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tile floor types

While glazed ceramic tiles make up a large portion of the tile flooring market, that's not all that's available! Before you decide what kind of tile floors you want, take a look at this page to see a full selection of different kinds of tile flooring. For shoppers on the go, refer to our printable Tile Buying Guide for all your tile flooring needs.


The world of tile flooring goes far beyond ceramic – this list of tile types will show you what options youhave.

  • Brick Tile: Brick floor tiles are a popular choice for outdoor areas like patios and walkways. They also work well for rooms where you want a more rustic feel.
  • Cement Tile: Tiles made of cement are among the most durable. They are available in a wide range of colors and patterns.
  • Ceramic Tile: The most common type of tile flooring, ceramic tiles are formed from clay and other minerals, and then fired in a kiln. Ceramic tiles are available glazed or unglazed.
  • Encaustic Tile: These tiles are inlaid with patterns or designs. They are available glazed or unglazed.
  • Glass Tile: Glass tiles can be frosted or iridescent and are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. While they're recommended for installation in most household areas, glass tiles can be very slippery when wet. In moisture–susceptible rooms (e.g. bathroom) you may want to consider choosing textured glass tiles.
  • Granite Tile: The unique appearance of granite makes it a popular choice for tile floors. The multi–dimensional look gives floors the appearance of depth.
  • Marble Tile: Genuine marble tiles can offer a slippery surface if polished, which is why it's often used sparingly, in low–traffic areas like around fireplaces. For high–traffic spaces, unpolished marble tiles are recommended.
  • Tile Pavers: With an appearance similar to brick, shale–based paver tiles are popular for patios and some indoor spaces. They come in a limited selection of colors.
  • Porcelain Tile: Porcelain is fired at an extremely high temperature to create very dense, moisture resistant tiles. This resistance makes porcelain tile flooring a good choice for bathrooms and outdoor spaces.
  • Saltillo Tile: Also known as Mexican tile, Saltillo tile is air dried outdoors in the sunshine. The drying process gives Saltillo tiles a unique appearance, but also makes for less durable, very porous tiles. These tiles come in shades of red, orange, and yellow. They are best suited for areas where the temperatures don't drop below freezing, especially if they're installed outside.
  • Slate Tile: This stone tile offers a natural grained or smooth finish. Slate tiles are generally available in darker, more muted colors.
  • Stone Tile: Genuine stone aggregate is suspended in polymer, creating a substance that looks similar to solid stone, without the high cost.
  • Terra Cotta Tile: Sourced from the same material used for clay garden pots, terra cotta tiles bring a warm look to a space. If you want to use terra cotta tiles, be sure to treat them first, as they are naturally very absorbent.
  • Terrazzo Tile: Chips of marble or granite are exposed on the surface or epoxy–resin or concrete tiles. Such floor tiles are often seen in entryways, hallways, and outdoor spaces. Terrazzo is considered a "green" floor as up to 95% of its content is made with recycled materials.

Tile Materials: Brick Tile, Cement Tile, Ceramic Tile,
Encaustic Tile, Granite Tile, Marble Tile, Tile Pavers, Porcelain Tile, Saltillo Tile, Salte Tile, Stone Tile, Terra Cotta
Tile and Terrazzo Tile

Size and Shape

Tiles come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Check out this section for ideas.

  • Mosaic: Mosaic tiles are generally available in sizes of two square inches or smaller. You can purchase and install them individually, or pre–mounted for easy installation on sheets of mesh or paper.
  • Square: This most common floor tile shape comes in sizes ranging from small mosaic to large squares in excess of a square foot.
  • Hexagonal/octagonal: Multi–sided tiles are great for giving floors an interesting geometric appearance. These tiles come in sizes ranging from small (generally seen in bathrooms or kitchens) or large (for formal commercial spaces).

Tile Shapes: Mosaic, Square, Hexagonal and Octagonal


Choose between glazed and unglazed ceramic tiles.

  • Glazed: After firing, color is added to ceramic tiles, creating a bright, glasslike surface. You will mostly find glazed tiles for walls and countertops.
  • Unglazed: Unglazed, or quarry tiles, feature natural pigments throughout. Since the color is part of the tile, it remains through firing.

Tile Colors: Glazed and Unglazed Tile


Photo of a Small Firing Kiln

Why fire tiles more than once? Discover the reason in this section.

  • Single–fired: Tiles are glazed and then fired once in a kiln. Single–fired tiles are not as hard as tiles fired more than once.
  • Double–fired: Double–fired ceramic tiles are thicker and harder. After the first firing, color or decoration is added, then the tiles are fired again.


Find out which grade of tile best suits your needs.

These grades, also referred to as the PEI Rating System, are determined by the ASTM International, originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials. This society creates and publishes standards for a variety of technical products, materials, services, and systems.

  • Grade I: As the weakest grade of tile, Grade I tiles are normally used only for interior wall applications.
  • Grade II: Able to withstand light traffic, Grade II tiles are ideal for spaces like bathrooms and laundry rooms.
  • Grade III: Perfect for general residential use, Grade III tiles can be installed in higher–traffic areas like kitchens and entrances. They are also suitable for lightly–trafficked commercial spaces and countertops.
  • Grade IV: Though they are rated for commercial use, Grade IV tiles are also sometimes used in homes. They are durable enough to handle a great deal of traffic, from bank lobbies to grocery stores.
  • Grave V: Created for industrial use, Grade IV tiles can stand up to very heavy traffic and chemical exposure, and can be used anywhere.