It’s no longer just about the drab 4″ x 4″ white ceramic tiles in your bathroom. Tiles today have entered your kitchen, bedroom, and even your living room. Broadly, there are three tile varieties – porcelain, vitrified and ceramic – differentiated on the basis of their capacity to absorb water. They can be used on floors and walls, anywhere in your house. Just remember: Wall tiles are 6-7mm thick, while floor tiles are 10mm thick; making them Rs.10-15 more expensive (tiles can cost anywhere betweenRs.30 per sq ft to Rs.5,000 per sq ft).


Vitrified tiles: These are fired at high temperatures and are the least absorbent. They’re sturdy and work well for floors in high-traffic areas such as living rooms or your verandah. They come in scratch- and stain-resistant varieties as well. The base remains clay. Price ranges from Rs.30 to Rs.150 per sq ft.


Ceramic tiles: These are the most porous and tend to become slippery. If using for your floor, opt for small tiles (with matte finish) so that the grout lines act as grooves and provide a slip-resistant texture. Glossy ceramic tiles do well on walls. Price ranges from Rs.25 per sq ft to Rs.250 per sq ft, depending on colour, size and usage (for floors or walls).

Porcelain tiles:
 These are also baked at higher temperatures and are relatively sturdier. At times, they’re harder than natural materials such as granite. Size is usually around 2ft x 2ft and price varies from Rs.25 to Rs.150 per sq ft, again depending on colour, size and usage (for floors or walls). Besides, there are also tiles made out of stone, glass, mosaic and poly-vinyl chloride (popularly known as PVC). Various processes are employed to make them anti-skid, scratch-resistant, acid-wash proof, anti-stain, anti-bacterial and fire-resistant.


Terracotta tiles: Originally from Tuscany in Italy, these tiles do not discolour or show signs of wear and tear. However, they’re more expensive - Rs.50 to Rs.2,000 per sq ft.


Stone tiles: They’re similar in width, easy to lay on the floor, require practically no maintenance and are durable. But they’re not uniform in colour or pattern, and require a little more planning for installation. For your bathroom, you need to get their surface honed at the time of installation to make them slip-resistant. Cost ranges from Rs.100 to Rs.250 per sq ft.


Mosaic tiles: These are made of a cement base in which chips of glass, marble and other stones are embedded. However, they’re not easy to place, since mosaic tiles have to be cast on site. Cost ranges from Rs.40 to Rs.60 per sq ft.


Glazed tiles: Colour is added to the surface of the tile after it is fired, and then it’s re-fired to seal in the colour. They’re usually not used on the floor since they tend to be slippery, but look good on walls because of their glossy texture. Cost: Rs.65 to Rs.110 per sq ft.


Metal tiles: These are imported tiles, but prone to scratches. The price is high - Rs.1,000 to Rs.2,000 per sq ft. A less expensive, low-maintenance option is faux-finish tiles – ceramic tiles with metallic finishes from companies such as Nitco, Somany and Kajaria, among others.


Leather tiles: These are made from vegetable-tanned cowhide and meant for luxurious, expansive spaces. But they are high-maintenance – regular dusting, vacuuming or damp mopping and waxing (around twice a year) are a must. The size varies with design and pattern. They cost Rs.1,000 per sq ft onwards. You also get wooden tiles covered with a layering of leather that cost Rs.700 to Rs.1,100 per sq ft.


Glass tiles: Apart from making rooms look brighter and spacious, they don’t fade or scratch, and are relatively easy to maintain. Size varies with design and pattern. Glass tiles are mostly imported from Italy and Spain and cost Rs.1,500 to Rs.2000 per sq ft.

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