Made from baked clay, ceramic tiles are very hard and strong.
Popular colors are the natural shades of yellow through brown, but other colors are available as well. Textures
vary from smooth and shiny to email@example.com; there are also patterned, hand-painted and unglazed varieties of tiles.
ceramic tiles are heavy, cold, noisy and hard - an object dropped on them is more than likely to break.
Lay the tiles on level floors such as screeded concrete or plywood-covered floorboards.
Normally square or rectangular, quarry tiles come in a range of warm, natural
shades. They are made from unrefined alumina clay high in silica (quartz). Because they are
water- and grease- resistant, they make practical floors for kitchens and hallways, although they are
hard, cold and noisy. Lay on screeded concrete.
Bricks for indoor use (pabiors) are hard-wearing, water- and grease-
resistant, and warmer than either ceramic or quarry tiles. They can be laid only on ground floors,
in a mortar bed. They come in a range of colors, including not only the standard red, brown and
yellow, but also blue, purple and green. they often look best in a rustic setting or when linking
interior rooms to the garden - for example, as a hall or kitchen floor.
The most practical way of using marble is to lay it in thin sheets or tiles,
because marble slabs are very expensive and very difficult to work with. Tiles should be laid in cement
on concrete or on a perfectly level strong wooden floor.
Like other hard tiles, however, marble is cold, heavy and noisy.
Suitable for ground floors only, slate slabs are very heavy, expensive,
unwieldy, cold and noisy. They must be laid in cement on concrete as well. Despite all these
disadvantages, slate is a very beautiful material, typically in shades of grey and with a
rippled surface. It can be effectively combined with other materials - marble, wood, etc. - and is
pretty much impervious and durable.
Stone floors have a mellow, ageless quality that suits
contemporary settings as well as period ones. A variety of types of natural stone can be used for flooring.
These include granite, sandstone, York stone and limestone, either in slabs or, more economically, cast
with cement. Some types will stain easily.
Terrazzo consists of marble or granite chips wet in thin tiles or
slabs with concrete or cement. Smooth, tough and elegantly flecked with color, terrazzo must be laid
on screed. It can be expensive.
Made of various materials, including marble, clay and glass silica,
mosaic tiles are nowadays available with a peel-off backing to facilitate laying (which must be on smooth screeded floors).
Made from pressed and baked natural cork, these tiles make a warm, comfortable, quiet and
durable floor. Make sure you buy flooring-grade tiles. Lay them on a smooth floor, using adhesive.
Cork must be properly sealed.
These materials are available in tiles as well as sheet form.
Because they are softer, cheaper, quieter and warmer than most hard tiles, they are a popular choice for
utility areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. They are also extremely easy for the amateur to lay.|