All About: Ceramic Floor Tiles

Kitchen Flooring Spotlight

If you've already renovated a kitchen or are just beginning the process, you know how overwhelming the details can be. Our Fittings and Material Spotlights are quick guides to basic kitchen fixtures and materials to familiarize you with terminology, pros and cons, and relevant reader reviews. Today we look at the pros and cons of ceramic floor tiles:

Material: Ceramic Tile

Overview: Ceramic tiles are made of natural clay minerals mixed together, glazed on one side, and then fired under extreme heat to create a strong, resilient material. You can find them in a glossy or matte finish, usually sold in half- to three-quarter-inch thick four-by-four squares, but you can also find large squares.

Pros: Very durable; dent, scratch, and stain-resistant; huge selection of colors, shapes, and sizes; affordable and very easy to clean.

Cons: Hard and cold underfoot, which can lead to back and leg fatigue if you're standing on it for a long time (which is not unusual during a cooking marathon for a dinner party, for example); slippery when wet; pretty unforgivable when a glass object is dropped on it; and while the tile itself is easy to keep clean, the grout is prone to discoloring.

Installation: Definitely DIY-able, but professional installation is recommended because the process itself is very time-consuming.

How to Clean: Sweep regularly. Damp mop with a mild detergent or vinegar-based solution, and rinse with warm water. For a high shine, wipe dry with a soft cloth.

Price range: $4 - $8 per square foot.

Kitchn Reader Reviews:

Ceramic tiles [are] fine and easy to clean. I chose them and love them. - PLCH
I have lived in a house with "hard" floors—stone, ceramic, concrete—and I will never do it again. In fact, I think any kitchen designer who suggests rock-hard flooring like that needs to have his/her professional license revoked. Meanwhile, I continue to lust for cork flooring. - SunnyBlue
While renting, we had ceramic tile. It WAS hard. (And it's not a shoe issue for me... I'm usually in socks or barefoot while cooking.) I didn't feel it on a daily basis, but if I was cooking for >3 hours straight, it was bothersome... maybe I'll get a puffy small rug to go near the stove for those rare cooking marathons. - Modern on Long Island
Never, never, never, never, ever use smooth white ceramic tile for the floor. - Pyrexmaniac
I was on my feet all morning yesterday in my ceramic-tiled kitchen and my back is still unbelievably sore. Also I don't like how fast the floor gets dirty. It looks nice, but it wouldn't be my choice if I were redoing the kitchen. It was there when we moved in. - Learp17

Do you have ceramic floor tiles in your kitchen? What do you think about them?

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(Image: Better Homes & Gardens)