What’s the Difference Between Floor Tile and Wall Tile?

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
26 min read

Waterproof ceramic floor tiles are both beautiful and long-lasting. Ceramic floor tile is a less expensive substitute for natural stone in bathrooms, kitchens, and showers.

Tile has been a popular flooring choice for decades, so chances are you know about it and may even be considering it for your next flooring project. Still, you may have a few questions you’d like answered before you buy tile.

Pleased to hear this. That’s where this tutorial comes in.

There are a lot of different varieties of tile out there, and this guide can help you decide which one is best for your home.

What Is Tile Flooring?

Bathrooms and kitchens are the most common places to find tile flooring, but it may be found in other rooms of the house as well. Knowing the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles will help you make an informed choice when it comes to tile flooring.

Wall Tiles and Floor Tiles: What is the Difference? – Know More!

What’s the Difference Between Floor Tile and Wall Tile?

Wall tile is thin and light, however floor tile is strong and sturdy, so that it can withstand foot traffic. In some cases, depending on their size and weight, floor tiles can be put on a wall without damaging it.

Before you decide to cover your walls with floor tile, I strongly advise you to get the advice of a professional. How well floor tile works as a wall treatment depends on a variety of things. The thinness and delicateness of wall tile make it unsuitable for use as a flooring alternative.

Types of Floor Tile

Despite the fact that they all appear and feel same, tiles for sale aren’t all the same. Depending on your budget and preferences, you can choose from a variety of different types of tile.

Make an informed decision about the best material for your project by learning about the differences between ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone.

Ceramic Floor Tile

In order to make ceramic tile, a mixture of clay, minerals, and water is pressed into a tile form and then heated in a kiln. Ceramic tiles that have been glazed are more resistant to water damage.

Some individuals love the natural appearance of unglazed ceramic tiles, but keep in mind that they are just water-resistant, not waterproof.

Porcelain Floor Tile

Because of its higher density and durability, porcelain tile differs from other types of ceramic tile. As a result, they’re seen as separate entities.

Porcelain is made by heating clay minerals and water to a high temperature. Feldspar, kaolin, and quartz are common constituents of the clay. Feldspar dominates the clay composition. Porcelain is denser than ceramic clays because of this combination of clay.

You can use porcelain in regions that are frequently subjected to high levels of moisture because the material is completely impermeable.

Natural Stone Tile

Stone floor patterns are popular for a good reason: they’re stunning! You’ll be able to find the perfect stone floor for your luxury interior design with a wide range of hues and textures. If you can afford it, stone flooring is an excellent option.

Natural stone, on the other hand, demands more maintenance than ceramic or porcelain tiles. To keep its luster, natural stone must be sealed and resurfaced on a regular basis.

Floor Tile Construction

Traditionally, tile has been defined as ceramic or stone, however this section focuses on ceramic tile building. Discovering how it’s created might assist you in figuring out where it’ll be most useful in your house.

For the most part, ceramic tile is created from a clay-water mixture, but there are various variations. Water-resistant tiles can be made from clays that are more dense, such as kaolin or quartz-rich clays.

Water is baked out of the tile and hardened during the drying and firing process, resulting in long-lasting, waterproof flooring. It’s all about the glazing after that. And there is yet more to come. There’s a lot more to learn about the process of making tiles.

Ceramic Tile Layers and Composition

Bisque and glaze are the two layers that make up most ceramic tile. From the side, the thickest layer of the tile will be the bisque. The color rests on top of the glaze, which is the tile’s outer layer. Because they are solidly colored from the inside out, through-tile construction is a term used to describe tiles that lack a glaze.

Water and clay minerals are used to make ceramic tiles. It is pressed into form and allowed to dry on a rack after a drier eliminates some excess moisture from the mix. These tiles are now referred to as “greenware” or “green tile.” It’s because the tile hasn’t been fired or glazed yet.

A high-tech inkjet printer will apply the specified colors and patterns on the tile when it has dried. For added protection, the image will be glazed. Unglazed porcelain is another option.

Firing Ceramic Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tiles that have been glazed must be burned to remove any moisture and harden the glaze. At 2500 degrees Fahrenheit, porcelain is much hotter than ceramic, which is set at 2000 degrees. Porcelain is resistant to water because it is burnt at a greater temperature and has denser clay ingredients.

What is Tile Body Color?

The hue of the bisque (or biscuit) at the tile’s base is referred to as the “body color.” If the top glaze is chipped, the body color can be seen, which is not usually the case.

Tiles with red bodies often don’t match glazing in most circumstances. Porcelain with a through color is used to make through body porcelain. Even if the paint chips, the body will retain its original color.

Porcelain tiles with a multi-color glaze design are also known as color body porcelain. Bisque is matched to the glaze’s main hue in body-colored porcelain. Often, chips can be disguised with this pattern, although not as effectively as with body tiles.

