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Tile Patterns: The Ultimate Quick Read Beginner’s Guide, Including Secrets of Tile Professionals Revealed!

Tile Patterns

Tile patterns can enhance the look, feel, and atmosphere of any room, but that is only if they are used correctly. To be able to choose the right pattern for your space you need to know the secrets of the professionals and how to apply them.  And with tile pattern names like Versailles and herringbone which might not be so self-explanatory to someone who is not a pro., you’ll also need to know what each one is as well.  So here are the the most useful and  popular patterns which everyone considering using tiles in their home needs to know, with of course the secrets to using them to their full potential.

The Straight Lay Tile Pattern

The Basics: This is the most basic and easy to install of all the patterns.  For that and a few more reasons that you will soon read about, it is one of the most commonly used  wall and floor tile patterns around the world.  It works anywhere and everywhere.  The tiles are first laid side by side in a straight line.  The are corners matched up, and then grout is applied in straight, perpendicular intersecting lines. With its grid-like pattern, the straight lay is typically used for a simple, clean, yet modern look.

Tile Patterns


Tile Home Guide Secret Tips

-Just because it is the most simple don’t skip over this one.  It’s a great choice for DIY enthusiasts and anyone who wants to learn to tile.  Best of all it simplicity can really add to it’s appeal which means its can work with every style of decor. It’s an easy “go to,” choice that is guaranteed to please, especially with so many materials, sizes, colors, and styles of tile available to choose from.

Tile Patterns

The straight lay is the most common of all wall tile patterns for bathrooms


-A great function of the straight lay tile pattern, especially with solid colored tiles, is that it can also be used in an area or room that has more complicated patterns, designs, or colors, without competing or clashing with them. This makes it a perfect, practical, solution for a busy room that needs the benefits of a tile floor, but none of the distractions of a complex pattern.

Tile Patterns

Simple solid colored tiles in the straight lay are sometimes the perfect choice


-This is one of the only tile layout patterns which uses very long, straight, grout lines. Why is that a good thing? It’s because the human eye naturally follows these straight lines when looking at this pattern. You can use this to your advantage by using the lines to lead the eye of the viewer through the room.  That could mean into another space or to an important aspect or highlight of the room, such as a stunning view, prominent feature or focal point.  You wouldn’t think such a simple tile pattern could be used this way.

Tile Patterns

Why not use these grout lines to help you with how your space is perceived?


-You don’t need something complicated to create style.  Simple can go a really long way.  Most people are often surprised at just how modern and stylish the straight lay can be with the right tile material.


The Diagonal Tile Pattern

The Basics:  Simple and easy to install, this is a great tool to have in your tile pattern arsenal. Similar to the straight lay, however in this pattern the tiles are laid at a 45 degree angle. instead of straight. This changes the square tiles into diamonds.  It is probably the second most common after the straight lay, and is ideal wall and floor use alike.

Tile Patterns


Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

-The diagonal tile pattern can be a smart choice if you are looking to try something a little different than the straight lay.  It could also be an excellent way to improve on and reinforce your basic tile laying skills if you are doing the project yourself.

– This pattern is actually one secret decorators and tile professionals, use for making a room look bigger and wider than it really is. The key to this pattern is that the focus is taken off of the narrowness of the room, and shifted onto the wide angles of the tile borders. Because the tiles’ angles are in line with the viewer, they see the tile grout lines spreading out across the room. This makes them feel like they are in a much larger space they really are. It’s a great choice for floor pattern choice for a small bathroom or really any room that you would like to look bigger.

Tile Patterns

You can really see here how much more expansive a room can look when using the diagonal tile pattern


-On a kitchen backsplash is another very attractive way to use this pattern.  Diamond shapes can look very appealing on the way and make an interesting contrast or accent to other patterns in the room.

Tile Patterns

Accenting the existing pattern in the room and framed by pebble tile this stone tile bacskplash shows just how much the diagonal tile pattern has to offer!


-Tile borders too, can be a fantastic looking yet easy way to put the diagonal to work when used adjacent to other tile laying patterns.  It can really add that “extra something,” that you may be in need of.  That is why you will see it used this way on many bathroom walls and in showers that are using the straight lay as their primary wall tile pattern as it can help spice things up a little bit.

-Another variation of this pattern is to use large tiles and add accent tiles at regular intervals.  This can be very classy looking and is known as the diagonal with dots.

Tile Patterns

The diagonal tile pattern using diamond accent tiles


The Running Bond Tile Pattern

The Basics: Also called the brick pattern, because it is the most commonly used pattern in brickwork, it is also known as the running bond. You will sometimes but not as often, hear it named the brickwork pattern as well. Whatever name you choose to call it, this is another simple, yet good looking option. Typically used with rectangular tiles and subway tiles, the end of each tile is lined up with the center of the tiles which are both directly above and below it.  This creates a staggered pattern, yet a cohesive look.  It is another one of the easier tile pattern installations, however in doing so you should make sure that the tiles line up as well as possible because you don’t want this mistake to become apparent as you continue tiling further down the line.  And while tile removal is not difficult task, it’s always easier to get it right on the first try.

Tile Patterns


Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

– So what’s the secret of using the running bond? It’s that it’s used to keep secrets! The running bond is one of the best tile layout patterns for hiding imperfections. Uneven surfaces, crooked walls, small differences in tile size and various other imperfections, are all easily covered up using this pattern. The fact that the tiles don’t line up in a straight line, tricks the eye by taking the focus off of individual tiles, and onto the pattern as a whole cohesive image instead. This makes it almost impossible to spot flaws.  Who would have thought?

Tile Patterns

All tile sizes can be used with the running bond

-Don’t make the mistake of thinking it is only a wall pattern because you see there so often on backsplashes and in bathrooms. The running bond tile pattern extremely versatile and can also be used outdoors on patios and walkways, not only because of its simple design, but because of its weight bearing ability and strength.  In the home they also make for a one of the least difficult and good looking floor tile patterns you can choose.

