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Resource Center

What’s The Best Floor For A Daycare?

We got this great reader question the other day, and it deserved its own post!

I am looking to open a daycare. The current floor had dirty carpet on it. I pulled it up and have plywood floors! I need an easy, cheap and easy-to-clean for children. Any suggestions?

Oh, yes! Yes we certainly have a few.

First, let’s look at this person’s lifestyle. They’re renovating their space to open a business, a commercial area as opposed to a residential one. That means they need a floor that can withstand heavier foot traffic, as more people will coming in and out. It also means they’ll want a floor better suited to things that get tracked in on people’s shoes, like dirt, water, and debris.

Next, they tell us about the business they’re going to start: a daycare. In other words, a business with kids, fun, and a little bit of chaos! Any floor in a daycare will need to stand up to a lot of wear and tear; it also needs to be easy to clean in case of spills, accidents, or who knows what else.

Life with kids in a nutshell.


So, what are the options? We can rule out carpet right away. Hardwood, although gorgeous, isn’t the best for commercial spaces, as it can scratch and scuff. Porcelain is waterproof and easy to clean, but it can crack if heavy objects are dropped on it and it’s very slippery when wet.

From a solely durability perspective, laminate is your best bet. It’s strong, stable, available in a huge range of colors, and it’s water resistant. The key word there? Resistant. Modern laminate is much better than it used to be about water and spills due to advances in protective coating and sealing, but the inner core boards underneath will still soak up moisture like a sponge if they’re exposed. New advances in flooring technology recently brought us the most water resistant laminate on the market (link); it’s even got a 48-hour water warranty, a first for laminate.

If you decide to go with laminate, be sure to check the AC rating (link to RC). That’ll tell you how durable the floor is, and while they’re all pretty dang durable, you’ll be surprised at just how much of a beating laminate can take.

If you want a waterproof floor, you want vinyl. You can literally overflow a bathtub onto vinyl flooring and clean it up without any trouble or flooring damage.

(No, that’s not hyperbole. We’ve done it.)


Vinyl used to be available in sheets only, but thankfully for your style and your wallet it’s come a long way since then. Today’s vinyl isn’t the spongy mess of yore; instead it’s sold in sturdy planks and tiles designed to look like wood or stone. It’s also highly durable and a top choice for pet owners because it’s so easy to clean. Vinyl is one of your best choices for a busy environment like a daycare; it can handle the delightful chaos that inevitably results from daily life with kids.

It’s easy to care for, easy to love, and easy to install. If you want to go one step further, there’s WPC vinyl. WPC is a virgin (non-recycled) material that’s engineered specifically for toughness. Thicker than normal vinyl, WPC floors frequently have attached pads like premium cork to ensure a softer and quieter sound underfoot. It’s the closest thing on the market to a waterproof laminate!

Do you have specific questions about the right floor for your home or business? Call our flooring experts at 1-800-804-5251 today!

Posted in Z-Level: Our Odds & Ends

What Is The Eastridge Finish Warranty?

Recently we’ve gotten some questions about our Eastridge hardwood flooring products. We’ve done our best to put them all together in one handy dandy blog post to tell you everything you need to know. Read on:

What is Eastridge Hardwood Flooring?

Each floor model in the Eastridge line is made on the same lines with the same materials as their First Quality counterparts. Eastridge products are selected out during the manufacturing products due to natural hardwood characteristics that come directly from the trees themselves. These characteristics include mineral streaks, knots, and grain variations. In addition, Eastridge products may have manufacturing anomalies like color variations, edge defects, shorter planks, and uneven finish.

I Thought Cabin Grade Flooring Doesn’t Include A Warranty?

Often Cabin Grade floors don’t come with warranties. This is one of the things that make Eastridge stand out from the crowd, though: it’s Cabin Grade flooring that’s backed by a five-year manufacturer’s finish warranty.

That’s right: a manufacturer’s warranty. This major flooring manufacturer believes in their Eastridge products, so they decided to stand behind them with a finish warranty.

What Does A Finish Warranty Cover?

