In general, there are two different families tiles: ceramic and stone. Ceramic is a man­made, very affordable product, with little or no variation between each tile in a batch. Stone tiles are more costly and, as a product of nature, can vary in appearance. Ceramic ones generally have low, or no, porosity, and are lightweight and thin, whereas stone can be extremely porous as well as thick and heavy. But which tile is right for you?

Ceramic examples are made from a mixture of clay, minerals and water that is heated and glazed. Easy to lay, and even easier to maintain, ceramic tiles do not absorb odours or support bacteria.

Porcelain tiles belong to the ceramic tile family. They are extremely dense and have a lower water absorption level than standard ceramic ones. They have a glass-like appearance and are available in large sizes. Porcelain ones are great for high-traffic areas. Keep in mind that, given their strength, you will require special tools for cutting and shaping when laying them.

When it comes to stone, there are quite a few different types to choose from - limestone, marble, travertine, granite, slate and quartz. You can select from several surface textures, such as honed (smooth, but porous with a flat-to-low sheen), polished (smooth, non-porous and glossy), flamed (heated to create a rough, porous finish), tumbled (to achieve a worn appearance) and sand-blasted (for a textured matt look). Given its porous nature, stone will require a penetrative sealer that needs to be regularly maintained.

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good rule of thumb is to re-seal exterior areas annually and interior areas every three to five years. When considering polished stones for wet areas, keep in mind that they are extremely slippery when wet. Stone is generally more expensive than regular ceramic, and you will need special tools for cutting it, such as a wet brick saw or a tile saw. The benefit of stone is that you can create an extremely strong, and intoxicatingly beautiful floor. And, because no two are the same, your floor will be unique.