Every home is an amalgam of many different materials. And tiles are one of the most important ones when it comes to home interiors. So choosing the right tiles for your need, lifestyle and location within the home is important for all homeowners. While we cannot make the choice for you, we can help you make an informed choice. Hence, Livspace brings you this ultimate guide listing the types of tiles, the USPs of each, where they can be used and how to maintain them. 

#1: Ceramic Tiles

types of tiles-ceramic tiles-kitchen tiles
 Ceramic tiles are unmatched in terms of variety

Ceramic tiles are basically made of red, brown or white clay that has been fired in a kiln. These types of tiles come in an amazing variety of colours and patterns. 

What you need to know about ceramic tiles

  1. Scratch resistant
  2. Stain resistant
  3. Might crack if you drop heavy items hence better for walls

Where can you use ceramic tiles

  • Flooring
  • Kitchen backsplash
  • Wall cladding
  • Wall decor

What are the dos and don’ts of maintaining ceramic tiles

Usually soap and water is enough to clean glazed ceramic tiles. Their grout line require regular cleaning

Always dry the tiles with a dry cloth because air drying leaves water stains on them, and never use acid to clean ceramic tiles as they get damaged. 

Also, learn about the 8 different ways to use Moroccan tiles, which are essentially ceramic tiles.

#2: Porcelain Tiles

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Sturdy enough to use outdoors as well

Porcelain tiles are also made of clay with a smattering of sand and feldspar and baked in the kiln. But they are baked at higher temperatures, making them more dense and durable. 

What you need to know about porcelain tiles

  1. Scratch resistant
  2. Stain resistant
  3. Non-porous 

Where can you use porcelain tiles

  • Flooring
  • Kitchen backsplash
  • Wall cladding
  • Wall decor
  • In outdoor areas

What are the dos and don’ts of maintaining porcelain tiles

The cleaning and maintenance for ceramic and porcelain tiles are almost the same as they are made from similar materials. The only difference between these two types of tiles is that porcelain being the stronger version requires less maintenance than ceramic. 

EXPERT SPEAK: What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?

“The main difference between these two types of tiles is that porcelain is stronger and non-porous because it is baked at higher temperatures. Also, porcelain tiles usually come in very basic designs while ceramic tiles are legendary for their variety. However, ceramic tiles are cheaper and can only be used indoors whale porcelain, being hard wearing, can be used in outdoor spaces as well”.

Avi Jalan, Tile Expert, Livspace

#3: Vitrified Tiles

types of tiles-vitrified tiles-flooring tiles
The glazed look is typical of vitrified tiles

Vitrified tiles are similar to traditional ceramic tiles but include silica in the mix. During the process of vitrification, the silica and clay melt, blending together to form a glass-like material inside each tile. This allows the tiles to retain the original sheen even after several years of use.

What you need to know about vitrified tiles

  • Available in a number of finishes including anti-skid coating
  • Low porosity makes it stain proof
  • Water and frost resistant
  • Durable and can sustain heavy movement
  • Can be installed quickly

Where can you use vitrified tiles

  • Indoor and outdoor flooring
  • Kitchen backsplash
  • Bathroom walls 

What are the dos and don’ts of maintaining vitrified tiles

Vitrified tiles require very little maintenance. The regular sweeping, mopping or vacuuming is enough to keep them clean. Never use any abrasive methods like acid or metal scrub to clean these types of tiles. 

You can find out more details about vitrified tiles in this guide

#4: Onyx Tiles

types of tiles-onyx tiles-bathroom tiles
Onyx tiles are the next best thing to stone!

To the uninitiated, onyx is basically a marble look alike. These affordable tiles mimic the veins of marble and are made of quartz and other engineered additives. 

What you need to know about onyx tiles

  1. Looks like marble but is stronger
  2. Comes in larger dimensions than regular tiles
  3. Moderately heat resistant 
  4. Not completely scratch or stain resistant

Where can you use onyx tiles

  • Indoor flooring
  • Backsplash
  • Wall cladding

What are the dos and don’ts of maintaining onyx tiles

The primary thing to remember while cleaning onyx tiles is that it needs to be handled with care. Don’t use lemon juice, baking soda or any such strong cleansing agents on these types of tiles. Use just warm water with a mild detergent to clean them. 

#5: Vinyl Tiles

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Vinyl is pet-friendly and affordable

Vinyl is a synthetic flooring material that looks like wood and feels like stone. This affordable option is the ideal kind of flooring if you have pets. 

