Ceramic tiles are a mixture of clays that are pressed into shape and fired at high temperatures which gives the tile its hardness. The bisque (body) of ceramic tile may then be glazed or left unglazed depending on its intended use. The look is luxurious and is actually very cost effective in the long term because of its durable, long lasting surface. Other features like versatility, easy care and maintenance make tile a very popular flooring choice. LA Carpet’s professional staff can install tile flooring as well as tile countertops.

Types of Tiles

Ceramic Mosaic Tile:
Tiles that are less than 6 inches facial area and may be either porcelain or natural clay composition and usually are 3/8" or less in thickness.

Quarry Tile
Tiles made from the extrusion process from shale or natural clays and usually are 6 square inches or more in facial size and can be glazed or unglazed.

Paver Tile
Glazed or unglazed natural clay or porcelain tiles having a facial area of six square inches or more and made from the dust-pressed method.

Wall Tile
Glazed tiles with that are designed for indoor use and are generally non-vitreous.

Common Tile Terms

The most common style today in floor and wall tiles, as well as for residential and commercial applications. A liquid glass is applied to the body of the tile and fired at high temperatures. The glazing becomes hard and non-porous resulting in a flooring that is:

  • Stain Resistant
  • Scratch Resistant
  • Fire Resistant
  • Doesn’t Fade from Sun Light
  • Slip Resistant
  • Easy to Clean
Shiny glazes are softer, can be scratched easier and can be slippery than the satin or rustic finishes.

There is no glazing or any other coating applied to the tile. Their color is the same on the face of the tile as it is on the back resulting in very durable tiles that do not show the effects of heavy traffic. The most common unglazed tiles are the red quarry tiles or the granite looking porcelain ceramic tiles used in heavy commercial areas.

Saltillo Tile:
is a Mexican tile made of unprocessed clays.

Floor tiles are made more durable to withstand normal foot traffic. These tiles also have a more textured and/or matte surface, as compared to wall tile, to improve slip resistance and enhance the overall appearance of the floor.

Porcelain tile

Floors are by far the strongest of any manufactured flooring today. Although more expensive than standard ceramic, they provide durability and resiliency not found in any other fired flooring.

Porcelain tile differs from ceramic tile in its manufacture, absorption and breaking strength. Because porcelain is pressed under higher pressure than other tiles, in the range of 6,000 pounds per square inch, it is denser than ceramic tile. It is also fired at a temperature of 2200° F, while ceramic tile would be fired at 1800° F, providing a much lower rate of absorption. The international standard for porcelain tile states that for tile to qualify as porcelain, it must have water absorption of 0.5% or less which makes it suitable for interior and exterior applications in all climates. The water absorption rate of ceramic tile is usually greater than 3%, which means that it is not suitable for exterior applications.

Porcelain tile is made up of approximately 50% feldspar; the remaining 50% is made up of various high-quality light firing ball clays. This makes the fired body white, allowing clear, brilliant colors and through body construction, meaning the color goes all the way through the tile rather than a surface glaze application.

These inherent differences in the manufacturing processes and the quality of the raw materials make porcelain tile a superior product in terms of value, durability, color and design.

Natural stone floors offer a distinct and beautiful alternative to your flooring choices. Each stone has it own unique visual appearance. Unlike glazed ceramic tiles, stone tiles do not have a protective glazed coating on top and the color goes all the way through the tiles.

Types of Stone

Marble floors have been used for centuries and can add an aura of splendor and sophistication to any room. No two pieces of marble are exactly alike which helps create the distinctive natural visuals that are only achieved within nature. Polishing the marble tiles gives them a patina that enhances the overall beauty of each tile.

Granite is one of the hardest and most durable of all stones used in flooring. The speckled colorations found in granite add a beautiful and subtle fine pattern of color. Polishing the granite adds a visible sheen and depth to each tile. Like marble, no two pieces are a like and color variations add to the natural beauty and appeal. LA Carpet can also install granite countertops as well.

Slate is more of a fine grained rock with traces of metal that were present during its slow, natural formation in the earth. Natural shade variations are an inherent characteristic of slate and enhance the distinctive details of each piece. Slate has a rustic charm that appeals to our senses for natural materials.

Travertine stones helped build the Roman Empire and added to the appeal for these stones. Crystallized minerals and limestone create these beautiful beige stones with unique color and veining characteristics. Polishing the travertine stones give more depth, sheen and accents the natural variations of the stone.

For care of stone floors, stones should have a special penetrating sealer to prevent staining and help protect the pores of the stone's surface. Use special cleaners made for stones that are non-acidic. Regular cleaning with a soft dust mop is recommended to help remove dirt and grit from the floor.

Scratch Resistance:

MOHS scale used to test and rate ceramic tile glaze for resistance to scratching. The scale uses a 1 to 10 rating; “1”is the softest and “10” is hardest on the scale.Tile with a value of 4to6 is suitable for most residential floor tile and with a value of 7 or higher is normally recommended for commercial.

Slip Resistance:

Tile used on commercial and residential floors should provide a safe walking surface in both wet and dry conditions. To measure the slip resistance of various ceramic tile surfaces, an American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) testing Procedure is used to establish a quantitative value rating to the tile, referred to as the “coefficient of friction” (COF). The coefficient of friction of a tile is a numerical index rating. The higher the index number, the higher the slip resistance of the tile in either wet and/or dry conditions.

Wear rating:

PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) is a wear-rating test, which simulates the effects of traffic on a floor surface. Based upon the type of traffic and the degree of dirt present, tiles begin to show signs of wear. The scale uses from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).

PEI 1:

Floors in bathrooms or other areas with light traffic that are walked on essentially with soft-soled footwear or bare feet without possibility of presence of dirt.

PEI 2:

Floors in living areas of homes with the exception of kitchens, entrances and other heavy traffic floors.

PEI 3:

Floors in all residential interiors and light commercial applications like halls, kitchen, corridors, balconies and terraces.

PEI 4:

Floors with considerable traffic for all residential interiors and most commercial areas like entrances, workrooms, Inns and exhibition and shopping malls and public areas.

PEI 5:

All heavy-duty wear ability for residential and commercial areas.


The water absorption rating is also a good indicator for the stain resistance for tiles. A tile’s water absorption rate is calculated, as percentage of water the tile will absorb in a specific period of time (W/A%). There is a direct relationship to the W/A rate and suitability of the various types of tile for interior or exterior applications.

Ceramic comes in various sizes which we can create a lot of visual interest with the same tile collection just by varying the sizes used and layout. Pattern is another way that ceramic tile helps make a powerful design statement.

Alternating Horizontal Alternating Basketweave Horizontal Basketweave Vertical
Block Pattern Brickwork Square Brickwork Vertical Narrow Brickwork Vertical
Brickwork Checkerboard Cobblestone Corridor Modular
Corridor Horizontal Corridor Layered Corridor Vertical Corridor
Diamond Divisibl Grid Horizontal Grid Pattern
Grid Herringbone Hopscotch Interlocked
Lacework Modified Hopscotch Modified Hopscotch Octagon
Pentagon Steppingstone Vectored Windmill


- Wipe with damp cloth or sponge using all-purpose cleaner. Use window cleaner for glossy surfaces.
- For heavy duty cleaning, clean with scouring powder, cleaner using non-metallic scouring, pad or very fine grade stainless steel pad.


- Vacuum regularly to remove gritty particles. Damp mop using solution of water and soap less detergent.
- For heavy duty cleaning, use a commercial tile cleaner or a strong solution of water and soup less detergent. If stained, use scouring powder paste. Let stand for five minutes, brush and scrub.