Tile Patterns

A staggered tile layout like the running bond can be used on the floor with great success


The Checkerboard Tile Pattern

The Basics: This two color alternating pattern uses square tiles and looks just like a checker or chessboard, creating a truly classic look. Usually this pattern uses white and black floor tiles.  However,  the black is sometimes substituted for another color such as tan or gray. It is considered easy to install because it uses either the  straight lay or diagonal pattern. Typically used as a floor pattern in living rooms, mud rooms, entry ways and kitchens, it is also one of the more commonly used bathroom tile patterns, where it can work well on the floor, wall, or both.

Tile Patterns


Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:
-To unify your space, use this pattern with white walls or white tiles on the wall, as they echo the white of the floor tiles. Incorporating black wall tiles in a border, frame, or evenly spaced among the white wall tiles will accomplish the same effect.


Tile Patterns

The matching black tiles used in framing the mirror and as a border helps to really bring the room together


-Never decorate a room that uses this tile pattern with complex colors or patterns. This is probably the biggest mistake most beginners make when installing this pattern in their home. Not only will these colors clash with this type of pattern, but they will take away from its simple classy look, making it look trashy instead. Not the look you’re probably going for. The checkerboard is an elegant and stylish pattern, but it must be used with solid colors and simple décor to work to its full potential.

Tile Patterns

A very intelligently put together kitchen with black wall tiles and white cabinets mirroring the checkered tile pattern on the floor. Note the contrast of the white grout and black tiles


-Instead of purchasing black and white tiles and alternating each color, you can often find ones which have the checkerboard pattern already printed on each individual tile like shown below.


Tile Patterns

A single vinyl tile with the pattern already on it, makes it look as if you have installed four separate tiles


The Herringbone Tile Pattern

The Basics:  A medium skill level at least, is required to install this more complicated looking floor tile pattern.  Named for its resemblance to the skeleton of the Herring, a bony fish, this timeless option uses rectangular tiles.  The tiles are lined up at a 45 degree angle so that they are all parallel. This is repeated in reverse on the other side of the tiles, like a mirror image. This creates an imaginary line with tiles coming out on either side like a “V.”  It is aptly named because it really does look similar to the rib bones branching off of the spine of a fish! The herringbone tile pattern has been heavily used in Europe for hundreds of years because of its elegant yet intricate look.

Tile Patterns

Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

– Using the herringbone pattern is a trick designers use to enhance the size of a small room. The eye tends to look at the wide “V’s” which are created by the opposing tiles instead of the narrowness of the room.

-While this tile pattern works wonders in small or narrow rooms, it sometimes tends to look too busy when used in large ones.

-Use this one in hallways (especially narrow ones) to not only increase how wide it is perceived, but to draw the eye of the viewer into the next room as well. The “V’s,” do this wonderfully as they are very similar to the points of arrows, pointing you in the right direction.

Tile Patterns

Mother of pearl herringbone mosaic tiles can be used to create a unique kitchen backsplash

-Another option are herringbone mosaic tiles, which make this pattern easy for the DIY homeowner. Each tile is made up of small pieces, usually of stone that are attached to a mesh backing that form the herringbone pattern on each individual tile. And when these individual tiles are all lined up they form the herringbone pattern but much more intricate looking than with larger tiles. Using mosaic tiles of this pattern allows you to use it on the wall, which is great news are looking for a unique kitchen backsplash.


Tile Patterns

A white marble herringbone mosaic tile


-The herringbone tile pattern is perfectly suited for floors of kitchens with islands. This is because it helps to keep the island from taking away from the size of the space and making it look cluttered. The herringbone pattern helps to maintain the appearance of the width of the room while allowing you to utilize it as well.

-If you are a DIY homeowner, unless you have considerable tile laying skills, or are using mosaic tiles, this is one project you should probably leave to a pro.

-Don’t forget outdoors, the herringbone tile pattern really shines on walkways and patios too.

Tile Patterns

An outdoor project using the herringbone tile pattern


The Basket Weave Tile Pattern

The Basics:  This wall and floor pattern looks like the stitching of a woven basket, and like herringbone, it also uses rectangular tiles.  It’s fairly easy to install. These tiles are lined up in groups of either 2 or 3 vertically or horizontally to form a square.  If the first square is made up of vertically positioned tiles, the adjacent squares will be made up of horizontally placed ones. This alternating between the horizontal and vertical creates the impression of the tiles being woven over and under each other just like a basket.

Tile Patterns

Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

-Use basket weave if you want to create a classic and classy early 1900’s feel.  It works especially well when used with stones like marble.

-This is one of the tile layout patterns which can be used on the wall as well, and works perfectly to create a unique and stylish backsplash.

Tile Patterns

-Basketweave mosaic tiles are individual tiles which are made up of small vertical and horizontal pieces that form basket weave design. When placed next to each other these small basket weave designs perfectly line up to for a myriad of interweaving lines that looks amazing.

-Like the herringbone, this pattern is one which works best in smaller spaces and should avoid using in large rooms as it may look too busy. Basket weave one of most often used foyer and bathroom tile patterns.


The Windmill Tile Pattern

The Basics: The name of this pattern comes from its resemblance to the blades of a windmill.  4 rectangular tiles are used to form the shape of a large square with 1 smaller square tile in the middle to make this pattern look like a turning windmill.  The look of square tile can make this seem like you are looking at a grid of dots and while it is normally thought of as one of floor tile patterns it can be used on the wall and some people even like it so much they use it in the shower!

Tile Patterns

This black and white windmill pattern shows how 2 colors looks great, but more than that can easily cause it to look too busy


Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

-The windmill tile pattern can be used to created an interesting backsplash but also works great when used as a border pattern.

-There are many other materials you can use besides ceramic or porcelain.  So don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Tile Patterns

Slate tiles can make quite an impression when using the windmill pattern.


-Using a different color for the small tile in the center can really make the pattern pop. Two contrasting colors or one neutral one used with a a more vibrant one is sure to get some attention.

-For this pattern to look proportionate it is imperative to use the correct ratios. For the rectangular tile this ratio 2:1. So if the length of the rectangular tile is 8 inches the width should be 4 inches. The size of the square tile is also determined from this and should be the same size as the width of the rectangle, so in this case it would be a 4 inch by 4 inch square.

