Tile Flooring in the Bathroom: Exploring Your Options


Tile Flooring in the Bathroom: Exploring Your Options

Many people will change the look of their bathroom, and if you are one of them, one of the main focus areas is the floor. Tile is a very popular flooring material for the bathroom remodel, and tiles may be made of a number of materials including ceramic and natural stone. Each type of tile floor has its own characteristics, however, so it is good to know a bit about the materials before settling on one material over another.

Ceramic Tile Overview

Ceramic tile is made from clay that has been formed via a variety of methods. Some of the common forming methods of ceramic tiles include extruded, slush mold and dry press. Extruded ceramic tile is made by pushing slightly wet clay into a mold. Slush mold is similar, but the clay is very wet and is poured into a mold, and then allowed to dry in a kiln. Dry press forming involved taking dry clay material, putting it into a mold, and then forming it with high pressure.

Porcelain or Non-Porcelain Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile can be either porcelain or non-porcelain. Ceramic tile that is non-porcelain is made from red, white and brown clay and other materials, and porcelain tiles are made from the same clay, but also contains white dust or feldspar, a type of crystal that comes in the form of sand. The feldspar helps the tiles take on a glass-like sheen. There are a number of ways the clay can be combined with minerals to affect the appearance of the tiles, and when finished, there are tiles of all shapes, sizes and colors.

Ceramic tiles can be glazed or unglazed. Glazed tile can have a number of finishes including matte, high-gloss or semi-gloss options. These tiles have a number of benefits when compared to an unglazed tile including resistance to stains, scratches and water absorption. These tiles also have better traction.

Non-porcelain ceramic is the more economical option, as porcelain is more difficult to work with as a material. However, porcelain is more durable, has stain resistance and a color that goes throughout the tile.

Natural Stone Tile

Natural stone is another tile option for the bathroom renovation and comes in the form of granite, marble, slate and limestone, among others. There are thousands of options when it comes to natural stone, but all of the materials have their own characteristics.


Granite is a dense, hard material that has unique veining. It is very strong, available in almost any color imaginable, and it is nearly impervious. When the granite it polished, it is also scratch resistant, which makes it ideal for high-traffic areas such as the bathroom.


Marble is a metamorphic rock that has noticeable veining and is available in a variety of colors. It does have pores, however, so it must be sealed when in a bathroom due to the moist environment. Homeowners must also learn the habit of using rugs and other devices on the floor when stepping out of the bath or shower to avoid getting the floor too wet.


Limestone is a sedimentary rock that has an earthy look. It is available in both dark and light shades and the surface may be polished or textured. Limestone is not as dense as marble and granite, but it can be stained and prone to scratches. One type of common limestone used for tile is travertine. Travertine is a soft stone that has pits, but it can be polished to a sheen.


Slate is another natural tile option, and it is durable and dense. It is available in darker shades, and it usually has a natural texture. Since it is so durable, it is an excellent natural tile for the bathroom.

Natural Stone Finishes

Natural stone tile is available in a number of finishes including natural, polished or honed. The process of finishing the stone begins following the mining of the stone, and after it has been cut into a slab. The slab is polished and buffed, and then the slab is cut to size into tile. At this point, the finish is put onto the stone.

A natural surface is unfinished, and often has a dull, earthy appearance. This tile is pitted and natural imperfections are part of its charm. Polished surface tiles are very reflective since they have a finish that looks like a mirror. The process of finishing tile in this way gives it an impervious surface, but it can also be slippery. A honed surface is produced by polishing the surface of the stone, but not buffing the stone. The smooth appearance is perfect for a bathroom, as it helps to prevent slipping.

With so many options when it comes to tile for the bathroom, it might be difficult to choose. There are pros and cons to all of these tile types, so it is best to talk to a professional bathroom renovation expert before making your choice.

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