Unique Wood Floors summed it up perfectly:

“The finish warranty usually guarantees the finish won’t wear through to bare wood or separate from the wood over the designated warranty period.”

In other words, the finish warranty is more self-explanatory than it seems. It covers the floor’s finish and warrants that said finish will not wear through or peel off of the hardwood flooring under normal residential usage conditions when the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions are followed.

Our Eastridge hardwood floors come with a five-year manufacturer’s finish warranty.

Does This Mean Each Plank Will Look Perfect?

No. You’re still purchasing Cabin Grade flooring, so expect those same characteristics and imperfections and plan for the standard 15-20% extra when calculating how much material to buy. You can learn everything you need to know about Cabin Grade flooring here.

Should I Be Nervous About Buying An Eastridge Floor?

Absolutely not! Eastridge hardwoods are great products at incredible prices. We recommend reading up on Cabin Grade hardwood and looking at your flooring needs while you decide if Eastridge is right for you; as always our Flooring Experts are standing by to answer your questions. Just call 1-800-804-5251 or click on FloorsToYourHome.com to chat with them, and they’ll help you find the floor of your dreams at an unbeatable discount price.

Posted in Z-Level: Our Odds & Ends

Favorite Floor Favorite Pet Contest!

We love customer photos, and we love customer photos with pets so much we’re hosting a contest to celebrate! Send us your best shot of your pet on your FTYH floors and you could win a $100 Amazon gift card!

How To Enter


Post a picture of your pet on any one of the Facebook posts linked below on your floor to win! Be sure to share this post with your friends!

Our Customer’s Cow Picture
Our Customer’s Dog Picture
Our Customer’s Cat Picture

Post a picture of your pet on your floor on our Facebook post for your chance to win! Be sure to share the post with your friends!
ENDS SOON: Wednesday, September 6th at 9am EST
Share your favorite photo below for a chance to win!
Here’s some of our entries so far! GOOD LUCK!

We will notify our 10 finalists via Facebook messenger. Once we have 10, those finalists’ photos will be available for voting on the website FloorsToYourHome.com (specific URL to be announced on the start date, and specific voting rules will be posted there). Voting will be open to everyone, but contestants are strongly encouraged to advocate for their pictures on Facebook (or Twitter, or wherever they would like to, really! Hire a skywriter if you want, just know that we’ll want pictures of that too.)

The five pictures with the most votes will win their contestants a $100 Amazon Gift Card. The winners will be announced on our Facebook page on Tuesday, September 19th at noon EST.


1. Photos must be your own work.

2. Get creative, but keep it family-friendly. Here’s an example:
Above all, have fun! We’re so excited to see what you come up with.

Posted in Z-Level: Our Odds & Ends

How Is Bamboo Flooring Made?

Next up in our “How Is That Flooring Made?” series we have…Bamboo!

What Is It?

Contrary to popular misconception, bamboo isn’t a tree or a hardwood…it’s a grass. Various species of bamboo can be found in many parts of the world, primarily in areas with tropical humid climates. It’s a plant of high renown and cultural significance in south Asia, east Asia, and southeast Asia. In addition, bamboo also one of the best multi-taskers of the plant world, used for food, building material, scaffolding, and now flooring.

Bamboo scaffolding in Hong Kong.


The tensile strength of bamboo rivals that of steel alloys, concrete, and graphite. Bamboo’s growth speed also far outpaces traditional hardwood: an oak tree may take up to 40 years to reach maturity, while a bamboo stalk can be ready for harvest in as little as three years.

Not bad for a grass!

How Is It Made?

Although bamboo can be harvested after only three years, a longer maturation period – closer to six years – is preferred. After the stalks are harvested, they’re then milled to remove the tough green outer husk, and cut into long strips. Next, the strips are boiled. This removes any impurities like dirt or grit along with bamboo’s natural starch and sugars, which makes it less appealing to pests like termites. The boiling process also helps reduce humidity-based expansion and contraction in the future.

