Tile Flooring: Types of Tile, Lifespan, Advantages & Disadvantages

Tiles have been a popular choice for flooring and wall coverings in our homes for several decades. However, many homeowners’ main question regarding tile flooring is: how long do tile floors last?

Tile floors last between 75 to 100 years on average since most of them are ceramic. However, they can last longer or shorter depending on how well they are maintained. Other types of tile flooring, such as those made out of natural stone like marble or granite, can last even longer than 100 years.

There is much to consider when choosing a flooring option. In this article, we will be providing you with all the information you need before deciding whether or not tile flooring is suitable for your home. Keep reading!

Your tiled floors should last for 100 years. Most tile floors are made from ceramic materials or natural stone. While ceramic tile has a long lifespan, you’ll likely grow tired of the tile before it wears out. Stone tiles are timeless, and many are still present in buildings that are hundreds of years old. Manufactured tiles like ceramic, porcelain, terracotta, and cement are more susceptible to damage than stone tiles.

Tile floors have various designs, colors, and structural differences, affecting how long they last. They also have a wide range of either simple patterns or even complex designs such as mosaics.

Tile floors are made up of many different tiles arranged together to form a cohesive pattern. The tiles are manufactured from hard-wearing materials such as stone, baked clay, ceramic, and even glass. Many different materials are used to make tiles, providing an extensive range of options to choose from when it comes to tile floors.

Types of Tile Floors (& How Long They Last)

Ceramic, marble, granite, and slate are the most common materials used in making tile floors. Tile floors differ in the material, finish, and designs you can purchase. 

We will list some of the most common ones, including how long each type lasts.

Tile Floor TypeLongevityComposition
Ceramic75-100 yearsmolded clay materials joined together by cement
Porcelain75 – 100 yearsrefined clay mixture molded at high temperatures for durability
Marble100+ yearsmade using marble stone cut up into the right size
Granite100+ yearscut from dense granite rocks
Slate150-200 yearsacquired from deposits of natural minerals
Limestone100+ yearsmade using limestone cut into uniform shapes.
Travertine100+ yearscut from a softer stone that mimics marble in appearance
Terracotta100+ yearsclay tiles which can be handmade or machine cut
Cement Tile75 – 100 yearsmanufactured from poured cement in molded casts

Ceramic Tile 

Ceramics may last from 75 to 100 years. It is the most common tile floor type you can find and is made out of clay materials molded for flooring. They are then joined together by filling the gaps with cement. Ceramic tile floors are known for their versatility because they can easily complement the décor within a home.

Ceramic tiles allow a lot of room for creativity to the homeowner in terms of interior decor. This tile floor is also durable and resistant to scratches, dents, and abrasion due to its hard-wearing qualities.

Ceramic tile floors are often covered with a glaze, which provides extra protection and durability and ensures that the ceramic tiles look neat and clean for longer.

Ceramic tile floors are considered one of the most affordable tile flooring, making it an excellent option for the flooring of large areas. 

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tiles can last 75 to 100 years. It is made similar to ceramic tiles, except it is made from a more refined clay at a much higher temperature. This made porcelain tiles more suitable in wet areas.

Porcelain tiles are more expensive than ceramic tiles, which generally limits their use compared to ceramic tiles.

Marble Tile

Marble tiles can last for more than 100 years. Marble tile floors are one of the most aesthetic types of tile floors. They are made using natural marble stone cut up into the right size and then joined together. There are many variations of it available, providing many colors of marble tile floors to choose from.

Aside from its vast option for colors, a great selling point of marble tile floors is the multiple options for the finish of the flooring. The finishing can be polished, honed, brushed, and much more.

Although they look stunning when installed into homes, they can be pretty expensive. The price may be something to consider if you plan on using marble tile floors for a large area of your house. 

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Granite Tile

Granites may last for 100 years and above. As the name suggests, this type of tile floor is granite, which is a tough and dense rock. 

The main reason behind the popularity of granite tile floors is the uniqueness of these tiles. The granite stone has speckled minerals, and almost every tile made from granite has a unique veining pattern, which distinguishes this tile floor from all the other options. 

This also means that the surfaces of granite tile floors are all different due to the different veining patterns of the rock itself. As a result, no two granite tiles are the same!

Due to their unique ability to increase the aesthetic value wherever installed, they are always in high demand.

Moreover, granite tile floors are also highly durable, since it is made out of tough rock. These floors are also resistant to scratches and acids, which further increases their durability. 

Slate Tile

Slate tile floors last between 150 to 200 years. This type of tile floor is made out of slate, acquired from the deposit of natural minerals. Slate tiles are incredibly durable and have a very sleek look, which is why they are prevalent. In addition, slate tile flooring is often used in relatively colder regions because it has a unique ability to keep the room warm. 

It is also very resistant to slipping and, thus, is a relatively safe flooring option. Slate tile floors are also a much more affordable option when compared to marble or granite floors, although it costs a little more than ceramics.

Limestone Tile

Limestone tiles can last over 100 years with proper care. Limestone is cut from mined limestone deposits. Limestone is porous and does require sealing which adds to the maintenance costs.

