Floor Tiles 101

Learn about seven popular varieties, and find the right fit for your flooring needs.

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Not all tile materials are created equal. Each type has pros and cons that need to be considered when planning a tiling project. Here are some popular types and their benefits and drawbacks:

Marble

Real marble tiles have a beautiful, unique look like no other surface, with all their whirling patterns and shade variations. But the same patterns that make marble beautiful can be a real headache to match from tile to tile. To ensure that patterns match, the Marble Institute of America recommends having your contractor lay out the tiles over the entire surface before installing so you can approve the result. All your tiles should come from the same original batch.

Marble, like most stone tiles, has high maintenance requirements. It must be sealed and cleaned regularly; for cleaning, use only a mild detergent solution or a product specially designed for marble. Never set your drink down on a marble surface (it will leave a ring), and wipe up any spills immediately, as they can stain or etch marble’s porous surface.

Install Yourself? No
Best Use: Floors
Pro: Beauty
Cons: Expense; high maintenance; can crack, stain and etch readily

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