In the current tiling industry there is an excellent choice of different floor coverings. From beautiful real stone to durable man made porcelain there is something for everyone. Below we will go through the Pros and Cons of the main tile types..
Real marble tiles have a beautiful, unique look like no other surface, with all their whirling patterns and shade variations. But the same patterns that make marble beautiful can be a real headache to match from tile to tile. It is essential that you ensure you get a marble worth paying for when buying it. There are many marbles out there that are cheap but will cost you dearly in the long run. Cheap marbles are prone to cracking, easily discolourate and scratch permanently.
Bearing this in mind it is important to do adequate research and to buy from a reputable source.
Marble, like most stone tiles, has high maintenance requirements. It must be sealed and cleaned regularly; for cleaning, use only a mild detergent solution or a product specially designed for marble. Never set your drink down on a marble surface (it will leave a ring) and wipe up any spills immediately as they can stain or etch the marbles porous surface.
From this it sounds like Marble is a nighmare. In reality, with proper maintanace and a bit of common sense a Marble floor goes unrivalled in comparison to anything else.
Install Yourself? No
Best Use: Floors
Pro: Beauty, has a unique “wow” factor that can rarely be achieved with any other kind of tile.
Cons: Expense; high maintenance; can scratch easier than porcelain.
Ceramic tiles are thin slabs of clay or other inorganic materials, hardened by oven firing and usually coated with some kind of glaze. Ceramic is best known for its durability: There are still intact installations in the ruins of ancient Rome and Egypt! Pompeii even has many examples of beautiful ceramic tilework that are still pristine after 2,000 years.
Ceramic tile is a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms because it’s easy to clean and doesn’t harbor germs. It is manufactured in production runs; because of variation between lots it is important to make sure the caliber number (indicating size) and lot number (indicating color) are the same throughout your order.
Install Yourself? Yes
Best Use: Floors, walls, countertops, backsplashes
Pros: Durability, versatility, low maintenance, easy installation, low cost
Cons: Can vary in size and color from lot to lot
Actually a subtype of ceramic tile, porcelain is the most popular tile going now.
It may be a type of ceramic, however it is MUCH harder wearing and more resiliant. It is the most popular tile for commercial uses such as airports, shopping centres, outdoor public areas etc. From this it has also become the most popular for residential applications as it is uncomparably stronger than cermaic while not being much more expensive. The ranges of porcelain are also much more varied and often are larger format sizes making them another reason to be more popular.
The problem is that do-it-yourselfers typically install it with setting material designed for ordinary ceramic tiles, but porcelain’s low porosity means it requires a special compound for setting. You can ask us at Project Tile for help on how to install.
Install Yourself? Yes
Best Uses: All-purpose; also commercial installations
Pros: Toughness, variety of design
Cons: Slightly more expesive than ceramics