Vinyl tiles are versatile and easy to install. Constructed of several layers, the top wearlayer is important as it will receive the traffic from family members and pets, must resist spills and stains, and easy to maintain. Sizes range from 12-inches by 12-inches or 18-inches by 18-inches. Planks are defined as shorter in width such as 4-inches or 6 inches by 2 feet to 4 feet long.
• Luxury Vinyl tiles are created with an assortment of printed designs topped by a wearlayer to protect the design. The tiles — or planks depending on the size — can simulate natural stones or wood and even contain a textured wearlayer. Installed as floating or glue-down, the tiles may even be grouted to appear as ceramic or porcelain tiles.
Cork is a natural wood product that works well on kitchen floors as it is fire and insect-resistant, warm and soft to walk on. The tiles range in color from light beige to medium brown and even slightly green. Tiles are sealed for easy care and should last for decades, although they may need re-sealing in extreme cases.
Ceramic floor tiles are made from natural clay with minerals and glazed to create a moisture resistant surface. Tiles can range in size from 4-inches by 4-inches to 2-feet by 2-feet and come in a variety of colors. Mosaic tile patterns are mounted in mesh panels for easier installation. Ceramic tiles can be slippery when wet, so choose floor tiles with a slip resistant surface, or smaller tiles with lots of grout lines that will absorb the moisture and be less slippery.
Porcelain tiles are created from white clay with minerals added for strength. The floor tiles are glazed to reduce moisture absorption. Ranging in size from 4-inches by 4-inches to 2-feet by 2-feet, they come in a variety of colors. Mosaic tile patterns are mounted in mesh panels for easier installation.
• Wood look porcelain tile are created to look like wood planks but have the durability and ease of porcelain tile. Textured, including knots, the tiles are created in shapes and sizes to accommodate installation designs such as herringbone and basketweave.
Natural stones often are cut into tiles as large as 24-inches by 24-inches or mosaic patterns and used on kitchen floors. Installation of larger or oversized tiles may be challenging as any unevenness in the subfloor may cause cracking of the stone. Sealing will reduce staining and add life to the stone.
• Marble is the most commonly used natural stone, installed most frequently in white as sheets or as tiles. The veining in the marble adds an aesthetic not found in other materials; realize the veins will not match up when installed. Marble is a soft stone and will react to acids in lotions, cleaning solutions, etc. Sealing marble will reduce water absorption.
• Travertine is a sedimentary rock available in earthy tones. Its characteristics make it adaptable to flooring but it must be sealed to be stain resistant. Often confused with marble, it is in the same family of stone.
• Limestone is in the same family of natural stones as marble and travertine. The colors of limestone are warm and more uniform as light beige or off white.
• Quartzite is another hard stone used to create floor tiles. Honed quartzite provides a better surface on the floor. Colors are bright and vary.
• Granite is a dense rock making it very durable for use as flooring tiles inside and outside. It has a very low absorption rate and holds up to stains and abrasions. Granite tiles come in an assortment of colors from white to black, beige and tan to green.
Slate tiles come in a range of colors and are strong enough to be used as floor tiles in kitchens.