Wall and Floor Tile for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know

Wall and Floor Tile for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know

Tiffany Stevens

Wall and floor tiles have a unique charm that transcends generations and trends. At Arko Flooring, we understand the timeless allure of tile, and we're excited to share our expertise with you.

Picture this: You step into a room, and your eyes are immediately drawn to the elegant, gleaming tiles underfoot. Whether it's the classic appeal of ceramic, the rugged durability of porcelain, or the organic beauty of natural stone, tiles have the power to transform any space.

We'll explore the various types of tiles available, offer insights on choosing the perfect tile for your needs, and reveal the secrets to maintaining tile. So, let's get started.

What is Tile

Tile is a versatile and timeless material that has been adorning homes and spaces for centuries. But what exactly is tile? In its essence, tile is a hard and durable surface covering that is manufactured from a variety of materials, including ceramic, porcelain, glass, and natural stone.

Its ability to enhance the aesthetics, functionality, and durability of spaces makes it a popular choice for both residential and commercial settings.

Benefits of Using Tile

  • Durability: Tiles are known for their resilience. They can withstand heavy foot traffic, resist wear and tear, and are highly resistant to moisture, making them perfect for areas with high humidity or spills.

  • Versatility: Tile comes in an array of colors, patterns, and textures. This allows for endless design possibilities, whether you want a classic, modern, or eclectic look.

  • Easy Maintenance: Cleaning tile surfaces is a breeze. Regular sweeping and mopping can keep them looking brand new for years.

  • Hygienic: Tiles are non-porous, so they don't trap allergens or bacteria, contributing to a healthier living environment.

  • Longevity: Properly installed and maintained, tile can last for decades, offering a long-term investment for your space.

Applications for Tile

Tile isn't limited to just one area of your home or business. Its adaptability lends itself to various applications, including:

  • Flooring: Tile flooring is a popular choice in kitchens, bathrooms, and living areas due to its durability and easy cleaning.

  • Walls: Wall tiles can be used to create stunning backsplashes, accent walls, or even cover entire bathroom walls.

  • Countertops: Durable and resistant to stains, tile countertops are a practical choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

  • Backsplash: Tile backsplashes not only protect your walls from splashes and spills but also add a decorative element to kitchens and bathrooms. Here's our guide on installing a backsplash.
  • Outdoor Spaces: Exterior tiles are perfect for patios, pool surrounds, and walkways, adding a touch of elegance to outdoor areas.

Types of Tile: Exploring Your Options

Living room with tile floor

Tiles are the ultimate design chameleons, seamlessly transitioning from flooring to walls with grace and style. Whether you're looking to adorn your floors or enhance your walls in the kitchen, bathroom, or any room, there's a perfect tile waiting for you. Let's explore the world of tile options, suitable for both floors and walls:

Ceramic Tiles

  • Ceramic tiles have been a go-to choice for decades, known for their classic and enduring appeal.
  • They come in a wide range of colors, patterns, and sizes, making them suitable for any style or space.
  • Ceramic tiles offer a budget-friendly option without compromising on quality.

Porcelain Tiles

  • Porcelain tiles are renowned for itheir exceptional strength, making them perfect for high-traffic areas.
  • These tiles are virtually impervious to water, therefore, they are ideal for bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Advances in technology have produced porcelain tiles that mimic the look of natural stone, wood, and more.

Natural Stone Tiles

  • Nothing quite matches the elegance of natural stone, whether it's marble, granite, slate, or travertine.
  • Transform your shower or bath into a spa-like retreat with the beauty of marble, granite, or slate.
  • Each piece of natural stone is distinct, resulting in a one-of-a-kind design with its own personality.
  • With proper care, natural stone tiles can last a lifetime, adding value to your property.

Glass Tiles

  • Glass tiles bring a modern touch to your space, often used for backsplashes and accent areas.
  • Glass tiles are resistant to stains and water, making them a practical choice.
  • They can create a stunning play of light, adding a sense of openness to rooms.

Mosaic Tiles

  • Mosaic tiles allow for creativity on floors and walls, turning them into works of art.
  • Design captivating kitchen backsplashes or craft mosaic accent walls that steal the show.
  • Ideal for small areas or as decorative accents, they can add personality to your space.

Terracotta Tiles

  • Terracotta tiles exude a cozy, rustic charm, often associated with Mediterranean aesthetics.
  • Use them to create striking accent walls that exude character and warmth in any room.
  • Made from natural clay, these tiles are an eco-conscious choice.

Choosing the Right Tile

Tile Samples

Selecting the ideal tile for your space is a pivotal decision. It's about achieving the perfect blend of aesthetics, functionality, and longevity. Here's your roadmap to choosing the right tile, whether it's for your floors or walls:

Consider the Room's Purpose

  • For high-traffic areas like living rooms or hallways, prioritize durability and ease of maintenance. Therefore, porcelain or ceramic tiles are excellent choices.
  • In spaces like kitchens or bathrooms, where walls are often exposed to moisture and splashes, opt for tiles designed for wall use. Additionally, glass tiles or specific wall tiles are best.

Style and Appearance

  • Choose floor tiles that harmonize with your overall design. So consider colors, patterns, and textures that work well with your décor.
  • Use wall tiles to create eye-catching focal points or backsplashes.
  • Experiment with bold colors, mosaics, or unique patterns to make a statement.

Durability and Maintenance

  • If you're seeking floors that will last long, choose tiles that can handle wear and tear. Porcelain and natural stone are top choices.
  • Select wall tiles that are easy to clean and maintain, especially in areas prone to spills and stains.

Size Matters

  • Larger tiles can make a room appear bigger, while smaller ones can add intricate detail. So, consider the room's size and layout when picking tile sizes.
  • Wall tiles come in various sizes. Smaller tiles are often used for detailed designs, while larger tiles can create a sleek and modern look.