Floor Tile Pros and Cons

What are the benefits of tile floors?

  • Because of the fire and glazing process, tile is one of the most durable flooring solutions available. Tiles made out of porcelain are very resistant to scuffs and heavy traffic.
  • It’s possible to create an infinite variety of looks with tile because it can take on virtually any color, shape, or size you can imagine.
  • Tile is simple to maintain because it doesn’t require any specific cleaning agents. Tile floors can be kept in excellent condition by simply sweeping and mopping them on a regular basis.
  • No need for polishing or refinishing! It’s easy to keep your tile floors looking their best without a lot of effort.
  • In comparison to natural stone, ceramic and porcelain tiles are more cost-effective and easier to maintain.

What are the drawbacks of tile floors?

  • If you don’t spend a lot of time tiling floors in your spare time, you probably won’t be able to install a precisely tiled floor. I think it’s best to hire an expert. However, if you’re dedicated, you may turn it into a do-it-yourself job.

Floor Tile Shapes

Tile comes in a variety of forms and sizes, from simple squares to more daring designs. I’d like to point out a few unusual possibilities that might be just what you’re looking for, even though there are a few popular shapes that you’ll see everywhere.

  • A normal tile “plank” looks like a regular natural wood plank, however as the broad plank trend increases, the tile planks are becoming larger.
  • As people discover the beauty and versatility of subway tiles, their popularity grows each year. Subway tiles, inspired by the rectangular tiles used in New York City subway stations in the early 1900s, have become a design staple.
  • Tiles in the shape of circles are a fun and contemporary solution. It is also known as penny tile because of its round shape, which makes it ideal for mosaics.
  • Uniquely shaped tiles are referred to as “designer shapes” because of the wide variety of shapes available. Hexagons, herringbone, chevron, and pebble tiles are popular patterns in interior design.
  • Tile in squares: This is the most popular type of flooring. This time-honored silhouette is both fashionable and classic. Square tile is the perfect option if you’re looking for a clean, uncomplicated look.

Floor Tile Sizes

You haven’t made up your mind yet, so don’t give up! The size of your favored tile must be determined once you know its style and form. Large sizes and tiny mosaic tiles are both hot right now, so you may be confident in your choice.

Large Format Tile Size

Any tile that is 15 inches or greater qualifies as a large format tile. For a variety of reasons, these huge tiles are becoming increasingly popular.

To begin with, because larger tiles imply less grout on your floor, they’re easier to keep clean. Large tiles are also popular because of their ability to open up a confined space. However, installation can be a bit more difficult.

Tile imports yet to be permitted despite promise - The Morning - Sri Lanka News

Square Tile Size

Standard sized tiles are any squares with a size ranging from 2″ to 12″. The most frequent size of square floor tiles is 6 inches and up.

Compared to bigger sizes, these tiles are simpler to place and measure. Standard-sized square tiles are commonly seen on many of the world’s most enduring tile floors.

Rectangle Tile Size

There are a wide range of rectangular tile sizes, from subway tiles to planks of varying lengths and widths. Subway tiles come in a wide range of sizes, from 1″ x 3″ to 4″ x 16″, so you may choose the one that best suits your needs.

Because of the growing popularity of wide planks, the size options for planks are also quite varied. Tile planks come in a range of sizes, from 6″ x 24″ to 12″ x 48″.

Mosaic Tile Size

Mosaic tiles are defined as those with a single dimension ranging from.5″ to 2″. A variety of shapes and sizes are available for these tiles, which can also be referred to as “strips of tile.”

It’s a good idea to keep the rest of the space simple in order to avoid creating an overly cluttered floor with these intricate designs.

Floor Tile Finishes

We’ve narrowed it down to a few options for your tile flooring. Choosing between a polished or more natural unglazed finish is all that’s required.


The glaze serves as the crowning glory on your tile project. It’s like having a personal bodyguard to keep your flooring dry and free of stains. Unglazed ceramic tiles can be just as beautiful as their glazed counterparts. If you’re planning on utilizing a glazed tile in a bathroom or other water-prone area, we recommend selecting a textured tile instead.


Porcelain floor tiles are ground to a high gloss like genuine stones like marble and granite in order to provide a truly immaculate surface. If you want a cleaner-looking floor but don’t want to spend as much time maintaining it, a polished finish is for you.


Ceramic tiles that have not been glazed after firing are known as unglazed. They have a more rustic appearance than glazed ceramic tiles, but are less water resistant and require more maintenance. In spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens, these tiles can (and are) still utilized, but upkeep is more difficult than with their protected glazed counterparts.

How to Tile a Floor

While some may think a DIY tiling project is too difficult, it is not. Your DIY tile installation will be a success if you have the proper tools and preparation.