Next, there’s a choice of processes that the material can undergo. Carbonization via steam pressure will darken the planks, while uncarbonized bamboo can be stained or left at its natural color.

Carbonized bamboo.


Regardless of whether the bamboo is carbonized or not, it’s kiln-dried to remove the last of its moisture. Once the planks are dry, they’re milled to include tongue-and-groove installation and protective coatings like aluminum oxide.

What Types Are Available?

Bamboo flooring comes in three main types that vary by grain pattern:

• Horizontal
• Vertical
• Strand Woven

All are made by fusing the treated bamboo strips together with either glue or resin.

Cross-section of a horizontal plank, top, and vertical plank, bottom. Diagram from Starcraft Custom Builders.



The horizontal sides (the widest sides) of each bamboo strip are glued together, face up, and then laminated for uniformity. Since they’re placed face up, some individual characteristics like growth knuckles may be visible, much like a knothole in hardwood. These give some uniqueness to the finished look.


This follows the same principle as horizontal grain planks, except the vertical sides are glued together. The vertical lines give a visual appearance that’s similar to a hardwood grain pattern; vertical planks are laminated like horizontal planks, in order to achieve uniformity and consistency.

Strand Woven

This one is much more self-explanatory than it might seem at first glance. Bamboo remnants are woven together in a cross-hatch pattern and then compressed together. The result is an grain pattern that’s distinct from traditional hardwood. Sometimes it can be subtle, other times it can be “tiger stripes” levels of contrast.

Strand woven bamboo is a popular choice, not only because of its high durability – around twice as hard as other bamboo floors – but also because it’s such a green material. Those bamboo remnants used in the planks would otherwise be considered waste material and discarded. The final product is smooth, beautiful, tough, and UV resistant.

Expressions Corboo Spice Click Together Strand Woven Solid Bamboo


How Do I Know If Bamboo Is Right For Me?

Bamboo is a great choice for consumers looking for a green flooring material that doesn’t sacrifice beauty. It’s a neat alternative traditional hardwood that can stand up to busy life.

Posted in How Is That Flooring Made

What’s So Great About Luxury Vinyl?

Show of hands here, friends…who doesn’t love a little bit of luxury in their lives?
When it comes to flooring, luxury is frequently associated with exotic solid hardwoods (link) like ebony and mahogany that set the bar for both beauty and expense. While there’s nothing wrong with solid hardwood – it’s a classic for a reason – it’s also not right for every home, and certainly not for moisture-prone areas. This is where Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) gets its chance to shine.

Titan Gray Slate Click Together Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring.



While there are a lot of great things to be said about LVT, we can break it down to the five biggest perks:

•It’s waterproof.

It’s reasonably priced.

It’s easy to care for.

•It’s tough.

•It’s stylish.

Sounds awesome, right? Let’s take a closer look.

Water Resistance

Like all vinyl floors, LVT is 100% waterproof and won’t warp in the unfortunate instance of a flood or natural disaster. This is a great choice for moisture-prone areas in your home like bathrooms, kitchens, and basements!

Unlike hardwood, LVT doesn’t expand or contract when exposed to moisture or high-humidity environments, so it’s a great choice for folks in more humid climates.

Great Style At Affordable Prices

All too often, “luxury” becomes synonymous with “expensive.” That’s not the case with LVT! The timeless style of exotic hardwood, elegant marble, and many more can be yours at a fraction of the cost.

Easy Maintenance

No one wants to dedicate a huge chunk of their time to floor cleaning, and with LVT there’s no need to! A quick once-over with a broom or a duster like a Swiffer is enough for daily maintenance; a more thorough clean can be easily achieved with a damp mop, neutral-pH cleanser, and a water rinse. There’s no need for harsh chemicals with LVT: in fact, they should be avoided entirely for the health of your floor. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow their recommendations for your specific model of LVT.

Check out this post to learn more about how easy it is to take care of your vinyl floors.

