Ceramic Tile & Natural Stone Floor Buying Guide

buying-guideCeramic tile flooring and stone flooring are among the oldest types of flooring in the world. They remain popular today because they are affordable, durable and very attractive.  There are many styles available to suit the needs of almost every home, especially in ceramic tile, so you’ll always be able to find something for your home flooring project.

Ceramic & Stone flooring is now very popular due to new methods of preparing it for use in homes. Sedimentary rock such as travertine, sandstone and limestone, igneous rock like granite and metamorphic rock such as slate and marble are available. Once used only in high-end homes, it is now somewhat more affordable, though still on the upper end of the price spectrum.

This guide to tile and stone flooring provides detailed information about this popular type of home flooring. You can also learn more about ceramic tile floor prices, how to install ceramic tile, and of course the care and maintenance of tile and stone flooring in the linked guides.

Wear and Durability

Tile and stone are among the toughest, most durable home flooring choices. When you shop for tile flooring ideas, make sure you tell the dealer where the flooring will be installed. Ceramic tile is made in different grades. The higher the grade, such as Grade III and Grade IV, the more resistant it is to scratching and chipping. It’s ideal for light-commercial and commercial installation. Lesser grades are sufficient for residential use. Some stone is harder than other types too. The thickness of the slabs will also play a role in its durability. Generally speaking, marble is not as strong as slate or granite, so should be used in bathrooms and other locations where it won’t get heavy or rough traffic. Most ceramic tile and natural stone flooring should last 50+ years, and some will be in good shape for decades longer than that.

Materials, Lengths and Patterns

Another appealing quality of ceramic tile is that it is made in so many different patterns, colors, sizes and designs. One-inch square tiles are available and so are 24-inch square tiles. Squares, rectangles and other interlocking shapes are made.There is virtually an endless number of ways to create a custom tile floor.

Natural stone flooring is quarried from solid stone. The stone is hewn into slabs that may range in size from 12” square to 30” square. Once cut, the stone is ground and polished to give it a finished look. Genuine stone flooring is available in a variety of shades and colors natural to the type of stone it is. The shading will vary throughout the floor, and this is to be expected.

Leading Brands and Current Trends

There are dozens of flooring manufacturers that also provide ceramic tile. Some of the leading brands are Daltile, U.S. Ceramic, Merola, Mohawk, Color Tile, American Olean, Emser, American Florim, Arizona Tile, Armstrong, Bedrosians, Elganza tile, Hispano Azul, Merola, Marazzi, Interceramic, Solistone and Surface Source.

For natural stone flooring, top brands include American Olean, Emser, Solistone and Texas Quarries. For stone, hues of gray and blue are increasingly popular, though sales of classic beige hues remain steady. In ceramic tiles, the move to larger tiles continues. Tiles 10” square and larger are the fastest growing segment of the market. Textures such as those that simulate leather, wood grain or fabric are getting a lot of attention.

Tile & Natural Stone Flooring FAQs

Q: What’s the difference between porcelain and ceramic tile?
A: You can read the whole porcelain vs ceramic tile debate here.

Q: Is tile flooring installation a do-it-yourself project?
A: Tile is among the most difficult types of flooring to install properly. From getting lines straight to mixing and installing the grout, it takes experience to ensure a job well done. The same is true for natural stone flooring.

Q: How expensive is tile and natural stone?
A: Tile can be very affordable, starting at about $1.50 per square feet. For stone, expect to pay at least $5-$7 per square foot. Visit the Tile & Natural Stone Flooring Price Guide for more details.

Q: Where is natural stone quarried?
A: The most popular sources of stone flooring are Italy, China, India, Canada, Spain, Mexico and the United States.

Q: Are there grout options for tile and stone floor?
A: Yes. You’ll need the right type of grout for adherence, but the grout can be tinted to accent or blend with the material you are installing.

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