Tile Material Types | Chicago Tile Contractor

Off the Wall Flooring is a local Chicago area tile contractor that specializes in installing tile made of various materials which include Slate, Ceramic Tile, Glass Tile, Mosaic Tile, Natural Stone Tile, Porcelain Tile, Marble Tile and unlimited types of decorative tiles. The type of material which you select may vary depending on if you are installing flooring, countertops, custom shower enclosures, tub surround, or a backsplash. In any case, our superior craftsmanship and experience allows us to mix and match various material types and patterns which result a truly custom design.

For clients who are not aware of the differences in various materials, this page provides a brief description of some popular material types and how they are manufactured.

Ceramic Tile: The word "ceramic" comes from the Greek word keramikos, which translates to "of pottery.  This is because ceramic is a form of pottery, as both are made from clay that has been permanently hardened by heat, often having a decorative glaze.

Porcelain Tile: Porcelain and ceramic tile are essentially the same, with only  a few slight differences. Porcelain tile possesses less impurities than ceramic. Porcelain contains more kaolin than ceramic. Kaolin, also called china clay, is a soft white clay, perhaps better described as a soft powder consisting principally of the mineral kaolinite. Porcelain is formed of quartz, kaolin clay, and feldspar which is fired at temperatures ranging from 1200-1400 degrees. This results in Porcelain tile having a water absorption rate of 0.5% as defined by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) C373. Furthermore, due to the difficulty in being able to tell the difference, The Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA) certifies tile as being porcelain or not. Porcelain is more dense then ceramic, thus is more durable.

Glass Tile: Glass tiles were used in mosaics dating back to 2500 BC. However, modern man was only able to manufacture glass tiles on large scale due to recent leaps in technology. In the late 1990s, glass tiles were coated on the back side with a receptive white coating. This allowed impregnation of heat-transfer dyes by a modern printing process which reproduces high resolution images and designs. The result is glass tiles that possess the ability to impart intense colors and reflect light. 

Mosaic Tile: Mosaic tile is more of a design then a material type. Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of tiles made of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It is a tiling technique resulting in decorative art or decoration.

Slate: Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous rock which is the result of pre-historic superheated clay deposits which mixed with ash. This mixture eventually dried in layers, this is why slate can be split into slabs, and those slabs can be split once again into thin sheets. The word "slate" is also used for certain types of object made from slate rock, in this case tile. 

Natural Stone Tile:  Natural stone tiles are a natural product resulting in a less uniform color patterns, and require more planning for use and installation. The hardness of natural stone tiles varies such that some of the softer stone (e.g. limestone) tiles are not suitable for very heavy traffic floor areas. Being a natural product natural stone is often split but can also be sawed when mass produced. Stone tiles with a riven (split) surface such as slate or with a sawn and then sandblasted or honed surface will be more slip resistant,  while materials such as polished granite, marble, and travertine can be slippery when wet.

Marble Tile:  Marble is a rock resulting from metamorphism of sedimentary carbonate rocks, most commonly limestone or dolomite rock. Metamorphism causes variable recrystallization of the original carbonate mineral grains. This crystalized mosaic look of the stone is how it earned its name "marble", which derives from the Greek word m├írmaron which translates to "crystalline rock, shining stone".

Decorative Tiles: Decorative tile work is more of a design then a material type. Though decorative tile is similar to mosaic as an art of creating images with an assemblage of tiles made of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. Decorative tiling is where forms are made of great numbers of tiny irregularly positioned tesserae in a single color, usually of glass or sometimes ceramic. 

Whether you know exactly which tile material and design you wish to install, or if you require a professional consultation, Off the Wall Flooring will work with you to get the project done. We work for numerous general contractors and even more private homeowners. So we can act as directed or assist you in selecting a tile material type and design that suits your needs and budget.

As a local tile contractor operating in the Chicago area for over 15 years, word has gotten out regarding the quality of our work. Therefore, many local tile supply chance and even many local HomeDepot stores have us listed as a preferred installer of tile materials which they stock and sell. 

Contact us today to discuss your plans to install tile floors, walls or countertops!


Quick Contact

  1. Full Name(*)
    Please type your full name.
  2. E-mail(*)
    Invalid email address.
  3. Phone
    Invalid Input
  4. Type of Service
    Invalid Input
  5. Antispam(*)
    Invalid Input