High Durability

Most, if not all, LVT floors feature transparent wear layers that provide an extra level of protection against impact, stains, scratches, and wear. They won’t chip, warp under high-moisture conditions, or turn unsightly yellow with age. Spills and accidents are easy to clean up; even issues like pet accidents and water bowl spillage are no problem! Claws won’t scratch or get trapped between planks; these floors will stand up to wear and tear from even the biggest dog breeds.

Posted in Vinyl Flooring, waterproof

Questions From Our Comments Section

We love our blog readers! They ask us some great questions and bring a great community feeling. Of course, if one person asks a question, someone else has probably wondered about the same thing, and so in that spirit we’ve decided to share some of the recent queries from our comments sections!

Read on to learn more, and don’t hesitate to chime in with questions of your own!
Q: What about engineered wood floors with pets? –Carla

Hi Carla! The suitability of engineered hardwood for pets depends on a few things. The size and species of your pets is a big consideration; big dogs have a higher chance of scratching engineered hardwood than a smaller dog or a cat. For example, a playful Great Dane with scrambly paws and claws would cause more damage than a Yorkie. There’s also the accident factor to consider, whether it’s a puppy being house-trained or a cat with a hairball. Engineered hardwood is not waterproof, and the chemical makeup of pet urine (cat urine is very alkaline) can lead to damage. As a rule we recommend other materials over engineered hardwood for pet owners, but the final decision will come down to your preferences and what you want out of your floor.

Your best friend doesn't have to be your floor's worst enemy.

Your best friend doesn’t have to be your floor’s worst enemy.

Q: I am interested in buying a house built in 1989 but it has laminate floors. How safe is this house with those laminate floors? -Gloria

Hi Gloria, it’s impossible for us to say 100% definitively since we don’t have any information about that specific flooring other than it is in fact laminate. However, we can tell you that if the laminate is more than a few months old and has ever been ventilated (i.e., the windows in that room have been opened), you should be just fine. Unsafe laminate floors don’t continuously produce the hazardous chemicals you read about, once they’ve been emitted they’re gone and the flooring won’t make more. The home should be perfectly safe! If you have more concerns before purchasing the house, we recommend speaking to the homeowners and the realtor, as they should be able to give you more detail about the specific make and model of laminate in that home.
Q: I’m possibly installing a solid hardwood Acacia flooring. The store suggested I use a pad underneath to help with echo, suggesting that tighter, harder flooring echoes more. This seems odd to me, as I have seen dozens of exotic hardwood floors to down directly on black felt. Your thoughts on this? –Scott

Scott, you’re dead right. We put proper padding under floating floors, not under nailed or stapled down floors, which is how solid hardwood gets installed. The only real alternate to the black felt is a red rosin paper, which has some moisture barrier benefits. In truth, neither is required, and – I verified with our installers – they’ve never used anything else, just the black felt, red rosin, or nothing at all. That’s how it is with solid hardwood. Your intuition is being a good friend to you today.

A beautiful solid acacia floor.


Q: I have a finished basement that seems to attract water issues from the water main springing a leak into the basement, my dog having an accident, and a condensate pipe overflowing. I need a flooring that will not have to be removed if there is a substantial amount of water. I am leaning towards thin set and grouted porcelain flooring. What do you think I should do? –Carolyn

Hi Carolyn, I would say yes, you’re in the right area! Glazed porcelain is designed to withstand water and is available in a large variety of colors, so hopefully you’ll find something that fits your decor. It’s a great bet for basements!

Posted in Customer Q & A

4 Things You Need To Know About Floor Pad

We talk a lot on this blog about how important it is to do your research. Trust me on this one: the headaches of research now are worth their weight in migraine prevention gold later. Lost in the metaphors yet? Me too. Let’s break it down further: Research will save you time and money, because it lets you make an informed flooring decision and prevent problems down the line.

Not only is this true for your flooring material, it’s also true for your underlayment. Choosing the right pad is critical for a long and happy life with your floor. Here are five important things to keep in mind during the research and selection process.


