Through the flooring innovations of today, ceramic tile is not only more affordable, but also easier to maintain. Ceramic tile designs are virtually indistinguishable from natural marbles, travertines, slates and other stone products. The options for color, patterns, sizes, shapes and design are infinite, as are the areas you can install tile and stone. In addition to flooring, backsplashes, showers, and walls are great locations for the material.
There are four distinct types of stone: ceramic, porcelain, marble, and granite. Ceramic selections include both glazed tile and unglazed tile (aka Natural Stone). Glazed is the most common and has a special coating applied to the body of the tile to seal it, creating a hard and non-porous surface. The benefits of glazed stone include stain resistance, scratch resistant, fire resistant, fade resistant, slip resistant and the best feature - ease of cleaning!
The unglazed floor tile (aka Natural Stone) is free of the glazing process. While unglazed tile can be incredibly beautiful, it is porous and needs to be maintained regularly. There is a special sealant that can be applied to prevent stains and the seepage of spills and general dirt into the pores of the natural stone.
Porcelain tile is made from a very fine mixture of clays and minerals. These clays allow porcelain tile to be fired at even hotter temperatures than ceramic tiles, typically near 2400 degrees (F). The higher the temperature, the denser the tile will become and the less moisture it will attract. The molecular makeup of porcelain is similar to fine china and high end dinnerware. The benefits of Porcelain are like those of ceramic, they are denser and harder than most other tiles, they are highly stain and moisture resistant, and they have an easy to clean surface.
Marble, Granite & Limestone are very popular stones today. These three stones are all natural and therefore unique. They are mined out of quarries so no two stones are ever the same. They are extremely porous and need to be treated with a sealant. However, it is not hard to care for them, making them very popular in homes today.
It is common to grout your tile after installation. This is a mixture of cement and a color additive. Also, a liquid latex additive can be added to the grout to give better resiliency to the grouted areas. It is normal for the grout’s color to change over time.