Budget Considerations

  • Flooring is a long-term investment. While porcelain and natural stone may have a higher upfront cost, they often offer better durability and longevity.
  • Wall tiles typically have a wide range of options to fit various budgets. Therefore, you can find stylish and cost-effective choices without sacrificing quality.

Samples and Mock-ups

  • Always request samples or create mock-ups to see how the tile will look in your space. This helps you make an informed decision.


Don't hesitate to consult with our flooring experts at Arko Flooring. We can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific needs, ensuring you choose the perfect tile for your project.

Installing Tile

With a little planning and effort, you can install tile flooring that will last for many years to come.

Tools and Materials

  • Tile
  • Thinset mortar
  • Notched trowel
  • Spacers
  • Level
  • Rubber mallet
  • Tile nippers or saw
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Rags


  1. Remove all existing flooring and subfloor materials.
  2. Inspect the subfloor for any damage or irregularities. If necessary, repair or replace the subfloor.
  3. Clean the subfloor thoroughly to remove any dirt, dust, or debris.
  4. Apply a primer to the subfloor if the manufacturer of your thinset mortar recommends it.


  1. Determine the center of the room by marking the intersection of the two longest walls.
  2. Snap a chalk line from one corner of the room to the other, passing through the center mark.
  3. Repeat step 2 to create a perpendicular chalk line intersecting the first line at the center mark.
  4. This will create a cross-shaped layout that will help you to install the tiles evenly.


  1. Mix the thinset mortar according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Apply a thin layer of mortar to the subfloor using the notched trowel.
  3. Start laying the tile in the center of the room, working your way out towards the edges.
  4. Use spacers between the tiles to ensure even spacing.
  5. Use a level to make sure that each tile is level.
  6. Tap the tiles into place with the rubber mallet.
  7. Allow the mortar to dry completely before grouting.


  1. Mix the grout according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Apply the grout to the tiles using the grout float.
  3. Work the grout into the spaces between the tiles.
  4. Remove any excess grout with the grout float.
  5. Allow the grout to dry completely.
  6. Wipe away any remaining grout haze with a damp sponge.


  1. Apply a sealant to the grout to protect it from stains and water damage.
  2. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for applying the sealant.

Pro Tips

  • If you are installing tile in a wet area, such as a bathroom or shower, be sure to use a waterproof sealant.
  • If you are installing tile on a large floor, it is helpful to rent a tile saw.
  • Be careful not to over-mix the thinset mortar or grout, as this can make them difficult to work with.
  • Clean up any spills or messes immediately, as thinset mortar and grout can be difficult to remove once they have dried.

Tile Care and Maintenance

Living room with tile floor and cat

Congratulations on your stunning tile choice! Now, let's dive into the essential steps for caring and maintaining your tile floors and walls to ensure they stay beautiful for years to come:

Regular Cleaning

  • Remove loose dirt and debris regularly to prevent scratches.
  • Use a pH-neutral cleaner and a soft mop for routine cleaning. Above all, avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the grout or tile surface.

Grout Maintenance

  • Regularly inspect and reseal grout lines to prevent moisture damage and discoloration.
  • Address stains quickly with a grout cleaner that is suggested for your tile type.
  • Read our guide on tile and grout maintenance for busy families.

Avoid Abrasive Tools

  • Use soft cloths or non-abrasive scrubbers to avoid scratching the tile surface.
  • Steer clear of abrasive materials like steel wool or harsh scouring pads.

Spill Cleanup

  • Wipe up spills promptly to prevent staining. Blot the spill rather than scrubbing to avoid spreading it.

Protection Matters

  • Place protective pads under furniture legs to prevent scratches.
  • Use floor mats to trap dirt and moisture before it reaches your tile floors.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

  • Stick to suggested tile and grout cleaners, and avoid acidic or abrasive substances that can harm your tiles.

Professional Maintenance

  • Schedule professional grout sealing and resealing as needed.
  • Consider professional deep cleaning to remove embedded dirt and stains.

By following these care and maintenance guidelines, you'll preserve the beauty and longevity of your tile surfaces. Regular attention to your tiles will keep them looking as stunning as the day they were installed.

Tile Trends and Designs

Living room with tile floor

Keeping up with the latest tile trends and designs can breathe fresh life into your home or business. Here's a glimpse of the contemporary tile styles and design ideas that are setting the stage for elegance and innovation:

Large Format Tiles

Oversized tiles create a seamless, modern look with fewer grout lines, making spaces appear larger and more open. A great choice if you're looking for sleek sophistication.

Geometric Patterns

Geometric and hexagonal tiles are making a comeback, adding flair and personality to floors and walls. A great choice if you are looking for a design with a bold statement.

Mixing Materials

Combining various tile materials and styles within a single space can create beautiful and unique designs.

Texture Play

Textured tiles, including 3D designs and relief patterns, add depth and tactile intrigue to walls and floors.

Remember, trends come and go, but your personal style should be the guiding force. So, choose tiles that align with your vision and create a space that reflects your unique personality and taste.


Whether you're seeking the timeless elegance of marble, the modern allure of large format tiles, or the warmth of wood-look tiles, you have a world of possibilities at your fingertips. Tiles can transform your living space, kitchen, bathroom, or business environment into a showcase of beauty and functionality.

At Arko Flooring, we're here to guide you every step of the way, from selecting the perfect tile to ensuring it's installed with precision and offering expert advice on maintenance and care. Your satisfaction is our priority, and we're committed to helping you achieve the spaces of your dreams.

Explore our showroom or reach out to our team for personalized assistance. Together, we'll turn your tile dreams into reality.

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