Most of today’s underlayments do have built-in vapor barriers that resist moisture diffusion through walls and subfloors. It’s a well-known fact that prolonged moisture exposure can be detrimental to flooring materials like hardwood and laminate; the best thing you can do is prevent those problems before they start. A moisture barrier is a very thin sheet of plastic that goes on top of the subfloor. It’s usually 6 mil thick – 6 micrometers, or 6 tenths of a millimeter – I know it sounds small, but it’s more than enough to get the job done.
Be sure to check that your underlayment has a moisture barrier; even if you’re using a laminate with attached pad you may still need to use a moisture barrier. Check the manufacturer’s specifications, ask your installer, or call your flooring retailer if you’re unsure. Better safe than sorry!

What’s The Difference Between A Moisture Barrier And A Vapor Barrier?

These two terms are used interchangeably when talking about floor pad. If your underlayment advertises a vapor barrier as opposed to a moisture barrier, there’s no need for confusion. It will also work to block moisture and you won’t need to add an additional layer of pad.


It is possible to get premium protection while still looking out for the environment. Our best-selling SuperFelt underlayment is made of recycled felt fibers that offer superior warmth and sound-proofing. Since this is a thicker pad, it may not be suitable for all floors, so be sure to check your manufacturer’s specifications before purchase and installation.

Superfelt Roll

Superfelt Roll



A great life with your new floor doesn’t start with the material you choose – it starts with your subfloor. Odds are you have one of three types of subfloor:

• Cement
• Wood
• Pre-Existing Floor Covering

Creating a level surface is critical regardless of what kind of subfloor you have. Seams, grout lines, and imperfections will all need to be repaired prior to installing your new floor. This will prevent myriad issues down the line. For a more in-depth look at subfloors, check out this post.

Leveling a concrete floor.


Your subfloor type will help you choose your perfect underlayment. If you have a concrete subfloor, particularly in an area like a basement, moisture can be an issue, so you’ll definitely want a vapor barrier. Unchecked moisture from concrete subfloors can lead to mold, compromised adhesives on glued down flooring materials, and warped flooring.

Moisture prevention is also important for wood subfloors. Whether you have a plywood subfloor or a plank subfloor, a moisture barrier or underlayment paper will help prevent moisture problems before they start. Again, don’t forget to check your manufacturer’s specifications and talk to your installer!

Underlayment can cover up very minor subfloor imperfections, but it should not be seen as a substitute for taking the proper leveling measures. Remember, a level subfloor is critical!


Throw rugs are one of our favorite ways to add charm and personality to a room. With reasonable price points and an endless supply of styles it’s easy to find a throw rug that meets your needs and matches your decor. They’re also great for covering up flooring imperfections, stains, or scratches. The only issue? Unsecured throw rugs can be slippery on smooth surfaces like laminate and hardwood.

Is this a major issue? Not really, no…until someone trips over a bunched throw rug. Non-slip grippers and pads are available at most home improvement stores; some are the more traditional checkerboard-style rubber, but some newer models are made of felt or felt-rubber combinations.

Posted in Basic Installation Tips

Do or Don’t: Vinyl Flooring

DO: Sweep and vacuum regularly. A little bit of daily maintenance keeps things nice and clean, and prevents allergens like dust and pet dander from building up.

"Cute doesn't clean up after itself, Dad."

“Cute doesn’t clean up after itself, Dad.”


DON’T: Let spills sit for too long. Even though the vinyl itself is waterproof, liquid left to its own devices can seep down into the seams and cause subfloor damage. It can also weaken the adhesive on glued down vinyl floors and lead to unsightly staining.
DO: Use the right cleaner for your specific mess. Not sure what to use? Always check your manufacturer’s recommendations first. Still not sure? We’ve got a handy cheat sheet already put together.
DON’T: Use any harsh abrasive chemicals on vinyl floors. Bleach is a no-go, as is acetone. They’ll erode the wear layer and cause the decorative pattern layer to degrade beyond repair. Of course, one of the great things about floating vinyl floors is that you can replace individual planks without ripping up the entire floor, but it’s best to avoid the hassle altogether.

