Tile is one of the most popular flooring materials throughout Europe. It is a classic design choice for many Victorian properties in the UK and is used increasingly in modern interior schemes today.
Even though many other man-made materials have become popular in recent years, ranging from engineered wood to vinyl, tile is still valued for its beauty, robustness, character and affordability.
However, if you’re searching for tiles for a new floor, you’ve probably realised they come in many different shapes, sizes and even materials, from ceramic and porcelain, to glass, quarry and stone. In this blog, we explore your options when it comes to tiled floors.
Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
Ceramic tiles and porcelain tiles are similar in several ways. You can’t always tell them apart by quickly glancing at the installed products so if it matters to you, check with the seller or manufacturer before making an order. Both tiles are clay-based and kiln-fired, but porcelain is a specialized type of ceramic.
The clays used to make porcelain have a higher density and are fired longer at a higher temperature than ceramic. This might have little bearing on your flooring decision, but the difference in ingredients and production methods creates types of tile with unique characteristics.
Each has its own advantages and disadvantages in the porcelain tile vs. ceramic tile decision and you may only be able to get a certain style or type in one option and not the other.
While not all ceramic tile is cheap, it is possible to find bargain ceramic tiles which still can add to the beauty of your home. There are many manufacturers of both porcelain and ceramic tiles throughout Europe, leading to plenty of options on the market to choose from.
Glass tiles are made from thin pieces of glass with translucent glaze fired onto the back of each tile. They’re sold either individually or in predesigned mosaic patterns set on a mesh backing.
They are often best for creating eye catching and extravagant designs and glass mosaics. Glass tile is commonly used for kitchen and bathrooms and often on vertical surfaces, rather than flooring. If you want to use glass tiles on the floor, you’ll need to check with the manufacturer and your contractor that they won’t be prone to cracking under pressure.
Natural Stone Tile
Natural stone tiles are a popular choice for both business and residential properties. They are typically used in kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, conservatories, living areas, and for exterior paved areas. Using natural stone floor tiles throughout an interior area and exterior of your home can expand an area and blur the boundaries between inside and out.
As a material, they are generally robust, practical, hardwearing, and hygienic, which ticks many boxes for homeowners. However, stone isn’t without its downsides. Though durable, it can easily crack if the wrong item drops from a certain height. And natural stone is porous, so it must be sealed and polished regularly.
Natural stone can also be cold under bare feet when used in bathrooms. However, this material is also one of the best candidates for underfloor heating systems, as it’s great for thermal conductivity and retains heat for typically longer periods of time than ceramic or porcelain tiles.
There are many different types of stone tile. Marble tiles can create a classic, luxurious look, while slate tiles give a room a more rustic appearance. Also, highly polished limestone tiles create a contemporary feel, so what’s right for you all really depends on your preference.
How to Attach Tile to Your Floor
Floor coverings need a solid base for installation. Laminate flooring, engineered wood, and even solid hardwood are moderately flexible and as the house expands and contracts, the flooring does too. However, ceramic and porcelain tile, by contrast, does not compensate for this change. Tiles cannot bend, flex, or shift.
More than almost any other type of floor covering, tile needs a rock-solid and consistently flat base. If you are looking for cement screed contractors in Kent to help with your new tiled floors, get in touch with us a UK Screed today.