The Search for the Perfect Tile

By: Matt Barker

Choosing the perfect floor tile can be a daunting task. Not only do you have to select from dozens of different types flooring, but the tiles need to match their intended use. Then comes colors, sizes - the list goes on.

Lay the groundwork. You can save yourself some time and frustration by narrowing down your search. Begin by analyzing the room you plan on flooring by asking yourself these questions:


  • Do you want indoor or outdoor tiles?

  • What sort of traffic goes through the area, will you need a heavy or minimal foot traffic type of tile?

  • Will you need moisture protection?

  • What sort of color scheme or look are you trying to create?

  • What size of tiles are you looking for?

  • What size is the room being tiled?

  • What is my budget?



Time to go shopping! With this information in mind, it's time to hit the stores.

Tile styles:

Natural stone adds beauty, character and value to a home. It comes in rough or polished finishes and comes in a variety of shades.

Ceramic Tile is made of clay and available glazed or unglazed. The glazed version does not require sealer and both are extremely easy to maintain, durable, and have a huge selection of colors and patterns.

Brick and pavers are commonly used for patios and walkways.

Cement tiles are gaining popularity indoors, but they require a special sealer.

Saltillo or Mexican tile add a Southwestern style to a room with earthy tones of reds, greens and browns.

Parquet or inlaid wood is fairly easy to install, but may require extra sealing if being used in an area where moisture is present.

Cork is a durable, comfortable flooring made from a renewable resource.

Tile Tips

The trend is toward using larger tiles, at least 12 x 12. Larger tiles have fewer grout lines and make an area appear larger. Installation is also easier, thus cheaper.

Keep an eye on the edges, tiles can have either smooth (beveled), or rough (chiseled) edges. Grouting is easiest with straight, flush edges. Chiseled tiles work better outdoors, as they can be difficult to maintain and have a larger grout line.

Make the floor more appealing by creating contrast in the design. Try combining neutral and colored tiles to create a pattern.

Always purchase an extra box of tile to allow for cutting and future repairs.

Stay away from black, red and green grout, as they can be difficult to clean off tiles after installation.

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