tile materials

The Ultimate Guide to the 4 Best Tile Material Types

Tile is one aspect of a remodel that can get confusing in a hurry! There are a lot of choices to make within this design element. You have to consider the material, the shape, the color, the texture, the grout, and the pattern. The seemingly endless choices to be made may leave you a little overwhelmed. So let’s break it down and discuss the different tile materials you may consider. Considering your needs, the location of the tile, and your personal design aesthetic, you can then narrow down your choices.   

Keep in Mind

Before discussing these four fantastic tile materials, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when deciding which would be the best option for you:

  1. Consider where you’ll be putting the tile. The location can either narrow down the options or open up new possibilities.  
  2. It is critical to the success of your design that you have a good idea of what you want before tile shopping. The number of tile colors, patterns, and shapes available are mind-blowing, and understanding the direction you want to go before you step foot in the showroom will help tremendously. 
  3. Think about your budget. There is a huge array of tile materials available, as well as differences in pricing.  

tile materialsPorcelain

Porcelain tiles are made of dry clay that has been pressed and fired to extreme temperatures for an extended period. This makes them very dense and strong. It also makes it possible to create enormous sizes. It’s a tough product, is less likely to chip, and the color runs all the way through the thickness of the tile, so in the event, you do get a chip, it won’t be that noticeable. They are highly impervious to water or any other liquid, are easy to care for and keep clean and are available in a variety of sheens from matte to glossy. Because of these positive attributes, porcelain is the most prevalent material today. 


Ceramic tile has been around for hundreds of years and is made of clay and sand,  water-packed together to remove the excess moisture. It’s a tough and durable product, but it isn’t as nonporous as its porcelain cousins. Because the color doesn’t go all the way through a ceramic tile, you’ll also see a chip more easily than you would in porcelain. They come in various colors and finishes, from matte to glossy.   They can be a little slippery when they’re wet, so you may want to consider this if putting them on the floor. You can find beautiful handmade versions that can make for a  unique custom design. Just like porcelain,  ceramic tile is available in an endless array of colors and a vast variety of shapes and patterns, and sizes. This gives you an infinite number of options when designing your unique project.

tile materialsGlass

Glass tiles come in an array of show-stopping colors and varieties. They require a skilled professional to install them correctly, so you can expect installation labor to be a bit higher. This is not a do-it-yourself-type tile.  They are also not very scratch-resistant, so you want to pay close attention to the mortars and grouts being installed.  Glass tiles are best used in accent areas and kitchen backsplashes where they won’t see a lot of wear and tear. 

tile materialsStone

Stone tiles like marble, granite, travertine, and slate are cut out of the earth, and the variety of beautiful colors and patterns available is only limited by   Mother Nature’s creativity. No two stones are alike, making them truly unique statements in your home. Most are a bit porous and require some sealers to keep them from staining. Some, like marble, are quite soft, and cracking and wear might be a problem in high-traffic areas. Because of their higher maintenance, they are most often used in locations where they are used as accents or in kitchen backsplashes. But some people still long for that classic marble floor. Just remember, as beautiful as the natural stone is,  it’s not an install-and-forget product. You will need to take proper care of it for years to come. 

There obviously isn’t a one size fits all solution when it comes to tile, so use this guide to help you on your journey to creating the ideal space for you and your family.