DO: Try something new! One of the great things about modern vinyl is its versatility in both strength and appearance. There’s never been a better time to try vinyl in an area of your home you might not have considered before, like a master bedroom or guestroom.
DON’T: Assume that the sheet vinyl of yore is still the only option on the market. Today’s vinyl floors are tough and trendy without the spongy hassles of the 1970’s. The latest innovation in vinyl is WPC, an engineered virgin vinyl product with outstanding strength and soundproofing capabilities.

What are your vinyl dos and don’ts, friends?

Posted in Vinyl Flooring, waterproof

How Is Laminate Flooring Made?

Next up in our “How Is That Flooring Made?” series we have…Laminate Flooring!

What Is It?

Laminate is a multilayered composite product that was originally designed as a less expensive alternative to hardwood. Here’s a breakdown of the layers that make up a plank of laminate flooring:

Backing Layer This is the bottom layer. It’s designed to provide more stability and prevent rising moisture. Typically made from melamine plastic, the backing layer is sometimes covered with an attached pad.

Core Board This is the thickest layer, the real ‘body’ of the laminate and a wood-derived product. Composed of resin, binders, and wood particles, this layer gives laminate all of its stability. The core board is commonly referred to as High Density Fiberboard (HDF); it’s made of leftover wood products from saw mills and manufacturers like sawdust and wood chips. Since no new trees are cut down to gather the aforementioned wood particles, HDF is considered a green product!

Decorative Layer This is the visible part of the laminate, the photographic image that mimics whatever wood species or tile design that particular style is going for. This layer is very thin.

Protective Layer This is the very top layer, also called the Wear Layer, a transparent coating that protects the decorative layer and adds an extra punch of durability. They can be high gloss, matte, or somewhere in between.

Through vigorous applications of heat and pressure, the backing layer and core board are fused together and topped with the photographic decorative layer and the top protective layer. It comes off the production line in sheets and is then cut into planks. For a more detailed look at the manufacturing process, check out this post in our Resource Center.

Laminate diagram from laminate innovator Formica.

Laminate diagram from laminate innovator Formica.


Is Laminate Flooring Safe?

Yes. Laminate is safe for long-term use in your home. The melamine resin in laminate core board contains formaldehyde; however the amount present is strictly regulated. Flooring materials undergo safety testing just like food, cosmetics, medications, work sites and more. As part of our commitment to customer safety and reassurance, Floors To Your Home conducted independent third-party testing at our own expense to make sure every laminate floor we carry is safe. Want to know more? We put together a handy FAQ here. And, as always, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-804-5251 or chat at FloorsToYourHome.com with any questions.

What Types Of Laminate Are Available?

Laminate is commonly divided by appearance rather than technical differences. As their names indicate, wood look laminate is designed to look like wood, while tile look laminate is designed to look like tile. Another way laminate is differentiated is padding. Some laminate floors have pre-attached underlayment, others don’t, and underlayment needs to be purchased separately. Laminate is available in as many styles and finishes as hardwood; there’s a wide variety of everything from sleek modern looks to classic designs to trendy rustic distressed looks. Specialty laminate goes off the beaten path with unique colors, wide planks, random width designs, and more! Check out the latest innovations here.

Different laminates are also designed for different purposes. Similar to how hardwood is measured with the Janka scale, laminate floors are measured with the Abrasion Class rating system. The AC ratings go from 1 to 5, with 1 being suitable for moderate residential foot traffic to the heavy-duty 5, which is designed to withstand very heavy commercial foot traffic.

How Do I Know If Laminate Flooring Is Right For Me?

Laminate is arguably the most versatile flooring option on the market today, in terms of both style and usefulness. It’s easy to install, available in an unrivaled range of colors and finishes, and highly durable. Specialty laminate is on the cutting edge of style! It’s important to note, though, that laminate is water resistant, not water proof. The transparent top layer and the backing layer are waterproof but the core board layer is not, and can swell when exposed to moisture. If you’re shopping for a floor that’s not going in a moisture-prone area, laminate might be the perfect option, although many people do install it in kitchens and bathrooms without any difficulty.

