A helpful glossary of tile types for remodeling projects, including marble, granite, travertine, and slate
Natural Stone: Granite
Granite is a natural stone created from magma that has cooled beneath the earth’s surface. It’s available in a wide array of colors and textures, and it’s harder than other natural stones, making granite countertops a popular choice. Granite tile is perfect for high-traffic areas.
Natural Stone: Marble
Marble is a natural stone created from limestone that has been crushed and heated by the earth for millions of years. Marble tile is available in a variety of colors, and the surface can be highly polished. Marble flooring, countertops, and walls are prone to scratching and etching, but the material can add instant elegance.
Natural Stone: Limestone
Limestone is formed from the remains of ancient marine life that have been crushed by the earth’s pressure. Usually seen with a honed surface, it may feature visible fossils and is often found in brown, beige, and yellow tones. It can also be used for flooring.
Natural Stone: Travertine
Travertine is a limestone formed from minerals that have been dissolved in groundwater and pushed through the earth’s crust by water. Travertine tile, a multilayer stone, is available in a variety of earthy colors and offers a sophisticated choice for walls and floors.
Natural Stone: Slate
Slate is a fine-grain stone created from shale and clay transformed by heat and pressure. Featuring a textured surface that’s naturally slip-resistant, slate flooring can be used inside and out; slate tile can also be used on walls and countertops.
Natural Clay: Ceramic
Ceramic tile is created from a mixture of clays that has been pressed into shape and fired in a kiln at high temperatures. Both glazed and unglazed ceramic tiles are offered in a range of sizes, colors, and designs.
Natural Clay: Porcelain
Porcelain is a type of ceramic tile that is extremely durable and impervious to water absorption. Most porcelain tiles are also frost-resistant, making them excellent for both exterior and interior areas. Porcelain tile is available in a wide range of sizes, colors, and designs.
Natural Clay: Terra-Cotta
Terra-cotta floor tiles are made from a mixture of sand and clay that has been molded into shape and fired in a kiln at high temperatures. These naturally brownish-red tiles can bring a rustic look to flooring, walls, and countertops.
Glass tiles are impervious to liquids and resist staining. Often found as small mosaic tiles (sold on mesh-backed sheets), glass is best used on walls or low-traffic floor areas. The tiles are available in a wide range of stock colors and can be ordered in custom color blends.