Floor Tiles 101
Learn about seven popular varieties, and find the right fit for your flooring needs.
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Ceramic tiles are thin slabs of clay or other inorganic materials, hardened by oven firing and usually coated with some kind of glaze. Ceramic is best known for its durability, with some installations in the ruins of ancient Rome and Egypt still intact.
Ceramic tile is a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms because it’s easy to clean and doesn’t harbor germs. It’s manufactured in production runs; because of variation among lots, make sure the caliber number (indicating size) and lot number (indicating color) are the same throughout your order.
Ceramic tile is rated from zero to 5 based on hardness. Zero through 2 is suitable for wall tile, 3 is good for most residential uses, and 4 and 5 are hard enough for commercial applications.
Install Yourself? Yes
Best Use: Floors, walls, countertops, backsplashes
Pros: Durability, versatility, low maintenance, easy installation, low cost
Cons: Can vary in size and color from lot to lot
Getting the subfloor properly prepared will make the tile go down smooth and easy.