What Should I Consider When Buying Ceramic Tile?

Amy Hunter

Ceramic tile is a beautiful and economical way to add a custom style to your home. There are a variety of things to consider when choosing tile. Ceramic tile is relatively easy to install, so many people choose this as a do-it-yourself project. If you plan to install the ceramic tile yourself, it is even more important that you shop carefully.

There are a number of factors to consider when buying ceramic tile.
There are a number of factors to consider when buying ceramic tile.

Ceramic tile is available in a wide range of sizes. In general, the larger the tile, the easier it will be to install. The most important part of installing tile is to keep it even and level. There are a variety of spots that you need to watch to ensure that you are laying the tile correctly.

The most important part of installing tile is to keep it even and level.
The most important part of installing tile is to keep it even and level.

It is important that the mortar below your tile is a uniform height. This will keep your floor from being uneven. If the mortar is thicker in one area than another, your tiles will also be uneven, leading to an uneven floor. The spacing between each tile needs to be even as well. While there are spacers available that you slide between the tiles to help maintain proper spacing, it can still be difficult to keep each row properly spaced.

Sanded grout is recommended for use with ceramic tile floors.
Sanded grout is recommended for use with ceramic tile floors.

As you can see, there are a variety of ways that the spacing and maintaining evenness can be a problem while laying ceramic tile. When you use larger tile, you will have less opportunities to make a mistake with your spacing. Larger tiles are also easier to handle in the sticky, thin-set mortar.

Another consideration when you are choosing ceramic tile is the pattern of the tile. Ceramic tile nearly always has some variation in each tile. If the variation is subtle, it is easier to match. If the variation is more pronounced, it is important to be very careful when laying the tile out. Even a group of tiles that look exactly alike will exhibit subtle changes when set out beside each other.

The easiest way to deal with slight variations in the tile color is by selecting tiles out of each of the boxes in a random pattern. The worst thing that you can do is to use all of one box, and then move on to the next box. Instead, open all of the boxes of ceramic tile and mix them up. This will draw attention to the natural variations between the tiles without there being highly visible lines, with each quarter of the room looking different.  

Larger tiles require less time and skill to install.
Larger tiles require less time and skill to install.

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Discussion Comments


@Drtroubles -Porcelain is probably easier to clean than ceramic tile so that is another important consideration. I have had ceramic tile and while it is really pretty it is harder to clean than porcelain.

I have even used marble tile which is absolutely beautiful and totally worth the money but you will need special cleaning material for marble. I think you should get a few quotes as to the cost of the tile with installation and go with a company that is well-known like Home Depot.

This way you won’t have to wait on a contractor because the work is guaranteed by the store. This is what I have done in the past and have never had a problem. I would not install the tile myself because this is not an area that I would feel comfortable saving money on.


I think using ceramic tile is one of the nicest things you can do to add some color to your home. I installed a very colorful ceramic tile backsplash in my kitchen.

Most of my house is decorated in neutral colors, so I like to have a pop of color here and there. This was a perfect way to add some color to the kitchen area.

Because this wasn't a real large area, it didn't take much time to install. I had never done anything like this before, but it was not hard. I asked a lot of questions at the store and watched videos on YouTube before I got started.

This turned out so well that I am now looking at some bathroom ceramic tile designs to make some simple changes to my bathroom too.


I have never installed ceramic tile myself, but the home we live in has ceramic tile on the basement floor and the bathrooms.

There are several things I like about the ceramic tile. It is easier to clean and maintain than carpet - especially when you have kids and pets.

If it is a high traffic area where you will be installing it, I would go with a darker grout color between the tiles. White grout looks really nice, but is a lot harder to keep clean. If you go with a neutral color, you will save yourself a lot of cleaning time.

Ceramic tile can also be cold in the winter time. In our master bathroom we have heated floors underneath the tile which is really nice. In the summer time, the ceramic tile feel really good because it stays cool.

In the basement I have rugs on the floor so the floor won't be so cold. When our basement got flooded, I was really glad I had tile instead of carpet down there.


I was recently talking to a friend who works as a salesperson at a home improvement store and he told me that the debate between whether or not to go with porcelain or ceramic tile is still hot. From what he told me I think that one of the largest misconceptions people have about these two tiles is that one is somehow fundamentally better than the other. This just isn't true.

Ceramic tile manufactures and those that make porcelain now both work with glazing their tiles. Glazed ceramic tile and glazed porcelain tile both need to be replaced if chipped, as their cores are a different color. It really comes down to which you can afford and like.


@drtroubles - If you have the budget I would go for porcelain tiles. I love how porcelain looks and how well it holds up to heavy traffic. We have had our tiles installed for years and they continue to look amazing.

I think if you purchase cheap ceramic tile you may have to replace them more frequently and while they are easier to install, I just don't feel they have the same quality as porcelain. This is of course, just my opinion.

I think it really depends on which works for you. If you are a DIY kind of person definitely go for ceramic tile in colors that appeal to you or you will struggle with finding the correct tools to work with.


My wife and I are considering porcelain tiles for our kitchen and are wondering if ceramic tile may be a better bet?

We have looked at numerous ceramic tile designs but really like the look and feel of porcelain. We like how sturdy it feels and it just seems to have a more luxurious feel. Budget is an issue though, as porcelain tiles are expensive.

We are concerned that the discount ceramic tiles we have seen just won't stand up as well as porcelain, and won't maintain their look for long enough. Does anyone have any experience with using both tiles? We would love to hear if ceramic tile installation is the way to go.

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