The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Tile

A helpful guide for choosing tile for a kitchen or bath remodel

When remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, a very important element when choosing your materials is what kind of tile to use. There are endless amounts of types, colors, finishes, and applications of tile that the choices can be quite overwhelming. Thanks to a great relationship with our tile supplier, DalTile, we are able to give you the ultimate guide to picking out tile and what to expect from each type.

Tile Materials

Let’s begin with the many different materials that can make up different types of tile. Some of these are more commonly known/used than others.

Porcelain – probably the most popular choice in tile today, porcelain is great because it’s the most durable material out there for the price. Porcelain tile is made of fine porcelain clays and comes in many different looks and colors to satisfy any kitchen or bathroom design. It won’t fade over time and is extremely water-resistant, making it an ideal choice in high-moisture areas.

porcelain shower tile


Ceramic – Ceramic is on the lower end of the price spectrum, but that doesn’t make it lower quality. Ceramic tiles are also made of clays and other natural materials mined from the earth. Ceramic is very common because it is lower in price, but it does not have the same variety of color or style options that porcelain does. Like porcelain, it is great for high-moisture areas.

ceramic tile


Glass – Glass tile is a great choice for areas such as kitchen backsplashes and showers, because it comes in beautiful colors and blends that can complement any style of space. The glass gives off a shine that sparkles in the light, giving it a very luxurious look.



Marble – Marble tile is on the higher end of the price spectrum, as it is a natural stone that must be refined and processed to become usable tile. It comes in many shapes and sizes and you can choose between polished or honed marble…polished being more shiny and honed being more matte in look and feel.

marble tile in shower


Metal/Metallic – Metal or metallic tile is usually only used as accent tile in either a shower or a kitchen backsplash. If you like a more industrial look, metallic tile is great because it brings the look of shiny, polished metal into the space.

metallic tile



Tile Designs

Now that we’ve covered the different materials tiles can be made from, we can explore the different designs of tile that are available.

Mosaic – mosaic designs are created from several small pieces of tile that blend together to make a pattern or work of art. Oftentimes mosaics are made from glass tiles, but they can be created from all kinds of materials as well. Mosaics look great as kitchen backsplashes or accent strips in a bathroom.

mosaic tile


Hexagon – hexagon tile has a certain sophistication about it that sets it apart from other designs. It looks great as a bathroom floor, especially if the tile is marble. Marble hexagon tile has been used in hotels and high-end homes for decades because of its clean, timeless, yet unique look.

hexagon marble tile

Subway – subway tile is the term used for standard 3×6 solid color ceramic tiles, but lately there have been many new variations on this classic look. Subway tile is very popular among homeowners due to its simplicity and timelessness. It will work in any space, with any design, and in any color.

beveled subway tile

Wood-Look– wood look tile has been increasingly gaining popularity over the last few years because it provides the beauty of hardwood flooring without the maintenance or the cost. Most wood-look designs are created on porcelain tile, which we mentioned is the most durable tile available today and the least difficult to maintain. Tile companies have perfected the art of making wood-look porcelain tile nearly indistinguishable from the real thing, making it the perfect choice for a homeowner that wants the look of hardwood at a cheaper price.


Marble-Look – just like wood-look tile, marble-look tile has also gained popularity recently, and for similar reasons. Porcelain tile that has the look of marble is less expensive and easier to maintain than marble itself.

marble look tile

Tile Applications

Once you have chosen the type and design that you like best, you can choose how you want to apply the tile in your home. There are several different applications for tile, and we have some recommendations for each one as follows:

  1. Kitchen Floor – we recommend choosing a durable porcelain tile for the kitchen floor, as it is a high-traffic area
  2. Bathroom Floor – make sure you choose a tile that is not polished for a bathroom floor so you won’t slip and fall when getting out of the shower
  3. Kitchen Backsplash – there are endless options for backsplash tiles…choose whatever style you like best
  4. Bathroom Wall – you’ll want to choose a tile that resists moisture for the bathroom walls, so a ceramic or porcelain would be ideal
  5. Shower Wall – you can have a little fun with the shower walls by adding accents strips or a niche with shelving, just make sure you choose a water-resistant tile
  6. Shower Floor – again, make sure the tile you choose for the shower floor is not polished, so you won’t slip in the shower
  7. Decorative accents/trims – a decorative accent or trim made of glass mosaics is always a beautiful choice
  8. Fireplace – this is another area where you can have a little fun with your tile…go for a bold color or mosaic to make the fireplace pop


At Archway, we specialize in helping you choose the perfect tile for your kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling project. To learn more about our remodeling service or to schedule your complimentary design consultation, please give us a call!