If you’ve never taken on a flooring project before, you might be surprised to discover the many different types of tiles out there. The most popular tiles are ceramic and porcelain tiles, but there are also cement tiles, glass tiles, metal tiles, and stone tiles. To make things even more confusing, not every type of tile works for every kitchen. So, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed.
Whether you’re shopping for an urgent project or planning for the future, we’ve developed a comprehensive guide to help you choose the best type of tile for your kitchen project.
Table of Contents
Different Types of Tiles
Linoleum Floor Tile
Linoleum floor tiles are made of linseed oil, cork powder, ground limestone, and pigments. These contemporary tiles are well-suited to any kitchen. Also, linoleum tiles can naturally inhibit the growth of microorganisms and repel dust and dirt. If you’re looking for tiles that retain color and glossy finish over the years, consider choosing linoleum floor tiles for your kitchen. These tiles are easy to install and can jazz up any space. However, the remake comes at a cost because linoleum tiles are relatively expensive.
Ceramic tile is one of the most commonly used types of tile because it’s suitable for many applications. Increased durability makes ceramic tile ideal for any kitchen. It’s easy to install, clean, and has hundreds of styles that can match any design. If you’re looking to remodel on a budget, ceramic tile offers a pocket-friendly price point.
When shopping, consider checking the ceramic tile lot number to ensure you have a uniform result. Additionally, you may want to understand the difference between glazed and unglazed ceramic tiles. While unglazed gives a unique, rustic finish, glazed ceramic tiles provide protection for longer-lasting floors.
Onyx is a type of natural stone that looks amazing when used as kitchen floor tile. It’s a luxury flooring material and is rarer than either granite or marble. Use it in your kitchen for a fresh and exotic look.
Keep in mind that onyx tile flooring can scratch and scrape easily in high-traffic areas. Fortunately, proper maintenance can help extend the lifespan of onyx flooring. Onyx tiles require regular cleaning and resealing to prevent damage.
The other most popular type of tile is porcelain, which is different from ceramic tile. Porcelain has a unique ability to emulate natural stone, brick, or wood. If you’re looking for a sophisticated finish without upkeep, porcelain tiles are a great choice.
Additionally, this is an all-purpose tile and comes in various designs, colors, and styles for maximum versatility when renovating a kitchen. You can also install porcelain tiles outdoors as they will not fade, freeze, or crack. Other applications for porcelain tiles include bathrooms, entryways, and high-traffic areas.
Glass tiles are stain-resistant, making them a great alternative to natural stone. They’re ideal for kitchens because red wine and any other acidic food stains are easily wiped without any permanent staining. These tiles also add a clean and minimalistic look to your kitchen.
The biggest drawback is that glass will chip along the edges. Fortunately, replacing scratched glass tiles is easy. You only need to replace scratched tiles and not the entire floor.
Sandstone Tile Kitchen Flooring
Not many people prefer sandstone tile for their kitchen floors. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great option to consider.
Sandstone tile flooring is popular for its natural looks. It’s a classy, stylish material that suits any house décor. It’s a perfect mix of rustic and modern design.
Most sandstone tiles are the same color as natural sandstone, featuring gold, red, or brown shades. Another interesting design feature of sandstone tiles is their texture. Unlike most natural stone tiles, sandstone tiles have a naturally rugged texture to prevent slipping accidents. This feature makes sandstone floor tiling a good option for kitchens. Additionally, sandstone flooring is ultra-durable and doesn’t scratch, crack, stain, or chip.
Finally, sandstone tile flooring is an eco-friendly choice for the kitchen. Buy from a reputable manufacturer for high-quality and all-natural sandstone tiles.
Cement tiles are popular in modern interior design. They are extremely versatile and provide you with a wide range of patterns and colors. The tiles are extremely porous, so a patina may develop over time to enhance the pattern. You can also sand and reseal cement tiles if they get discolored over time.
A potential drawback to cement tiles is that they’re tricky to lay and install. Additionally, cement tiles must be resealed once a month to maintain their beauty.
