Porcelain and Ceramic Floor Tiles

light ceramic floor tiles

Picking out new porcelain or ceramic floor tiles for your home, office or commercial space can be an exciting task. This is your chance to enhance the look of a space and create updates that will improve the value and functionality of a property. The options are nearly endless when it comes to finding an attractive floor tiles look that will fulfill the needs of your household. Tile is versatile enough to be used in kitchens, hallways, bathrooms, foyers, laundry rooms, basements and many other spots around your home or office.

Why is tile a good option for so many homes and commercial spaces today? Tile isn’t just visually stunning. Its enduring popularity is owed to its dependable performance. Many people like the way tile is so durable and easy to care for. A floor tile that you install today will serve your needs for a lifetime. Tile is especially great in high-traffic areas of a home or areas where moisture is present. It gives a home a sophisticated look that simply can’t be replicated using other materials. However, it can be overwhelming when you look into tile options and discover that you have so many choices like wood look tiles and more at your fingertips. You want to make sure the tiles that you choose actually fit your needs. What’s more, you want to ensure that the tile you install is durable enough to handle whatever you throw at it. Taking time to pick out tile the right way is important. Are you looking for advice for how to pick out the right tile? Take a look at what you need to know before selecting your new porcelain or ceramic floor tiles.

Selecting Your Floor Tiles Type

white ceramic tilesIt will only take a few minutes of searching for the perfect tile to discover that you have many options to choose from. Your first task is to determine which type of tile is ideal for your home. Here’s a look at the popular options you have to choose from:



Natural stone


Terra cotta



Each of the options listed above would be appropriate for flooring. However, you will find that each style comes with its own requirements when it comes to installation and maintenance. In addition, some floor tiles are more durable than others. You will need to weigh the specific details of the type of tile that you like when it comes to choosing an option that works for your home’s design and traffic flow.

Floor Tiles Size

Size is a big thing to consider when selecting your porcelain or ceramic floor tiles. Some people choose to pick a uniform size for an entire floor. Others add mosaics that can be installed strategically in certain spots. Today’s tiles are typically manufactured in squares that are 4 inches by 4 inches. Sizes from most manufacturers can go all the way up to 24 inches by 24 inches. However, there is some extra variation when it comes to tiles that are shaped as rectangles, hexagons and octagons. You are usually looking at tiles that are 2 inches or smaller when you’re shopping for mosaic tiles that can be used to create unique patterns or stunning finishing accents. In addition to single mosaic tiles, you can also purchase sheets that allow for easier installation. Be sure to match up tile thickness if you’ll be using several different styles of tile on a single floor.

Ceramic Floor Tile Hardness

You can’t just judge a tile by its look. It’s actually very important to learn about tile hardness before committing to a specific style. It is especially important to pick tiles that can perform as needed when selecting flooring for areas like entryways and bathrooms. Entryways require moisture-proof and absorbent-resistant tiles. Bathrooms require slip-resistant and moisture-proof floor tiles. Choosing the wrong tiles for either of these two areas of a home can lead to frustration and danger for your family. There is actually a hardness rating for tile from the Porcelain Enamel Institute that makes it easy to get a good idea of what you need. Here’s a look at the ratings:

  • Class I tiles are ideal for areas without foot traffic
  • Class II tiles are ideal for areas with light traffic
  • Class III tiles are ideal for areas with light to moderate traffic
  • Class IV tiles are ideal for areas with moderate to heavy traffic
  • Class V tiles are ideal for areas with heavy to very heavy traffic

Class I and Class II tiles are typically used for wall applications or decorative accents. Most homes will require tiles that fall under Class III and Class IV when it comes to flooring. Both Class IV and Class V tile groups are appropriate for commercial and industrial foot traffic.


