Tile Flooring Options

November 19, 2005
tile flooring options
Which tiling material is right for you? Learning how to install tile flooring may help your decision too. Installing tile flooring, be the tile ceramic tile flooring, cork or linoleum, may be just the project for you. And don’t forget to look at not only flooring specialty stores but also at discount tile flooring stores.

When it comes to tile flooring, many homeowners are confused. They don’t know how to evaluate which of the myriad flooring choices fit their lifestyle and budget. Tile flooring is versatile enough to fit almost any situation.


Today, most flooring surfaces are available in thin tile pieces, so choosing between ceramic, vinyl, cork, laminate, and slate tile flooring at your local hardware store can be dizzying indeed. Tile flooring simply refers to flooring options that are shaped into thin, square or rectangular wafers that can easily be applied to your floors. Tile flooring offers customers:

  • variety
  • ready availability
  • value
  • durability

And it can, depending on the tile you select, have drawbacks like:

  • installation challenges
  • high cost

In general, homeowners can select from tile flooring that is made of natural or synthetic materials. Natural tile flooring is made of products such as cork, slate, or ceramics (which are made from clay). To make this natural tile flooring, manufacturers gather the necessary materials, shape them, glaze or seal them and possibly heat them in kilns in order to produce durable tiles. In synthetic flooring manufacturing, manufacturers make tiles such as laminate or vinyl flooring by combining synthetic materials and processing them into tiles, often by pouring the material into molds.
With today’s manufacturing and glazing techniques, the hardness and durability of tile flooring is quite high. Whether you select synthetic or natural material tile flooring, you can choose to have your tile floors as hard as possible for high traffic areas. Special enamel glazes can make tile floors durable enough for high-traffic and industrial areas. Even naturally soft materials can be made into tiles with a MOH (measure of hardness) ranking of between 0 and 5.
Although we tend to think of tile flooring as a recent or late 1900s invention, historically it has been used in a variety of ways, including intricate mosaic tile floors. Tile flooring and mosaic tiles went in and out of fashion in Europe until the 1800s, when new manufacturing techniques made it one of the most used flooring options. By the 1900s, new flooring materials and professes allowed homeowners to enjoy even more durable synthetic tiles as well as tiles made of natural materials.
There are some drawbacks to tile flooring. Some types of tiles are quite fragile before they are installed. Natural tiles, such as slate, marble and other stones, may require extra care during installation because they can be fragile while being handled (a condition that goes away when laid on the subfloor). In some cases, installing ceramic tile flooring can take a lot of patience or may require use of strong chemicals. When installing tile flooring then, it is important to follow directions exactly. You may also want to consult with professionals or experienced do-it-yourselfers to learn more about how to install tile flooring.
Some tiles are a bit more fragile and not good for every situation. Cork tile may not hold up to dogs, grit, and high heels unless “varnished” after installation. Parquet tile may notwithstand wet rooms, like the kitchen, bath, and laundry, without being “varnished” after installation. Linoleum and vinyl tiles may not adhere to concrete subfloors if the concrete is too wet from ground water being absorbed; you need to check the concrete before deciding on how to cover it.
Despite the few drawbacks, there are many advantages to tile flooring. The price varies widely, depending on size, material, and quality — but the price is often quite reasonable, especially given its longevity. Installing tile flooring is also made easier by the small size of individual tiles. Some types of natural tiles (including ceramic tiles) can help contribute to air quality. Today most types of tile flooring are made to be as convenient as possible. Tile flooring made of synthetic material such as vinyl, is especially easy to install, clean, and remove, making it a good alternative flooring solution. Plus, most tiles are made to be long-lasting, attractive, versatile, and durable, withstanding even heavy use without fading or cracking.
If you need an affordable flooring solution, consider tiles. Whether you select natural tiles made of cork, slate, ceramic or synthetic vinyl tiles, you will make a purchase that enhances your home and lifestlye for years to come.

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