Tile Review

Bottom Line Tile flooring is a less expensive alternative to stone and offers some of the same benefits and drawbacks. Tile is made from a clay or stone mixture. It's less absorbent than wood so it can be used in wet environments like kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms, but it can be cold and slippery underfoot. Tiles can also crack or chip. It is easier to install than stone because it is much easier to cut, but it's still not a job for novices. Tiles are given standardized ratings for hardness, durability, absorbency, and wear. A light traffic tile will be best suited for your bathroom, while extremely heavy traffic tiles will work better in your foyer. For a less expensive flooring that is easier to install yourself, experts recommend vinyl flooring (*est. $2 to $8 per sq. ft.), but it's not nearly as nice as tile.Pros
  • Elegant look
  • Adds to home's resale value
  • Easier to install than stone
  • Durable, good for kitchens, baths
  • Can crack or chip
  • Can be cold and slippery underfoot
  • Hard and noisy
  • Can be expensive

Consumer Reports mentions the pros and cons of tile flooring but doesn't rate it. We found good general information about tile flooring from retailers Lowes.com and WolfeFlooring.com. Better Homes & Garden offers good real-word advice in two reports.

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Flooring: Green Gets Better, Editors of Consumer Reports, Aug. 2008

Consumer Reports doesn't rate ceramic tiles but does cover vinyl imitation tile. A subscription is required to view the ratings, however.

2. Lowes.com

What Type of Flooring is Right for Me?, Editors of Lowes.com

This retail website offers a basic look at choosing and installing tile flooring. It is written and organized in a very user-friendly format, with lots of pictures and links to products.

3. Better Homes & Gardens

A Guide to Flooring, Editors of Better Homes and Gardens

This article describes different types of flooring and includes a section on ceramic and stone tile. The information here is quite basic, and there's not much here on installation or cost.

4. Better Homes & Gardens

Flooring Ideas for Problem Spots, Editors of Better Homes and Gardens

This short report offers flooring ideas for high-traffic areas. Tile is briefly mentioned as one possibility. There's not much here about installation or cost considerations.

5. Essential Industries, Inc.

Common Flooring Types, Editors of Essential Industries, Inc.

Essential Industries produces polymers and resins for floor finishes, but the website offers helpful information on the various types of tile used for flooring.

6. WolfeFlooring.com

Flooring Type Comparison, Editors of WolfeFlooring.com

This retailer website provides helpful information on buying and installing ceramic tile. There are useful descriptions of what to expect in terms of installation and wear.

7. SeeMyDesign.com

Flooring, Editors of SeeMyDesign.com

This website exists in part to direct readers to sellers of flooring, but there's a useful chart comparing the different types of flooring, including tile.

8. FlooringGuide.com

Flooring, Editors of FlooringGuide.com

This website directs readers to manufacturers and retailers, but it also has helpful articles on selecting and installing tile flooring.