In fact, the variety of tile available can be quite overwhelming. It's important that you choose the correct type of floor for your planned use. A general rule of thumb is:
Entryways & Kitchens: Use a hard, abrasion-resistant, moisture-proof tile.
Baths: Tile should be moisture-proof and non-slip. The slip-resistant tile is treated to roughen the surface to prevent slipping.
Here is a guide to some of the basic types of tile and their preferred uses.
Brick: This is a rustic style of tile, perfect for outdoor settings such as a patio. It should be treated with a stain resistant sealer.
Cement: Cement tiles are created from a mold, then fired or dried naturally. A cement stain can be added for color and sealing is required.
Ceramic: Made from clay and then kiln dried, ceramic tiles come with two finishes:
Glazed - The color is added to these tiles after firing and the glazing acts as a sealer. Glazed tiles are used mostly on walls or counter tops and offer a wider range of color choices than unglazed tiles.
Unglazed or Quarry Tiles - These are colored with the natural pigment already in the clay and fired in a kiln. Unglazed tiles require sealing for moisture protection.
Mosaic: These tiles come in a porcelain or ceramic finish and are generally 2 inches square or smaller. They can be installed individually or premounted on a mesh backing and come glazed or unglazed.
Pavers: Pavers are like a thin brick tile and generally used for patios or interior floors in a sunroom. They require sealing for moisture and stain proofing.
Quarry: This is a clay-based, unglazed tile. It is commonly used in commercially due to its durability and economical pricing. It requires sealing and comes in a variety of earth shades.
Saltillo: Also called Mexican tile, Saltillo is air dried rather than kiln dried. This type of drying creates a softer and less durable surface. It requires sealer for moisture protection.
Terra cotta: This is the same material that is found in clay garden pots. It has an attractive earthy look that requires sealing for indoor use.
Terrazzo: Commonly found used Italy and warmer Mediterranean climates, these tiles are made from stone or marble chips embedded in cement. The polished surface makes for a durable floor material.
Cement or concrete is one of the most common materials used for building patios. Cement patio designs offer various advantages: it's durable, versatile and relatively cheaper than other materials such as stone.
Start creating your design by first determining what purpose your patio will serve. Patios are essentially outdoor extensions of rooms. So, if you want a patio that will serve as an extension of your living and dining areas, a 12 by 12 foot patio offers enough space for furniture as well as room to walk around in. If you want a patio that will visually connect your house to your garden, then you will have to incorporate more landscaping features into your patio design. Some great ideas include plant boxes, alcoves for shrubs and small trees, and maybe a trellis where you can grow flowering vines. The design ideas you can choose from are limitless.
Some homeowners build patios that connect with other features in their yard such as a pool or a gazebo. You can also do this by creating a concrete path from the main patio to the said feature. If you already have an existing pool you can introduce a relaxing resort feel to your yard by creating a cement patio design that evokes the look and feel of resorts. Concrete is a versatile material and you can choose from different looks and add-ons to create the look that you want. A network of walkways will surely add to the beauty and functionality of your patio and yard.