Tile continues to grow in popularity as a floor covering, with good reason. It has a natural, handcrafted look that's durable and easy to care for. Tile also works well in areas with high foot traffic and is especially suited to entry areas where water and dirt enter the house. The design patterns are limitless with all of the possible combinations of size, texture and color.
Finding a tile you like is easy. Make sure it's the right one for your floor, and choose a tile that's rated for the area where you plan to install it. Entryways need a hard, abrasion-resistant, moisture-proof tile. Baths require a moisture-proof, nonslip material. Slip-resistant tile is treated with an abrasive material to rough up the smooth surface for safety. Some tiles are rated for indoor or outdoor use only; others can be used in either application.
Floor tile is usually 1/2 inch to 3/4 inches thick, manufactured in squares measuring 4-inches-by-4 inches up to 24-inches-by-24 inches. Other shapes, such as octagonal and hexagonal, are available. (Wall tile is thinner and comes in squares from 3-inches-by-3 inches up to 6-inches-by-6 inches.)
Mosaic tiles are 2 inches a square or smaller and can be installed individually. Mosaic tiles are also available in premounted paper or fabric mesh sheets.
Saltillo, or Mexican tile, is air-dried rather than kiln-dried. Drying outdoors in the sun makes this tile a little softer and less durable. The exposure to the elements also gives the tile a look that's unique. When used indoors, a sealer is required.