Tile floors offer the perfect combination of style and durability. From the ancient Romans to today’s savvy homeowners, tile and stone have been used not only for great design explorations but also ease of maintenance.
Tile is the most durable flooring and facing material available. It is water resistant, abrasion resistant and fade resistant, so it maintains a permanent color. Tile will not cut, tear, gouge, puncture, warp, rot, burn or require refinishing.
The best way to decide whether tile is right for you is to come in and see it against other options. We have a team of experts who can tell you more than you ever wanted to know about tile flooring, and a team of designers who can help you choose the right color, pattern or design that’s right for your particular style. Austin, Round Rock, Leander, Lakeway, Westlake Hills, Georgetown TX
Tile is versatile because it works well in so many different areas of your home, including:
- Dining rooms
- Family rooms
- Rec rooms
- Mud rooms
- Pool rooms
- You name it, we can tile it
You also get to explore your creativity with tile because it allows you to create unique designs with various colors, sizes, textures, patterns, shapes and mosaics.
There are actually so many types of tile and stone that it’s hard to know where to start when you begin your home remodeling project. For starters, let’s talk about the basic types of tile.
Ceramic tile is best characterized as either porcelain or non-porcelain. Traditional ceramic tile is non-porcelain and is made from white, red, and/or brown clay. Porcelain ceramic tile is made from clay and minerals as well, but porcelain ceramic tile is mixed equally with a white dust or sand called feldspar. Feldspar is a type of crystal found in rock that melts into a glass-like material during the kiln-drying process, bonding all of the molded ingredients together. Minor modifications to the mix of ingredients in ceramic tile or deviations in the drying process create unique varieties to the appearance and characteristics of manufactured ceramic tile flooring products.
Porcelain and non-porcelain ceramic tile can be either glazed or unglazed. The modern-day manufacturing process, called Monocuttura, hardens a glazed mold in one quick step. Glazed tiles are a great choice for heavy-trafficked floors or large families because this hard glaze increases the tile’s stain-resistance, scratch resistance and traction, while decreasing the water absorption that can happen with unglazed tile. Non-porcelain, ceramic tile is among the most economical types of tile flooring.
Many types of tile are manufactured in a similar fashion to ceramic tile, but they are less common. These include brick, cement, glass, encaustic, Saltillo, and Terra Cotta tile. We’ll talk more about these less common types of tile after we discuss natural stone.
Natural Stone Tile
Whether it’s granite, limestone, travertine, marble, slate, onyx or quartz, natural stone is aesthetically pleasing and adds texture to any design. However, due to its varying degrees of hardness and durability, it’s critical to work with a flooring expert who knows the various grades of stone intimately. For example, you wouldn’t treat a slate floor the same as you would a travertine floor. Our team can tell you the ins and outs of why that is, and how to choose and care for your particular stone tile.
Natural stone is a popular choice for those looking to add elegance to their home. And it forms a great base, or inspiration, for more intricate tile design.
Natural stone tile is produced from natural materials that are quarried, slabbed, finished, and cut to size. Within the types of natural stone are thousands of varieties carrying characteristics that depend on where and when the stone was quarried. Here’s more about those different types of natural stone tile.
Granite is a type of igneous rock that is very dense and hard. Its distinctive appearance is due to speckled minerals found within the rock, its unique veining, and the thousands of available colors. Granite is nearly impervious and, once it is polished, resists scratching. It is an excellent choice for kitchen flooring and countertops in high-traffic areas.
Marble is a type of metamorphic rock that has rich veining and is available in a variety of colors. Marble is more porous than granite and is not recommended for kitchen flooring unless honed and then sealed on a regular basis.
Limestone is a type of sedimentary rock that offers an earthy appearance in both light and dark shades. The surface can be textured or polished smooth. Limestone is less dense than granite and marble. It can be easily stained and is also prone to scratching. It is not recommended for kitchen or high-traffic flooring applications.
Travertine is a type of limestone that offers an unusual crystallized appearance with an earthy tone. Travertine is a soft, porous stone with a natural surface that has pitting or divots. A honed or polished surface can be achieved after filling the surface voids. Travertine is not recommended for kitchen floors, as it can be easily scratched and stained. Special care and surface sealing is required to maintain travertine.
Slate is a type of metamorphic rock that is extremely dense and very durable. Slate is available in darker earthy tones. The surface of slate is naturally textured unless a smooth, honed finish is achieved. Slate is an excellent choice for kitchen and high-traffic area flooring.
