Buying Guide

How To Choose Tile

Natural Stone, Porcelain, Ceramic & Mosaic

How much wear and tear the tile will undergo and your style preferences are both important factors in which type of tile you select. 

Natural stone

Natural Stone - Choose Tile

Natural stone

  • Includes granite, marble, slate, travertine, carrara
  • Shiny, mirror-like finish
  • Ideal for walls and low-traffic areas


Porcelain - Choose Tile


  • Can emulate natural stone, brick or wood
  • Ideal for heavy traffic areas, indoor or outdoor
  • Water-resistant; can be coated for better traction


Ceramic - Choose Tile


  • Glazed: Features liquid glass coating that helps resist stains, scratches, fire, fading
  • Unglazed: No coating; even color all the way through; must be treated to resist stains
  • Ideal for high-traffic areas
  • Rated based on the amount of moisture it absorbs


Mosaic - Choose Tile


  • Usually 2 inches or smaller
  • Resists moisture and stains, doesn't chip easily
  • Ideal for countertops and walls, both indoors and out

Tile Installation Tips

The Home Depot offers Installation Services for tile, but if you complete the install yourself, remember to pay attention your tiles’ size, shade rating and grade.  

The most popular and readily available tile sizes are (in inches) 12 x 12, 16 x 16, 12 x 24 and 18 x 18.

A tile's shade rating refers to its coloration and reflectivity. Look for tiles that have the same shade rating and have been rectified, which means they have edges that are mechanically finished to achieve a more precise caliber, or facial dimension, to ensure consistent sizing.

Purchase 15 percent to 20 percent more tile than your measurement calls for to ensure you have enough tiles with the same shade rating in case some tiles break or chip during installation.

Tiles are graded by quality: Grade 1 tiles contain no flaws or defects, Grade 2 tiles contains slight imperfections, and Grade 3 tiles are thinner and are designed exclusively for walls.

View our tile label information PDF for additional information.

Make sure the PEI rating, or Porcelain Enamel Institute wear and break rating, is at least a 4. A rating of 4 or higher ensures your tile is suitable for all residential uses.