A quick guide
Pretty much everyone is familiar with some sort of floor tile. After all, most homes and apartments have floor tiles somewhere – typically in the bathroom or the kitchen. Not everyone, though, is knowledgeable about all of the different types of floor tiles and in what settings they can be used.
Types of Floor Tiles
There are actually several different types of floor tiles. Kitchen floor tiles and bathroom floor tiles are, by far, the most widely-known and most popular types of floor tiles, but there are many different varieties:
- Vinyl floor tiles are typically the peel-and-stick kind of floor tile, as they have an adhesive on the back. They are often preferred for bathrooms and kitchens because they are durable, easy to clean and inexpensive. Additionally, vinyl floor tiles are available in hundreds of different styles, colors and designs. Some styles even mimic the look of hardwood floors, ceramic floor tiles or marble floor tiles.
- Ceramic floor tiles are often used on bathroom walls or as backsplash tile in kitchens. This is because they are water-resistant and attractive. Ceramic tiles can be made slip-resistant by using small tiles or through the application of a colorless contour pattern on the surface of the tiles.
- Porcelain floor tiles are a type of ceramic floor tiles. They are great for use in kitchens and bathrooms because porcelain tile has an extremely low water absorption rate. It can be either glazed or unglazed.
- Marble floor tiles are more decorative – and more expensive. These floor tiles are less uniform in color and pattern because they are made from natural stone. Kitchens are not generally an ideal spot for marble floor tiles because natural stone is susceptible to staining from spills.
Marble floor tiles and ceramic floor tiles are sometimes used in other applications besides kitchens and bathrooms. For example, marble tiles may be used around fireplaces, and ceramic floor tiles are often used as decorative table surfaces.
Garage Floor Tiles
Aside from indoor floor tiles, there are also garage floor tiles. These come in many different styles and colors, and they are meant to keep the garage floor free of stains. Garage floor tiles can also add a decorative effect to the garage. Interlocking floor tiles are a great option for garages because they are usually strong enough to support the weight of a car or truck.
Asbestos Floor Tiles
Some people are concerned about asbestos floor tiles. While it's true that most tiles manufactured until the 1980s did contain asbestos, this is not a cause for worry – except for damaged tiles. In order for asbestos to be harmful, it needs to be in the air. Undamaged tiles containing asbestos are safe as long as they are left alone. You can install new flooring atop these tiles safely. If you need to access flooring beneath asbestos floor tiles, you should hire a professional to remove them to prevent exposure to the harmful substance.