When it comes to custom tiles, there is something for everyone. The combinations of colors, shapes, and styles are endless, and can be used a variety of homes and businesses. While the aesthetic appeal of a tile can be persuasive, it’s important to look at other factors like durability and overall quality. Even the prettiest of tiles can be chipped and appear worn over time, which decreases value. It’s critical to pick a tile that is easy on the eye, functional, and able to withstand wear and tear. This quick guide will explain tile sizing, ratings, and the common forms of tile.

Tile Sizing

Floor tiles are manufactured in squares measured from 4-inches-by-4 inches up to 24-inches-by-24 inches. Squares aren’t the only shapes; octagonal and hexagonal shapes are also popular options. Mosaic tiles can be installed individually and are smaller than their counterparts.

Tile Ratings

Find a tile that is efficient for the area you are looking at. For example, bathrooms need a tile that is slip-resistant and moisture-proof. Some tiles should only be used indoor or outdoor. Using a series of standardized tests, tiles are rated by their hardness according to the Mohs scale.

The Porcelain Enamel Institute hardness ratings are:

Group I Light Traffic: Residential bathroom floors where bare or stockinged feet are the norm.

Group II Medium Traffic: Home interiors where little abrasion occurs; don’t use in kitchens or entries.

Group III Medium-Heavy Traffic: Any home interior.

Group IV Heavy Traffic: Homes or light-to-medium commercial areas.

Group V Extra-Heavy Traffic: Use it anywhere.

Types of Tiles

Vinyl tiling is the most common and lowest priced form of tile, although it tends to be lower in quality as well. Go with a vinyl tile that is stiff in order for it to last longer and provide sturdiness. Ceramic tile is made of clay and various minerals, making it a great choice for any area that is exposed to moisture. This type of tile goes well in bathrooms, kitchens, patios, and entryways. Natural stone tiles, such as granite, marble, or slate are incredibly hard and durable. They are generally more expensive than other options and require treatment. Porcelain tile is a common choice because it is very dense, hard, and resistant to moisture and wear. Be sure to purchase porcelain tiles that are rated by the Porcelain Enamel Institute, as one and two tiles are for walls, and a three to five rating is for the floor. Pick a custom tile that works best for your home, one that achieves the ambience you’re going for.