This is how to lay tile on the floor:

  1. Preparation
  2. Installation of tiles
  3. Cutting
  4. Grouting
  5. Finishing


  • There are two types of tile installations, and the one you choose will depend on the subfloor. There are two ways you can lay tile: on concrete or on wood. Having a wood subfloor necessitates additional procedures to ensure a successful installation. Even if you decide to install the tile yourself, you should always check with a professional to make sure the subfloor can support the weight of the tile.
  • If your subfloor is clean and level, you’ll have a solid foundation for your project.
  • Measure the room, cut a cement backer board to meet the dimensions, and then use thinset to attach it to the subfloor. Reinforce the seams of the backer board using glass fiber tape by screwing it into the subfloor. To finish, apply thinset over the tape and let it to cure completely before continuing.
  • Toss your tile about once it’s been opened and sorted: Installing tiles one at a time can make even the tiniest color differences between batches more obvious.
  • Assemble your mortar by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • With your trowel, distribute the mortar across the room starting in the middle. Then use the notched side of your trowel to comb through the mortar.

Tile Installation

  • Follow the arrows on your map: Your initial tile should be positioned centrally, following the outlines of the room.
  • Using spacers on the edges of the tiles will help maintain a consistent distance between them. A grout junction of at least 1/8″ in width is recommended.
  • Once all of the tiles are in place, use a rubber mallet to gently pound the uneven surfaces.
  • Continue laying the tile and applying the mortar. Follow your reference lines to the room’s edges, and then stop working along those lines.

Cutting Tile

  • Calculate the length of your tile by subtracting the room’s perimeter from the tile’s overall length. It’s time to draw a line over it.
  • For straight cuts, a tile cutter is the most convenient tool to have on hand. The use of a tile saw may be necessary if your tiles are particularly dense.
  • If a break occurs, you can smooth the edge by removing any jagged parts. To fix the crooked edge, all you need is a tile nipper. Rough edges can be smoothed out with a file.

Grouting Tile

  • Tile spacers should be removed, and grout should be mixed according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Smooth the grout into the crevices between your tiles with a grout float. Remove as much as you can from the situation. Allow it to dry for the specified amount of time.
  • After wiping off the grout lines with a damp mop or sponge, use a grout haze to remove any remaining residue.


  • The grout must be allowed time to cure: The joints should be sealed for at least three weeks following grout application.
  • Install all of the molding and trim: Your project is done once all the trims and transitions are in place. Congratulations!

Why Choose Floor Tiles

  • Flexible: When you want to achieve a specific look, this is the type of flooring you’ll turn to. Tile is the only flooring option that gives you so many alternatives. Even better, tile can be used in every room of the house.
  • Tile is constantly in style since it can take on a multitude of shapes, colors, and sizes. You have the option of selecting from the most current trends or going with a more traditional appearance.
  • Glazed porcelain tile is extremely long-lasting and suitable for high-traffic areas because of its glazed finish. Regular wear and tear is not a problem because of the glaze’s ability to prevent scratching.
  • Quality tile naturally raises the value of your home, making it more attractive to potential buyers. For the price, it’s hard to beat.
  • There are a number of tiles that are completely waterproof, despite the fact that unglazed ceramic isn’t one of them. There is no need to be concerned about water damage in high-moisture places such as bathrooms and kitchens because porcelain is ideal. Keep in mind, however, that not all tiles are slip-proof.

Tile Ratings

Based on data from the Porcelain Enamel Institute, there are five hardness levels for tiles. In terms of scratch and chip resistance, a better grade tile is more durable.

  • Class I: Only for use on the wall
  • The restrooms in Class II buildings have less foot activity.
  • Light to moderate foot traffic; suitable for regions with regular foot activity. Class III
  • A home’s Class IV flooring is suitable for moderate to high foot usage.
  • It’s ideal for heavy-duty business use and all-around home use.

Tile Flooring Factors to Consider

  • Ceramic vs. porcelain floor tiles
  • Durability
  • Water-resistance Unlike ceramic, porcelain tile is impermeable to water, making it an ideal choice for bathrooms.
  • Attractiveness
  • Dimensions of the tile
  • Those places where tiles are put down (Higher traffic areas require harder tiles)
  • Daylight (Some tiles can withstand more sunlight than others and not fade)

Tile Flooring Costs by Type

Tile Flooring Labor Costs

Tile flooring installation can cost between $13 and $20 per square foot for a 120-square-foot space, including the tile itself.

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The Best Options for Bathroom Floor Tile in 2022

There are a surprising variety of materials to choose from when it comes to bathroom floor tile. Because they’re so practical, ceramic, porcelain, and vinyl tiles are generally the first to come to mind. Today, however, a wide range of materials, ranging from stone to cork, are at our disposal.

