Getting to Know Tile: The Basics

So, you’re looking to pick out tile for your next project?  Great! 


If you’ve made it into our design center recently, then you know how many amazing tile options there are.  On top of that, we know that your Pinterest and Houzz accounts have enough inspiration images to give us all heart eyes for days.  While you know that tile is amazing and one of the most durable options, it’s probably also fair to say that you have a few questions.


Is this tile safe to use on the floor? 

Can I use the tile I picked out for my backsplash in my shower? 

How am I supposed to keep my tile clean and looking great?


These are all great questions.  While we could answer them for you ourselves, we thought it would be fun if you heard it straight from the source.  That’s why we partnered with Sidnie from Z Collection, one of our favorite tile distributors, to create a video that will help demystify the process of picking out tile!

Natural Stone

Its name says it all: natural stone tile comes from the earth.  Material like marble, slate, and travertine – among others – all fall into the natural stone family.  While each type of stone has certain characteristics that make it recognizable, it’s true that its appearance can change from piece to piece.  For example, one marble can look very different from another depending on when and where it was mined.  If a bit of variety is right up your alley, you may want to gravitate towards natural stone.

Before we move on to porcelain, it’s important to highlight the care required to maintain your natural stone.  Since natural stone is porous, it needs to be sealed to prevent staining and other damage.  After that, you can simply maintain your natural stone surfaces with a pH neutral cleaner and sealing once every year or two depending on frequency of use.  A bit of effort up front will keep your natural stone looking great in the long run!

            Pinterest | Z Collection | Studio McGee (Clockwise from left)

           Pinterest | Z Collection | Studio McGee (Clockwise from left)


Porcelain tile is a wonderful alternative for people who appreciate the look of natural stone but don’t want to bother with the added maintenance.  Since it’s a non-porous material, there’s no need to seal it!  So, if you love the look of marble, but you’re worried it could be too much of a handful for your lifestyle, a porcelain look-alike would be a great option.

But porcelain doesn’t stop at natural stone-look tile – it can look like anything!  If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, then you’ll have seen some of the amazing true-to-life wood-look and patterned tiles we’ve featured online.  Advances in manufacturing techniques ensure that whatever imagery is printed on the clay base of a porcelain tile will be crisp and true.  We’ll call that another win for technology!

Lucky for us, porcelain is as strong as it is beautiful.  As a durable surface, homeowners don’t have to worry about the toll pets or high traffic could take on their floors – porcelain can take it!

             Mirage | Z Collection | Houzz (Clockwise from left)

            Mirage | Z Collection | Houzz (Clockwise from left)

Backsplash Tile

Your backsplash is one area where you can set worry aside and just get creative.  From fun patterns to different shapes (hello, hex tile) and orientation, it’s easy to capture your personal flair with tile.  Like Sidnie said, pretty much anything goes!

                Maison de Pax | Scout Design Studio

               Maison de Pax | Scout Design Studio

Shower Tile

Since we’ve already touched on the durability of porcelain, it’s no surprise that it makes a great shower tile.  Tile manufacturers know it, too – that’s why they usually create tile collections with tiles in various sizes for the walls and floors.  It’s almost too easy!

Natural stone is a rock star in the shower for its own reasons.  For one, it feels amazing on your feet.  On top of that, a natural stone shower just looks luxurious.  But all of the glam comes with responsibility in the form of maintenance.  It’s important to ensure that natural tile is sealed before its grouted.  After installation, it’s important to reseal the natural stone every other year.  In between regular sealing, you can simply keep your shower clean with a pH neutral cleaner. 

             Domino | Pinterest

            Domino | Pinterest

From kitchens to bathrooms and all of the spaces in between, there’s a tile for every situation.  If you still have some questions or just want to chat about getting a specific trend into your own home, feel free to visit us in the design center or schedule an in-home consultation and we’ll bring the tile to you!

Danielle PietersComment