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Tile | Styles

Choosing the perfect tile for your home or business can be a challenge.  Understanding the different styles available will help you in this decision, as will our experiences sales team at Okanagan Tile Company.  Here is a brief overview of the different styles available:

Ceramic Tile:
Glazed ceramic

  • Coated with a layer of liquid glass and/or minerals and ceramic stains.
  • Typically have a matte, semi-gloss or high-gloss finish.  Matte finishes are typically harder than semi-gloss or high-gloss finishes.
  • Lighter glazes are generally harder than dark glazes.
  • Offer better stain and moisture resistance than unglazed.
  • High gloss finishes tend to be more slippery and show scratches.
  • Matte or textured finishes help with traction and resisting scratches, dirt is less visible.
  • Slip resistant coating can be applied after installation.
  • Some manufacturers apply slip resistant coatings during production.
  • Wide variety of styles and colors.

Unglazed ceramic

  • Tiles are denser and thicker.
  • More slip resistant in moist and high traffic areas
  • Better scratch resistance than glazed tile.
  • More vulnerable to staining.
  • Natural coloring.
  • Can be coated with finish or wax after installation to seal and give more protection from moisture and stains.
  • Less slippery than glazed tile, good choice for kitchens and laundry rooms and well as high foot traffic areas.
  • Suitable for outdoor applications in mild climate.

Porcelain Tile:

  • suitable for heavy foot traffic
  • for use in both residential and commercial applications.
  • harder and denser than most ceramic tile.
  • highly resistant to moisture, scratches and stains.
  • wide range of colors, textures, designs and patterns, including wood and marble looks.
  • less susceptible to breakage.
  • easy to maintain – no waxing or polishing needed.
  • Certified porcelain tile has a low rate of water absorption.  To be certified, stringent tests are performed to verify that it is waterproof and suitable to be used in wet areas.
  • More expensive than ceramic tile.

Recommendations on usage:
ASTM International developed a test to determine how waterproof a tile is.  Based on this test, the following usage recommendations have been determined:

  • Non-vitreous tile – for use on fireplaces and walls
  • Semi-vitreous tile – for use in dry areas like backsplashes with minimal water contact
  • Vitreous tile – for use in showers on both the floor and walls, outdoor areas where freezing does not occur
  • Impervious tile – for use indoors and outdoors, including wet locations.

Suitable for in-floor heating:

  • both porcelain and ceramic are good heat conductors, will not expand when heated or contract when cooling. 


  • priced by the square foot
  • mosaics come in 1”x1” standard, 2”x2” supersized and 1”x2” subway blend
  • classic subway tile is 3”x6”
  • standard size tile is 12”x12”
  • plank sizes are available in 4”x24” sizes, used for flooring only
  • bigger tile sizes are the most popular – 12”x24” and 24”x24”

Gradings for color shade variation:

  • V1 – Uniform: Minimal or no difference in each tile as it is manufactured with the same glaze and texture.
  • V2 – Slight: Slight differences in pattern and/or texture.
  • V3 – Moderate: Overall color of the tile may seem similar, but each tile varies.
  • V4 – Random/Dramatic: Tiles may have a completely different look from each other.