Marble tiles are costly, but they can enhance your kitchen décor. These tiles add instant refinement and elegance to any kitchen. If you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen floor, marble tiles are all you need. Marble tile flooring also delivers texture and depth, so you’ll never have the same piece. Many homeowners use marble tiles in small areas such as kitchen backsplashes and countertops.
Marble tiles can require a lot of upkeep to keep them looking brand-new. And like any other stone, marble tiles are susceptible to stains and scratches and stains.
Pebble Tile Kitchen Flooring
If you want a trendy, high-end look for your kitchen, consider pebble tile kitchen flooring. It’s one of the most hip options available, and the best part about this type of tile is its contemporary style. Pebbles tiles are popular because they are comfortable to walk on. Like sandstone tiles, pebble tile flooring isn’t smooth. Instead, the individual pebbles create a rough, textured finish. Pebble tiles offer the perfect amount of slip resistance.
Pebble tiles are made of small pebbles of various sizes and colors, held together by concrete or resin. Because the pebbles are mined from river stone, no two pebble stone tiles look the same. This type of tile flooring requires grout to remain sealed together, and preventing grout discoloration may require regular maintenance. Overall, it’s a good option for kitchens with a mid-range price point.
These tiles give you a chance to flex your creative muscles since they come in so many different sizes, shapes, colors, styles, and materials. They can be porcelain, ceramic, natural stone, glass, and even metal or mirror.
Mosaic tile flooring is a unique form of artwork with many applications like kitchen flooring, bathroom backsplash, pool lining.
Granite is a natural stone that looks and feels similar to marble because of its natural flecks, but there are some notable differences. It has been overused and looks like a cheaper alternative. If you’re on a budget and lower costs are your top priority, granite tiles may be a reasonable choice for renovating your kitchen.
This one is another type of natural stone tile. Consider choosing limestone tiles if you want to achieve a truly rustic style featuring natural tones, shades, and variation. These tiles deliver a natural appearance that’s reminiscent of ancient design and architecture. Limestone is durable but soft, making it easier to shape and cut for specific placements and patterns.
Remember that limestone tile is a porous rock and must be sealed properly to ensure long-lasting results. Otherwise, limestone tiles will crack and etch easily. Also, cleaning limestone can be a hassle. If you want to avoid ruining the tiles, use neutral pH cleaning agents and avoid vinegar-based or citrus products. That said, the classy appearance and color variations can make it a great option for kitchens.
Like limestone, travertine tiles offer a natural, distinctive aesthetic. The soft, subdued palette provides one-of-a-kind neutral tones. From gray to beige and tan, its surface produces an elegant and unique design statement.
Like other natural stone tile types, this type of tile is impacted by traction, water, and stains. It requires extra maintenance and regular cleaning. Also, to avoid scratches or stains, many homeowners will apply these tiles to kitchen walls instead of floors. If you are applying it to kitchen floors, make sure you know what type of cleaning products and sealant to use.
Rubber tile flooring is ideal for areas where water is prevalent, including kitchen floors and bathrooms. It looks unique and has the best water and stain resistance of any flooring type. Also, it’s available in fun colors, so you can customize your kitchen style to your personal preference. Its comfortable surface makes it a great choice for kitchens where you spend a lot of time standing.
Rubber tile flooring is durable and low maintenance. It doesn’t require regular upkeep or resealing to keep it in good shape for years to come. And if your rubber tiles are scratched, you can easily replace single tiles without re-installing the entire floor at once.
The biggest drawback to rubber tiles is the expense. They’re one of the most expensive flooring materials for kitchens.
This one uses ground-up materials such as feldspar, clay, minerals, and shale. All these materials are baked together in kilns to form a quarry tile.
Because quarry tiles are fired at high temperatures, they’re naturally non-porous, dense, and water-resistant.
They can either be glazed or left in the natural finish. Another benefit is that quarry tiles don’t have to be sealed. They are durable and slip-resistant, making them perfect for high-traffic areas like kitchen floors and outdoor spaces.
Metal countertops provide superior durability and a chic kitchen look. Although this type of tile is similar in pricing to natural stone, it will withstand the test of time.
