Stylish, affordable, and low maintenance - those are basically the Holy Grail of flooring materials, right? You want something that will look amazing year after year with very little effort, but it sounds too good to be true. That's where porcelain and ceramic floor tiles come in! Not only are there a wide range of styles, sizes, colors, and patterns available, but these floor tiles offer versatile options that meet virtually any budget.
Ideal for both flooring and wall surfaces, Athena Cielo Stone Look Porcelain Tile is a showstopper! They have all the look of marble slabs but at a fraction of the price point.
Walk into any home with tile floors and you’ll be stunned at how this surface finish beautifully complements just about any design aesthetic! Whether you have a contemporary, traditional, modern, or minimalist setting,
Follow along to find inspiration as we cover the basics, including the benefits of ceramic and porcelain flooring, the best and most effective places to use them, why it's a popular choice for flooring, and its care and maintenance.
What are Ceramic Tiles?
Before you dive into purchasing your tiles, it’s helpful to understand the process involved in creating ceramic. That way you can evaluate its performance aspects and be sure you’re making an informed choice from the get-go.
Ceramic tile is made of and clay, along with other natural products such as feldspar—which are then grounded into a very fine powder. Next, water is added to adhere the ingredients to each other and the mixture is crafted and shaped into tiles. At this stage, the shaped product is known as “green tile.”
It is fired in a kiln at extremely high temperatures to give the body its tensile strength. After, the product is dried out to remove any last traces of moisture before being primed, painted, and glazed before being fired in a kiln at approximately 2500℉.
Glazed vs Unglazed Ceramic Tiles
Glaze, liquid glass or enamel, is fused into the top layer of ceramic tiles during the firing process—giving it a non-porous, impermeable surface that’s stain resistant and easy to wipe clean. Available in both matte and glossy finishes, glazed ceramic floor tiles are ideally suited for wet and humid areas of the home like the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room.
If ceramic tile is left unglazed, it skips the coating process and goes directly to the firing kiln. Unglazed tiles add a natural earth-toned appearance with a dull - and more porous - surface. To stain and waterproof unglazed tile, we recommend applying a clear sealant after installation.
What’s the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?
Porcelain and ceramic share a similar base - both are made of clay that is fired to create a dense, durable material. While handmade clay tiles have been an architecture staple throughout human history, porcelain came about as artisans refined their technique and technology advanced.
While both porcelain and ceramic materials are made of clay, porcelain is made of a denser mix. Their composition makes them less permeable and allows them to be fired at higher temperatures - resulting in a non-porous material that is extremely strong. The process makes porcelain an ideal material for even high-traffic flooring in a commercial setting, or outdoor tiles in areas with extreme temperature fluctuations including freezing or high heat.
While ceramic tile tends to have a colorful glaze or an artisanal finish, porcelain is the chameleon of the building material world. It can be finished with marbling, wood grain, concrete, or other surfaces - but without any of their weaknesses.
Advantages of Porcelain and Ceramic Floor Tile
Ceramic or porcelain flooring tiles are a great choice to provide a long-lasting finish with incredible versatility and ease of use. Read on for reasons why these practical materials continue to hold a significant role in the world of design.
This age-old yet utterly modern material has a hard-fired surface that makes maintenance incredibly simple. Thanks to their strength and finish, ceramic tiles are highly resilient, which makes them ideal for busy homes and even businesses. Whatever life throws at them, their superior performance means peace of mind for the next 20 years or longer when properly installed and cared for.
The non-porous surface prevents the accumulation of dust, dirt, pet dander, pollen, and other allergens in the home. As a result, these floor tiles are easy to clean and can reduce allergens in the air—making them a fantastic option for homeowners with allergy concerns.
Because these tiles are made entirely of inorganic and inert compositions, it resists the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria for a clean and hygienic floor. Better still, there’s no need to use harsh chemicals to clean them - they can be wiped clean with water!
Eye-catching, bold flooring ensures an interior finish with panache! This geometric floor design not only makes a visually intriguing style statement, but it brings in a new dimension, especially when paired with equally striking wallpaper.
It’s not just the hard-wearing and easy-to-maintain qualities that make ceramic tiles a loved flooring solution. Thanks to today’s advances in HD Inkjet printing, things have gotten more exciting beyond the “plain white squares.” These tiles beautifully replicate the hottest wood and stone looks—and creative pattern designs are expanding into new frontiers with a multitude of colors and textures to seamlessly complement every type of aesthetic.
As we’re becoming increasingly aware of the importance of sustainable construction and materials around us, the longevity of porcelain and ceramic flooring makes it a brilliant choice for anyone who prefers eco-friendly products. Naturally occurring minerals and clays used to make clay tiles give them a healthy advantage that’s easy to live with day after day over PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and plastic-based flooring materials.
- Easy to clean and maintain
One of the reasons ceramic tile is a popular flooring choice is how simple and low-maintenance it is to keep clean. Because stains and dirt sit on the surface, a quick sweep or some water-only mopping can easily clean your porcelain floor tiles. Occasional usage of a specially formulated grout cleaner will help keep those grout lines looking fresh should they get dirtier than you like.
Sospiro Ocean Tile delivers on style and functionality, making it an ideal finish for both interior and exterior applications.
