There is an incredibly vast array of materials available when it comes to choosing floor and wall tiles, so much so that it can be overwhelming at times. To make life easier, we’ve put together a quick guide to the different tile materials available, how they differ, and where they are most commonly used.

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Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles are the most common tile, and the one everyone first thinks of. Manufactured through baking tiles with glazing in a kiln, they have been used for hundreds of years and are still incredibly popular. Durable and easy to clean, ceramic tiles are often used in bathrooms, and kitchen splashbacks, but can also be used for flooring.

Ceramic tiles come in a range of finishes and designs, and this is one of the reasons why they are so popular. From ceramic tiles of single colours to patterned Victorian ceramic tiles, there is no limit to the variations of flooring possible with ceramic tiles.

A common misconception is that all ceramic glazed tiles are shiny. In reality, the shine or matt finish depends on the type of glazing used. Gloss tiles are good for small rooms, as they reflect light, making the room seem bigger and brighter than they truly are. Commonly used in bathrooms and hallways, the smooth finish of gloss tiles makes a room seem bright and clean. Matt glazed tiles, on the other hand, have a less shiny finish. They are often chosen for their texture – they are less smooth than tiles with a gloss finish, meaning they are more suited for flooring as they are more slip resistant. Secondly, matt is a much more natural finish and can be more soothing than the bright glare of gloss ceramic tiles.

Porcelain tiles

Porcelain tiles are another commonly recognised form of tile, that is similar to ceramic but stronger, harder and more water resistant. Porcelain tiles are manufactured in the same way as ceramic tiles, but the clay used has much finer particles, and the temperature in the kiln is much higher. This method increases the hardness, but also makes them more impervious – meaning moisture will not affect them. This makes them great for flooring in areas of high traffic, but they also look great on walls.

Again, with porcelain tiles, there is a wide range of styles and designs available, from marble effect tiles to more traditional patterned tiles and even wood-effect. Unglazed porcelain tiles have no glazing on top, meaning the whole tile is made from one material. This makes them extra durable and resistant, and so is often the flooring material of choice for restaurants, cafes and other busy floors.

Natural stone tiles

Natural stone tiles are timeless, long-lasting and traditional, and growing in popularity. Sourced from quarries all around the world, natural stone tiles are made from stones including marble, granite, sandstone and limestone, and have been used for centuries.

Natural stone flooring and tiles give your home a luxurious and elegant feel, whilst having natural imperfections and variations running through them to add a unique style. Natural stone tiles are easy to maintain, incredibly durable and work well with underfloor heating.

Encaustic tiles

Encaustic tiles are patterned tiles whereby the pattern has been created using different coloured clays, instead of being the result of glazing. Encaustic tiles can have as few as two pieces of different clay, or up to six or seven different pieces of clay inlaid to create a stunning decorative look.

Encaustic tiles are a great way to create flooring with geometric patterns which is becoming increasingly popular throughout the home. Encaustic tiles work particularly well in high-traffic areas such as hallways because the design remains when the tiles get worn down, unlike glazed tiles where the glazing can be worn down and the pattern disappears.

Glass tiles

Glass tiles, although often only thought of as big panels of clear glass, come in a range of different styles and finishes, and are a great way to add something different to your home. Most commonly used on splashbacks, dividers and feature panels, glass tiles can brighten a room.

Glass tiles are most commonly used in mosaics, with really small pieces of glass in either a single colour or multiple colours to form a feature piece. This could be as a runner around the bathroom, a border around a floor, or a wall feature.

Concrete tiles

Concrete tiles are becoming increasingly popular flooring options throughout the home. As more industrial and minimalist trends grow, so does the desire for monochrome, dramatic flooring options such as brushed and polished concrete.

Concrete tiles are now primarily being used in kitchens, both on kitchen walls and floors, to create that contemporary and industrial interior that is becoming increasingly popular.

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