Metal tiles work great on any work surface, such as kitchen, utility room, or bar. However, these tiles can scratch almost as soon as they’re installed. Some people prefer this tarnished look, which can soften the overall effect. If that’s not your preferred look, then metal isn’t an ideal tile type for you.
These tiles are warm to the touch and very easy on the feet. These tiles come tinted in a variety of colors. Installation may be difficult, so expect to apply multiple coats of glue to seal the flooring and stop moisture from reaching the subfloor.
Generally, cork tiles are installed with polyurethane adhesives, but click-in-place floating floor tiles are also available.
Resin tiles are a good solution to combine styles you want. These tiles look amazing and are water-resistant. Plus, they are great for homeowners since they can make personalized tile patterns. The 3D designs are also popular with resin tiles and can imitate the look of water and stones.
Resin drawbacks include a tendency to chip, and this type of tile can also fade over time, especially when exposed to sunlight. We recommend resin flooring for water areas like kitchens and bathrooms. They also make great kitchen backsplashes and accent pieces.
Kitchen Tile Flooring Buying Guide
Thanks to their stylish appearance and hardwearing nature, tiles are one of the most common walls and floor coverings for kitchens and bathrooms.
There are many other reasons why tiles are popular amongst homeowners worldwide, including their water-resistant properties, versatility, and low installation costs.
So, if you’ve decided that tiles are the best choice for your kitchen project, we’ve come up with a few considerations you may need to make.
Choosing the right tile size
There are many tile sizes that you can choose from. Choosing the correct tile size is very important and can make or break the look of your kitchen design. For example, it may sound illogical to use large-scale tiles in a smaller kitchen, but it can make your space feel a lot larger. They create fewer grout lines, making cleanup and maintenance a breeze.
Smaller tiles are also helpful if you want to create a charming look on kitchen walls. For example, mosaic tiles are smaller, so they stand out against other tiles. When you’re making a kitchen renovation plan and select a tile size that enhances your kitchen.
Choosing a Color scheme
Selecting your tile color scheme is another important choice for kitchen remodeling. The color choice depends on your individual preference. But if you are undecided after browsing many tile options, a neutral color palette is a good choice. It’s a safe and timeless choice, making it suitable for kitchens of all sizes.
Choosing Finish and Texture
The tile material you choose dictates your finish and texture options. Many materials feature a variety of finishes and textures available to match the overall style of your kitchen. Choosing a roughly textured tile is smart for most kitchens to improve slip resistance when wet.
Choosing Tile Adhesives
There are multiple types of adhesive methods when installing tile flooring. It’s important to know which type your project will require before you purchase the tile to make sure the floor installation is reliable and secure.
Grout is the finishing adhesive that holds the tiles in place over the floor, connecting each tile to the other and to the subfloor by being spread over the top of the tiles and into the grooves between them. It is available in two types, sanded grout, and unsanded grout. Sanded grout is best for projects that have built-in larger channels or grout lines between the tiles. Unsanded grout is for those tiny spaces of less than ⅛” between tile edges.
Mortar is a paste created by a mix of cement, lime, sand, and water. It helps adhere bricks, stones, and tile to the subfloor. It is applied directly to the subfloor, and the tile is placed down into the paste to dry, with spacers in between to create the appropriate grout lines.
Thinset is an adhesive mortar used to attach tiles to smooth surfaces such as cement or concrete. It is made of fine sand, cement, and water and should only be made in small batches due to the thinner paste and quicker hardening time. It can be used with tile for floor and wall applications.
DIY Vs. Professional Installation
The type of installation depends on the tile you’re using. Some tile materials require professional installation. Marble and granite are two good examples. They require complex installation and professional help. Also, glass tiles are small and difficult for most homeowners to lay down on kitchen floors.
Homeowners can easily install other materials, and rubber tiles are the most obvious example.
What is the difference between wall tile and floor tile?
Floor tile is thick and sturdy enough to hold up against foot traffic, while wall tile is thin and lightweight for easier installation. Some floor tiles can be suitable for walls, depending on the size and weight.
What tile is the hardest?
Porcelain is the most durable tile on the market. It is harder, denser, and less porous than ceramic tile. It also has a low absorption rate, meaning it’s less susceptible to water damage.