Preventing moisture from penetrating below the surface and causing damage is vital, as is ensuring that the flooring won’t become dangerously slippery when wet. It’s therefore a matter of finding the right balance between style and price. With this guide to the best tile for bathroom floor, you’ll be able to make a better informed decision.

1. Vinyl Tiles

For its affordability and practicality, vinyl is the most commonly used bathroom flooring material. Every bathroom in the house, from the master bath to the powder room, can benefit from this product. In terms of security, ease of use, and long-term usability, it’s the clear winner. Additionally, leading vinyl tile producers have improved their visual appeal and simplicity of installation over the years. The self-adhesive material is easy to cut with a utility knife.

2. Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles

Ceramic and porcelain tile are some of the greatest options for bathroom floor tile, whether you choose stone or wood lookalikes, colorful penny tiles, or lattice-patterned squares. Ceramics, like vinyl, are easy to maintain, although they don’t feel quite as good underfoot. Installing radiant floor heat can help alleviate this problem, but a hard surface is still a hard surface, warm or cold. Even the most adventurous do-it-yourselfer can successfully install ceramic tile, but it’s not as simple as vinyl. Ceramic is scratch- and wear-resistant when properly sealed with a high-quality glaze. When it comes to chipping, porcelain tiles have a distinct advantage over clay-based ones in that they can be colored all the way through.

Make sure the ceramic or porcelain tile you purchase is suitable for usage on the floor before you buy it.

  • It’s best to use 1 or 2 grade ceramic tile on the floor. Ceramic tile has a coefficient of friction as well as other properties (COF). Choose a non-skid mat with a traction rating of at least.50 to keep your feet from slipping around in this damp environment.
  • To the contrary, the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rating system is the most important consideration.

3. Glass Tiles

A glass floor tile’s visual attractiveness is two-fold: The sense of depth and a beautiful stained-glass look can be achieved by covering a portion of the floor in a thin coating of glass. When installed correctly, this sort of tile is durable; nevertheless, to avoid slipping hazards, use floor-rated tile and textured glass. Slip-resistance is further improved by using small glass tiles with lots of grout joints. Consider using little glass tile squares to decorate the bathroom’s shower floor (or perhaps the walls) in light of the aforementioned pointers.

4. Stone Tiles

Until recently, stone tiles could only be found in the foyer. It has only been in the last couple of decades that they have become more fashionable in other areas, including the bathroom. Depending on the type of stone used, stone tiles can come in a wide spectrum of hues, from white to reds, greens, and golds. Cleft, tumbled, sandblasted and etched textures are just a few of the many options available.

Ceramic or porcelain tiles that have a similar appearance to stone are often less expensive. Ceramic tile, on the other hand, takes less upkeep than natural stone, which requires frequent washing and sealing. For the best granite sealers and marble sealers, check out our recommendations here.

5. Plastic Laminate Tiles

If you’re rebuilding, plastic laminate tiles (more typically sold as planks) are also an excellent option. The tiles don’t considerably boost the height of the current floor, making it easier to plan transitions from room to room, like the laminate material that covered kitchen countertops for a generation or two.

Laminate, despite its durability and ease of cleaning, has a problem with moisture. As a result of the fiberboard core’s susceptibility to expanding and buckling when exposed to water, this tile may be better suited to a half-bath than a full-bath. Laminates require caulking around the walls, around the toilet, and around the tub in order to prevent water from leaking into the room. Another drawback of laminates is the lack of style choice compared to ceramics and vinyl.

6. Linoleum Floor Tiles

Linoleum is a mixture of linseed oil, cork powder, wood flour, crushed limestone, and colors that is used to make flooring. As a bathroom accessory, it is equally at home in a contemporary or retro decor. In addition to repelling dust and dirt, it is said to naturally limit the growth of bacteria. When it comes to installation, click-in-place plank designs make it a breeze. Linoleum is a costly flooring option, so the stylish design comes with a price.

Bathroom tile - SILVERSTONE - Grupo Halcón - wall / ceramic / geometric pattern

7. Cork Tiles

Tiles in a variety of colors are available in cork flooring, which is warm to the touch and gentle on the feet. A few coats of polyurethane are required for a glued-down installation, even if you use pre-finished tiles, to prevent moisture from reaching the subfloor. For the most part, cork tiles are laid using a troweled-on adhesive, although there are other click-in-place floating floor products that can be used.


Is tile flooring installation a DIY project?

It’s possible to install tile flooring on your own if you’re knowledgeable, a little brave, or both, but anticipate the procedure to take at least a week. It takes a long time to remove the old floor, install the tile, wait for it to cure, then seal it.

How long before you can walk on newly laid floor tiles?

After 24 hours, you can begin walking on the tile.

How long will tile floors last?

Ceramic tile flooring can last anywhere from 75 to 100 years, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Around 50 years is the average lifespan of porcelain tile floors.

It’s time to look into your options now that you’re an expert on tile flooring!

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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