-An easier way to do deal with the ratios is by using mosaic tile, although the pattern will be on a smaller scale.  It’s up to your preference.

Tile Patterns

The contrast of the black center and the white background of these windmill mosaic tiles shows up strikingly well


 The Versailles Tile Pattern

The Basics: Unlike other tile patterns Versailles goes by 3 names as it is also referred to as the French or the modular pattern. The Versailles uses a combination of 4 different tile sizes: 8″x8”, 8″x16”, 16″x16”, and 16″x24”. Elegant and graceful, yet also timeless, this pattern can be used indoors or out to create a feel of randomness but without the chaos.  It is pleasing to the eye because while it appears random, but in reality the tiles fit together in a large repeating puzzle-like pattern which is perfectly balanced.  While Versailles works amazingly well indoors it is most often seen outdoors and almost always uses stone tiles like travertine.  It almost is exclusively a floor pattern and is very difficult to install as you could imagine.

Tile Patterns

A close up of outdoor Travertine tiles using the Versailles tile pattern


Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

-This is another pattern which is probably better left to the pros for installation.  But if you do decide to take on a project using this pattern make sure you start with a dry layout (as you always should) and begin tiling from the center of the space and work your way out. You therefore must lay down the first few tiles very carefully because they will determine the placement of all of the other tiles.

Tile Patterns

The Versailles pattern using Travertine tiles can be used in a variety of appplications

-The best way to purchase tiles for this pattern is in kits or bundles which have the correct ratio of tile to cover: 8, 16, or 44 square feet. And while you may end up with a few extra tiles, you’re always better off with some to spare in case of breakage or damage anyway.


The Pinwheel  Tile Pattern

The Basics: This floor tile pattern is sometimes also called the hopscotch. Many people confuse it with the windmill pattern which looks similar but uses larger tiles to surround a smaller one .  The pinwheel does the exact opposite. Four small squares placed around each of the four corners of a single large square tile.  This creates a shape similar to that of a spinning pinwheel.  While it is not overly complicated, it still needs to be planned out carefully so you should have some tile laying skills if you are going to get this one right.

Tile Patterns

In this close up you can see how the small squares convey movement and look like a spinning pinwheel


Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

-While pinwheel can really be done with any 2 size square tiles, the best ration is 2:1 which means the larger tile should be twice the size of the smaller ones.

-Use 2 colors to make this pattern pop, but using more you run the risk of creating something too busy for your space.

Tile Patterns

Pinwheel tile pattern installation in progress


These patterns all work exceptionally well at their specific applications when used correctly. Let your creativity, style, and imagination run wild while keeping these tips in mind and you should be well on your way to transforming your space and getting the most from the pattern you choose!


3 Steps to Success BEFORE You Choose a Tile Pattern

Taking these three steps before committing to any one pattern, will guarantee you avoid the most common pitfalls involved when installing a tile pattern in or outside of your home.

Decide What You Want To Achieve

This sounds silly but you would be surprised to find out just how many people choose a pattern without really knowing what they want to accomplish.  Figuring this out first will save you money, time, and an enormous amount of frustration.  You don’t want to finish your new project only to decide it’s not what you really wanted.  This will mean having to tear it out and start again which equals lost time and money. Even worse, some homeowners decide to settle with the results and will have to look at them daily in frustration and regret for years to come.  Each pattern has a different function and different look, so take your time, look at examples and ask yourself what you really want?  A retro look? A luxurious one?  Simple yet chic?  Decide on the desired result first and you won’t have to rely on getting lucky to end up with it.

Tile Patterns

Peel and stick tiles in green, white, and brown glass in the straight lay pattern

Take a Realistic Look at the Space You Are Working With

If you want to get the most out of any tile pattern you need to really look at the room or space you are dealing with.  Is it big or small?  Wide or narrow? What is the existing style of the room or area you are working with? What style or feel are you going for? These are all things you need to take into consideration.  Each tile laying pattern has its own specific abilities to work in certain types of spaces.  This also means that they don’t work in other ones.  The herringbone pattern for example really looks fantastic in smaller areas but in larger ones is too busy. After looking at your space in a realistic way, you may have to change your expectations on what you want to achieve.  You may not.  It all depends on the unique area you are going to be working with.

Tile Patterns

A charming choice for this small bathroom the checkerboard pattern not only goes very well, but set at a diagonal creates a sense of space


Pick a Material That Can Work With Your Pattern of Choice

Just like all patterns don’t work with all spaces, some materials don’t work well with all patterns.  Others fit like a glove.  Each material is different.  Some are so heavy they can be used only as floor tile, while others are so delicate they can only be used as wall tile, and a quite a few can even be used as both.  While most tiles can be used indoors not all materials can work as outdoor tiles.  If you are planning an outdoor project you will have to choose a material that can handle the elements. Many patterns need to use tiles that are specific shapes or dimensions, which sometimes can’t be done with certain materials.  The running bond tile pattern for example needs rectangular shaped tiles.  And last of all, some materials just look better than others with certain patterns, like how the Versailles tile pattern goes phenomenally well with travertine.  So once you have  a pattern in mind choose a material that can work with it and make it look good.

Tile Patterns

Using the running bond these aqua blue and grey hand-painted glass subway mosaic tiles make this shower look simply amazing


Taking a few hours to  have some fun and look at your options will help you complete these three easy steps in no time.  You will end up saving your time, money, and anxiety.  And the best part is you will receive the end effect of the pattern, the space, and the material all working together to provide you with the ultimate result: a beautiful space.


An Extra 10 Tile Pattern Secrets:

1) Larger tiles tend to make a small room appear bigger! If you have a small room using a tile pattern with very large tiles will give the illusion that the room is bigger than it really is.

2) Another secret for making a small room appear bigger is using very small tiles, seeing so many small tiles tricks the brain into thinking the room is actually larger than it happens to be.

3) Using a focal point such as a motif or mosaic tile medallion at the far end of a narrow room will take the eye off of how limited your space is as well as make the room interesting.

Tile Patterns

A marble mosaic tile medallion is like adding a piece of art in your home.

