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Discover the diversity: everything you need to know about tile types

From ceramic to natural stone: find the perfect tile for every room

If you want to choose the right tile, you don't just have to decide on a specific design.

So that you can use the tiles for as long as possible, it is important to think about where they are to be laid and what loads they are subject to before you buy them.

This includes:

  • optics
  • durability
  • slip resistance
  • Water absorption of the material play a crucial role.

These properties determine whether a tile can be used as a wall or floor tile, installed indoors or outdoors and in which rooms it is best used. There are also some basic quality characteristics to consider​.

Good to know: These properties are also summarized under DIN EN 14411 .

1. Ceramic tiles

When you think of tiles, the first thing that comes to mind is ceramic tiles.

These are still the most commonly used.

They are divided into three categories:

  1. earthenware
  2. stoneware
  3. porcelain stoneware .

All three are based on a mixture of clay, sand and feldspar. The difference is made by the other ingredients or the exact composition on the one hand, and the firing temperature on the other.

1.1 Earthenware tiles

Earthenware tiles laid on a bathroom wall

Stoneware tiles are particularly coarse-pored and can be easily cut to size, so that they can also be laid well in angled areas.

However, they cannot be used in heavily loaded areas. They work best as wall tiles.

Their porosity leads to high water absorption (> 10% by weight), so earthenware tiles are not frost-proof and should only be laid indoors. They are only used in glazed form, as the material would otherwise be too susceptible to dirt, mechanical and chemical influences.

1.2 Stoneware tiles

Stoneware tile laid as a floor tile

In comparison, stoneware tiles have a significantly denser tile material. They absorb only a small amount of water (< 3% of the weight) and are considered frost-resistant.

They are more robust, both against acids and alkalis as well as against abrasion and wear; they are therefore used as floor tiles - both indoors and outdoors. Stoneware tiles are available in glazed and unglazed versions.

1.3 porcelain stoneware tiles

Porcelain stoneware XXL tile laid as a patio slab

Porcelain stoneware tiles have a very high material density and extremely low porosity.

They absorb very little water (< 0.5% of the weight) and are very hard-wearing. Porcelain stoneware tiles are frost-proof and are suitable as floor coverings for indoor and outdoor areas, even for heavily used floors.

Good to know: These tiles are also available both glazed and unglazed.

2. Other popular types of tiles

In addition to ceramic tiles, natural stone tiles are popular, mostly made of marble or granite, but also made of other types of stone such as:

  • basalt
  • limestone
  • sandstone
  • travertine
  • slate or
  • Quartzite increasingly popular.

These tiles have unique vein patterns and inclusions that give each tile a unique look and add life to the interior design .

3. More helpful advice for tile processing

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