Originally, all tiles were flat, durable building components made of baked clay, usually installed in roofing to protect a building's interior from weather damage. However, the concept of tiling has expanded a great deal since its early origins, with today's tiles made in varying shapes and from a variety of materials. Tiles today are used for a much wider range of purposes.
Types of Floor Tiles
Tiles are laid on floors to improve aesthetic appeal and enhance durability. Common choices for floor tile materials include
Ceramic tiles are extremely resilient and waterproof, though they are prone to chip and are not particularly comfortable to the naked foot. It is often the preferred choice in functional rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms. Porcelain tile shares the same general advantages and disadvantages as ceramic, but tends to be somewhat tougher, while being slightly more expensive to install and maintain. Natural stone tiles made from marble or granite are common selections for foyers and living rooms; the former is elegant but less durable; the latter blocky and simplistic, but highly enduring. Such stone tiles are often cut to larger proportions than other tiles, which can lend a room an airy, regal appearance. For those preferring a less severe tone, wood tiles are a traditional alternative that is suitable for any room.
Laying Floor Tiles
Floor tiles are installed by being laid out on a bed of cement that is subdivided into grooves to mark the place of each individual component. The use of cement prevents the inadvertent trapping of air bubbles in the tile structure which can cause floors to bend or warp. Floor tiles are usually placed with small divisions between one tile and its neighbor; these are filled with a bonding material called grout once the cement has dried.