each stone a difference appearance so the beauty of the stone can shine through. The surface can vary from natural which appears dull, to honed that looks more like a matte finish, and polished which is the highest gloss finish on the stone; the more polished the surface the less impervious the natural stone becomes. Stone can be sealed which also helps with the resistance to stains, scratches, and moisture. Natural stone is a beautiful choice but can be a little pricier compared to ceramic or porcelain tiles.
Depending on the look you want to achieve, tile is a fantastic flooring surface for high traffic areas because they come in various colors, sizes and finishes to set the ambiance in the room.