4) Using the straight lay tile pattern in a narrow room  will make the room look even more narrow because our eyes will naturally pick up on the grout lines as parallel to the walls and see it as a smaller space. Using the diagonal pattern is a better idea.

5) While it can be tempting, don’t combine too many different patterns, it will look to busy. Keep it simple by choosing only 1 or 2.

6) Keep it simple when choosing tile materials, using 3 different materials or less will look much better and will add to affect of your pattern as opposed to taking away from it.

7)You can incorporate a tile border to not only define your pattern but also lead the eye into adjacent rooms.

Tile Patterns

A gorgeous white polished marble basketweave tile border

8) Using different tile patterns to define different areas of a room is a great way to incorporate the beauty of multiple patterns but also show the functionality of a space as well.

9) Choosing a color for your pattern that echoes another color in the room, or the color from a focal point (such as a view of the ocean or mountains) is a great way to get the most out of the pattern, material, and the tiles you choose.

10) Accent tiles are a perfect tool to use to add emphasis to the style you are trying to portray as well as to the pattern you choose.

CLICK HERE NOW to find the best tiles for your project!

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Outdoor Tiles Explained: A Quick And Easy Beginner’s Guide!

Outdoor Tiles

Just like the ones used indoors, outdoor tiles come in a dizzying array of colors, textures, styles, and materials. However, unlike their indoor counterparts, outdoor tiles need to be strong, hard, and durable enough to withstand the elements. Whether it be extreme heat, rain, snow, heavy use, or all of these, they need to be able to withstand them while providing us with a space that is both attractive and functional. Unfortunately, not all tiles and materials can be, or should be used for all applications. Some tiles fair better in different temperatures and conditions than others, so it would be wise to take your time, read up, and choose carefully.

4 Questions To Help You Immediately Get Started Finding The Best Outdoor Tiles For Your Space

In order to choose the best tiles for your own unique outdoor space, you need to answer or at least try to keep in mind the same questions the pro’s do, and these are:

What is the style of your home, space, or garden?

-The style of your home, space, or garden can have a big impact on your tile choice.  Matching the style of your space with a similar style of tile can go a long way in creating a great looking and cohesive space. That being said, the opposite is true too, choosing mismatching styles is an easy and too often expensive way, to make your space look awkward and unpleasing to the eye.  Thinking about what style you need to match or have to create will automatically help you to start to narrowing down your list of possible outdoor tile materials very quickly as not every material will work with the look you need to portray.

Outdoor Tiles

How much light does the area get?

-This question is one which most homeowners never think to ask, but can make a huge difference in how your space is perceived.  Most people don’t realize that using dark tiles in an area with poor or dim lighting can really take away from the effect of your tiles, even great looking ones, making the space look dull and gloomy.    A simple rule to follow is:  Choose lighter colored outdoor tiles for areas with low light, and darker tiles with areas with a lot of light.


What color(s) is your house, and do you want to match it or contrast it?

-Both matching and contrasting can look amazing, but keeping this question in mind can help you easily weed out the colors and materials you don’t want.

***How is this space going to be used?***

-This is probably the most important of all the questions.  Answering it correctly will help you in not having to deal with many problems that can be a waste of money, time, and even cause injury. (If you are using outdoor wall tiles this is not as relevant.) Is the space going to be a high traffic area? If it is you need to choose outdoor floor tile that is durable enough to deal with it.  Some tile materials are super tough and can deal with a ton of abuse while others are much more fragile and prone to being scratched, damaged, or breaking.  Laying the wrong type of tile  in and forcing it to endure things it wasn’t meant to can lead to dealing with constant tile removal and repair, which could have easily been avoided right off the bat.

Is this an area that needs non-slip outdoor tiles to prevent injury?  Some patios and walkways are in areas which are prone to moisture, or come into contact with a lot of water. This could be due to runoff, your local climate and weather, or maybe they are bordering a pond, pool, or water feature.  Moisture and water can mean slippery and dangerous.  A fall on hard tile can be very painful to say the least.  This can also be a very important question if you are going to be using your tile on steps particularly if you have children or older adults who are not as agile and more prone injury.  However not to worry, there are many tiles suitable for outdoor steps, walkways, and patios with excellent gripping ability, just be sure to choose one if you think it will be needed.

Outdoor Tiles

Does this space need to be level or have a flat surface? Many outdoor floor tiles like some of the stone options do not have a flat surface and are not level which is part of their natural looking appeal.  It’s up to what you like and what you will be using your patio or space for. Certain types of patio furniture will need a level surface to rest on as well so if you are planning on doing a lot of outdoor entertaining this is something to think about as well. Honestly answering this question along with all the previous ones will help you to rest assured you won’t have any hassle in the future, and also to quickly decide on the materials you realistically can and can’t use.

Types of Outdoor Tiles:

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are made from clay and are one of the most diverse options as they come in many colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes. They are the most commonly used tile material indoors but they can also be used outdoors as well. However, if they are to be used outside they need to have a high PEI rating. This is a rating of hardness and durability made by the Porcelain Enamel Institute. The PEI rating can be anywhere from 1 through 5.

Outdoor Tiles

Mexican tiles can make quite a statement when used on outdoor steps or as trim around a door

1 being the most fragile and likely to chip, and 5 being the most durable and used in commercial projects such as shopping malls. For outdoor use, you should choose a tile with a rating of 4 or 5.  While outdoor wall tiles can be glazed or unglazed, if you decide to use ceramic tiles on the floor they should be unglazed.  Glazed ceramic tiles can be very slippery when wet, and that can mean dangerous.  However, don’t forget that if you do decide on unglazed outdoor floor tiles they will need to be sealed to protect against stains.


Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are much more suited for outdoor use than ceramic tiles. Not only do they not mildew or stain, but they also have such a low water absorption rate, that they are near waterproof. This is because of the fact that when they are made, the porcelain is fired at much higher temperatures than those used in manufacturing ceramic tiles.  It is this high temperature process which makes them more durable and dense than ceramic tiles which means a better tile for outdoor use. The way they are manufactured also allows them to be produced with more intricate textures that so closely mimic those of stone tiles.  Some are so realistic that they are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

They also can be produced with non-slip textures, so they can be used safely in wet areas, a trait which makes them good outdoor tiles for steps. Porcelain tiles usually have a PEI rating of 5 making them more than tough enough for the job of being used as outdoor patio tiles as well. These tiles are also resistant to freezing. An extra benefit, unlike other types of outdoor tiles, is that they come in just about an unlimited amount of colors and just about every size imaginable. While, porcelain tiles are generally more expensive than ceramic tiles, they are cheaper and more durable than stone tiles, making them a great outdoor choice for the patio, steps, walkways, or anywhere you could think to use them.

Outdoor Tiles

In this red porcelain tile you can really see the texture


Quarry Tiles

While not actually coming from quarried stone as they did in the past, these unglazed clay tiles are very tough and function extremely well as outdoor tiles for patio use. Unlike ceramic and porcelain tiles, quarry tiles are typically only found in a few colors. Most often they are seen in red, but sometimes also in brown or grey. It is these deep, rich, earth tone colors, that help quarry tiles portray a unique Mediterranean look that many homeowners love. These tiles are also much thicker than other types usually ranging from ½” to ¾”. This thickness and the fact that they are very dense, makes them an extremely durable and strong tile that can take the abuse of the outdoors.

Outdoor Tiles

A perfect quarry tile patio

Quarry tiles also have a very low water absorption rate, allowing the homeowner to use them in wet areas without any problems. This added to the fact that their unglazed surface provides grip, makes them a very effective non-slip tile surface. However, they do need to be sealed as they will absorb stains. Quarry tiles can be tougher to clean than other types of tiles though and sometimes require a good power washing. Because quarry tiles are so tough and also very attractive, they work great as floor tiles, countertop tiles, and even outdoor wall tiles.

Outdoor Tiles

Always make sure to use a good quality sealant


Sandstone Tiles

One of the most popular materials for construction and building since the ancient times, sandstone also makes for beautiful tiles.   As a sedimentary rock it is made up of tiny particles of other rocks and sand which have been displaced by wind and water.  Because these tiny particles have a huge range in color so do sandstone tiles.  However it is most often seen in white, tan, red, gray, and brown. It is considered one of the softer stones, easier to carve and cut, yet still strong and durable. It’s easiness to work with, and beautiful variations in texture and color are the reason it has always been so popular especially as outdoor tiles for patios.  The only drawback to sandstone is that it is one of the most porous stones and therefore will absorb a lot of water.  This is not a problem as long as it receives a proper sealing to keep it waterproof.  If it does not, it runs the risk of absorbing not only water but the salt which is in the water as well. Salt absorption can result in serious damage to the stone. If not properly sealed it will also easily absorb oil resulting in staining of the tile.


Granite Tiles

Typically found in the U.S., Brazil, and India, granite is the strongest and most durable of all the stone tiles.  It is also naturally waterproof and will not stain or absorb oils like other materials. This is true even without sealing.  It can easily take heavy traffic, is extremely scratch resistant, won’t chip or crack, is a cinch to clean, and is almost impenetrable to bacteria.

Outdoor Tiles

This black galaxy granite tile shows just how fantastic looking granite can be

These natural qualities make granite one of the most popular outdoor floor tiles and also the most commonly used stone for countertops in both indoor and outdoor kitchens as well. Because they are so heat resistant, they are also great fireplace tiles too! While usually gray in color granite can range to much lighter colors, even pink. It is more expensive than other materials,  but you really get what you pay for with granite as you will be able to enjoy these almost maintenance free tiles for possibly a lifetime!


Limestone Tiles

Limestone is formed underwater by shells, coral, algae and calcium carbonate. Another material favored by builders since ancient times, limestone is easy to cut and work with, yet still strong and durable.  Usually gray, tan, brown, or red in color this strong, heavy material was used to make castles and even the Great Pyramid at Giza.  Needless to say limestone tiles are very tough.  However, care must be taken as they can still scratch.  Limestone tiles need to be properly sealed as they are somewhat porous and highly susceptible to damage by acids.  They are easy to clean but must never be cleaned with acidic cleaners such as bleach or vinegar.

Outdoor Tiles

Very attractive limestone tiles


Travertine Tiles

Travertine is a type of limestone which is known for its small pits, caused by gas escaping during its formation giving it a spongy looking texture. These pits are usually filled in making cleaning easy however many people think it adds to their character and charm.

Outdoor Tiles

Large cream colored Travertine tiles

Travertine was used to build the Coliseum and many other famous structures worldwide. Durable and resistant to the elements travertine tiles are still limestone and therefore need to be sealed and cleaned with non-acidic cleaners. They are well-known for how stunning they look when used in the Versailles tile pattern.

Outdoor Tiles

If you look closely you can see the sponge-like texture of these travertine tiles


Soapstone Tiles

Soapstone originally got its name for its soft texture, which can feel almost slippery to the touch like soap. This comes from the fact that it is mostly made up of talc.  It was used by many native cultures to make pots, pans, and bowls because of its high heat resistance, the fact that it’s almost impervious to water, and the ease in which it could be carved. Soapstone is now very popular for kitchen countertops, backsplashes, and outdoor tiles.  Its high heat resistance and the fact that it’s naturally waterproof make it a great material for tiles in really hot, wet, or extreme climates.  Soapstone is typically is found in Brazil, India, and Scandinavia, and ranges from brown, gray, blue to green in color.  The only drawback to using soapstone tiles is that because they are soft, they are easily scratched.  However, scratches can easily be fixed with a light sanding and mineral oil application.


Slate Tiles

Slate tiles are natural stone tiles which are cut from metamorphic rock. They are usually mostly grey in color. But being natural stone, there is always variation in their color and markings, so they can vary from orange to purple. They also have surfaces which are uneven, making them look even more unique and natural. Their uniqueness, natural look, color, and feel make slate a great outdoor tile for patio use. Slate is also good in wet conditions and its uneven surface is very slip resistant.

