Best Choices for Kitchen Tile

While there are many types of kitchen flooring and backsplash material to choose from, we love tile for the kitchen.

Kitchen tile is a low maintenance, high durability material that lasts forever when you properly care for it. It also comes in a dizzying array of patterns, colors, sizes, and textures, so you can get a completely unique look that matches your personal style. Tile is also the most sanitary choice for the kitchen because it doesn’t absorb bacteria or odors and naturally repels water and other spills. 


The kitchen is where your family gathers and people tend to congregate at parties so it’s a heavy foot traffic area. If you have pets or young children running around, spilling and causing accidents, you definitely need a durable and easy-to-clean option for your kitchen floor. 


But just saying “Choose tile!” isn’t helpful. There are so many kitchen tile options to choose from that it can quickly become overwhelming. And there are several types of tile that aren’t good options for your kitchen.  


So let’s take a look at what types of kitchen tile we recommend for your home! Each type of tile has its own installation, care, and cleaning requirements, so be sure to think about what you want most out of your new kitchen floor while you’re reading. We base our recommendations on research and years of experience in keeping up with kitchen tile trends. 


Ceramic Kitchen Tile

Ceramic tile is perhaps the most common type of kitchen tile we see our clients use. Ceramic tile is made of a mix of clay, water, and minerals fired at extremely high temperatures to create a hard and hardy surface. 


You can buy ceramic kitchen tile glazed or unglazed – glazed tiles are treated with a liquid glass coating to make them scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, and hard. If your kitchen is high traffic, we suggest using glazed tiles for durability. Unglazed can wear away under heavy foot traffic and lead to uneven floors or discoloration. If you prefer the matte look, you can try a matte glaze finish!


Ceramic tiles are durable and affordable and they come in a variety of patterns, colors, and designs. Create a checkered pattern with complementing colors, or add splashes of color and appeal with scattered patterned tiles! 


Porcelain Kitchen Tile

Another popular kitchen tile option is porcelain. Technically, porcelain tile is a type of ceramic tile, but it’s fired at a much higher temperature so it’s less porous. Instead of clay, they are made with sand and other materials which makes them harder than ceramic tile. Being less porous makes porcelain more water-resistant – an excellent trait for kitchen flooring. But porcelain tiles are harder to install and can be more expensive than ceramic. 


If you have a kitchen with a lot of spills, this may be the best tile for you because it is highly stain- and moisture-resistant. The cleaning and maintenance for porcelain are the same as for ceramic flooring – sweep and vacuum often, and never use harsh or abrasive scrubs or cleaners. Make sure the cleaner is tile specific, and use a grout cleaner to avoid discoloration.


Glass Kitchen Tile

Glass tile is composed of thin pieces of glass. You can use individual pieces for emphasis or combine them to create a mosaic look. Long, thin strips or alternating color create a modern look, while traditional mural or mosaic patterns in small squares can give your home an arts-and-crafts or art-deco feel.  


While some glass kitchen tiles are used in floors, it’s mainly used as a backsplash. In fact, we often recommend that you don’t use glass tile in your kitchen floor unless it’s as an accent somewhere there is very little foot traffic. This is because glass is easily scratched by debris and dirt and can be ground into the surface of the tile, making it appear discolored or cloudy. But when used correctly, glass tile can add a touch of elegance and unique beauty to your kitchen. 


Glass tile is harder to install than ceramic or porcelain – especially the more transparent types – and it’s best to leave the installation to the professionals to avoid crooked, stained, or otherwise disappointing results. 


To care for your glass tile, just wipe down with a damp cloth or sponge doused in a water or vinegar solution. If you need a stronger clean, use a non-abrasive cleaner so you don’t scratch the surface of your tile. 


Stone Kitchen Tile

Stone kitchen tiles are made from larger pieces of natural stone. There are several types of stone you can use. The most popular are:

  • Slate
  • Granite
  • Onyx
  • Marble
  • Sandstone
  • Travertine

Stone has a unique, natural look that you can’t quite capture with other kitchen tile options. You can use it on floors, walls, or as a backsplash. While the rugged, wild look of natural stone tiles is unmatched, they do require more maintenance than other types of kitchen tile – and they are often more expensive. 


For flooring, we suggest granite and slate as the best options because they are non-porous, which makes them more durable, more stain-resistant, easier to clean. Stone tile can also become damaged if it comes in contact with water (especially the softer varieties like sandstone) so it may not be the best option if you have a lot of spills in your home. 


Stone is sealed when it’s installed and must be re-sealed every ten years. You should sweep, dust, or vacuum on a daily basis of possible to keep the surface clear of debris and grit that could cause scratching and discoloration. If you do vacuum, be sure to turn off your brush roller or you could damage the floors.  


At least two times a week, you should wipe your floors down with a damp mop. Be sure to use a stone floor specific cleaner and do not leave standing water on the floor or it will dull the stone. Don’t use cleaners with vinegar, acid, ammonia or chlorine. 


If you have any questions about kitchen tile trends or which type of kitchen tile is right for your home, make an appointment with one of The Carpet Center’s tile flooring specialists. We’ll walk you through your kitchen tile options and help you choose the tile that’s right for you!

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