What you need to know about vinyl tiles

  1. Provides a seamless look
  2. Can be installed without breaking the existing floor
  3. Recyclable but non-biodegradable
  4. Waterproof but not completely stain resistant
  5. Not very durable and can dent easily with heavy furniture

Where can you use vinyl tiles

  • Flooring
  • Backsplash

What are the dos and don’ts of maintaining vinyl tiles

Maintaining vinyl flooring is a breeze as it does not stain easily and retains its shine over a period of time. Sweeping and mopping is all you have to do to get rid of the dirt from vinyl surfaces. However, you should ensure that vinyl surfaces do not get too much direct sunlight as they tend to fade quickly. 

Did you know that vinyl is one of the types of flooring in trend in 2020? Find out what other types of flooring are in vogue this year

#6: Stone Composite Polymer Tiles

outdoor tiles-stone composite polymer tiles-balcony tiles
Looks like stone but much sturdier and suitable for outdoors

This is a composite material including limestone powder, PVC and stabilizers. This type of tile mimics the look and feel of stone tiles but they are mainly synthetic in composition. 

What you need to know about stone composite polymer tiles

  1. Waterproof so can be used in balconies, kitchens and bathrooms
  2. Impact-resistant and durable
  3. Hypoallergenic
  4. Heat and fire resistant
  5. More eco-friendly than vinyl but not completely green

Where can you use stone composite polymer tiles

  • Indoor and outdoor flooring
  • Backsplash

What are the dos and don’ts of maintaining stone composite polymer tiles

These types of tiles are pretty strong and can be cleaned in the usual way (sweeping, mopping and vacuuming). They do not require much maintenance or protection from sunlight as they are heat resistant. 

#7: Mosaic Tiles

types of tiles-mosaic tiles-wall tiles
The ancient Persian art of mosaic makes statement pieces

Mosaic is the style of setting roughly-cut, square pieces of stone, marble or glass into a flat binding surface. The gap between these chips is filled with grout or cement.

What you need to know about mosaic tiles

  1. Highly customisable since the patterns are set by hand
  2. Eco-friendly
  3. Non-porous so doesn’t absorb odours or stains
  4. Prone to damage due to the small size of tiles

Where can you use mosaic tiles

  • Flooring
  • Bathroom flooring and walls
  • Balcony flooring
  • Decorative walls
  • Kitchen backsplash

What are the dos and don’ts of maintaining mosaic tiles

Mosaic tiles require routine cleaning, especially between grout lines. However, clean with a soft hand or else you might end up dislodging glass shreds from the tiles. 

#8: Terrazzo Tiles

terrazzo tiles-countertop tiles
Terrazzo is the ‘in’ tile for 2020!

Terrazzo is a composite material made of small chips of marble, granite, glass etc. and is held together with a concrete binder. It can be set in-situ and is also available in the form of tiles and decoratives.

What you need to know about terrazzo tiles

  1. Available in a host of colours and patterns
  2. Highly customisable
  3. Stronger and more seamless than mosaic
  4. Durable
  5. Eco-friendly

Where can you use terrazzo tiles

  • Flooring
  • Backsplash
  • Countertop
  • Decorative items

What are the dos and don’ts of maintaining terrazzo tiles

Terrazzo tiles are much easier to clean than mosaic tiles as they have a seamless surface. However, always clean these types of tiles with neutral pH cleansing agents. 

Also explore the actual differences between mosaic and terrazzo tiles

 #9: Carpet Tiles

carpet tiles-kid friendly flooring
Most suitable for homes with toddlers or elderly people

Carpet tiles are made of nylon, with a PVC base. While not very common in India, these tiles can be used in places that have extreme temperatures.

What you need to know about carpet tiles

  1. High abrasion resistance makes it ideal for use in common areas
  2. Cushiony, and hence accident proof, making it ideal for kids and elderly-folks 
  3. High sound and thermal insulation
  4. Can be installed without breaking the existing floor

Where can you use carpet tiles

  • Flooring for homes with children and elderly individuals 
  • For soundproofing entertainment rooms and studios

What are the dos and don’ts of maintaining carpet tiles

The optimum way of cleaning carpet tiles is vacuuming. If not vacuumed on a regular basis, carpet tiles can accumulate dust causing allergies. 

If you found this guide about the types of tiles informative, also find out if you can replace wall tiles with floor tiles

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— editor@livspace.com