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Ceramic Tile vs. Natural Stone Tile: Which Should You Choose?October 14th, 2022 by
New flooring is a great way to update your house. It is a big job, though, and the choices you’ll need to make can be a little overwhelming.
When it comes to tile, it’s hard to go wrong. Tile flooring is durable and ages well. If your household is busy, tile is the perfect choice. It’s easy to clean and hard to damage. Once you’ve decided to go with tile, the next major decision is whether to opt for ceramic tile or natural stone tile.
Not sure which is which? We’re here to help!
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Ceramic tile (also called porcelain) flooring is made from clay. The clay is fired in a kiln for strength. Ceramic tiles do vary a bit in strength. When you’re looking at ceramic tile options, ask about the PEI rating for each one you’re considering.
The PEI rating comes from the Porcelain Enamel Institute. This industry organization evaluates ceramic tile for strength and gives it a rating on a scale of one to five.
Here’s an overview of the scale:
- PEI rating 5: This rating indicates very strong tile that is suitable for high-traffic areas. Tile with a PEI 5 rating can be used in commercial buildings.
- PEI rating 4: Tile with this rating is also quite strong. It’s great for high-traffic spots around the house. It can also be used for certain commercial spaces.
- PEI rating 3: Tile with a PEI 3 rating can be used in any area in your house.
- PEI rating 2: This type of tile is best for walls. It can also be used as flooring, but only in low-traffic rooms.
- PEI rating 1: Tile with this rating should only be used for decorative accents or on walls. It isn’t safe for use as flooring.
Pros of ceramic tile flooring
One of the biggest advantages to ceramic tile is its design consistency. These tiles are made in a factory, so very little is left to chance. Your lot of tile will be the same color or design.
In terms of budget, ceramic tile is typically less expensive than natural stone tile. Look for glazed tile to make the installation process more straightforward. Glazed tiles are already sealed and stain-resistant, which means you won’t have to add that extra step to the end of the job.
Cons of ceramic tile flooring
Ceramic tile can be prone to cracking in extreme temperatures. As a result, it isn’t a great choice for outdoor spaces. If your area has extremely cold winters, it’s best to avoid ceramic tile in entryways.
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Natural Stone Tile
Most natural stone tile is made of marble, granite, travertine, limestone, or slate. Natural stone tile does tend to be more expensive than ceramic tile. But like so many other home-related products, there’s a wide range of options at different price points. A flooring expert will be able to help you find something you love at a price you’re comfortable with.
Granite and slate are the hardest, most durable natural stone tile options. Limestone, marble, and travertine are softer stones. They can still be used for flooring, but they wear the best in lower traffic areas. Be sure to have limestone, marble, and travertine tile regularly sealed. These stones are porous and will stain otherwise.
Even though granite and slate are harder, they should be sealed, too. They aren’t as prone to staining as softer stone tile options, but a sealant will help them stay clean longer. Regardless of the exact stone you go with, always have the grout sealed.
Pros of natural stone tile
Natural stone tile ages beautifully. It’s weather resistant and a great choice for outdoor spaces. And because the look of natural stone is hard to mimic with other materials, these types of tile are considered more valuable by many people. In most cases, natural stone tile adds a little more to your home’s market value than ceramic tile.
Cons of natural stone tile
An order of natural stone tile won’t have the same color and texture consistency as ceramic tile. These are natural materials, after all. The varying textures can make natural stone difficult to seal evenly and keep clean.
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Ceramic Tile vs. Natural Stone Tile: How to Decide?
Fortunately or unfortunately, only you can make the decision between ceramic and natural stone tile. They’re both beautiful for different reasons. And they both have unique advantages and disadvantages.
The decision is yours. And it truly is difficult to make a wrong choice. Take into consideration your budget, of course. But also think about the colors you like and how you want the space to feel. Ask for guidance from the tile and flooring experts. They’ll know about current trends and how to choose a more timeless option.
A professional installation is key to a tile surface that looks fantastic for years to come. Tile installation is a lot harder than it looks, and it requires specialized equipment. Keep your tile (and grout) beautiful by staying on top of the sealing and cleaning schedule.
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