Tile floor options for your home
Even though tile flooring has been in use since the times of the ancient Egyptians, it is still very much in style today. Tile flooring is durable and easy to care for, and it comes in a huge range of materials and colors. Its flexibility makes it the perfect choice for any room in the house.
How to Select the Perfect Floor Tile
Many homeowners today are selecting tile flooring for its durability and the flexibility to experiment with tile flooring design ideas. There are many choices for tile flooring materials, including:
- Ceramic tiles, which are constructed from clay, minerals and water. Ceramic tiles are the most popular choice for tile flooring. Glazed ceramic tiles are ready to go as flooring, while unglazed tiles require regular applications of tile sealant to protect their look.
- Porcelain tiles, which are denser and stronger than ceramic tiles but similar in appearance.
- Granite tile, which is favored for its hardness and intricately colored specks. Granite must be highly polished to show off its true beauty.
- Marble tile, which is similar in look to granite but can be slippery when polished, so is often used in low-traffic areas.
- Cement tile, which is very durable and can be produced in just about any color. Cement tiles need to be sealed to prevent staining.
- Slate tiles, which are generally darker in color and offer either a natural grain or a smooth finish.
- Terrazzo tile, which uses chips of granite or marble within an epoxy-resin or concrete base. Terrazzo is an environmentally friendly choice for tile floors because up to 95 percent of the materials used in production are recycled.
- Vinyl tile flooring, which is simple to install and offers ease of care.
All tile feels hard to the touch, but tile hardness is actually rated on a scale of relative hardness (the Mohs scale). Group I tiles are the least hard and best for areas with very light traffic, while Group V are suitable for heavy industrial installations. For the average home interior, a hardness grade of III is sufficient.
Guide to Tile Floor Cleaning
Tile floors are prized for their ease of care. Floors should be swept when needed, and spills should be wiped up with an absorbent cloth or a wet/dry vacuum. Tile floors benefit from a weekly damp mopping. Plain water is usually sufficient for vinyl or ceramic tile flooring; if extra cleaning power is needed, a little white vinegar added to the water should do the trick. For stone tiles like granite and marble, be sure to use a cleanser approved for these materials, as harsh ingredients can damage them.