Onyx is a form of marble, comprised mostly of calcite. Like other marbles, onyx is much softer than granite and is likely to stain or etch. Unlike other marbles, onyx is translucent and can be lit from behind to showcase its beauty. Onyx is an extremely variable stone with heavy veining. No two pieces of onyx are ever exactly alike, and one slab might contain dozens of colors.
Quartz is a common mineral, silicon dioxide (SiO2), usually colorless or white, and has a translucent luster. There are several varieties of quartz, including rock crystal, amethyst, chalcedony and agate. The beauty, hardness and utility of Quartz make it a highly desirable material for countertops and is a premiere choice in many new and remodeled homes.
If you want the look of wood flooring without the risk of wear, maintenance or cost, wood-looking porcelain is a great option. It looks exactly like the real thing, and comes in just as many textures, colors and styles, emulating almost any kind of natural wood. From tiles that have a traditional hand-scraped texture, to full glossy ones, to ones that have been made to look distressed. It’s all out there when it comes to tile so you will not be limited by choosing tile over real wood. There is even a growing number of manufacturers making tile that mimics parquet and artistically inlaid parquet.
With these new styles in wood-looking plank tile, you can even continue the look throughout your home, without having to reserve tile to the kitchens, bathrooms or foyers. They work throughout the entire interior design, keeping the flow of your house moving through the living room and outward. It even works great on patios and porches.
You also have your choices in stone-looking porcelain. There is tile that looks like travertine, Saltillo, marble and limestone, among other types of stone. The stone-looking tiles have the same benefits over stone that the wood-looking tiles have over wood, such as stronger durability and lower costs.
These days, you can really fool people into thinking you have a natural wood or stone floor, when what you really have is porcelain tile. And that’s good! Here’s why:
Bye Bye Maintenance
Porcelain tile requires almost no maintenance.
Wood-looking tile is more sophisticated than ever.
Digital advancements in manufacturing have created a level of sophistication in texture, sheen levels and grain pattern meant to look like wood flooring that we could not achieve before.
Truer to natural wood than ever
Most of the wood-looking porcelain is ‘rectified’ and therefore can be installed with a tighter grout joint allowing for an even truer looking wood.
Tile can actually make your home look bigger
Wood-looking porcelain allows more freedom for homeowners because they can continue the flooring from their hallways into wet areas like utility rooms and bathrooms instead of breaking at doorways with a ceramic tile. This continuous flow of one flooring throughout the house creates the perception of more square footage.
Wood-looking porcelain is dog friendly
Now you can get that dog you’ve always wanted. Porcelain, wood-looking tile can not be damaged by dog or cat claws the way a wood floor can. This holds true for children and all the things they do that can really scuff a wood floor.
You can get fancy with tile.
Porcelain tile meant to look like wood allows you to be more creative on fireplace surrounds, shower surrounds, backsplashes and walls, creating very cool looks that you can’t achieve with natural wood.
Trends in tile design:
The trend du jour in tile design is large tiles with minimal, seemingly zero, grout. Large format tile can cover kitchens, bathrooms, facades, walls, or high-traffic flooring, eliminating grout lines and maintenance worries. The size allows for easy cleanup and a seamless installation. It also enhances the home by making it look more elegant.
Shiny metal finishes and glass mosaic tiles are modern wall tile design trends that will continue to bring glamorous details into interior design in 2014 and create stunning floors and walls. Metal tiles add a luxurious shimmer, reflecting the light and creating bright home interiors. Metal tiles create fabulous accent walls and adorn fireplaces with stylish and expensive look. Mosaic tiles enrich modern interior design with stunning look and create unique, artistic and stylish rooms.
Textured floor and wall tile designs
Stainless steel and concrete textures create an industrial feel and look great with modern home furnishings, emphasizing the simplicity of interior design and the comfort created with stylish decorative fabrics. Industrial style floor and wall tile designs that mimic brick, concrete and stainless steel tiles are one of modern trends in decorating with modern tiles in contemporary minimalist style. There are even modern tiles that mimic fabric, and all of these new tile styles are eco friendly.
Modern tiles inspired by contemporary art and graphic design
Graffiti floor and wall tile designs define an extravagant and artistic trend in decorating with modern tiles. Inspired by contemporary street art and graphic design, these modern tiles look urban and unusual, offering innovative ways to create accent walls.
Visit our showroom so one of our expert flooring designers can take you through all the options available, as well as recommend designs that would look best with your particular home and lifestyle.