Identifying Types of Tiles

Identifying Types of Tiles

To clean tiles correctly, it is important to first know what types of tiles you are cleaning. This is because different types of tiles require different methods of cleaning and sealing. AllAces Cleaning & Restoration has the expertise to identify your floor tiles and get the job done correctly and efficiently. Below are some of the types of tiles that we work with.

Natural Stones Types of Tiles

Igneous Rock

Igneous rock is a crystalline rock that is formed when magma cools and becomes solid, either underground or after erupting to the surface as lava. When underground, the crystals are cooled slowly and are large enough for the naked eye to see. However, when they cool on the surface, the process is much faster and the crystals that are formed remain microscopic and not easily visible to the naked eye.


Basalt is an opaque black or dark grey glass form of igneous rock that occurs when cooling happens exceptionally fast. It is usually used in highway and railroad construction as an aggregate of ballast, or in tiles and block work.


On the other extreme, when cooling is very slow and occurs underground, an igneous rock called granite is formed. Up to 80% of granite is composed of coarse quarts grains, sodium feldspar and potassium feldspar, with the rest being other minerals such as hornblende and mica. Granite appears in many colours and is dense and very durable, this along with its exceptional resistance to abrasion has made it very popular in commercial building construction around the world. It is also a popular material for residential and commercial bathroom, kitchen counter tops and flooring due to its ability to be flamed, polished, or honed.

Sedimentary Rock

Sediment consists of particles of sand, silt, and clay that have become worn off other rocks. The sediment is then compacted by the immense pressure of the Earth’s crust when it is buried and turns into rock. The particles vary in size, from sand, which is the largest, to clay, the smallest. If there are pebbles mixed in, the sediment is called gravel. Sometimes the sediment is turned into rock by a cementing action caused by dissolved material in water. When both compacting and cementing affect the sediment at the same time, sandstone is formed.


About a tenth of all the sedimentary rock in the world is limestone, a rock that it is mostly composed of calcium carbonate. It appears most often when lime builds up in the seas and oceans and then is washed ashore and left to dry out. It is commonly used in architecture, especially in Europe and North America. Particular care needs to be taken with limestone since it is acid sensitive. Limestone is used in many great landmarks, some of these include the pyramids in Egypt.


Travertine is a form of limestone usually found deposited near rivers and hot springs. Impurities in the stone such as iron compounds can cause it to be beautifully banded and coloured, it is also a very popular material for use in architecture. Apart from its acid sensitivity, it tends to bleach in sunlight, but this does not stop it being used in exterior décor as well as for interior uses such as bath and shower surrounds.


Sandstone is the most common sedimentary rock in the world and, since it is resistant to weathering and easy to work with, it is another very popular building material. It is formed mostly from tiny quartz grains that are cemented with other minerals such as iron oxide, silica, hematite, feldspar, mica, ilmenite, and clay. These impurities cause it to appear in a whole range of colours and in shades of yellow, orange, and brown. Sandstone can be carved, cut, and polished, and is even used for pool coping once sealed and if correct guidelines are met.


Marble is an example of both sedimentary and metamorphic rock; it is formed from limestone (sedimentary) that is affected by extremely high heat and/or pressure (metamorphism) and is one of the strongest and most dense stones in existence. Since it is also one of the most beautiful, with a huge variety of colour variations and a highly polished finish, it is used for just about everything from counter tops, pillars, flooring, and panelling.


Another sedimentary rock affected by metamorphism is slate. Slate forms when shale-type rock composed of volcanic ash or clay is acted on by mild metamorphism. It is often made into tiles since it splits easily into flat leaves of rock. Some of the many applications for these tiles are flooring, wall cladding and roofing. Most slate is grey, but it can occur in many other colours. Tiles are often sold pre-prepared for installation by being gauged – having the backs ground ready – or chemically sealed to make them more stain resistant and durable.

Metamorphic Rock

Metamorphic rock is a rock that is changed by great heat or great pressure. The pressure can be caused by the plates of the Earth’s crust rubbing against each other, or simply by the weight of the crust pressing down on rocks that are buried deep below the surface. The nearer the Earth’s molten core, the higher the temperature. This means that, deeply buried rock is baked by the intense temperatures. The magma can also release liquids and gases that cause chemical changes in the rocks that it passes, for example, marble.

Man-made Materials Types of Tiles


Terracotta, meaning ‘dried Earth’ in Italian, is formed by shaping chunks of refined clay and firing them to hardness. The resulting items can be glazed to seal them, but if left unglazed it remains slightly porous and it is easily cracked or broken. It is generally available in various shades of orange, red and brown, according to what metal and/or mineral particles are in the clay. It is very popular for bricks, roof tiles and also among sculptors and potters as it is relatively simple and cheap to produce.


Porcelain ceramic tiles are generally made by firing a fine white clay called Kaolin at temperatures of between 1200 and 1400 degrees centigrade. They often come glazed and are almost completely non-porous and very durable, so they are used in heavy wear areas such as walls and flooring, and where the tiles are required to be waterproof, such as in baths and showers.


To make concrete, cement is mixed with materials such as slag cement and fly ash, along with aggregates like limestone, granite or gravel, or fine aggregates like sand and water. Concrete has always been popular for things such as driveways and floor bases. Due to its durability it is now often found as a decorative flooring when polished.

Polished Concrete

Polished concrete is created by treating concrete with chemical densifiers and grinding it so finely that it becomes smooth and shiny. It has all the benefits of concrete such as strength, durability and making use of available materials, added to which are the beauty of the finish and its ease of cleaning.

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are often made from whatever materials are at hand, from masonry, brick, concrete, steel and timber as well as the various types of rock. They give support against very steep grade changes, prevent downward movement on slopes and generally hold back whatever is behind them.

If you are in need of a Tile & Grout Clean, give AllAces Cleaning & Restoration a call on 1800 00 1010. We are more than happy to help ensure that your tiles are cleaned correctly.


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