A tile is an artificial piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, stone, glass or metal. The two main categories of tiles are glazed and unglazed. A tile becomes glazed by painting or spraying a liquid glass onto the body of the tile and then firing at very high temperatures. The tile is then baked further until the glaze becomes hard fusing the glaze with the tile and creating a glass like coating. Glazed tiles are usually the more popular choice in wall and floor tiles today compared to unglazed tiles. Due to their low absorption rate, glazed tiles are commonly used in bathrooms and for outdoor flooring. These glazes have the ability to give the tile a decorative colour or texture and create flooring that is more durable. This Glazing gives the tiles increased protection against scratches, stains and fading due to the sunlight. Tiles with glazed finishes can become very slippery especially when wet. These smooth finished tiles have less traction that creates an increased risk of slips and falls.
There are a variety of floor tiles available for outdoor use, including ceramic, porcelain and slate tiles. The main safety concern with outdoor tiles is that they can be very slippery and hazardous when wet, especially around pool areas or tiles exposed to weather (rain, snow etc…). The pooling of water can create a very slippery surface, so it is important to treat outdoor tiles with an effective non-slip solution.
Porcelain tiles are denser than ceramic tiles. This quality makes them more durable, less absorbent and a good choice for outdoor use in climates with cold weather. Porcelain tiles with a PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) rating of 4 are scratch resistant and a good option for residential and light commercial use. Porcelain tiles with a PEI rating of 5 are recommended for high-traffic commercial areas. Porcelain tiles can be very slippery, especially when wet.
Ceramic tiles are most commonly made from red or white clay fired at a high temperature. Ceramic can be left unglazed in its natural colour or have a glaze finishing. They are best suited for areas with light to medium foot traffic, and are used for durability and stain resistance. In most instances, ceramic tiles are low maintenance and easy to clean. They are a popular flooring choice in residential homes. Ceramic tiles can be slippery, especially when wet.
Mosaic tiles are typically 2“ x 2“ squares and are available in a wide variety of shapes and colours. They can be made from glass or porcelain, and are popular in kitchens, bathrooms and entryways. They are used for their beauty and for their versatility to create customised artistic designs that cannot be created with larger tiles. Mosaic tiles are very affordable, water resistant and easy to clean. These tiles can be very slippery, especially when wet.
Marble is created when limestone is subjected to extreme heat and pressure, and is usually found in large blocks that is cut into tiles. Marble tiles range in size from 2“ x 2“ to 24“ x 24“ squares and are commonly used in entryways, family rooms, hallways, living rooms and bathroom floors. These highly polished, natural stone tiles are chosen for their beauty and elegance in residential homes, hotels and businesses around the world. Because of their highly polished surface, marble tiles can be extremely slippery, especially when wet.
Granite is a natural stone that offers a very versatile flooring surface for residential and commercial locations. It is very durable and easy to clean, and is more moisture and stain resistant than marble. Polished granite can be very slippery, especially when wet.
Many people prefer polished tiles because the beautiful glossy shine of these tiles is both beautiful and functional. Polished tiles offer protection against stains and are easy to clean, which makes them popular in kitchens and bathrooms. The highly polished surface of these tiles can be slippery, especially when wet.
Silestone is a made from quartz, one of the hardest minerals in existence. Silestone is a popular choice in residential kitchens and bathrooms due to its sleek appearance, durability, low maintenance and scratch resistant qualities. Silestone is a smooth surface that can become very slippery when wet.
Slate is a rock consisting mica and quartz, which makes it a very hard, durable flooring surface. It is a popular flooring option for bathrooms, kitchens, entryways and basements. Slate is less expensive than granite and marble, yet still offers an attractive look and appearance. Slate’s smooth texture can make it very slippery, especially when wet.
Many different tile options are available for use in showers, so choosing a tile will depend on your design and budget. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are affordable and durable, and are available in a wide variety of colours and sizes. Travertine, marble and slate tiles are also popular for their elegance and durability, but are more expensive. Shower tiles can be slippery, especially in a wet shower environment.
Mexican tiles are durable, beautiful and typically handmade and baked at relatively low temperatures usually outside in the sun. Their natural, rustic look make them a popular choice for informal rooms. The handmade quality of these Mexican tiles can make them irregular in shape and flatness, and they can be slippery especially when wet.
Quarry tile are unglazed tiles made from natural clay and shale. These tiles are used commercially especially in restaurant kitchens, patios and high-traffic areas. They are durable, affordable and low-maintenance. When used in restaurant kitchens, a penetrating sealer is recommended to prevent dirt and oils from absorbing into the tiles. Quarry tiles can be slippery especially when wet.
Cultured marble tiles are a great option for those seeking the expensive look of marble at a more affordable price. It is a man-made tile created by combining fibreglass resin, cement and marble dust. The surface is a very durable and easy to clean because it is less absorbent than natural stone marble. The smooth surface of cultured marble tiles can be very slippery, especially when wet.
Natural Stone Tile
Natural stone tiles are a popular option for both indoor and outdoor use. You can find them in kitchens, bathrooms, showers as well as on patios. Porcelain, ceramic and slate are just a few of the many options available today. Natural stone tiles have a smooth surface and can become slippery, especially when wet.
Travertine is a natural stone tile that is available in a variety of colours and finishes, including the popular honed (matte) finish. It can be used indoors or outdoors, and in both residential and commercial settings in such areas as kitchens, bathrooms and foyers. Travertine has an attractive natural look, and is very durable and low maintenance. These smooth tiles can be slippery, especially when wet.
Sandstone is made from microscopic bits of quartz that have been fused together by pressure. It has a unique texture and natural appearance, and is very durable and low maintenance. This makes it a popular choice in kitchens and bathrooms. Sandstone tiles can be slippery, especially when wet.
Limestone is an attractive option for entryways, patios, bathrooms and kitchens. It gives a natural, elegant appearance and is available in a wide variety of colours and styles. These tiles are stain and moisture resistant, which makes this flooring surface very durable and low maintenance. Limestone tiles can be very slippery, especially when wet.
Many different tile options are available for use as wall tiles, including porcelain, ceramic, slate and glass, to name a few. Wall tiles are used in showers and bathtub areas, as well as in food prep areas and as backsplashes in kitchens. Design options are endless, as specific designs can be created that incorporate different types of stone or glass tiles. These tiles, especially when located in showers and near bathtubs, can be slippery, especially when wet.
Tiles made of metal can have creative designs and finishes made from hammering, stamping, moulding and/or burning the metal. These tiles are found in light commercial and interior residential areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements. They are a popular option for those seeking a unique, artistic flooring material. Kitchen floors can be designed to complement steel appliances and to give the room a very unique look and feel. The metal surface of these tiles can be slippery, especially when wet.
Glass tiles are now available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colours that can add a striking, artistic flair to a room. They can be used indoors or outdoors; and are frequently used in kitchens, bathrooms and pool areas. Glass tiles are very durable and can withstand the outdoor weather elements. Their smooth surface resists absorption of liquids and dirt, making them low maintenance and easy to clean. The smooth surface can be slippery, especially when wet.