Tile Choices Made Easy
Not all tiles are alike. Some are more durable and wear resistant than others. And with so many colors and styles available, choosing one that’s right for your home can be a challenge. Before you buy, here’s what you need to know from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).
Ceramic tile is less expensive than other types and come in two styles: porcelain and non-porcelain. Non-porcelain tile is suitable for light to moderate traffic, but it is more prone to wear. Porcelain is denser and absorbs less water than ceramic tile. It is also more wear and damage resistant.
The NKBA recommends that you check the tile’s rating from Class 1 (no foot traffic) to Class 5 (heavy to extra heavy traffic) to determine its recommended use.
Another option is natural stone tile, which is commonly found in slate, marble, limestone, travertine and granite. Slate is a dense, tough composite available in shades of black, gray and green. It is best suited for floors, walkways and roofing, and recently has been used in kitchen countertops and wet bars.
Marble is a popular natural stone that is softer than granite. It is used most often in bathroom walls and flooring, tub decks, fireplace surrounds, furniture, sculptures and courtyards. Marble is not recommended for kitchens unless the stone is honed and sealed.
Limestone is less dense than marble or travertine. It comes in earthy colors, such as off-white, grey and beige, and it is best used for structural walls, entry walls, floors, fireplace surrounds, vanities and shower walls. However, it can stain and scratch easily, so it is not recommended for kitchen countertops and wet bars.
Travertine is less dense than high-grade marble and highly porous, and comes in light beige to brown. However, some cleaning products can damage the surface. Travertine is best used for entry walls, floors, vanities, shower walls, tub decks and mosaics, but not for countertops because it scratches and stains easily.
Once polished, granite can maintain its high gloss finish forever. It’s also easy to clean and durable, which makes it ideal for kitchen countertops, wet bars, entry walls, floors, fireplaces and bathroom vanities.