Travertine Tile

Travertine tile can last over 100 years. It is made from a softer stone that mimics marble. However, it is not as durable and requires a water sealant. Travertine is more affordable than marble.

Terracotta Tile

Terracotta tiles can last over 100 years, and many handmade terracotta tiles are still present in Spanish buildings that are hundreds of years old. Terracotta tile is porous and subject to damage. It is not suitable for wet areas and does need to be sealed.

Cement Tiles

Cement tiles can last 75 to 100 years. Cement tiles are made from cement poured into formed casts. It is porous and not suitable in high moisture areas. Cement tiles are probably the least desired tile because it requires staining and sealing after installation.

Is Tile Flooring Waterproof?

Tile flooring is the star winner when it comes to protecting against water. A tile floor can be waterproof and can protect against moisture for quite some time. 

However, it is essential to note that not all tiles are waterproof. Certain types of tiles can retain water, and these tiles are not considered waterproof. Thus, many people describe tile flooring as water-resistant instead of waterproof.

Let’s briefly distinguish how water-resistant and waterproof differ.

Waterproof flooring means that the floor’s material is permanent and will not allow any water or moisture to penetrate the flooring. This means that if water were to remain on the surface of waterproof flooring. It would not be able to get under the flooring layers and cause any damage.

Water-resistant flooring means that although the flooring can stop the water from damaging the floor layers, if the water remains on the surface for an extended time, it will eventually penetrate the flooring and cause damage.

The protection tile flooring can provide from water sitting on top of it is determined by several factors such as the type of tile, the density, the glaze or sealant on the tile flooring, and much more. Alongside this, there is no guarantee that the subfloor will be waterproof as well. 

There are many advantages and disadvantages of tile flooring, and it is crucial to be aware of these before deciding which flooring you want in your home. 

The Advantages of Tile Flooring Are:

1. Very Durable

Tile floors are made out of tough materials. This makes them highly durable and protected against damage. In addition, tile floors are tough to crack and are known to not break or chip for a long time. 

Some tile flooring types have a great quality of stain resistance, ensuring that your flooring will not get stained easily in case of spills. Due to their durability, many people consider tile flooring to be an excellent long-term investment in flooring.

2. Easy Replacement

Although it is challenging to crack or break tile floors, sometimes, it can happen because of a severe impact. However, the best part of tile flooring is that it is easy to replace. 

When one of the tiles in my house cracked, I did not have to get the entirety of the flooring replaced. Instead, I only need to replace that one particular tile. 

Due to the accessibility of tiles in the market, you can have the broken tile replaced in a concise period while also ensuring you do not spend a lot of money on the replacement itself.

3. Easy To Maintain 

Maintenance is a big part of any flooring, and many people look for flooring that requires less effort to maintain. 

Even if any stains, liquids, or dirt and grime get on the tiles, they only sit on the tile surface and are not absorbed. This makes it easy to clean with just a soft mop or a vacuum cleaner. As a result, many people choose tile flooring for areas such as the kitchen, where most spills occur.

The Disadvantages of Tile Flooring Are:

1. Very Heavy 

Tile flooring can be extremely heavy, which is why you probably will not find tile flooring installed in homes on the upper stories of a building. 

Suppose you have an apartment on a high floor of a building and install tile flooring. In that case, you might want to ask a professional to look at the building’s structural integrity before making your decision. You have to ensure first that the building can withstand the installation of such heavy tile flooring.

2. Slippery

Some types of tile flooring, such as marble, tend to be slippery, and this can pose a significant hazard when the tile flooring is installed in an area where water is used. 

In areas such as bathrooms and kitchens, a minor water spill can lead to you slipping on the tile flooring and potentially injuring yourself or other family members. 

3. Cold

Tile flooring is known not to absorb heat very well. As a result, rooms with tile flooring will get quite cold when winter rolls around. And if you live in an area with very harsh winters, this might be an issue. Since there is no padding underneath the tile flooring, there is nothing to absorb any amount of heat, making the tile flooring extremely cold in winters. 

Do Tile Floors Increase Home Value?

Tiling your home’s floor will likely increase its value. According to the National Association of Home Builders, most homes with tiled floors sell higher than those without tiled floors. 

Tile floors play a crucial role in enhancing the entire look of your home. That is why they are often included in the listing description of homes for sale. Likewise, a granite kitchen countertop will make a home more appealing to a homebuyer. 

Tile floors also make the space inside your home look bigger and wider. They are versatile and can adapt to almost any type of theme you wish to have in your home. 

Tiled floors are also eco-friendly. In winters, they keep your home warm by serving as a form of insulating material, and in summers, they keep your home cool. Both these factors eventually lead to reducing your billing rates. 

Moreover, tiled flooring serves to be low maintenance and easy to clean as it can be steam-cleaned, swept, or easily vacuumed. The best part about tiled flooring is that they are more stain-resistant than carpets. Also, tiled floors are water-resistant. The glazed protective layer on the tiles’ surface makes them resistant to any stain penetration or water damage.

