Tile Flooring: What kind of tiles suits my project?

What are tiles and flooring?

Defining Tile Flooring

Impress White Matte Porcelain Tile

Tiles and flooring is a term used to describe everything we use to cover our interior’s floors. That includes a variety of materials including but not limited to Ceramic, Porcelain, Marble, and HDF. Those are the materials we expect to be on our floors when we’re designing any interior space.

Each material has its own properties that make it special in a sense. When a designer chooses one type of material, that is because they choose certain properties that relate to the project. Style is one of these properties, hardness is another property. There are many and multiple properties that contribute to the choice of your tile flooring.

Properties of materials

Now if you’re designing your own space, you need to be aware of these properties and study them carefully because when you make a material choice you make it based on these properties. Some properties will pull you towards a certain type, others will repel you and in the end, you’re the one balancing these powers and choosing from the catalog.

Let’s go over some types of tile flooring and lay down their properties and then you’ll understand what we’re talking about.

Ceramic Tiles

 Black Hexagonal ceramic tiles

  • Water absorption rate: 4%
  • Styles: Everything can be printed on Ceramic tiles
  • Durability: Moderate
  • Various tile size
  • Color Permanence
  • Flame Resistant
  • Price Category: $$

Compared to Porcelain tiles, Ceramic tiles are more prone to wear off and also to be chipped. Sealing of the top by a glaze material is done to preserve ceramic and also to give it its style and improves its durability. However, you need to understand the limitation of the material itself.

Ceramic tiles shouldn’t be used in high traffic areas as they are prone to chipping. And due to their shortcoming in water absorption, they should only be used in interior applications. Also, using Ceramic tiles in below freezing degree conditions is not optimal for the tile. And thus, it must remain inside where the temperature is above the freezing point.

Due to the glazing process -Which is an additional process in the firing process of Ceramic-, Ceramic tiles have a wide spectrum of colors and styles. Also, glazing improves the durability of Ceramic, making it more resilient to liquid absorption.

Ceramic tiles can also be printed on, Printing allows for various styles on Ceramic tiles. They can be colorful, marble-like, Andalusian, or just any natural/unnatural stone. Giving Ceramic tiles in edge for any interior designer as they can enjoy the properties of Ceramic tiles with the added benefit of the marble effect.

Ceramic tiles fall into the price category ($$) which makes it moderate in the price for homeowners on a budget. You can enjoy Ceramic tiles for long years without worrying about maintenance. Knowing they are strong in-home usage and in a moderate price range. It can be the go-to choice of many interior designers.

EliteTile Alberta 13" x 13" Ceramic Field Tile

Marble effect ceramic tiles

Porcelain Tiles

District Gray Porcelain Tile

  • Scratch-resistant and Stain-resistant
  • Water-Resistant
  • Versatile styles
  • Price Category: $$$

Porcelain tiles are known for being stylish and strong. These tiles are known for their versatility and can be used for both tile flooring and wall decoration. Indoors and outdoors as well without fearing bad weather or high traffic. They can even be used around swimming pools with no fear of wearing or chipping.

Porcelain tiles also go through the glazing process which gives them an extra layer of security and style. The glazing process will make a porcelain tile look a lot better and have different styles while also adding to its strength.

In comparison to Ceramic Tiles, Porcelain tiles are just Ceramic tiles on steroids. Anything that exists in Ceramic tiles is also found in Porcelain tiles with the added benefit of strength, durability, and resistance.

Everything comes with a price, Porcelain tiles fall in a higher price category than Ceramic tiles. However, they were once known to be for the higher class only since their manufacturing process was quite expensive. But now with technology advancement, they’re much more affordable by the typical homeowner on a budget.

Last but not least, one minor detail that is often neglected but is worth taking into consideration is the grout color. You can choose a matching color with Porcelain tiles to give them the luxury finishing touch. Take care when you choose the color as bright colors will be quickly stained. Also, grout color contrasting the color of your tiles will look like it’s highlighting the tiles.

The verdict, in the end, is that you should go for Porcelain tiles over Ceramic tiles whenever your budget allows that since they can give the same styles but with better physical properties. Making these tiles superior to Ceramic tiles and more capable of handling heavy traffic and strong usage with the least maintenance.

HDF (High-Density Fibers)

Addington Grey Oak Effect Laminate Flooring 1.996 M² PackShow details for Home Legend Exotic Collection Anzo Acacia HDF

  • Easy installation
  • Wear-resistant
  • High Durability
  • Price Category: $

Laminate flooring -which includes HDF- is a popular choice for its ease of setup and its sleek designs. The modern properties given to the materials makes it a preferred choice of many homeowners when they’re renovating. Installing HDF can be quite simple since it has no requirements other than being installed on a flat surface. You will be amazed at its price range.

The first thing we need to understand is the formula for HDF. What is HDF formed of?

HDF is formed of 4 layers. Each layer has a different role. Let’s see what they’re called and what do they do.

  1. Transparent, wear-resistant layer
    1. This layer is considered an HDF board’s protection. It acts as a wear-resistant, scratch-resistant layer. As well as consisting of melamine layers pressed onto the Core board under high pressure and temperature.
    2. It also contributes to the design by adding tile or wood texture to the design.
  2. Design layer
    1. This is the layer responsible for the design of the board. It’s considered a high-resolution image of real wood or tiles.
  3. Core board
    1. This is the most important layer of the board. Factories create it by pressing fibers under high pressure. This board is extremely durable, stable and moisture-resistant.
  4. Balancing layer
    1. This layer’s responsibility is to be a backing layer to the board that will ensure that the board will not cup or bow when installed.

The composition of HDF makes it durable and strong compared to MDF. This distinction makes it more suitable for flooring and en par in properties with Ceramic tiles and in the same price category or even cheaper. The only downside of HDF is that it can’t be exposed to water for a long time. In case of leakage, call your maintenance contractor immediately and try to dry the water as soon as possible.


Marble floor

  • One of the most recognized and elegant floor solutions. Natural and very beautiful
  • Price Category: $$$$

Coming from nature, marble, is one popular choice for tile flooring. It’s considered one of the most luxurious and sophisticated floorings and adds an element of class to your designs. Marble is available in many hues and colors that can complement almost every possible design and style. Vein patterns differ from stone to stone. One piece of marble is unique as it is and can’t be recreated. These are not printed, that’s why they’re different.

There are many different types of marble that you can choose from. Here’s a list of the most common types available.

 Breccia Daino
Breccia Daino

Breccia is known as a warmer and darker stone with deep browns and reds. It’s a perfect choice for tile flooring and countertops


The Greeks’ and Romans’ favorite choice as found in their statues, fountains, and temples. It is a pure white stone that is very light and suitable for flooring.


Calacatta is a warmer version of Carrara. It has the same white color with veins. But its lines are generally more noticeable and bolder.

Egyptian Triesta

Triesta comes from Egypt’s deserts with properties making it very hard rock. Triesta is beige and comes with a warm tint.

Our conclusion is that each different flooring material has its own usage scenarios. So depending on your budget, design, and usage. You’ll have a preferred material over the others. Consideration of maintenance costs can also be a deal-breaker sometimes. Luxury solutions can be tricky. But it’s the touch of the designer that balances everything.

Dorothy Campbell dreams of a world where everything is as beautiful and organized as can be. Dorothy is a senior interior designer and a freelancer. She has revamped hundreds of office spaces/home/commercial buildings and she is passing down all that knowledge to the InteriorRocks readers.

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