Choosing the Best Tile

Choosing the best ceramic tile for your home is really about knowing the right combination of characteristics, aesthetics, performance and budget to best meet the needs of your lifestyle. The beauty of ceramic tile is the flexibility you have with design options, especially through the use of the accent pieces: trim work and decorative tiles.

  • identify the room and its application
  • select the type of tile
  • then its color and shade
  • then its texture and size
  • finally, a layout pattern is designed
  • the trim and decorative patterns are determined
  • grout color and type are chosen

Moisture absorption and tile density
As the composition of glaze varies, different styles of tile will exhibit different gloss levels and surface textures. This is important to note when choosing your ceramic tile flooring. For example, in areas that are used while wet, such as your shower or bathroom floor, they should have low moisture absorption and good slip resistance.

Moisture Absorption

  • as the density of the tile increases, the amount of moisture that tile can absorb becomes less

Tile Density

  • as the weight or the density of the tile increases, it becomes a stronger tile
  • density of the tile increases the moisture absorption rate becomes less

Non-Vitreous Tiles

  • tiles that absorb 7% or more moisture
  • suited for indoor use only

Semi-Vitreous Tiles

  • tiles that absorb from 3% to 7% moisture
  • applicable for indoor use only

Vitreous Tiles

  • tiles that absorb less that 3% moisture
  • referred to as frost resistant tiles
  • cannot be used in exterior areas where freeze and thaw conditions could cause tile cracking

Impervious Tiles

  • tiles that have less than .5% moisture absorption
  • frost proof
  • can be used in exterior areas or on the outside of building facades


  • typically mixed on site
  • slight color variations can occur within different areas of the same installation with the same grout color
  • can vary from the manufacturer’s sample
  • attributed to variations in temperature and humidity at the time of grouting
  • common to see grout variations when comparing the grout color in a tile floor and the same grout color on the tile countertop or wall
  • select a color that blends in with the overall color of the tile to minimize the appearance of the grout
  • select a grout color that is lighter or darker than the tile
  • in high traffic areas, you may want to select a darker grout
  • exact layouts, type of grout and grout joints widths are determined by the tile setter at the time of installation and are governed by the actual size and shape of the tile, and the exact dimensions of the areas to be covered
  • your responsibility to maintain all caulked areas
  • may also darken over time in areas with heavy water use
  • changes of season can cause cracking and separation


  • no subfloors are perfectly level
  • may hear hollow sounds where your subfloor’s surface dips and ridges
  • hollow sounds do not affect the integrity or installation
  • hollow sounds are normal and are not considered defect