Tile is available in marble, stone and ceramic. You can find mosaic tiles as well as handmade, hand-molded and hand-painted tile.
The most common are 4-inch builder-basic ceramic tiles, often used in kitchens and bathrooms.
Larger tiles are also available, and some have a wavy surface for added dimension.
Tiles may be ornately decorated or distressed to give the look of worn stone, common in European settings.
If you like the look of slate but are working with a limited budget, consider ceramic tile made to look like slate. One benefit of this tile is that it's maintenance-free; however, slate tiles must be sealed periodically to prevent moisture damage.
Limestone tiles provide an attractive surface. Like many natural tile products, however, they must be sealed every two years or so to prevent stains.
For a unique look, use hand-molded tiles. These tiles often have a wavy appearance and some variation in color. Some handmade tiles have colored glazes that allow the tile's natural color to show through in places.
Small tiles may be used to create intricate patterns known as mosaics. Mosaics are usually handmade and are used as focal points in a tile wall or floor.
Relief liners are decorative liners that can be used at the edges of a tile installation. A variety of liners are available, ranging from builder-basic to hand-painted and mosaic. Typical builder-basic liners cost about $2 each; mosaic liners can cost more than $18 each.
If you like the look of decorative tiles but find the cost prohibitive, mix decorative tiles with less expensive plain tiles. The result often looks better than a full installation of decorative tiles.
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