Vinyl vs. ceramic tile flooring

Written by fiona galloway
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Vinyl vs. ceramic tile flooring
Vinyl and ceramic tiles have advantages and disadvantages. (Tiled floor image by Simon Amberly from

Floor tiles are an ideal solution for floor covering in the modern home. Stylish and fashionable, they are easy to keep clean and wear well. Understanding the difference between vinyl and ceramic tiles will allow you to make the right choice for any room in your home.

Function of Tiles

Tiles are designed to provide a convenient, functional and practical floor covering, regardless of which material they are made from. They come in small dimensions, which makes them easier to handle than one large floor covering, and can be cut to size easily, which makes them ideal for home do-it-yourself enthusiasts. Their versatile nature makes them a popular option for householders looking to restyle their home.

Vinyl Tiles

Vinyl tiles are made from a plastic urethane compound and designed to look like traditional tiles. Available in various sizes, they also come in a variety of textures and colours. They are usually either self-adhering or glue-less with a separate spray adhesive and don't require special tools for installation. Vinyl tiles are easy to lay and, depending upon the quality of the plastic, can be hard-wearing. They are also relatively inexpensive compared with traditional floor tiles.

Pros and Cons of Vinyl Tiles

Vinyl tiles are very easy to lay and don't require any lengthy drying time as with grout. They can replicate popular flooring finishes such as natural wood, but cost loss. However, the quality of the plastic will determine the tile's comfort and lifespan. Vinyl tiles are hard-wearing enough to resist most day-to-day use, but may scratch if they come into contact with sharp objects. Although they resists moisture, any spills must be cleaned up immediately so the liquid doesn't seep through the joints and weaken the adhesive. When laying vinyl tiles, the floor surface must be completely clean and dry; otherwise, the glue may not adhere properly, and any imperfections in the floor are likely to show through unless the tiles are reasonably thick.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are made from clay, either red or white, and are heated in a kiln in a process known as "firing" until they harden. They can be glazed for durability, and decorated in a variety of colours and patterns. They are not as hard as porcelain tiles, which makes them easier to cut and work with. They adhere to a prepared floor surface with grout and are not as simple to lay as vinyl tiles.

Pros and Cons of Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are modern and stylish and more expensive than vinyl tiles, but can add value to a property. They are hard-wearing and are particularly suited to high traffic areas, but they are vulnerable to chipping--for example, if something hard falls on them. They are not simple to fit, and My Home Flooring Center recommends having a professional install them, which is an additional expense.

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