Outdoor Tiles

You can clearly see the natural variation of colors in these beautiful slate tiles

However, you should only consider slate if you live in a warmer climate, because slate is not suitable for freezing temperatures. Also while slate is a very dense material, unlike other outdoor tiles it is easily scratched. Something you probably need to take into account if you are planning to use it in an area with heavy use or young children. Slate tile must also be sealed properly to prevent staining from oils.

Outdoor Tiles

A darkly colored slate tile

Outdoor Rubber Tiles

Outdoor rubber tiles are perhaps the easiest way to enjoy a soft slip resistant area without spending a lot of money. While they don’t have the beauty or natural look of other outdoor tiles, they have many other advantages worth considering. They come in a variety of textures, colors, and sizes, and are extremely tough. This makes them great tiles for children’s play areas, patios, around pools, and other places where you need a soft surface with tons of grip.

Outdoor Tiles

These rubber tiles form a safe non-slip surface making this patio a safe place to relax with the family

Outdoor rubber tiles can withstand elements ranging from freezing to extreme heat.  And they are also water proof and porous, which means that water will not pool on top of them but rather drain through the tile. They can providing a textured grip in even the wettest environment and really are excellent non-slip outdoor tiles. For this reason they the most popular choice for used around swimming pools.  DIY homeowners love these tiles because they are interlocking, meaning you can install them yourself, and with no adhesive or skills required. This combined with the fact that they are not as expensive as stone or porcelain tiles means you save money not only when purchasing, but on the fact that there is no installation cost.

Outdoor Tiles

The perforated pattern surface allows for drainage and a non-slip texture on this outdoor rubber tile


Outdoor Deck Tiles 

Just like rubber tiles, outdoor deck tiles are great for the DIY homeowner. They come in many textures, colors, and materials.  And conveniently they usually snap together or interlock and can simply be placed down on any semi-flat surface  with no messy grout, or installation fees.  They can even be placed right on top of your existing deck, patio, or even on top of the lawn.   You don’t even need screws, nails or adhesives.  Being extremely weather and climate resistant, these tiles can be used in any conditions.

Outdoor Tiles

These handsome Teak deck tiles snap together with no glue or skill required

They come in many types of wood, like cherry, teak, oak, and ipe just to name a few.  Many of  these are insect, heat, and moisture proof.  Wooden outdoor deck tiles usually  only require a once a year application of deck oil to maintain at most. Not only limited to wood, they are also available in other materials as well, such as plastic, stone, and concrete.

Outdoor Tiles

A bamboo composite deck tile


Outdoor Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles are square pieces of carpeting. This is in contrast to your typical rolled carpeting. They can be a much more convenient way to go because sections that are worn, stained, or damaged can easily be removed, replaced, or swapped. While not normally thought of as in the same group as the other tile options shown above, outdoor carpet tiles are an ideal choice for someone looking to put down carpet on their patio, garage, workshop, outdoor work area, pool house, high traffic commercial location, or entryway.  They provide a non-slip grip and can be installed very easily because of their square shape and self adhesive peel-and-stick backing. Good quality tiles are odor and stain-resistant along with durable and easy to clean.  Carpet tiles that can be used outdoors will often be advertised as indoor/outdoor carpet tiles.

Outdoor Tiles

A typical outdoor carpet tile square

As you can see, there are many types of outdoor tiles to choose from. While all have their good points, some might not be the right fit for your space or function. However, if you take it slow and ask yourself the right questions, you will find the right outdoor tile for your needs, your space, and save money  and time in choosing correctly the first time around!

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Marble Tiles For Unmatched Elegance

Marble Tiles

Of all tile materials marble is the one most associated with luxurious living.  It portrays an upscale look in a manner which is not just attractive, but more accurately can be described as stunningly beautiful.  Using it can allow you to create a space which can be classic, modern, or more contemporary but always opulent.

Marble tiles can range all the way from pure white to black and while these are the most popular choices, there is an enormous variety available in-between to ensure you will be impressed and intoxicated by their beauty and can match any color scheme, theme, or style.

Adding to their looks is the fact that every individual tile has its own unique veins running through it making each one a work of art designed by Mother Nature herself.  These veins twist, turn, and even swirl throughout the body of the tile and can be very pronounced or more uniform, it depends on the stone and its individual properties.

Marble Tiles


Different Shapes, Sizes, and Types for All Uses  

Their elegance and natural variety makes these tiles popular for many uses and locations, and that means there are a variety of shapes, sizes and types available to meet that demand.  In recent years they have been the preferred choice for kitchen and bathroom installations in particular, both on the floor and on the wall.  The smaller size of these rooms compared to the rest of the house coupled with the affordability of tiles means you can often use them to design a space reminiscent of a five star hotel in your very own home for much less than you’d imagine.

Marble Tiles


On The Wall

Marble wall tiles are used as shower and tub surrounds, to create stunning backsplashes, match tile used on the floor, or to transform boring looking walls into a work of natural stone art. Other than traditional square options, rectangular subway tiles are a breathtaking choice for wall use and especially backsplashes where they are commonly installed in the running bond pattern.

Marble Tiles

Mosaic marble tiles, which are single tile made up of many smaller pieces attached to a mesh backing, are an unbelievably simple way to decorate your walls in just about any pattern with as little effort as possible. This is because each individual tile contains the pattern already on it, so when they are installed and lined up with surrounding tiles the pattern is completed.  Layouts like the herringbone, running bond, straight lay, and many more are all available.  There are also different shapes to choose from as well, many that can provide a classy retro feel.  But don’t overlook square tiles for your wall or even fireplace.  When used on the fireplace, marble wall tiles can be installed on the surround but for the hearth be sure to only use floor tiles as they will need to be much more durable.

Marble Tiles


On The Floor        

Square marble floor tiles are ideal for those who want to really be able to admire the true of nature of this stone.  Usually these will be 12” x 12” but can be as big as 24” x 24”. Larger tiles tend to make a small room appear bigger which you can use to your advantage if you have a room that feels a little cramped. More modestly sized field tiles can be a good choice too. Or a marble tile medallion set in a foyer floor could be the eye catching traditional touch you are looking for.

