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There are many types of tile available and a variety of different uses!  Sometimes it might be hard to decide when to use or not to use a certain type of tile.  Tile can be used anywhere from shower walls to a kitchen backsplash to an exterior space.  It’s good to know tile appropriateness, how to use it, and where to use it so that your home is beautiful and the tile is long lasting!

Ceramic and porcelain tile are two popular choices among residential applications and are also very similar to each other.  They are both strong, durable, and easy to clean making them suitable for many areas in your home.  So how are they different?  Keep reading to find out…

Ceramic tile is made from clay and is fired in a kiln at very hot temperatures.  They can then be glazed and fired again or left unglazed, which leaves the natural shades of the clay.  When glazed they will resist stains and can be cleaned with a mop or common household cleaner.  They are also environmentally friendly because the are made with natural materials.  Ceramic tiles will also come in a variety of shades, finishes, and shapes, giving you plenty of options when deciding how to utilize them in your home.

Ceramic tile offers the look of natural stone and comes in different shapes and sizes
Ceramic tile offers the look of natural stone and comes in different shapes and sizes.

Porcelain tile is made up of sand like material and is formed with pressure and heat.  It is more dense than ceramic tile and absorbs less water, making it appropriate to be installed outdoors or in areas prone to moisture.  The color of porcelain tiles are usually the same throughout and doesn’t vary as much as ceramic does.  The best uses for porcelain tile are typically in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements because of their great water resistance.

RCI Interior Design
As you can see, porcelain tile can have many looks and this is more of a contemporary style.
RCI Interior Design
Great use of porcelain tile outdoors on a patio!

Stone tile is a great natural beauty- it can be used in a very traditional or modern setting.  Natural stones include travertine, marble, and slate among others.  You should always consider moisture levels, slip resistance, foot traffic, and hardness of the tile before installing.  For example, slate tile is naturally rougher and would be a better choice for a floor instead of marble because of its slip resistance.  Stone tiles are also great to use as a kitchen backsplash, fireplace surround or even a partial wall.  Sealing a natural stone can also change the look of the tile, talk with an experienced interior designer to assure you are using tiles appropriately and the look will be consistent with what you expect.

Stone tile in a unique diamond pattern
Stone tile in a unique diamond pattern.
RCI Interior Design
A fabulous way to use stone tile in a bathroom is to create a rug like this!


Glass tile is another type people like to use in their homes.  They are recommended to be used for shower walls, kitchen backsplashes, accent walls, water features.  However, glass tile is not appropriate for floor use, especially in a shower or bathroom when the floors can get wet because the glass will be very slippery.  It can also scratch and break easily during installation so it’s good to have an experienced installer to prevent breakage.  Glass tile is also very easy to clean and is stain resistant~ with all the different shapes, sizes, and colors~ glass can be a great feature in your home.

This curvy glass tile would make a great accent wall in a shower
This curvy glass tile would make a great accent wall in a shower.
RCI Interior Design
This beautiful blue square glass and natural stone mosaic looks great as a backsplash in this kitchen!

Many times, people will opt to go with a mixture of different types of tile in a mosaic or linear pattern to add more interest to their space.  Mixed tile also helps to pull a space together by bringing existing elements of a space all into one accent piece.  Mixed tile can be a stone and glass mix, a glass and metal mix, or even a mix of all three.  There are tons of mosaic options and your interior designer will help to narrow the options perfect for you!

Stone, glass, and metal mosaic blend
Stone, glass, and metal mosaic blend.
This stone and glass tile blend is shaped like trapezoids to give this wall interesting texture
This stone and glass tile blend is shaped like trapezoids to give this featured backsplash interesting texture.

Hopefully this educational blog on tile inspired you to think of a variety of ways to utilize tile in your home!

Check out our Houzz, Pinterest, and Facebook pages to see more creative ways that RCI has featured tile in many different style of homes!




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