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Tile flooring: installation costs, weather-resistant properties, advantages and downsides

Tile is a revolutionary material that turned the world of flooring, becoming an aesthetic and robust alternative to natural stone and concrete. The variety of types of tile flooring is astonishing, making this material an excellent choice for a long list of applications. The multitude of designs and styles of tile flooring allows for creating custom patterns, while its sturdiness and moisture resistance make this material best for use in bathrooms, laundries, and kitchens. Nevertheless, every tile flooring variation has pros and cons, and you will need to research to find the option that will fit your need, budget, and taste. To make the process of the proper flooring search less overwhelming for you, we have created a detailed overview of tile flooring costs, designs, and properties. Keep reading to discover everything you've ever wanted to know about this flooring material.

Tile flooring: installation costs, weather-resistant properties, advantages and downsides

The basics to know before tile flooring installation

Tile flooring is an umbrella term that covers all types of hard-wearing flooring options made of tiles that have gaps between each other filled with grout. Materials used for tile flooring manufacturing range from quartz, stone, and terrazzo to clay and metal. The distinctive types of tile flooring, though, are natural stone and ceramic. The latter, in its turn, comes in porcelain and non-porcelain variations. Knowing the difference between ceramic tile options might save you from failure when making your buying decision. 

A non-professional will hardly tell the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles. While looking similar, these flooring materials differ in features, longevity, and maintenance requirements. Porcelain tile is a clay-based material with impurities of white dust or feldspar. A regular-grade ceramic tile has white, red, and brown clay in its content, together with other minerals. Going through the drying process, both porcelain and ceramic are hardened, melting into glass-like materials. Thanks to the denser clay and feldspar in its content, porcelain becomes more durable than ceramic after the kiln-drying process. Ceramics, in its turn, is cheaper and easier to cut and operate with. Porcelain tiles are often used in high-traffic areas of the house, like hallways and kitchens, while ceramic is suitable for bathrooms.

It is also worth mentioning that porcelain and non-porcelain ceramic tiles can come either glazed or unglazed. Glazed tiles have better water and stain resistance compared to unglazed ones. Besides, their gloss finish attracts views and makes the room more welcoming. 

What are the best uses for tile flooring?

Tile flooring suits virtually any room in the house. Depending on the selected color palette, form, and design, it can either upgrade the look of your bathroom or add diversity to the dining room and kitchen. As tile flooring is water-resistant and easy to upkeep, it can also be installed in the mud room and laundry.

What is the average service life of tile floors?

Depending on the type of tile flooring and the thoroughness of its upkeep, it can last from 20 to 100 years. According to a recent National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) study, porcelain tiles can serve up to 50 years, non-porcelain ceramic flooring lasts from 20 to 35 years, and natural stone flooring such as granite or marble can easily withstand all wear and tear within 100 years.

Broken tiles can be easily displaced without the need to rip off the whole floor coverageя. That factor allows for prolonging the floor's service life up to the time when tiles are irreparably damaged. Make sure to have extra tiles at hand so you can easily replace broken or buckled ones if needed.

How to upkeep tile flooring?

Those tile floors that are properly installed and sealed don't require much maintenance throughout their service life. Weekly dust mopping with a non-abrasive cleaning solution is enough to keep floors from tile in tip-top condition for years to come. Besides, it's highly recommended to immediately wipe up any spills from the tile surface and keep away debris like dirt and sand.

If you notice a broken or buckling tile, replace it immediately. You also be proactive when you see crumbling grout, as it's the first warning sign that a tile is damaged. If left these issues untreated, they can affect the entire floor. Grout sealing is the best way to avoid tile flooring issues. The frequency of resealing depends on the type of flooring, its porosity, and the amount of foot traffic it faces. However, the average number of grouts per year is 2 to 3. Sealed tile is better to withstand moisture, staining, and discoloration.

Use caution when moving furniture in the room fitted with tile flooring. Ensure the furniture pieces are lifted up and carried to their locations without dragging. Otherwise, it might end up with multiple surface scratches.

Factors that may stop you from buying tile flooring

  • Cost to install tile flooring. High-grade types of tile flooring, like marble, granite, and slate, are expensive to buy and install compared to laminate, linoleum, or softwood. The only affordable tile flooring option is ceramic. 
  • Grout lines require thorough care. The tiles themselves can be easy to maintain, while grouting lines, especially those that are not sealed, can require more attention. Grout lines are prone to mildew and stains and should be resealed and cleaned several times a year to ensure they will withstand years of wear and tear. 
  • Uncomfortable underfoot feeling.The temperature of tile flooring changes with the temperature outside. The tiles cool down and feel uncomfortable under foot when it's getting colder. However, this issue can be solved by installing an underfloor heating system. 

