Tile Flooring Guide: Types, Pros, Cons, and Selection Tips

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 05/08/24 •  9 min read

Tile flooring has been a popular choice for homeowners for centuries, offering a versatile and stylish flooring option for various rooms and spaces.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of tile flooring, the different types available, and tips for selecting the perfect tile for your home. We will also address common questions and concerns, such as “how long do tile floors last?” and their environmental impact.

Types of Tiles for Flooring: Ceramic, Porcelain, Natural Stone, and Glass

There are various types of tile flooring available to you as a homeowner, including ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, and glass tiles. Each type of tile offers unique benefits and drawbacks, making it essential to understand the differences to make the best choice for your home.

Types of Tiles for Flooring Comparison Table

To simplify this comparison, here is a concise table that highlights the benefits, drawbacks, and approximate costs of each tile type.

Tile TypeBenefitsDrawbacksApproximate Cost (per sq. ft.)
Ceramic TilesAffordable, various colors/designs, easy to install/maintainLess durable, not suitable for outdoor use$1.00 – $5.00
Porcelain TilesDurable, water-resistant, indoor/outdoor use, low maintenanceMore expensive, harder to cut and install$3.00 – $10.00
Natural StoneUnique look, adds value, versatile (marble, granite, slate)Expensive, requires sealing, prone to staining$6.00 – $15.00+
Glass TilesModern look, easy to clean, brightens spaceFragile, expensive$7.00 – $30.00

Please note that the approximate costs mentioned above are for the tiles only and do not include installation or additional materials. The prices may vary depending on factors such as the quality of the tile, location, and retailer.

Tile Flooring Styles and Patterns

Selecting the perfect style and pattern for your tile flooring is crucial to creating a cohesive and visually appealing space.

Below, we discuss some popular tile flooring styles and patterns, their characteristics, and the types of spaces they complement. Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive, as there are numerous tile flooring styles and patterns available. The key is to choose a design that aligns with your personal taste and complements your home’s overall aesthetic.

Mosaic Tile Floor

Mosaic Tiles

Mosaic tiles consist of small, intricate pieces that form a pattern or image when assembled. These tiles come in various materials, including ceramic, porcelain, glass, and natural stone.

Mosaic tiles add visual interest and texture to a room, making them ideal for feature walls, backsplashes, or accent flooring. They work well in both modern and traditional settings.

Subway Flooring Tiles.

Subway Tiles

Subway tiles are rectangular-shaped tiles that were originally used in early 20th-century subway stations. Today, they are popular for their clean, classic look and are commonly used for backsplashes and bathroom walls. However, they can also be used for flooring to create a modern or industrial aesthetic.

Subway tiles come in a range of sizes, colors, and finishes, allowing for various design possibilities.

Hexagon Tiles

Hexagon tiles are six-sided tiles that create a unique, geometric pattern when installed. These tiles can be used in a range of settings, from contemporary to traditional homes, and work well for both floors and walls. Hexagon tiles are available in various materials, such as ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone, and come in different sizes and colors.

Wood-Look Tiles

Wood-look tiles mimic the appearance of hardwood flooring but offer the durability and water resistance of tile. These tiles are typically made of porcelain or ceramic and come in various plank sizes and finishes, allowing you to achieve the desired wood aesthetic without the maintenance requirements of actual hardwood.

Encaustic Tiles

Encaustic tiles are ceramic tiles with an inlaid pattern that is created by using different colors of clay. These tiles have a vintage, artisanal appearance and can add character and charm to various spaces, such as kitchens, bathrooms, or entryways.

Herringbone Floor Tile

Herringbone Pattern

The herringbone pattern consists of rectangular tiles arranged in a distinctive V-shape or zigzag pattern. This classic design adds visual interest and a sense of movement to your space, making it suitable for both traditional and contemporary settings.

Herringbone patterns work well with various tile types, including wood-look, ceramic, and natural stone.

Herringbone is similar to a chevron pattern, except that the tiles meet in an overlapping, jagged pattern.

Chevron Pattern

Similar to the herringbone pattern, the chevron pattern features a zigzag design. However, the ends of the tiles in a chevron pattern are cut at an angle, creating a continuous and clean V-shape when installed.

This pattern is popular for creating a bold, eye-catching design and is suitable for floors and walls alike.

Basketweave Pattern

The basketweave pattern mimics the appearance of woven materials by using rectangular tiles arranged in alternating horizontal and vertical pairs. This timeless design adds texture and depth to your space and works well with various tile materials, such as ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone.

