Tips &Trends America’s floor source

Which Tile Material is Best?

Which Tile Material is Best?

So, you’ve decided to install tile flooring in your Columbus, Ohio, home. Congratulations! Tile is a fantastic flooring type for high-traffic areas of your house that can last for years if maintained properly. But what kind of tile is right for your home? What are the unique benefits of each material? Tile flooring materials vary in durability, texture, comfort and more. America’s Floor Source is here with your guide to some of the most popular types of tile. There are two main categories of tile materials: clay and natural stone.

Clay Tile

ceramic tile

Clay tile is made of—you guessed it—clay and other naturally occurring materials. Clay tiles are made by quarrying clay, pressing it into a tile mold under extreme pressure, and then heating it at an extremely high temperature. Clay-based tiles are a great choice for kitchens, bathrooms and other moisture-prone areas of your home since they’re more durable and water-resistant than other flooring types. Clay tiles also come in a variety of colors, patterns, shapes and sizes.

Ceramic vs. Porcelain

Clay tile can either be ceramic or porcelain. The main difference between the two is that porcelain is harder, denser and more durable than ceramic. The clay used to make porcelain is more refined and purified than ceramic, and it’s fired at higher temperatures and greater pressures than traditional ceramic tile. Think of porcelain as a higher quality ceramic. They’re both made of the same material, but porcelain is much stronger.

Porcelain tile also gives manufacturers more design flexibility. Ceramic and porcelain are both highly customizable, but porcelain can mimic unique materials (like natural stone) that ceramic can’t.

Glazed vs. Unglazed

Glazed and unglazed tiles are made the same way, but glazed tiles have a layer of liquid glass applied to them. This extra layer of glass gives glazed tiles a nice shine and protects them from spills and stains. While glazed and unglazed tiles are both extremely durable, unglazed tiles are more susceptible to water, stains and scratches since it’s unprotected.

Terra Cotta

terra cotta tile

Terra-cotta is a type of unglazed ceramic tile made from a specific red clay found in Mexico and Europe. If you’re going for a unique, southwest style tile floor, consider terra-cotta. Terra-cotta tile can be glazed or unglazed.

Natural Stone Tile

Natural stone tile is made of—you guessed it again—natural stone. Natural stone tile is made by quarrying, slabbing, finishing and cutting natural materials to size. Stones vary in strength and durability depending on how they were naturally formed. Think back to your high school science classes—metamorphic, sedimentary and igneous rocks all have unique properties and characteristics. Here are some of the most popular natural stone flooring options:


Granite is an extremely dense and durable igneous rock. Because of its strength, granite is a great option for high-traffic areas of your home like your kitchen. Granite flooring is completely waterproof and can be polished to resist scratches. Homeowners love granite because its unique veining gives it a distinctive appearance. Granite is also extremely customizable; thousands of colors, designs, patterns and variations are available.


Marble is a metamorphic rock that also has unique veining. Its appearance is very similar to granite, and it comes in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Marble is more porous than granite, though, so it’s a lot more susceptible to stains and scratches. If you want to install marble in a high-traffic area of your home, make sure it’s honed and sealed on a regular basis.


Limestone is another popular stone tile material. Limestone tiles have a unique, earthy appearance and they come in both light and dark shades. One of limestone’s main appeals is that it has an extremely unique texture since it’s a sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rocks are formed over long periods of time, and they’re made of different types of accumulated sediment. However, limestone is less dense than granite and marble and it can be easily stained and scratched. It’s beautiful, but it might not be the best choice for high-traffic areas of your home.


Slate is an extremely durable metamorphic rock that comes in dark, earthy tones. Slate tile is usually textured, but it can also be honed for a smoother finish. Because of its extreme durability and water resistance, slate is an excellent choice for high-traffic areas of your home. Slate is a good flooring tile choice if you’re going for a dark, modern and luxurious look.


Sandstone is a light-colored sedimentary rock. Its shades vary from brown and tan to red and gold. Sandstone is beautiful, but it’s porous, not very dense and it stains and scratches easily. Its main appeal is its unique, light appearance. Sandstone is also softer underfoot compared to other natural stone tiles.

Tile flooring is an excellent investment in your home, but you should make sure you know the strengths and weaknesses of each tile material before you choose one. If you have questions about tile flooring materials, visit one of America’s Floor Source’s showrooms today. Our experienced flooring professionals can show you samples and help you decide which type of tile flooring is right for you. You can also schedule a Mobile Floor Source appointment if you want us to bring samples directly to your home.

Choose a Location