The features and benefits of the different tile types

tile types

Tiles come in a wide range of materials, each with varying features and benefits.

Below we’ve listed the common tile types and the characteristics of each to help you choose the right tile for your functional and design needs.
tile types porcelain
Porcelain tiles are available in a wide range of colours, sizes and styles.

Porcelain Tiles

  • Porcelain tiles are made from dense clay fired at high temperatures.
  • Known for their exceptional durability, porcelain tiles are hard-wearing and resistant to scratches.
  • Porcelain tiles are stain and moisture-resistant making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Available in a wide range of colours, sizes and styles, in glazed and unglazed varieties.
  • Can mimic the look of natural stone, timber and other materials.
  • They are low maintenance and don’t require sealing.  Regular cleaning with a mild detergent is usually all that is required to keep them in good condition.
  • Porcelain tiles can be heavy so the substrate needs to be strong enough to support the weight – ask our tilers for advice.
tile types ceramic
Ceramic tiles can mimic natural materials like stone or wood.

Ceramic Tiles

  • Ceramic tiles are made from clay and other natural materials.
  • Glazed ceramic tiles have a protective layer that makes them resistant to water and stains. Unglazed ceramic tiles are more porous and may require sealing.
  • They are generally more affordable than porcelain tiles.
  • Ceramic tiles are available in a range of colours, patterns and styles and can mimic natural materials like stone or wood.
  • Easy to clean and maintain with a mild detergent and mop.
  • They are lighter and easier to cut than porcelain tiles, making the installation process easier and with lower costs.
  • Good water resistance which makes them suitable for wet areas like bathrooms, kitchens and balconies.
  • Can be susceptible to stains and damage if not sealed properly.
  • Ceramic tiles are not as durable as porcelain so care needs to be taken to prevent chipping and cracking under heavy impacts.
tile types terracotta
Their unique variations of colour and texture of terracotta tiles give them a natural, warm appearance.

Terracotta Tiles

  • Terracotta tiles are made from natural clay and are prized for their rustic, earthy tones.
  • They require sealing for improved durability and stain resistance.
  • Their unique variations of colour and texture give them a natural, warm appearance.
  • People seeking a uniform look may not like the natural colour variations between terracotta tiles.
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use with versatility for both indoor and outdoor settings.
  • Terracotta has natural thermal mass properties that absorb heat and cool down slowly.
  • They can be easy to handle and cut.
  • While they are durable, their porous nature makes them more prone to cracking and chipping than harder materials like porcelain.
tile types marble
Natural stone tiles, like marble, have a timeless quality and prestigious appeal.

Natural Stone Tiles

  • Natural stone tiles include marble, granite, travertine, slate and limestone.
  • Natural stone has a timeless quality and is often considered a long-term investment.
  • The unique colours, patterns and characteristics of natural stone give it a unique appearance.
  • Can be porous so needs to be sealed so it doesn’t absorb stains and liquid. The frequency of sealing depends on the type of stone and the level of use.
  • Marble and limestone can be sensitive to acidic substrates, leading to etching and dulling of the surface.
  • Natural stone tiles are highly durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic (marble can be susceptible to scratches and chipping so dragging heavy furniture should be avoided).
  • When properly maintained, natural stone can last for decades.
  • Good heat resistance makes them suitable for benchtops and fireplace surrounds.
  • More expensive than ceramic and porcelain tiles.
  • The complexity of working with the different stone types, patterns and sizes means professional installation expertise is required.
  • With proper sealing and regular maintenance, natural stone tiles are a durable option for both interior and exterior areas.
tile types glass
Glass tiles can be arranged in an intricate pattern or used as a single colour scheme for dramatic impact.

Glass Tiles

  • Glass tiles are often used for decorative purposes like splashbacks, accent walls and decorative features.
  • They can reflect light, making spaces appear brighter and more open making them perfect for smaller rooms with limited natural light.
  • Lots of design options. Can be arranged in an intricate pattern or used as a single colour scheme for dramatic impact.
  • Smooth and non-porous so are easy to clean.  Stains can simply be wiped away with a damp cloth.
  • Resistant to mould and bacteria making them a hygienic option for kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Can be made from recycled materials making them an environmentally friendly option.
  • Glass tiles are UV resistant so will maintain their colour and clarity over time.
  • Can be challenging to install making them more expensive than other tile options.
  • Care should be taken when cleaning as they can scratch when using abrasive materials.
tile types mosaic
Mosaic tiles are available in wide range of patterns, textures and colours.

Mosaic Tiles

  • Mosaic tiles consist of small pieces of material like glass, ceramic or natural stone that create intricate designs and patterns.
  • Available in a wide range of different patterns, textures and colours.
  • Made from different materials including glass, ceramic, porcelain, natural stone and metal.
  • Many mosaic tiles come with a mesh backing that holds the smaller tiles together, making installation more manageable and simplifying the process.
  • Installation requires a high degree of skill and expertise to create a seamless pattern design.
  • Can be used in a variety of applications including splashbacks, accent walls and artistic features.
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Easy to clean. Low maintenance.
  • Suitable for smaller spaces where large tiles may not be practical.

Cement Tiles

  • Cement tiles are made from a mixture of cement, sand, and pigments.
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor applications including kitchens, bathrooms, patios and entries.
  • Can be used for floors and walls.
  • While available in a variety of colours and patterns however not as many styles when compared to other materials.
  • Can be customised to create bespoke patterns and designs.
  • Should be properly sealed to enhance durability and stain resistance.
  • Suitable for high-traffic areas and can withstand heavy foot traffic.
  • Has natural thermal mass properties that absorb and retain heat.
  • Proper maintenance will protect from stains, water damage and colour fading.
  • Cement tiles can be heavy so the substrate needs to be strong enough to support the extra weight.
  • Can be more expensive than other flooring options like ceramic or porcelain tiles.
  • While durable, cement tiles can be brittle and may chip under heavy impacts. Care should be taken not to drop heavy objects on them.
  • Installation can be more complex than other materials to install and require the services of a professional tiler.

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