Terrazzo Tiles

Terrazzo tiles are made from a composite material containing marble, quartz, granite, or glass chips embedded in a cement or resin binder. This unique flooring option offers a speckled, colorful appearance and is highly durable and low-maintenance. Terrazzo tiles can be used in a variety of spaces, from residential to commercial settings.

Large Format Tiles

Large format tiles are any tiles with at least one side measuring 15 inches or more. These tiles create a seamless, minimalistic look and can make small spaces appear larger. Large-format tiles are available in various materials, including ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone.

YES, There are More Styles and Patterns!

Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive, as there are numerous tile flooring styles and patterns available. These are just the more typical syles and patterns you’ll see.

The key is to choose a design that aligns with your personal taste and complements your home’s overall aesthetic.

By understanding the various tile flooring styles and patterns available, you can choose a design that complements your home’s aesthetic and enhances the overall look of your space.

Tips for Selecting Tile Flooring for Different Areas of Your Home

When selecting flooring for your home it’s important not only to think of your tastes, but also your budget and where the tile will be.

Here are some important things to consider when making a decision:

  1. Will your tile be in a high-traffic area? If your tile is being laid in a high-traffic area choose durable tiles, such as porcelain or natural stone, that can withstand wear and tear.
  2. Will your tile be in a high-moisture area? If you’re tiling an area that’s prone to moisture, opt for water-resistant tiles, like porcelain or sealed natural stone, for bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
  3. What does your budget allow? Calculating the cost of tile flooring installation can make a lot of the decisions for you if you’re on a tight budget. Consider factors such as material costs, labor costs, and any additional expenses, like underlayment or grout.
    Don’t forget that getting fancy with your layout, like creating a basketweave or herringbone pattern with rectangular tile, may not increase the cost of the tile a whole lot, but it can certainly drive up the installation cost considerably.

Common Questions and Concerns About Tile Flooring

There are some common questions and concerns that homeowners often have when considering tile flooring. Here’s a brief overview of the most common topics that come up when making a decision about whether tile is the right choice:

  1. Durability: Tile floors, when properly installed and maintained, can last for decadesbut the durability of your tile floor will also depend on the material used. Porcelain and natural stone tiles are more durable than ceramic or glass tiles for example. If long-lasting floors are your top priority, it’s essential to select high-quality tiles and follow proper installation and maintenance guidelines.
  2. Environmental impact: The environmental impact of tile flooring varies depending on the materials used and the manufacturing process. Some tiles are made from recycled materials, while others may have a higher carbon footprint. Researching the sustainability practices of tile manufacturers can help you make an eco-friendly choice.
  3. Comparing tile flooring to other options: When comparing tile flooring to other options, such as hardwood or laminate flooring, it’s important to consider factors like durability, water resistance, maintenance, and cost. Tile floors are typically more durable and water-resistant than hardwood or laminate floors but can be more expensive and less comfortable underfoot.
  4. Maintenance: Proper maintenance is crucial for preserving the appearance and longevity of your tile floors. Different types of tile flooring may require specific cleaning methods and products, as well as occasional sealing or regrouting. Regular cleaning and prompt attention to stains or damage can help keep your tile floors looking their best.

By addressing these common questions and concerns, you can make a well-informed decision when selecting tile flooring for your home, ensuring that your chosen material aligns with your needs and preferences.

Maintaining Tile Flooring

Maintaining your tile flooring is essential for its longevity and appearance. While we won’t go into detailed instructions in this article, we recommend checking out our guide on [how to properly clean tile floors] for in-depth cleaning tips and techniques.

Conclusion: Weigh the Pros and Cons of Tile Flooring for Yourself And Further Reading

Tiled floors offer homeowners an attractive and versatile flooring option with various styles, patterns, and materials to choose from, but there are some disadvantages to consider. Here’s a final pros and cons list to help you decide if tile is right for your flooring project:

Pros of Tile FlooringCons of Tile Flooring
Versatile and stylishCan be expensive, particularly natural stone and glass tiles
Water-resistant (particularly porcelain and natural stone)May be uncomfortable underfoot
Durable, especially when using high-quality materialsSome types may require sealing and regular maintenance
Wide range of styles and patterns are available

If you decide to go ahead and tile your space, make sure to check out our Step-by-step how to tile guide for beginners, or our  20 Tile Flooring Tips to Help You Install Tile Floors Like a Pro! if this is not your first DIY tile adventure.

thewriteDuffy

At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.