The Pros and Cons of Terra Cotta Tile
Give your kitchen a warm, rustic look with this classic tile.
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Terra cotta is one of the oldest tile materials around, dating back before the birth of Christ, when it was sun-dried rather than oven-fired. People often use it, glazed or unglazed, when they want a rustic, weathered look.
"Quality terra cotta will last forever," says Dave Gobis, executive director of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, "but unfortunately it's very difficult to assess the quality, even for tile professionals." Buy only from a seller whose reputation you trust; even then, you may encounter problems.
For practical uses, "terra cotta can be enhanced by the seal you put on it," says Daniel Dixon, a California-based tile construction expert. "It is highly recommended that it be sealed, and if it's for kitchen use, you must seal it particularly well."
Install Yourself? No
Best Uses: Flooring, countertops, walls
Pros: Beauty, longevity when well-made
Cons: Wide variations in quality
Price Range: $3–$7 per square foot
This popular tile can be picky about where it's installed, but in the right location it's a real show stopper.
Respected for its durability, ceramic tile comes in a variety of colors and is available at a reasonable price.
Engineered stone tile is a durable choice for countertops and backsplashes and can be found in a wide range of colors.