Tile Doctor Tip: Take the time to find the right ceramic or stone tile for your application. Make sure that your choice is the best to suit your needs and budget.

Couple Choosing TileFirst, will the ceramic tile be glazed or unglazed? Will the stone tile be polished or unpolished? These questions can be answered by the design requirements, personal taste, and the desired function of the finished surface. Generally, glazed or polished surfaces are easier to clean than unglazed, unpolished surfaces.


Slip resistance and abrasion resistance is always a factor in floor tile. These factors are somewhat flexible in residential applications. However, the use of a “wall tile” on a floor is not recommended. A tile with good breaking-flexural strength should be used.

It is very interesting that some polished stone tile have incredibly high slip resistance when dry. When wet, polished stone can be very slick.

Also with stone or ceramic, deep fissures, crevices, or voids in the tiles surface can mean more time spent in keeping the floor clean.

If the floor will be exposed to food acids or other acidic chemicals, then stone or ceramic tile vulnerable to such attack should be avoided. An example would be polished marble on a kitchen floor.


Slip resistance and abrasion resistance is critical in these installations. Many other recommendations can be made such as high impact resistance, breaking-flexural strength, and generally a tile with the durable requirements for the intended installation.

Generally, commercial floors are beefed up residential floors. This is true of the tiles chosen as well as the substrate below the tile. Other considerations are the type of ceramic or stone tile quality chosen. For example, only stone tiles in the group A or B classification might be considered for a commercial floor project.

Certainly the same basic requirements exist for the commercial floor as compared to the residential variety related to chemical resistance and the like.


These areas are considered wet areas and should be tiled with tile in the vitreous or impervious class for best results. Slip resistance is important since uncovered exterior floors most likely will become wet. The wet condition will change the slip resistance. Also, the same tile used on ramps will have a different slip resistance. Abrasion resistance is important especially in higher traffic areas such as exterior commercial installations. Additionally, tile susceptible to water damage or freeze/thaw damage must be considered.

Most stone tile is suitable for this application with the exception of polished stone due to its poor slip resistance when wet.


A great deal of latitude can be allowed here with many different options especially in a dry area. Special or decorative tile can be used here.

Stone or ceramic tiles with fissures, crevices, or voids can easily be used here depending on the project requirements and design.


Many tiles are suitable and the latitude enjoyed in the residential application is similar. However, the tile selected should be somewhat tougher and be able to resist more frequent cleaning and possibly harsher chemicals used to remove graffiti and the like.


These areas are considered “wet” areas and should be treated with the type of tile recommended. Classic wall tile should not be used on exteriors due to its high water absorption rate. In addition, tile that is freeze/thaw resistant should be considered in many areas.


Since kitchen counter tops are the most common factor, these installations should be treated as wet due to the normal way they are used. The exception is that a tile should have good abrasion resistance and impact resistance. In addition, chemical resistance is important due to the many acids common to cooking. Certain consideration should be given to stain resistance both to food materials and metal utensils.

Remember that polished stone in the marble variety will etch when exposed to even mild household acids.


Since these are generally considered wet areas, a tile in the vitreous or impervious class should be used. Remember that the glaze on wall tiles typically renders that surface impervious to water. Therefore they too can be used in wet areas. However, slip resistance should certainly be considered on shower floors.

Most stone tiles are suitable for this application with a caution for shower floors when tiling with polished stone relating again to slip resistance.


Again tiles should be in the vitreous or impervious class. Depending on the installation, care must be given to slip resistance.

Again stone tiles can effectively be used in these areas.

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