History's most famous buildings made extensive use of natural flooring materials that were elegant, wear resistant and withstood the test of time. Natural stone and ceramic floor tiles deliver unparalleled performance. They always look great and never go out of style. Many of these materials are moisture resistant and ideal for entryways, kitchens, bathrooms and anywhere liquids are present.
Porcelain and Ceramic Floor Tiles
These classic tiles are made from clay that is molded and baked at searing hot temperatures. This produces a smooth and extremely hard surface. Like glass, clay contains silicate minerals. Ceramic and porcelain are comprised of phyllosilicates that melt during the firing process to create a smooth, durable surface. Many porcelain and ceramic tiles are glazed, which has certain benefits and drawbacks.
Unglazed tiles might be right for your home if they're being installed in a laundry room, kitchen, foyer or anywhere slip resistance is required. Glazed tiles provide homeowners with a wider range of styles and colors. Glazed tiles are further broken down into matte and satin finishes that are more durable and slip resistant than glossy varieties that are used on walls and backsplashes. Glazed tiles are rated according to their wear resistance using a numeral system that ranges from I to V.
Porcelain tiles are made from a type of high-density clay that produces a non-porous, moisture-resistant surface. This makes porcelain tiles ideal for baths, patios and high-moisture areas. Porcelain is also frost resistant and can be used outdoors.
Natural Stone Floor Tiles
Marble, granite and travertine are timeless natural materials that appear in famous monuments and buildings. Today, anyone can have these beautiful flooring materials installed in his or her home. Each has an elegant look and individual surface features.
Granite tiles are made from the king of all stones. This igneous rock is one of the hardest and most durable materials known to man. By definition, granite contains 20 percent quartz that produces the attractive crystalline flecks that give polished granite its distinctive appearance. Due to its extreme hardness, polished granite tiles offer the ideal combination of elegance and durability. This makes granite an ideal choice for high-traffic areas.
The Greek Parthenon, the Roman Pantheon, the Taj Mahal and the Lincoln Memorial have one thing in common: They all make extensive use of marble. Its unparalleled beauty and natural range of colors has made marble a popular choice in Western culture. Like granite, marble is mined all over the world from quarries that feature striking colors and awe-inspiring patterns. Marble is a metamorphic form of limestone that contains fossilized materials that have been crystallized. It ranges in color from jet black with dramatic gray veins to white Carrara marble with minimal patterning. Marble tiles and other stone materials remain cool in the summer and are always in style.
Although travertine does not have the name recognition of marble or granite, it has been used to build some of the most iconic buildings in Western Civilization. Travertine was used to construct the Roman Coliseum and is featured throughout California's Mediterranean-style Getty Villa, which is dedicated to the study of Greek and Roman culture. This relative of limestone is prized for its creamy white or tan facade that imparts an old-world look to the elegant spaces it adorns. Travertine tile is often tumbled with sand and pebbles to create a worn appearance. Due to travertine's porous structure, it's often filled with resin to create a stronger, smoother surface before it is honed. This limestone relative is quite porous and cannot be shined or highly polished.
Natural stone floor tiles are highly individual. These materials have been in the making over the course of millennia, and each tile features subtle variations that add to its elegant appearance. Floor and Decor is your source for ceramic and porcelain tiles as well as natural stone flooring materials. These products are available in a variety of sizes ranging from four-inch accent tiles to 18-inch, 24-inch and 36-inch tile slabs. You'll also find a variety of decorative octagonal and hexagonal tiles as well as bullnose tiles that will add a professional look to your project.