Answering FAQs About Tile

Answering FAQs About Tile

We’re doing something a little different in today’s blog post: answering several frequently asked questions about tile!

1. What are the pros and cons of tile floors?

Similar to everything else in life, tile flooring comes with its own set of pros and cons. Here are several of the advantages of tile:

  • It’s durable
  • It’s easy to clean
  • It’s water-resistant
  • It’s available at a range of price points
  • It can improve your home’s air quality
  • It can increase your home’s resale value
  • It comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and styles
  • It can mimic the look of other flooring types (like hardwood) 

Here are a few of the drawbacks of tile floors:

  • Some types of tile require regular maintenance
  • Tile flooring can be expensive
  • Tile can be hard and cold underfoot
  • Some types of tile must be installed by a professional

Of course, these pros and cons reference tile flooring in general, but different tile materials come with separate pros and cons. For more information, click over to this guide: Which Tile Material Is Right for You?

2. What is the most difficult tile to install?

Glass and natural stone tiles tend to be the most difficult to install. Glass can be challenging to install because it’s possible to see the mortar through the tile in many cases, so the mortar needs to be applied very evenly.

Meanwhile, natural stone requires experience and expertise to install correctly. It’s a more involved process than installing ceramic or porcelain tile, which can be a DIY project.

Calacatta Gold 1x4 Herringbone Marble Mosaic
While this Calacatta Gold 1x4 Herringbone Marble Mosaic is absolutely beautiful, it usually takes a bit more expertise to install than a ceramic or porcelain or ceramic tile backsplash.

3. How often do you need to clean tile floors?

In general, sweeping or vacuuming a tile floor once or twice a week and mopping weekly or biweekly is enough to keep the tile clean. However, some types of tile floors, such as natural stone, may need extra maintenance. Learn about the best ways to keep your tile looking brand-new in our article about how to clean and maintain various tile materials. You’ll also discover which cleaning products and methods to avoid!

4. Do floor tiles crack easily?

Tile flooring that has been installed properly doesn’t crack easily, but it’s still possible to crack it. For instance, if you drop something heavy directly onto the floor (maybe a pot or pan in the kitchen), there’s a chance you’ll chip or crack the tile. One way to avoid this is to buy gel mats that can absorb the impact of dropped items.

If the substrate under the tile is uneven or, in the case of concrete, didn’t cure correctly, that can lead to cracks over time as well. Using low-quality tile, particularly in a high-traffic area, can also contribute to cracks. Other installation mistakes can lead to cracks in your tile floor, too.

5. Why does tile need grout?

Grout is necessary to fill the joints between tiles. It prevents dirt and other debris from entering the spaces between tiles, makes the entire tile installation stronger and more rigid, and creates a neater and more orderly appearance. Discover the right grout type and color for your tile here.

Simple Gray and White Penny Round Ceramic Mosaic Tile
Pairing dark gray grout with our Simple Gray and White Penny Round Ceramic Mosaic Tile creates contrast while allowing the tile’s pattern to shine.

6. How long are tiles supposed to last?

Tile’s lifespan often varies depending on its quality and whether it was installed and maintained correctly. Low-quality tile can last 20 years or more, while high-quality tile that’s been properly installed can last more than 50 years in some cases.

7. Is tile waterproof?

Unless your tile is pool-rated, it’s likely water-resistant rather than waterproof. Some types of natural stone are porous and need to be sealed so that they don’t absorb water, especially if they’re being used as shower tile.

8. What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain tile?

Ceramic and porcelain are very similar, but porcelain tends to be stronger and more durable due to its slightly different manufacturing process. In comparison to ceramic tile, porcelain tile is made from a more refined clay, and it’s fired at a higher temperature, contributing to increased density.

Porcelain is also more water-resistant than ceramic, although both ceramic and porcelain tiles are typically finished with a glazed surface coating that improves their water resistance.

In terms of appearance, porcelain and ceramic tiles are nearly impossible to tell apart. Both are available in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and patterns.

Chanelle Star White 3x12 Picket Ceramic Tile 
This Chanelle Star White 3x12 Picket Ceramic Tile makes for a lovely shower tile with a light, luxurious feel.

9. Is tile fireproof?

Ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, and glass tiles will not burn in a fire. However, they can be otherwise damaged by fire. Glass can melt, and other types of tile can crack when exposed to very high temperatures.

10. What does a tile floor cost?

While costs can vary depending on multiple factors, HomeAdvisor reports that a new ceramic or porcelain tile floor usually ranges from $890 to $3035. Meanwhile, a new natural stone floor may cost between $914 and $3053. Please note that these figures are based on averages, and in most cases, it’s more expensive to install a new natural stone tile floor than a ceramic or porcelain tile floor.

11. What is a rectified tile?

A rectified tile has precisely-cut edges that allow for minimal grout lines. Rectified tile has a clean, continuous look.

 Flake Terrazzo White 30x30 Porcelain Tile
Check out the seamless appearance of this rectified Flake Terrazzo White 30x30 Porcelain Tile.

12. Can I install a tile floor on top of existing tile?

While it’s possible to install a tile floor on top of your existing tile, it’s not recommended. If you choose to install tile on top of tile, you’ll get the best results by ensuring the existing tile is even and in good shape, with no cracks, water damage, or other issues. To give your new tile the longest lifespan possible, it’s best to rip up the old tile before installing it. Check out this article to find out how to avoid common tile installation mistakes.

13. How can I calculate the number of tiles I need?

Determining the number of tiles you need for a project is relatively simple if you know how to calculate area, but we recommend always buying 10% more than you need. That way, you have extra tiles in case some of them arrive broken, have color variation, or need to be replaced in the future.

If math isn’t your forte, there are plenty of online calculators available to help you out. We recommend this one from HomeAdvisor and this one from You can also check out this detailed guide from Bob Vila for more information on calculating the number of tiles necessary for a project.

14. Can floor tiles be placed on walls?

The majority of floor tiles can be placed on walls, but tiles specifically intended for use on walls shouldn’t be used for flooring.

One consideration to keep in mind when installing floor tile on the wall is that it can be heavier than the typical wall tile. Still, as long as it’s installed correctly, there shouldn’t be any issues.

Wall tile, on the other hand, tends to be made from materials that can be easily scratched and cracked when used on the floor. It’s not intended to be walked on and usually isn’t as strong or durable as floor tile.

 Madrid White 9x10 Hexagon Porcelain Tile
While it’s seen on the wall here, our Madrid White 9x10 Hexagon Porcelain Tile is suitable for floor applications as well.

15. Which tile is perfect for your next project?

You can find the ideal tile for your next project at! We have a vast selection of tile options, including ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, and glass, in various sizes, shapes, colors, and designs. There’s truly something for every style and taste. If you’re in need of some inspiration, feel free to check out our blog while you’re here!

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