Choosing Tile

A beginner's guide

Choosing the right tile for your next project can be daunting. There are literally millions of choices to choose from. Listed here are some of the most important aspects to consider when shopping for tile.

Location

The first place to begin is the room you are going to install the tile. Wet locations such as the kitchen or bathroom require a waterproof material such as glass, porcelain or ceramic. There are also certain stone tiles that work well in high moisture areas. Floor tile must be more durable than wall tile because of the high traffic and walking pressures they'll be exposed to.

Durability

Not all materials are durable. Porcelain is always a good choice for flooring because it is extremely durable. Ceramic tiles greater than 9 square inches are also appropriate for floor installations. Wall installations are subject to far less wear and tear; durability is not as crucial. Natural stone such as marble will chip, stain, and patina.

Size & Texture

A large format tile can make the room appear larger. Small tiles work well as a backsplash or surrounding a tub area. Textured or matte tiles are less slippery options in comparison to other smooth or shiny finishes. This is an important thing to consider if you are installing floor tiles in wet or damp locations. Texture can also have some aesthetic value, such as the "rustic" or "linen" product lines now widely available.

Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Aesthetic Classifications:

V0 - Tiles are very uniform in appearance and smooth in texture.

V1 - Tiles have a generally uniform appearance with minimal production run differences among pieces.

V2 - Tiles are similarly colored with variations in texture and/or pattern, which are clearly distinguishable.

V3 - Tiles are moderately variant, and although the colors and/or textures present on a single piece are indicative of the colors and/or textures on another, the amount of colors and/or textures on each piece may vary significantly.

V4 - Tiles are substantially variant with random color and/or texture differences from tile to tile, where one tile may have totally different colors and/or textures from another.