Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are a type of tile that is typically made from red or white clay and fired in a kiln.

 

They are similar to porcelain tiles, and while some companies use the terms interchangeably, they are in fact very different. Ceramic is not as dense and has a higher absorption rate, meaning that they are not frost proof (if used outdoors) and may damage more easily than porcelain. However, ceramic tiles are a very popular choice for floors, countertops and walls due to their lower cost. The tile is coated with a special glaze that protects and seals it stopping it from absorbing stains while improving durability. The glaze is also what gives ceramic tiles their colour and pattern.

 

This type of tile can be favoured with installers due to how easy they are to cut and drill.

Porcelain Tiles

In general, a porcelain tile is harder than a ceramic one and offers greater design flexibility. Although both are made from clay and other natural occurring materials fired in a kiln, the clay used to make a porcelain tile is more refined and purified. It is also fired at a higher temperature and greater pressure, resulting in an extremely dense and hard material.

 

Porcelain tiles are an ideal product for cold weather climates where freeze/thaw conditions are a concern. Due to its low moisture absorption rate, porcelain is less likely to crack and is more impervious to stains.

 

Certain factors however do make using porcelain tiles a more difficult DIY project. For example, their density and hardness require the use of a wet saw with a porcelain diamond blade as they are harder to drill & cut.

Natural Stone Tiles

The term “natural stone” refers to a variety of mineral materials including slate, marble, limestone, travertine, granite and sandstone, each of which has slightly different properties. They are usually created by extracting them from quarries and then cutting and polishing. These tiles are beautiful to look at as each one is different and has its own pattern.

 

Natural stones vary in their absorption rating, determining their suitability for bathroom use. In general, sandstone is the most porous, travertine, limestone and slate have medium absorbency, while granite is relatively waterproof. Polished materials also absorb less water than honed or cleft surfaces. With the exception of granite and some slate, natural stone tiles will need to be treated with a sealing agent periodically to protect their surfaces.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl floors are a popular option among homeowners, particularly in kitchen and bathroom applications. A synthetic cousin of linoleum, vinyl flooring is water and stain resistant, versatile and hard wearing.

 

Vinyl flooring is durable and stands up well to heavy foot traffic. It is comfortable under foot and reduces noise, which can be important for people with kids or pets. It is also less expensive than many other flooring options and is easy to install and maintain. Vinyl flooring comes in a wide range of colours and patterns to match every decor, including a variety of lifelike wood and stone effects. However, they do not stand up well to heavy loads and can be damaged by sharp objects. Also, colours can fade with exposure to too much direct sunlight and floors can be damaged by extreme temperatures.

 

Vinyl flooring is very straightforward to cut and install, with the luxury ranges fitting together by tongue and groove and there are also some that just butt up against each other. Some also have built in underlay which dampens the noise under foot. This type of flooring can be preferred due to it being slightly warmer to touch than floor tiles.

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