Porosity is another important factor to consider when choosing porcelain or ceramic floor tiles. Be sure to inquire about a particular tile’s porosity rating before making a final decision. What are people talking about when they discuss the porosity of tile? Porosity is the ratio of voids to solids in a tile. The number of air holes in a piece of tile will actually affect the percentage of moisture that can be absorbed by that tile. Tile that is dense will absorb less water than tile that is more porous. Here are the categories for tile porosity from least absorbent to most absorbent:

  • Impervious
  • Vitreous
  • Semi-vitreous
  • Non-vitreous

It is especially important to pay attention to a tile’s porosity rating if you’re looking for flooring for areas that are likely to see a lot of moisture. This includes areas of the home like the kitchen, laundry room and bathroom. Those areas need moisture-proof floor tiles that can endure moisture buildup. In addition, it is important to know that highly porous tiles should not be used outdoors because they don’t perform well in cold weather.

Can You Paint Ceramic Floor Tiles?

If you are ready for a design change in your home, you may be focused on updating your ceramic floor tiles. Ceramic tile has exceptional durability, so it often will remain in great shape well after its appeal fades. Removing ceramic floor tiles on your own is a major undertaking that results in thousands of pieces of chipped tiles, the possibility of needing to retexture the subflooring, damage to the drywall and more. As an alternative, you may be interested in painting the tiles to modernize the look of your home.

Painting ceramic floor tiles is a viable option, but it is only suitable for areas with minimal traffic. Excessive foot traffic will cause the paint to wear quickly. You should also avoid painting tiles in the bathroom and kitchen because of the risk of water damage. Likewise, ceramic tile counters should not be painted for this reason. Moisture could cause the paint on ceramic tiles to peel or blister.

On the other hand, painting tiles on a kitchen backsplash, on laundry room walls and in other similar areas is feasible. Before deciding the best course of action, carefully analyze the environmental conditions in that specific area of the home. If you choose to paint tiles, ensure that you follow proper refinishing steps and choose the right paint for the job.

If you prefer to replace the tile with new flooring, professional flooring contractors can complete the work for you. With professional tile removal and new flooring installation, the entire project can be completed without hassle and in minimal time. In addition, the risk of related damage to the home may be reduced. Consider exploring alternative flooring materials before deciding how to proceed.

How To Remove Ceramic Tile Floor

ceramic tile removalWhether you want to remove ceramic tile floor that is outdated, damaged or undesirable for other reasons, you have a big project in front of you. You could pay a professional to remove the tile, but you could save a substantial amount of money if you are willing to devote time and energy to complete the work on your own.

Prepare the Work Area

Before removing ceramic tile floor in an older home, ensure that asbestos is not present. If necessary, take steps to safely remove or contain the asbestos. Then, remove baseboards and trim around the flooring. These pieces may be reinstalled after the new floor installation process, so keep them in good condition when possible. Removing ceramic tile floor is a messy job that can result in grout and tile dust and shards flying around. Cover the air vents in the work area, and protect furniture, cabinetry and other items from damage. You also should invest in a tile scraper, an air hammer and perhaps a chisel. Plan ahead for waste, such as by renting a bin if you are removing tile from a large area. A heavy-duty bucket and shovel are also helpful. Finally, protect yourself by wearing heavy-duty work gloves and protective eyewear.

Remove the Material

Choose a starting point, and carefully pull or pry the tile up. If possible, keep tile in larger chunks that are easy to haul out of the home. However, you may need to use a hammer to break the tile up. The scraper may be necessary to remove adhesive and grout from the subfloor material. If plywood or other underlayment material is present, remove this material as well. It is generally advisable to install new underlayment when replacing flooring.

Clean and Prepare for the New Floor

Before the new ceramic floor tiles can be installed, the entire work area should be thoroughly cleaned. This is a major undertaking considering how messy a tile removal project is. After all large chunks have been removed with a shovel or other heavy-duty scooping tool, use a shop-vac to remove finer elements and dust. You can also remove air vent covers, but you may prefer to keep protective furniture covers in place until after the new flooring is installed.

If this significant project is too intensive or demanding, professional tile removal is an alternative. Your new flooring installer may complete the tile removal process as part of his services upon request.