When deciding what type of tile should go in your kitchen, the first and most important decision is figuring out where exactly this tile will be installed. Are you looking for something for your backsplash, countertop, or floor? Deciding where your tile will go will help you narrow down what materials are best, and how durable this tile should be.
A tile is really any kind of material that can be laid down in rows over a hard surface. Tile can also include stone, cork, vinyl, glass, or porcelain. Think about how durable you need this tile to be, how long you want it to last, and determine what your budget is. Some materials are incredibly durable, but also quite expensive. Others might not wear as well or last as long, but can be a good, quick fix to change the look of a kitchen.
Kitchen floor tile needs to be able to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Foot traffic, pets, children, spills, dropped dishes, and chemical cleaning supplies are all part of what a kitchen floor is exposed to on a daily basis. If you’re choosing a tile for your floor, make sure it’s not a wall tile. For one, its coefficient of friction will be low, which means that slips and falls are more likely to happen. For another, a wall tile may not be strong enough to handle the weight of heavy traffic throughout your kitchen space.
Countertop tiles don’t necessarily need to be as sturdy as floor tiles, but they need to be able to handle just as much wear and tear. Heat, hot oil, grease, and daily cleaning can all cause damage to certain types of materials. Make sure you choose a countertop tile that will make your life easier, not more difficult.
Backsplash tile is one area of the kitchen where you can really get creative. Since this isn’t an area that’s going to be getting any direct traffic, unique designs and materials are all able to be used here. However, it does still have to withstand occasional cooking splatters, water, and cleaning materials, so take that into consideration too.
Some common kitchen tile materials include:
Natural stone tile can be made of anything from marble, to limestone, to granite. It’s usually one of the more expensive tile choices, but is extremely durable and absolutely stunning. Be aware that some stone tile may require some kind of treatment for water and stain resistance after installation, so take that into account when making your decision.
Glass tiles are a common choice because of their reasonable price range, easy installation (when larger pieces are used), and easy cleaning. Know that while glass tiles are easy to clean, they’re not necessarily easy to keep clean, so keep that in mind if you have children. Because of durability, these tiles are usually used for backsplashes or countertops.
Ceramic tile is another common tile choice that is strong enough to be used for both countertop and floor applications. Ceramic tiles come in both glazed and unglazed options, but glazed tends to be much easier to clean. Unglazed also should be sealed for stain resistance. Ceramic is a durable material that’s great for areas that are exposed to moisture.
Porcelain tile usually comes with a matte finish, but there are some styles that look more like natural stone. It’s naturally stain resistant, extremely dense and durable, and resistant to moisture. Make sure the porcelain tiles you choose have been rated by the Porcelain Enamel Institute for hardness. A one to two ranking means the tile is strictly for walls and countertops, while a three to five ranking means the tile is suitable for the floor.
Vinyl tile is a common choice for kitchen floor tile. It has a lower cost because it tends to be a bit lower in quality than other tile materials. Pay attention to manufacturing techniques and warranties while ordering, and try to choose a vinyl that’s fairly stiff, since it’ll be sturdier and wear better.
The size and shape of the tile really depends on what kind of look you’re going for, and what type of space you’re working with. For a kitchen floor, larger tiles tend to work a bit better since you’re covering a large surface, and small tiles can get really expensive (and take forever to install). For a backsplash, you have a smaller space and less practical requirements to worry about, so you can invest in a more intricate design of mosaic (or other small) tiles.
Search for the kitchen tile that will work best in your home. Browse through different styles, colors, shapes and materials here, along with information on where to purchase them.