Marble Tiles

Mosaics work just as well on the floor as they do on the wall if not better. In fact they are one of the top marble tiles for bathroom floors.  Their many grout lines provide some serious non-slip grip so you can complete the marble theme or match wall tiles without compromising safety.  Many homeowners will use tiles of other shapes and sizes to frame them and highlight their looks.

Different Finishes

There are a few different finishes to help meet the needs of your project and preferences each with their own advantages.

Polished Marble Tiles

Glossy looking polished tiles can be very luxurious in appearance and help to establish a classic feel. Their mirror-like surface is reflective and will not stain as easily as other finishes.  They can offer a bright presentation that really “pops”. However dust can be seen more clearly on these so be sure to keep them clean.  Also, polished marble floor tiles should not be used in the bathroom or other wet areas as they are simply too slippery. The exception to this are mosaic tiles which can be used on the floor regardless of what finish they have.

Marble Tiles

Honed Marble Tiles

On these, the surface has been ground to create a matte finish.  They are often used for installations that are more contemporary in style but also ones which are more traditional too. Honed tiles can be used on the floor in wet areas, as long as they are properly sealed.  If you are on the market for something a little more subdued and less shiny these could be right for you.

Marble Tiles


Tumbled Marble Tiles

A little more rustic in appearance, tumbled tiles have a finish which is also matte or dulled. By literally tumbling the stone in a drum with chemicals and aggregates it produces a more rough and pitted surface. This weathered or aged appearance is something many homeowners find very charming for a more casual elegance.  While it is a little easier to stain than the polished variety it hides wear, heavy use, dust, and scratches without a problem.  Tumbled marble tiles are particularly popular for use on kitchen and bathroom backsplashes among other places.

Marble Tiles


Common  Colors

When it comes to color there are many to choose from. The color of marble and its veins is influenced by the materials, impurities, and minerals found in the stone.  Because of this many regions where it is quarried are known for producing specific colors and shades as a result of the conditions.

White Marble Tiles  

The most sought after color of all is white.  And of course tiles can really range in just how white they are.  Some are almost pure white in color and extremely uniform. The whiter they are the more calcite they contain.

Marble Tiles

One the most well known, highest quality, and widely available is Carrara marble.  It gets its name from the city of Carrara in Italy where the quarries which produce it are located.  When using Carrara marble tiles in your home you are actually using the same stones as the ancient Romans did in much of their building projects.  While famous for being white many are also grey in color, if that’s what you prefer. Luckily unlike in the past this Italian marble is very affordable.

Marble Tiles

Most homeowners who install white marble floor tiles do so in areas with lower traffic such as kitchens and bathrooms as dust and dirt shows up easier on lighter color tiles in general.  Whether used on the wall or floor they can be used to match white countertops and vanities regardless of if they are made from stone or other materials, along with to brighten up any space with their natural glow (this glow is actually a result of the stone being somewhat translucent which lets light enter into it).

Marble TilesGrey Marble Tiles 

Another very popular choice are grey tiles. This color is formed as a result of clay minerals in the stone. They can range from light to dark and many are a bluish grey which makes for an interesting display.  Light gray stone will often have dark grey veins, while dark grey stones may have white veins. It’s up your preference which you find more attractive.

Marble Tiles

Grey marble floor tiles will hide grime and dirt so they are not readily visible to the eye.  Stains too, are much more difficult to notice. For this reason grey tiles are often used in areas that get more foot traffic.  Of course this holds true for grey marble wall tiles too, and that’s why you’ll see them used on kitchen backsplashes so often.

Marble Tiles

Black Marble Tiles 

One of the most impressive colors is without a doubt black.  It is created by a large volume of bituminous material in the stone during its formation.  Black marble tiles, especially polished ones are the hallmark of extremely high end vintage style. But they can also be used to portray a modern one too.  The most famous of all black marbles is known as Neo Marquina marble from Spain.  Tiles made of this feature a deep shade of black with very distinct white veins.

Marble Tiles

In fact it is this contrast of black and white that can be used to make all black marble tiles look their best.  That can simply be from the contrast of the black body and the white veins in the tile itself or you can take this a step further and use it as part of your design.

Using black floor tiles to contrast white wall tiles and vice versa is a common trick that will make both stand out. Or you could use both colors right next to each other and alternate them as in the classic checkerboard pattern.  If you will be employing black tiles in the kitchen or bathroom just remember that the polished variety will show water spots more easily so another finish might be better for your backsplash or shower.

In the bathroom black marble floor tiles are often used to contrast white fixtures such as sinks and toilets.  Using white grout is also a very easy way to highlight them by taking advantage of these two opposites.  Black also complements grey very well and this  color combo can be found in many mosaic tiles.

Marble Tiles


Green Marble Tiles 

Exotically elegant, green marble tiles contain serpentine which gives them their color and also makes them very hard. The green color makes scratches very difficult to see especially if you choose a type such as the famous rain forest green. This is known for being a busy and colorful variety of marble and is quarried in India.  Because larger tiles may have very distinct veining with rain forest green it’s usually wise to have them installed by a professional to guarantee the end result is a cohesive display that lines up well. You can often find these available in mosaic tile too. Rain forest brown is another shade of this type.

Marble Tiles

Ming green is a more subdued choice that can range from a light to emerald green. It works fabulously with white fixtures and walls and is fairly translucent which adds to its gem-like appearance. A Chinese import, Ming green marble tiles whether honed, polished, or tumbled are an exceptional option for backsplashes, kitchen and bathroom floors, and showers.  Since they are really appealing when used with white they make an ideal material for mosaic tiles with their large volume of intersecting grout lines.

Marble Tiles


Other Colors

Other than white, grey, black, and green there are many other colors to pick from.  Yellow, pink, brown, and orange are all worth considering.  Red marble tiles too, can make quite a statement with their vibrant looks.  These colors each come in many different shades so there really is something for every preference.

Marble Tiles



Unlike in the past, or when shopping for actual marble slabs, today there is no reason you have to be stuck with the limited supply at your local stone warehouse or home store.  Shopping locally can be very time consuming and normally entails driving from place to place or even state to state trying to find what you want. It can also sometimes be a nightmare when it comes to attempting to return tiles you’re not happy with.

