The different types of tile

Tile is a durable, affordable, low maintenance surface that comes in thousands of colors and patterns, shapes, and sizes, appropriate for homes, offices, restaurants, or other commercial facilities. Whether you are looking for classic white ceramics or reflective glass mosaics for a tile backsplash or stone for tile flooring, we’ll help you sort it all out. Tiles may look similar, but they often have different characteristics that can impact your remodeling project. Here are some terms we want you to know.

Wall vs. floor tiles

When you walk into our tile store in Ankeny, IA, we’ll explain precisely the difference between a wall and floor tile. Floor tiles are thicker and meant to withstand the weight of people walking on them. Wall tiles, while sturdy, are thinner and can’t resist the weight. Floor tiles can be used on walls, and tub/shower surrounds, but wall ceramics shouldn’t be used on the floor.

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This is a type of ceramic. Porcelain is made of an utterly non-porous clay called kaolin, fired at higher temperatures, resulting in a floor that’s ideal in busy, high trafficked rooms. This large-format tile is also stylish, with an almost unlimited number of colors and patterns that can make it look like anything, including wood, stone, leather, and fabric. It can also be used outside on deck, patio, and pool floors and will not crack in free-thaw conditions. Because porcelain is a through-color, chips will never be noticeable.


Squares and rectangles are the most common shapes, but they can be round or oval. The 4 X 4 highly designed squares come in various colors and shapes and are usually used on backsplashes, and moderately foot trafficked floors. Many people mix and match them to create their unique designs. The 4 X 6 rectangles called subway tiles now come in various colors, shapes, and sizes and are most often used on backsplashes. They can also be used indoors on low foot traffic floors, such as in bedrooms.

Other tiles Include Listellos, ornate border tiles, or Mural Tiles, individual pieces that make up one big picture. Glass tiles refract light, have depth and dimension, and stone tiles like granite, marble, and limestone. Terracottas are reddish-brown bricks, durable but porous, so they must be sealed regularly. Mosaics are the tiny, often-glass coated, pebble-like pieces used often as accents.

Instead of being left on your own at some big box store, let the Floors 4 Iowa specialists walk you through the large selection of tile colors, shapes and textures for you to choose from. We also specialize in kitchen and bathroom tiling, so visit us at our showroom in Ankeny, IA for both information and a free in-home consultation. We work with residential and commercial facilities in and around Ankeny, IA, Des Moines, IA, Ames, IA, Waukee, IA, Bondurant, IA, West Des Moines, IA, Clive, IA, Johnston, IA, Altoona, IA && Grimes, IA.