design installation polishing

Tile Types

Table of Contents:

1. What to use on Floors

2. What to use on Walls

3. What if I want it to look Dazzling?

4. The Design is the REAL Thing


What to use on FLOORS

Ceramic Tile is the most commonly used floor tile. Depending on how large the room is that you're tiling (and how large your budget is), as well as what kind of 'look' you like, determines what kind of tile you buy.

What kind of tile should I put in my kitchen?

Most kitchens are best using a 12 x 12 inch tile in any color or texture that you desire.  Normally, I wouldn't recommend using smaller than 8 x 8, or larger than 13 x 13. If you have a large kitchen with a lot of floor space (lucky you!) you can go as big as 18 x 18 or even larger and have beautiful results. All in all 12 x 12 is the most complimentary size to most rooms and usually the least expensive to install. It doesn't matter whether you choose a smooth or textured tile for the kitchen unless the kitchen will be used by people who might fall down a lot - then a little bit of texture might help. Also, if you have a mud room coming from outside that will be tiled with the same tile as the kitchen, you may opt for some texture. Entrance ways can get slippery when wet. Don't get me wrong....textured tile is still slick when wet, just not AS slick! If you really want a non-slip floor in the kitchen, go for the down-to-earth look of brick pavers, quarry tile, slate, or even limestone.

What about bathroom floors?

Now here's a place where some texture will help! Splashed on floors can be slick, so don't use shiny slick tile. Choose something that your toes can grab a little bit! Bathroom floors usually fair best with 12 x 12 tile as well; 8 x 8 is also a very popular choice for bathrooms. The larger the bathroom, the larger you can go with your tile. Some people put 4 x 4 tile on the floor in an attempt to match the wall tile. I usually don't recommend this because bathroom floors tend to get a lot of wear, and 4 x 4 tiles leave you with a lot of 'grout joints' - harder to clean and doesn't look very good after a few years.  Stone on the bathroom floor can be very earthy and luxurious, especially if it matches or complements a Jacuzzi and/or shower in stone.

Should I tile my living room floor? Hallways? The whole house?

Yes, yes, and yes! (okay, okay, so we're tile installers.....we're biased!)  Seriously though, tile will outlast any other flooring material, so it is always a good investment. It will always increase the value of your house. For living rooms, some people like the coziness and warmth of carpet, it is really your decision, whatever fits best with your lifestyle. The major drawback of carpeting your living room is the wear on the walk paths to the carpet. After just a few years you can usually see a direct route to the couch, the sliding door, etc. You'll never have that problem with tile. If you can't bear to live without carpet, a tile walkway is a wonderful compromise! Have a 2 1/2 - 4 foot wide walkway of tile installed leading from the kitchen, around the couch, and to the sliding glass door. 

I would STRONGLY suggest that you tile as many hallways as you can. Hallways get the most wear from walking, and benefit the most from installing tile. If you're feet get cold on the tile - get carpet runners. Carpet runners are easier to replace than wall-to-wall carpet! As far as tiling the whole house....that's your decision. If you LOVE the look of tile - you'll LOVE your house completely tiled!

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What to use on WALLS

Kitchen Backsplashes

Use 4 x 4 field tile of a neutral color. If you'd like to add some spice, mix colors, use 'sizzle strips' (colored strips for accent), or use handpainted (or decal) tiles creating a kitchen 'theme'.  12 x 12 stone on a backsplash works well with granite countertops and wood cabinets.

Bathtubs, Showers, and Bathroom walls

4x4stoneshower2.jpg (16698 bytes)Again, 4 x 4 is usually the tile of choice and is the least expensive (which is probably why its the tile of choice). 4 x 6 or 6 x 8 tile is also used for a more 'classical' look.  You can buy 'designer' tile that already has designs on the tile, or you can have your installer design patterns by using different colors and cuts. Whenever you tile inside a tub or shower, it is STRONGLY recommended that you go all the way up to the ceiling with the tile. Why? It looks better, it lasts longer, and its easier to clean. If you have the choice of tiling the bathroom walls themselves, do it. It is MUCH easier to clean - and it stays looking better longer than wall paper. Most people tile about 3 feet up from the ground - but you can go as high as what seems practical for you.

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What if I want it to look DAZZLING?

You really need to, first, decide what type of style you want, then look at your choices in a tile showroom. Find an artistic tile installer (you already have here - right?) and you're on your way!  There are so many designs and types of materials to choose from, there is really nothing holding you back from getting the "look" that you love!

Your choices for the FLOOR


Porcelain is not 'glaze coated' like ceramic tile, so if it ever chips - it is the same through-out the tile. So chips are MUCH less noticeable.


Mexian Saltillo 

This yellow/rust southwest colored tile is made in Mexico. This is a low fire clay tile, it is not fired in a kiln, it is actually dried in the sun. Every now and then you'll find some dog prints embedded IN the tile. Some people pay extra for these tiles, others throw them away...it all depends on what you think looks really cool. Mexican Saltillo tile's vary within their 12 x 12 size. They are man-made and some curve a little bit, others have dips or humps. Chips in the tile add character, and many brand new tiles are chipped. Mexian Saltillo is a southwestern, rustic floor tile. It is a beautiful choice, if that's the style you like, and can be used indoors or out!


The pros to a Marble floor are obvious, it is absolutely gorgeous! The cons are that it is quite slick, and scratches easily. The good thing about scratches on Marble, as opposed to ceramic tile, is that scratches and chips can be 'buffed out' of Marble. So if you have an accident, you can buff it out and it will look brand new!



Slate is definitely a rustic choice that looks very rich! Slate stone is cut from the rock - so each piece is different, although all are 'relatively' the same size. Slate is a rock - so expect humps and bumps and chips. Slate will need to be sealed.


Brick Pavers 

Brick Pavers are the most popular choice for outdoor patios and walkways, but you can have them installed indoors as well! Brick Pavers not only come in 'red brick' color, but in Sand, Rust, Wood, and other colors!



Granite is a lot like Marble - it has the same advantages and disadvantages. Marble usually has 'veins' running through it, where Granite has a more of a pebble-stone look. 



Limestone is also cut in slabs from Limestone Rock. It is pitted and looks like rock in its natural state. Sizes vary from 8 x 8, up to 18 x 18. Limestone must be sealed, and can be treated first to bring out the natural tones of the Rock. It is a good choice indoors our out!


Stone / Glass Mosaic

Stone gives a rich, down-to-earth atmosphere to any floor.  The glass mosaic circle in the center adds pizzazz!

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic Tile has a large variety of choices, you can achieve almost any look you want!

Your Choices for the wall

Your choices for the wall are exactly the same....but the installation prices will be higher than the 4 x 4 field tile that is normally used, all of these large and heavy tiles are difficult to install on the wall - but can produce stunning results!
Don't forget about "base" tile as an option as well.  This glass mosaic base tile completes the 16 x 16 stone floor in this kitchen/dining area.

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The Design is the REAL THING!

If you browsed through any of the pictures, you'll notice that almost all of the tiles were installed with a design in mind. A design makes the most impact - whether you're using less expensive ceramic tiles, or top-of-the line marble.

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