Cost-effectiveness is also one of the reasons why home buyers prefer homes with tiles. Ceramic tiles are one of the cheapest flooring materials available in the market. Moreover, replacing them would not be much of a hassle if ever they are broken or cracked. Considering the initial cost and the maintenance cost, it becomes evident that tiled floors are worth every single penny. 

Due to the durability, you won’t have to replace or repair the flooring often if you know how to take care of it (which we shall be discussing further in this article). 

Tiled floors increase the resale value of your home. Thousands of dollars can be added to the resale value of your home merely with the installation of an attractive tiled floor. 

How To Install Tile Floor DIY? 

Installing tile floors requires medium-level DIY skills! Here, we will explain how to install tile floors in straightforward steps if you plan to do it yourself.

Step 1: Cement board underlayment (if necessary).

Keep in mind that your floor will be 1/2 inch higher after the installation is complete. So, in laying a tiled floor in a bathroom, you will have to make the required adjustments to the fixtures, such as the toilet and vanity. To ensure that the floor is secure from movement, install a cement board underlayment first.

Step 2: Locate the center of the room.

The most crucial step is to find the center of the room. Mark the center by measuring across the room, measuring the other direction, and marking the center point. Then, with the help of chalk, snap a line across both center points. The intersection of both lines will be the center of the room.

Step 3: Layout the tiles.

Next, lay out the tiles just for the sake of a dry run. Start with the lines you previously drew. You will need to place spacers between tiles to ensure the proper distance between them. If necessary, reposition the starting point. Once you’re satisfied with the tile placement, trace around the center tile.

Step 4: Install the center tile.

With the help of the adhesive recommended by the manufacturer, use it to place the center tile. Apply the respective adhesive to the floor by holding the trowel’s notched edge at about a 45-degree angle. Now, press your tile in place and twist it back and forth so that it gets secured in its position. You need to ensure that there are no bare spots visible on the bottom of the tile.

Step 5: Install the remaining tiles.

Using the center as a reference point, install the rest of the tiles along straight lines. Install the tiles slowly, only a few times, by spreading adhesive for just two or three tiles. If you witness any adhesive oozing up between the tiles, it indicates that you are using too much adhesive. Ensure the placement of the spacers between the tiles so that the grout lines establish. After you’re done installing all the tiles, allow the adhesive to cure overnight, or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Step 6: Mix the grout.

The next step would be mixing the grout in a consistency similar to that of peanut butter. Grout is available in several colors and can also be tinted to match your decor. Next, scoop some of the grout and place it on your tiles. Utilize a rubber grout float so that you can fill the joints. Try forcing as much grout as you can into the joints.

Step 7: Clean the tile.

Once you’re done working on filling the joints with grout, wipe the residue with the help of a sponge. Make sure you don’t pull any grout out of the joints. Rinse the sponge frequently and allow the grout to cure until it reaches a light haze. Follow the instructions of the manufacturer on how to fix the grout. This may take a few days, but apply a sealant onto the grout lines after curing.

What Should You Not Put On Tile Floors? 

Whether you’ve recently had tile flooring installed or have had it for years, it’s necessary to have a now-how regarding what you should and what you should not put on tiled floors. 

Most of us think that there isn’t much to be taken care of when it comes to durable floorings, such as tiled floors. The truth is that there is more to it than just that.

First of all, we would recommend our readers stay away from the misinformation on the internet and ‘cleaning hacks.’ In most cases, the methods present in these ‘cleaning hacks’ do more harm than good. Your best bet would be to contact your flooring manufacturer to obtain information regarding what not to put on your tile flooring in terms of products.

To keep your tile floors looking as good as new, there are a few things you should avoid putting on them.

The first one would be harsh cleaning supplies. Like any other flooring, tiled floors are vulnerable to being damaged if exposed to harsh cleaning supplies. It is essential not to apply steel fleece on your tiles. Moreover, do not overdo scouring powders of abrasives that can scratch the tile.

Secondly, we shall be discussing the furniture hazards. It is important not to turn a blind eye to this hazard as furniture can cause some severe damage to your home’s tiles flooring. 

Any rolling furniture that includes cabinets, chairs, and carts is a hazard to tile flooring as they can end up scratching your tiles. Also, it is important to use furniture pads under your furniture’s legs so that the weight of your furniture doesn’t wear on your tiled floor.

Even though tiles are highly durable, they are likely to chip if too much pressure or force is applied. Hence, it is crucial to be mindful of the furniture you choose on your tiled flooring. 

Lastly, it is vital to guard your tiled floor against any pet-related damage. We all love animals, but it is essential to consider some of the ways pets can end up damaging your tiled flooring as well. You must ensure that your pet’s nails are trimmed, so they don’t cause damage to your floor by scratching.

Conclusion

Tile flooring is an excellent option for people looking for a durable and neat-looking flooring option for their homes. 

There is an immense amount of variety when it comes to tile flooring. There are many options, designs, and patterns to choose from.

Regardless of which type of tile floor you use, proper cleaning and maintenance make them last.

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.

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