November 23, 2020
Since the choice of flooring sets the tone for the rest of the home, you must pick one that’s stylish, durable, and hardwearing. Tiles check each of these boxes and more; therefore, they are a go-to solution when looking for new flooring.
While most people appreciate the functionality, durability, and safety of tile flooring, they’re often split between ceramic and natural stone tiles. If you find yourself wondering which one to pick, you’re not alone.
Differentiating between ceramic and natural stones can be a tad daunting since they have many comparable characteristics. However, that’s not to say it’s impossible to distinguish between them.
The rest of this article discusses each of the tiles in detail to help you make an informed choice when remodeling or decorating your home.
The name says it all -natural stones are quarried natural materials cut from the ground. Naturally formed stones are cut into uniform tiles used to decorate walls, floors, and backsplashes in many homes.
Natural stone tiles fall into five popular options, each featuring unique characteristics and grouped by their parent rock materials.
- Granite. Granite is an igneous rock formed from cooling molten lava, which makes it exceptionally hard and dense. Granite tiles are durable, hardwearing, water, and stain-resistant. They can be natural, honed flat, or polished smooth. However, these tiles are porous and should be sealed after installation to increase their longevity.
- Slate. Since slate is a metamorphic rock formed through heat and compression, slate tiles boast unique straits and a strong structure. These tough tiles are resistant to cracking and breaking but can be prone to edge chipping.
- Limestone. Limestone is a sedimentary rock that’s formed by the compression of fossil remains. As a result, limestone tiles are of moderate strength and density and tend to age well. Old limestone tiles boast an antiquated look to give your home a retro feel.
- Sandstone. Sandstone is a sedimentary rock that comprises sand-sized grains that give the tiles a distinctive style. Sandstone tiles are decorative since they mimic desert and beach sand’s look with a sprinkling of gold, red, brown, and tan colors.
- Marble. Marble is a sedimentary rock that rose to become a timeless and iconic building material. Chic and elegant, marble tiles boast beautiful patterns with unique veins.
- Travertine. Dating back to ancient Egypt, Travertine is a classic and timeless building material. Tiles made from this sedimentary rock are incredibly hard and durable and can withstand high foot traffic.
Pros of Stone Tiles
- Stone tiles boast unique patterns
- Excellent colour selection ranging from brown tones, deep beige, and crisp whites.
- Comprises of five broad classes of unique tiles
- Stone tiles increase the value of your home.
- Highly durable, water-resistant, and hardwearing
- Low maintenance and easy to clean
Cons of Stones Tiles
- Quite expensive
- Inconsistent patterns and textures
- Highly porous and needs periodic sealing
Also known as porcelain, ceramic tiles are man-made red or white clay tiles fired in a kiln to increase their hardness and strength.
They are an excellent alternative to natural stones since they are more durable, stronger, and water-resistant. You can install ceramic tiles in your home’s dry and wet areas to give it a chic uniform look.
As a man-made product, ceramic tiles come with consistent colour and design options and are much more affordable than stone tiles.
Ceramic tiles follow a 5-point rating system developed by the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) that gauges a tile’s strength and ability to handle heavy foot traffic. Naturally, the higher the PEI rating, the more durable the tile.
- PEI rating 1: These are smooth, decorative tiles that aren’t used as flooring since they can’t endure foot traffic. They are best suited for wall decoration and kitchen backsplashes.
- PEI rating 2: Comprises tiles commonly used on walls and flooring in low traffic areas such as the guest bathroom.
- PEI rating 3: Comprises the tiles used as flooring, countertops, and rooftops in residential buildings.
- PEI rating 4: These are hardwearing tiles geared towards residential, commercial, and industrial use.
- PEI rating 5: These are the best quality and strongest ceramic tiles. They can withstand heavy traffic and are a staple in commercial and industrial buildings.
Ceramic tiles are further classified into three categories – glazed, unglazed, and Terra Cotta.
- Glazed ceramic. These tiles are treated with waterproof, stain-resistant sealant at the manufacturing stage. That gives them a tough, water, and a stain-resistant top surface that no longer needs sealing or protective finish.
- Unglazed ceramic. These are untreated kiln-dried ceramic tiles. Although they boast a beautiful rustic design, unglazed tiles are porous and prone to staining. They need to be sealed as soon as the floor is installed to avoid damage and stains.
- Terra Cotta. It’s a specialty form of unglazed ceramic tile made from a red clay found in parts of Europe and Mexico. The red clay produces tiles with attractive colours and distinctive patterns.
Pros of Ceramic Tiles
- Hardwearing, durable, and water-resistant
- Limitless colour, pattern, and designs
- Uniform designs and colours
- Glazed tiles require no additional sealing
- Feature different hardness rating levels.
- Can resemble hardwood floors and natural stone tiles
- Cheap and affordable
Cons of Ceramic Tiles
- Less weather-resistant compared to stone tiles
- Crack or break in extreme cold and heat
- They don’t boost the value of your house
Stone Tiles Vs. Ceramic Tiles: Which One to Pick?
There are no hard rules for using stone or ceramic tiles as you can tap into both their strengths.
Fill the larger spaces of your living room with designer marbles and let the Terracotta tile bring out the smaller spaces’ charm
Granite stones and ceramic tiles will add a sparkle to your kitchen area – make sure the tiles are durable and scratch-resistant.
Unpolished granite, sandstone, and slate are perfect natural stones for the bathroom floor. Glazed ceramic tiles are great on bathroom walls coupled with unglazed tiles on the floor.
Slate, terracotta, and ceramic are ideal for balconies and outdoor areas since they can handle extreme outdoor temperatures.