Laminate is considered to be the best choice for pet owners who are interested in hardwood but concerned about scratches and damage. Since it’s easy to clean, laminate is also good for families with children. If you’re looking for style, convenience, and strength, laminate flooring may be the perfect choice for you!

Posted in How Is That Flooring Made, Laminate Flooring

How Is Porcelain Flooring Made?

Third in our “How Is That Flooring Made?” series we have…Porcelain and Ceramic Tile!

What Is It?

Both porcelain and ceramic start off as natural clay, which is then mixed with a variety of raw materials like feldspar, flint, and silica. The exact proportions will vary depending on the manufacturer’s specifications. Here’s a quick breakdown of these raw materials:

Clay is a naturally occurring rock or soil substance found all over the world. It combines one or more clay minerals with organic matter and trace amounts of metal oxide.

Feldspar is a mineral found in the Earth’s crust. It’s commonly used as filler in paints and rubber materials and is also used in archaeological dating.

Flint is a form of quartz.

Silica is silicon dioxide, one of the main components of sand.

What’s The Difference Between Porcelain And Ceramic?

While it’s important to remember that porcelain is actually a type of ceramic, the differences are worth noting. The most basic differences are in clay density and firing temperature. Porcelain is made from denser clay than ceramic, and is fired at a much higher temperature. The clay used to make porcelain undergoes a more rigorous refining process to remove impurities; combined with the increased firing temperature and pressure, the finished product is dense, hard, and highly durable.

Ceramic is no slouch either. In its traditional unglazed form, certain ceramics feature a stunning rusty rose tone: the prized terra cotta, “baked earth,” in Italian. Terra cotta has been used as an ornamental building material for centuries across the world: the famed Terra Cotta Army of the Qin Dynasty were found in 1974 near Xi’an, China over 2,000 years after being built.

A section of the Terra Cotta Army. CC BY-SA 3.0


What Types Are Available?

The two main types of porcelain available are glazed tile and unglazed tile. There’s no difference in the manufacturing process, but glazed porcelain tile is coated in a liquid glass finish – the glaze – then fired at very high temperatures.

A cross-section illustration of the two tile types.

A cross-section illustration of the two tile types.


Glazed Tile

Glaze gives porcelain a sleek, smooth, and stylish finish that’s available in a large range of colors. The glaze layer is nonporous, which helps prevent staining. Hardness also needs to be taken into consideration with glazed tiles: matte and satin finishes are harder than high gloss finishes and therefore less susceptible to scratches. The key to getting a tile floor that matches your beauty wants and your durability needs is balance.

Glazed porcelain.

Glazed porcelain.


Unglazed Tile

Since unglazed tiles don’t have the smooth finished surface of their glazed counterparts, they’re great for slippery areas like kitchens and laundry rooms where moisture and safety are top priorities. As a rule unglazed tiles are denser and thicker than glazed tiles, but they’re more vulnerable to staining and should be sealed and waxed as preventative measures.

Unglazed tiles can be used outside in milder climates. Always check the manufacturer’s specifications to make sure your tiles are approved for outdoor use prior to installation.

Unglazed tile, arranged in a lovely ombre design.


How Do I Know If Porcelain Tile Is Right For Me?

Porcelain and ceramic are great for rooms with moisture concerns. It’s been a go-to in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and entryways for centuries, and with good reason! The variety of colors and finishes on the market help make a truly customizable flooring experience.
It’s important to take safety concerns into account; wet porcelain can be very slippery and falls can cause serious injury. These risks can be alleviated with precautions like area rugs and slip-resistant materials.

In terms of installation ease, porcelain is traditionally applied with grout, a notoriously time-consuming process. Can grout be a pain to install? Yes. Does it look great when it’s installed? Also yes! It depends on your preference, timeline, and whether you’re going DIY or hiring a professional. For those in search of a more convenient option, some modern porcelains use click together installation.

If you’re looking for a combination of beauty and durability, porcelain is a great choice!

Posted in Ceramic, How Is That Flooring Made

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