Factors that will encourage you to buy tile flooring

  • Durability and long service life. Porcelain and stone tiles have ultimate durability, handling high amounts of foot traffic and featuring moisture, stains, and insect resistance. If a subfloor is in good condition and the tiles are installed and sealed properly, you will enjoy a timeless look and unmatched wear resistance of tile flooring. If you have a high level of foot traffic in your home, consider installing Class V tiles (the most durable of the existing tiles). 
  • Moisture resistance. Tile flooring does not absorb water, making it good for installation in kitchens, bathrooms, laundries, and mud rooms. If you're looking for tiles with the highest water resistance, select those classified as semi-vitreous and vitreous. Remember that grout should be regularly resealed to preserve its water-resistance features. 
  • Hygienic and simple to upkeep. Glazed or coated with liquid glass tile flooring variations are protected from stains and spills. You can easily clean it with a wet mop. Besides, tile flooring does not possess chemically active properties. That is exactly why it inhibits mold and fungi from developing. 
  • Multiple styles and designs. Tile is one of a few flooring types that comes in countless colors, textures, and styles. It can be installed in different patterns and shapes to fit your design ideas and preferences closely. 

Tile flooring types of natural origin

Homeowners who seek to integrate aesthetics in every aspect of their homes are setting their sights on tiles. This material is one of the most sought-after on today's flooring market as it offers durability, functionality, and lasting beauty while not having a sky-high price. Tile is made from dozens of materials that vary by appearance, durability, and functional characteristics. 

The choice of a tile should be based on the project size, existing budget, specifications, appearance, and durability requirements. Besides, you should pay attention to the COF rating and the water absorption capacity of the types of tiles you get. These criteria point to tiles' friction and a moisture resistance level and help distinguish flooring tiles from wall ones.

  • Marble

This natural stone is known for its aesthetic value, elegance, and durability. Due to the variability of the component materials extracted, marble is available in multiple colors, from light pink to dusty gray and milky. The number of marble finishes is also not limited to a few. Tiles can be tumbled, honed, polished, and brushed to ensure it fits the room design and application. The primary disadvantages of marble include high maintenance requirements and tile flooring cost per square foot. This flooring material has a porous surface that makes it vulnerable to spills and stains. Marble will only preserve its look if it is resealed at least twice a year. 

  • Travertine

The material that lies in the origin of this flooring has an interesting origin. It's considered to be a byproduct of artesian springs, hot springs, and caves worldwide. By its nature, this limestone has a porous and rough texture that enables it to withstand decades of regular wear and tear. Thanks to its anti-slippery surface and perfect moisture resistance, this type of tile can be installed both indoors and outdoors. Nowadays, travertine is commonly seen in water -prone areas like bathrooms, pool decks, and walkways.

  • Granite

Granite is the best choice if you're looking for waterproof flooring material for heavy foot traffic areas. This igneous rock is known for its unmatched density and durability. Granite is known for its unique pattern with the speckled minerals and veining. It comes in many colors and offers high aesthetic value for residential and commercial premises. Thanks to its scratch-resistant surface, granite can also be used for entrance halls and driveways. Just as well as marble, granite requires polishing one or two times a year. 

  • Slate

This flooring material is acquired from natural mineral deposits, which explains its unmatched durability and wear resistance. Slate has a slip and water resistance that allows it to use both inside and outside the premises. It's available in multiple colors. When used in high-traffic areas, slate flooring should be resealed and stripped one to three times a year to ensure its aesthetic look. The initial cost to install tile flooring of this type is lower than its marble and granite counterparts. However, slate is not inferior in quality to them.

How much does it cost to install tile flooring?

Are you planning to replace your home's flooring with tile? Then knowing the national average cost to install tile flooring will come in handy to you. Keep reading to know what to expect to pay for material and labor. If the given cost information appears insufficient for your case, consider leaving your request on our website to get a precise price quote based on your needs and region. 

The national average cost to install tile flooring in 2023 goes between $1.720 and $4.900, including material and labor. Porcelain and ceramic tile cost around $3 to $12 per square foot. The cost to install tile flooring from natural stone ranges from $7 to $22 per square foot. Any customized variations of tile flooring will cost you an extra $5 - $8 per square foot. 

The cost to install tile flooring starts at $5 per square foot. However, depending on the location, the complexity of the flooring project, and the denseness of the tile you selected, you should expect labor costs to rise to $23 per square foot.  

Now that you know the average tile flooring installation cost per square, it also makes sense to highlight maintenance spending. The tiles and grout cleaning costs range between $1 to $3 per square foot. The cost of broken tiles replacement averages $3 - $5 per square foot. 

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