The advantages of having tiled surfaces in homes, workplaces and public buildings are clear, but a common question is “Which tiles are better for flooring?”.
A frequently asked additional question is, which type of floor tile is best for which room?
Contemporary tile designers and manufacturers offer limitless opportunities to stamp your own preferences and tastes on any wall, floor, staircase or suitable surface. You’re going to be spoilt for choice!
Tiles are always a beautiful and hardwearing option to cover large areas such as floors (which is why they’ve been used for that purpose for thousands of years).
However, to ensure a flawless finish and a long life for your tiled floor, it is important to consider the different products and best solutions on a room by room basis.
Can you use all tiles on floors?
First, let’s tackle a myth. Not all tiles can be used on floors!
Wall tiles are manufactured to create a durable moisture barrier and for decorative purposes. Floor tiles are constructed to be stronger and more resilient to pressure and friction. They are harder to scratch for example.
Quality floor tiles are also created with a smooth, slip-resistant top, to provide a great flooring finish. These days there are many tiles that include raised motifs and highly tactile surfaces. These textured tiles are great for decorative effects for walls. If they were used for flooring they would be uncomfortable if you were walking around barefoot or in thin-soled shoes.
So, if you were wondering which tiles are better for flooring in general, the answer is ones designed and manufactured for that purpose. Manufacturers generally categorising their products as either floor or wall tiles. If in doubt, check with a knowledgeable supplier.
Quality matters in choosing the right floor tile
Another important issue when considering which tiles are better for flooring in general, is craftsmanship.
If you buy cheap floor tiles, you could end up with a product that’s far from perfect. How tiles are made, is as important as their components. For example, tiles that are too porous (too many tiny holes) or badly glazed are prone to become more brittle and fragile. They stain easily and hold water. Making them wholly unsuitable for flooring!
With this in mind, let’s look are floor tile recommendations room by room.
Ideal floor tiles for heavy duty
Which tiles are better for flooring in areas of heavy footfall, such as foyers in public buildings or hallways in private residences? Slate or stone tiles undoubtedly offer the toughest and most enduring option. It’s why they have “stood the test of time” in public areas and walkways since Roman times!
Is this a ground floor or basement room? It’s advisable to use larger and more weighty varieties of floor tiles for high impact.
Utility and laundry rooms would tend to suit porcelain or stone tiles for floors. They cope well with moisture and variations in temperature. If you want tiles for functional rooms that stand up well to heavy objects and vibrational force, you can’t go far wrong with high quality, natural stone tiles. Unlike other flooring materials, tiles won’t drag or warp.
Slate or stone tiles can look beautiful but serve a practical purpose in rooms connected to the outdoors too. This includes porches and walkways with exterior doorways. Particularly if you use the right adhesive and grouting to withstand temperature variations, water and shoes dragging in soil!
Floor tiles choices for bathrooms
The joy of bathroom interior design and renovation is that you have incredible freedom of choice when deciding which tiles are better for flooring. Most types can be wiped clean easily and offer ease of maintenance for many years.
Smaller and more intricate floor tiles and patterns can look amazing in bathrooms. There are some gorgeous glass and quartz tiles that can be used for mosaic bathroom floors. Using good quality moisture resistant grout and smaller tiles, you create a naturally textured surface, making it safer to walk across a damp floor.
Having a well thought-out floor made from smaller, brighter tiles can make your bathroom seem bigger and better lit.
If you use larger glass or quartz tiles on bathroom floors, check with the supplier that they have good slip resistance.
Or, you could create a uniform surface for your bathroom using quality slate tiles.
Matt or gloss ceramic tiles are another popular option for bathroom floors. They stand up well to splashes and condensation and look beautiful.
Whichever type of tile you choose for your bathroom floor, you could continue the colour scheme or design by using similar tiles for splashbacks and countertops.
Which tiles are better for flooring kitchens?
The stain and moisture resistance provided by tiles is crucial for kitchen floors. Especially in family homes or commercial kitchens, where the floor is going to take a considerable hammering.
This can make ceramic and porcelain tiles a good fit for kitchen floors. Stone tiles work well too.
Many homeowners opt for stone if they have a large kitchen floor space to cover. It can be an advantage if there is a backdoor that could invite high foot traffic. Stone flooring tiles are particularly resistant to having lots of heavy objects dropped on them and excessive movement.
Glass tiles on kitchen floors can look amazing and offer an easy to clean surface, but their brilliance and shine can seem out of place on a floor that may become slippery due to spills, splashes and condensation. Glass tiles in kitchens are best used as splashbacks on for decorative walls.
Tiles for general living space floors
What about living rooms and other multi-use spaces in homes or workplaces? The floor tiles most often selected are ceramic or porcelain ones.
Ceramic tiles are now produced in a stunning range of colours and effects. They provide a degree of warmth and comfort for your living room floor. As they can be wood effect, they make a durable, low maintenance alternative to hardwood flooring. You can wipe clean spills and dirt, rather than worrying about stains on wood or carpet!
Best floor tile for bedrooms?
The bedroom is one of the best places to get creative with floor tiles, varying colours, themes and patterns to suit your own personality. You could even zone your bedroom by using different floor tiles. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are popular in bedrooms, not least because the range is so diverse these days.
Getting down to what matters to you
For any room, a lot hinges on your lifestyle and preferences.
For example, some homeowners use a single colour and design theme for tiling across their whole ground floor. It can create a reassuring flow and a feeling of extra space and cohesion.
Other people have each room with its own separate identity and design. Right down to purpose created flooring using quality tiles in different styles, types and effects.
The only real limit is finding quality floor tiles that will keep their appearance and integrity for many, many years. That often starts with finding a supplier with experience, who is happy to match your needs to the right floor tile for your rooms.