Tile Comparison: Material Options for Perfect Floor and Wall Accents
As you plan your kitchen or bath remodel, tile is an important detail you shouldn’t overlook. In this blog, we provide a tile comparison of our favorite materials, from ceramic to granite.
Tile is an essential element of your countertop makeover. Whether you’re looking for a backsplash or decorative floor tiles, tiles accent your countertops and bring the entire look together.
In this tile comparison, we will explore different material options available for floor and/or wall use.
Types of Tile
There are five main types of tile we typically see for floor and/or wall use:
- Ceramic: Clay-based tile that has been permanently hardened by heat, usually with a decorative glaze.
- Glass: Pieces of glass with translucent glaze fired onto the back of each tile.
- Marble: A metamorphic form of limestone.
- Granite: An igneous rock consisting mainly of quartz, mica and feldspar.
- Porcelain: A specialized type of ceramic made out of a higher density clay that’s fired longer and at a higher temperature.
All of these options are beautiful and timeless in their own way. Some types even look similar to each other (like ceramic and porcelain), which can make it more difficult to choose.
In our tile comparison, we will examine each material individually, looking at the price, durability, finishes and care instructions to help you make a more informed decision.
Price: Ceramic tiles are less expensive than other materials.
Durability: Ceramic is a less dense material and easier to cut. If not glazed or fully vitrified, ceramic tiles are porous. Because of these qualities, they are less durable, especially in high-traffic areas. Wall applications have an expected life span of about 50 years.
Finishes: A manmade material, ceramic offers thousands of colors with a glossy or matte finish. There are also some textured patterns available.
Maintenance: Non-acidic tile cleaners work best. Use a soft cloth, sponge and gentle dish detergent in warm water.
Price: Glass tiles are more expensive, but final cost depends on the variety.
Durability: Glass is a less dense material but more time-consuming to cut. Glass is non-porous, so water will not penetrate the material, but it is easily scratched. It works best in wall (vertical) applications and is not for full-floor use. Glass has an expected life span of 50+ years.
Finishes: Also a manmade material, glass offers endless color and design options with glossy, matte or textured finishes.
Maintenance: Use non-acidic and nonabrasive tile cleaners. Use a soft cloth, sponge and gentle dish detergent in warm water.
In this tile comparison, we’re focusing on marble but these qualities also apply to closely related materials: travertine and limestone.
Price: Costs vary depending on the exact species, but marble is usually a higher price point compared to other materials.
Durability: Marble is soft, less dense and porous. It is prone to chipping and cracking when initially cut and can stain and scratch in use. However, most applications (floor or wall) are okay, and you can even use marble tile indoors or outdoors. When in doubt, defer to your marble supplier’s recommendations.
Finishes: Marble is a natural product with various countries of origin. Because it’s natural, there are more limited color options available. Marble comes in polished or honed finishes.
Maintenance: Sealer is recommended for marble tile. Use specific stone cleaners recommended for the specific type you get.
Price: Granite tile is also at a higher price point, though final cost depends on the granite.
Durability: Granite is denser and more difficult to cut into tile. Granite is among the most durable natural stones available. Granite tile works for most applications but, again, see your supplier recommendations when in doubt.
Finishes: Granite is also a natural material with various countries of origin—and various unique patterns and colors! You can get granite in polished, textured or honed finishes.
Maintenance: Granite is porous, so sealer is recommended once every 1-5 years depending on use. To maintain this natural stone, use gentle soap and stone-specific cleaners.
Price: Porcelain is a low to higher-priced product, depending on your selection.
Durability: Porcelain is highly dense and more difficult to cut. It’s completely vitrified and impermeable, even before the glazing process. Porcelain is highly durable, so any application—wall or floor—will work.
Finishes: Porcelain offers thousands of colors and patterns often imitated from natural patterns. You can get it in glossy, matte or textured finishes.
Maintenance: Use non-acidic tile cleaners and a soft cloth, sponge and dawn dish detergent in warm water.
Once you have selected your countertop material and other details, you can really enhance your choice by pairing it all with a beautiful tile.
In the countertop buying process, we recommend selecting tile at the same time as the countertop so you can create an entirely cohesive space.
By exploring different options and narrowing down until you arrive at your final choice, you can find the best countertop and tile combination that truly expresses the vibe that you’re going for.
Whatever your taste, style, or budget, we have the right floor and wall tile to complement your new countertops from Eastern Surfaces. Request more information on tile by contacting us.