The added protective layer provided by glaze makes water and spills no match to this dense and impervious material. Even with the application of a sealant every four years, ceramic tiles will meet any humidity concerns and endure considerably longer in wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens.
Naturally scratch-resistant, the strength of tile means you don’t have to worry about the daily grind of high heels, enthusiastic kids and pets, or any other harsh difficulties your floor needs to endure.
The Best Places to Install Ceramic Floor Tiles
Thanks to a wider variety of designs to impress all styles and budgets, porcelain and ceramic floors can be laid in countless ways throughout the home to create a look suited to your individual tastes. Whether you desire a classic, neutral look or fancy something bold and daring, there’s a tile floor for every interior and exterior project.
Our Black 4x12 Matte Ceramic Subway Tile proves how daring and spectacular dark flooring can look. Paired with neutral walls and furnishings, black tile floors are the perfect finish to ground the space while delivering ageless beauty.
There is something to be said about the virtues of ceramic tile for bathrooms: whether you have a classic or contemporary space, this durable, hygienic, and easy-to-clean material is ready to make an elevated statement under your feet.
Available in a myriad of styles: from pristine, bright white tiles to trendy natural stone looks, non-slip floor tiles are one of the more diverse design elements you can use to dress up your bathroom.
Create a striking finish with a bold-colored geometric floor tile and pair it with a fairly simple wall tile for an eclectic but cohesive look. To keep it classy but on-trend, consider a neutral color like white, beige, or gray, then pair it with a strong pattern choice in your shower. Opt for an equally neutral wall tile to keep to a consistent, contemporary feel.
Since the kitchen is an area where everyone comes together, you want tile flooring that is both beautiful and functional. Whether you are designing a new kitchen or renovating an old one, porcelain or ceramic tiles offer a practical flooring choice for a messy space. In addition, the plethora of styles, colors, and patterns make it easy to create an interior that perfectly complements your unique taste. Have some fun with our collection of backsplash tiles to complete your kitchen design!
Many of the benefits found in laying tiles in the bathroom and kitchen also make it a brilliant choice for hallways. As the center point of the home, ceramic floor tiles can handle the highest foot traffic without seeing a lot of wear and tear.
Better still, its timeless beauty creates a really strong anchor and makes an instant style statement from the moment you step in. Modern printing techniques give a wealth of visually striking patterns and bona fide colors to let your creativity run wild with a unique finish to your hallway floors.
Ceramic tiles may seem like an unconventional choice for the look and ambiance of sleeping quarters, but they can infuse a wonderful depth and dimension. With a wide range of colors and finishes, there’s no reason not to refresh the look of the bedroom with tile floors.
Ideally, you may want to opt for tiles that pick up the tone of the room’s wall color and decor to create a harmonious finish. Consider adding natural textures with wood-effect ceramic floor tiles for inviting warmth and a characterful design statement.
When it comes to living room tile ideas, you want practical flooring that speaks to your style but also minimizes the need for maintenance or repairs. Stone has beauty and individuality but can carry a hefty price tag and stricter care requirements than non-porous flooring materials.
This cozy coastal living space is beach house-friendly thanks to wood-look porcelain Kasai tiles that won't get damaged with pool or ocean water - just sweep up sand, and you're good to go!
Marble-look tile is an immensely affordable choice that provides the natural materiality, finish, and patina of stone. It makes for a timeless choice in living spaces and can be updated with accessories like floor rugs and soft furnishings to create an elegantly livable space.
No matter your choice of floor tile, you can be sure they'll add stylistic flair to the room and maintain longevity for years to come. If you have an open-concept home that combines the living room, dining room, and kitchen, selecting the same floor design throughout creates a cohesive visual flow.
When properly treated and maintained, ceramic floor tiles that carry a PEI rating indicating sufficient strength are an acceptable finish for outdoor application. They bring statement style to patios, decks, lanais, courtyards, and any other alfresco entertaining space with minimal effort and upkeep. Earthy tones will complement the surrounding greenery wonderfully while bold and striking hues are a fun and stand-out way to add personality.
What we especially love about ceramic floor tiles is how wonderfully and easily they pair with different other materials and furnishings to deliver a stylish and unified look.
Cleaning and Maintening Porcelain and Ceramic Floor Tile
To keep them looking their best, all ceramic floor tiles really need is dust mopping, sweeping, or vacuuming with a soft brush attachment a couple of times a week. Because of the protective top layer that makes them impervious to moisture, glazed flooring is fairly easy to care for even when used in wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Stains and liquids settle on the surface, requiring only water, a mild detergent, or a mop to wipe away without worrying about damaging the material.
Grout lines should be cleaned routinely and sealed periodically to protect its surface from liquids and stains. And with all types of tiles, most grout darkens over time due to moisture, stains, and dirt. To combat dingy-looking grout lines, clean with a low VOC or commercially-prepared cleaner and seal regularly for protection.
Ceramic and porcelain flooring is exceptionally strong but if subjected to severe impact or visible cracking as a result of installation issues, the process for replacement is relatively simple. It’s worth noting that a quality installation with no beneath-the-surface issues can last for hundreds of years and more depending on how well it’s maintained.
If you're looking for a long-wearing and appealing flooring choice, check out the different ceramic and porcelain floor tiles you can use to personalize your space!