Marble Tiles

Buying marble tiles online is the least hassle and offers the biggest selection of colors, finishes, sizes, shapes, and styles. With discounts that can almost never be found locally, sites like Amazon actually offer many more marble options than other materials. And most can be shipped for free and returned without a hitch. Plus, you can always read the reviews of other buyers and won’t have to leave the comfort of your home when shopping.

Online, tiles are most often sold by the square foot and samples are normally available too.  If you have a specific size you need that is smaller than what’s available, you could always order larger ones and cut them to size with a wet tile saw or if you have a contractor have them do so for you.   Some stone suppliers also sell on the internet and may be able to cut tiles to your specifications before shipping. No matter where you do buy from, a good rule of thumb to remember is to purchase at least 5% more than you’ll need in case of breakage.

Marble Tiles

Faux Options

Even though they are a fantastic way to go, marble tiles may not be the right choice for every project, location, or budget. Another route you can take is using another material that is made to mimic the look of this stone of which there are a few.

Porcelain is one that is good for areas that get a lot of use and can look just like the real thing. Tiles made from porcelain are affordable and a popular alternative for use in the shower. A trick many consumers use is to install both real marble and marble look porcelain tiles together, with one type on the floor and one on the wall.  By using faux marble in conjunction with the real thing no one will suspect it’s not genuine.

Polished cement or concrete tiles too can be made to look just like marble and are very tough yet budget friendly. And while not a substitute for natural stone, vinyl tiles are dirt-cheap, come in many marble look patterns and colors, and can be installed quickly by you.  Vinyl can also be used as a temporary solution if you are saving up for authentic ones.

Marble Tiles



While the setting techniques are basically the same as ceramic and porcelain tiles, the majority of homeowners do have their marble tiles installed by a professional.  As with all natural stone tiles it is always very important to use only installation materials of the highest quality.  Sealing marble tiles is a must, and it is best to do so before they are installed using a top notch sealant to help make sure your grout doesn’t stain your tile. A stone sealer or impregnator will make your tile much more stain resistant against both water and oil based stains and can last for at least a few years before needing to be reapplied.

Marble Tiles

Make sure if you are installing the tiles on your own to use un-sanded tile grout because the sanded variety can scratch the surface the marble.  For cutting tiles to size you will need a tile saw or grinder with a diamond coated blade.  As for an adhesive, a cement-based thinset is what is normally used.  White marble tiles along with other light colors will require a white thinset since darker ones can show through the tile and change their appearance.

Black and green marble tiles will need a different adhesive.  That’s because the minerals they contain are sensitive to water and moisture causing them to warp or curl (pull up) at their edges.  This doesn’t mean that they can’t have contact with water or be used in wet areas like bathrooms once they are sealed and installed, just that a one hundred percent epoxy should be substituted for thinset as an adhesive.


Maintaining and cleaning marble tiles is not difficult and doesn’t take any extra effort, instead it just comes down to knowing how to do so properly and what you can and can’t use. The most important thing to keep in mind is to never use any cleaner which is acidic. Marble contains calcium which means it is very sensitive to acids.  So using very mild cleaners is best.

Marble Tiles

Most store bought cleaners are way too harsh, acidic, and contain other chemicals which can stain or damage the stone or may degrade the sealer leaving your tile unprotected.  Cleaning powders typically are also very abrasive and can dull the finish on your tiles and even scratch them. Ammonia, bleach, vinegar, and citrus agents like lemon should never be used.

For daily cleaning of floor tiles you’ll want to use a dry dust mop.  This will keep them free of dirt, dust, and particles which can be unsightly but also end up scratching them. Dry mopping is better than using a vacuum which can scratch your tiles if its attachments have sharp edges or wheels that are worn. For wall tiles you can use a soft sponge with nothing but warm water.

A more thorough cleaning can be done on weekly basis by wet mopping or using a soft cloth with a mixture of lukewarm water and a mild laundry or even dish washing liquid.  There are also many stone cleaners made specifically for marble and similar stones.  You can use a nylon scrub brush to help you if your tiles get a little grimy.

Marble Tiles

When drying use a very soft cloth or chamois for a handsome streak-free polish. Make sure you remove any water spots as they may leave trace mineral deposits depending on your water. Keeping all your marble cleaning supplies in a separate tote is a simple way to guarantee you won’t slip up and use the wrong ones without having to think.

Preventing And Dealing With Stains

By following a few rules along with the cleaning methods described above, you can help to prevent stains from happening in the first place which is always a smart idea. When spills occur on your tile be sure to blot them with paper towel right after they happen instead of wiping them.  In doing this you’ll help to stop them from spreading to a larger area and keep the risk of staining to a minimum if any at all. Next wash the area with a mild cleaner and water, rinse it, and dry it off with a soft cloth. You may have to do this a few times.

Marble Tiles

In the bathroom, it would also be good to keep any aerosol spray cans and cleaning products off the floor and in a cabinet, or tray.  That way you won’t end up with any rust rings or damage from harsh chemicals that may have dripped down the sides and onto the floor tiles.

If you do have a stain that won’t seem to come out, do not use an abrasive pad to try to and scrub it but instead use a poultice. A poultice is a stain removing powder that is mixed with a liquid or chemical to form a paste which is used to draw the stain out of the stone. This may take from twenty four to forty eight hours.  There are many poultices on the market made for natural stone but if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself you can contact a stone professional.  For specific types of stains such as oil for example, there are also quite a few excellent commercial cleaners you can buy.

Marble Tiles Repairs

With very simple repairs such as scratches you may be able to get away with using a tile grinder with a diamond coated blade or abrasive hand pads. Just be sure to only go as far as to be able remove the damage itself and use finer grits afterwards to help “mask” what you have fixed.  However for anything more you may want to call a stone restoration expert.  They will have the knowledge, experience, skills, machinery, and chemicals to deal with the situation.

For elegance and natural beauty like no other, marble tiles are an obvious choice.  With some of the finest benefits stone can offer whether they are used on the wall, floor, or both they’ll be sure to make a statement. And, best of all one which you can enjoy the look and feel of every day!

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