Ceramic tile is, for the most part, scratch, fire, and water resistant and quite durable.
Glazed tiles are more common than unglazed, which are more durable and show less wear and tear. Glazing prevents water absorption and makes the floor resistant to damage. Dirt and sand can scratch the glazing over time, especially shiny glazes, which are softer than satin and rustic finishes.
Denser tiles absorb less moisture. Impervious tiles (less than .5% moisture absorption) are used outside and considered frost proof. Vitreous tiles (less than 3%) are used outside but can crack during a thaw. Semi- vitreous (3%-7%) and non-vitreous (absorb more than 7%) tiles are used only inside.
When installing tile across a new and old floor, one is almost always required to tear up the existing floor and put in a new underlayment that spans both the old and new floor. This is necessary because even a slight unevenness will cause the tiles to crack.
Like tile, stone is scratch and fire resistant. However, most stones are porous and absorb moisture that can lead to stains or even etching. Sealing stone floors can prevent this.
Polished stone requires regular applications of a commercial polish.
Stone can be ordered in slabs but usually comes as tiles, about a foot square, made of granite, limestone, sandstone, slate, or marble.
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