Floor Vs Floor: Tile or Epoxy?
Tile and epoxy flooring are two popular options for flooring in homes and commercial spaces, although that’s about where their similarities end. While tiles are typically ceramic or porcelain, epoxy flooring is made using several coats of resin. You may find that tiles or epoxy flooring may be a suitable choice for your next project, depending on what you are looking for.
Let’s dive into the key differences between the two:
1. Overall Cost of Tiles vs Epoxy
Both tiles and epoxy occupy the higher end of the scale in terms of cost when it comes to flooring. Depending on the type of tile or epoxy and the installer you hire, the cost could vary – although most agree that tiles cost more upfront, due to costs involved with hacking the previous floor (unless you happen to be doing tile-on-tile installation using Niro Granite Slim), it requires less maintenance and repairs. With two different ways of looking at it, you can be the judge of which option makes the most financial sense for your home.
Thinking of hiring a professional installer? Read our tips on how to select the right flooring contractor.
2. Durability of Tiles vs Epoxy
Again, both tiles and epoxy and very durable materials that are resistant to a wide range of flooring stresses. Here, their raw materials make the key difference. As tiles are hard and tough from the firing process, they tend to be resistant to scratches and scuffs but can crack or chip when faced with extremely strong impacts. Epoxy is softer and resinous, hence it is more resistant to strong impacts, but is vulnerable to scratching and scuffing. This needs to be thought through especially if you have pets. It really depends on your lifestyle and daily use to determine which is the better choice for you.
3. Tile Maintenance vs Epoxy Maintenance
A bit of soap and water is all that’s needed to regularly maintain the cleanliness of your tiles or epoxy flooring. They both have non-porous surfaces that make them resistant to stains. While this is where it ends for tile flooring, epoxy flooring typically requires refurbishing every 3 to 5 years, or even as often as every 2 years in high-traffic commercial areas, to maintain its glossy appearance. For ease of maintenance, we would go with tiles.
4. Health & Safety of Tiles vs Epoxy
While epoxy is considered a very safe flooring choice, as it can prevent slips even in the presence of water, advances in tile flooring have introduced technologies such as Slip-Stop tiles, which achieve the same. When it comes to health, tiles are the safer bet as they are natural and non-toxic, whereas all variants of epoxy flooring emit some level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and can emit toxic chemicals when they are cut, sanded, or burned. In terms of health and safety, we would recommend tile flooring as the safer choice.
5. Physical Comfort of Tiles vs Epoxy
Surprisingly, epoxy flooring can turn out to be harder than ceramic and porcelain tiles, depending on the mix of materials that it is made from. However, this may vary depending on the thickness of the epoxy applied, as a thicker coating can provide more cushioning – however, you can expect it to be much harder than other flooring materials, such as hardwood or vinyl. Similar to tiles, epoxy can be cold and unyielding, which makes it uncomfortable for some. When it comes to physical comfort, it is a tie between tiles and epoxy.
6. Surfaces & Design of Tiles vs Epoxy
A wide range of design options is possible with both tiles and epoxy flooring. While epoxy can be designed in incredibly intricate ways that can even mimic tiles or other materials, tiles can not only sport the surface look of natural stone and wood but even recreate their authentic surface texture through digital printing. For this one, we’d have to hand the win to tiles for this additional feature!
7. Eco-friendliness of Tiles vs Epoxy
While tiles are fired from abundantly available clay and can be considered eco-friendly, the same can’t be said of epoxy flooring, although most epoxy flooring is made from synthetic resins. While both tiles and epoxy require significant energy to produce, epoxy is neither recyclable or biodegradable, and is difficult to dispose of without negatively impacting the environment. On the other hand, hacked tiles can be recycled without the use of any chemicals – and to minimize pollution, you could even skip the hacking and install tiles over existing tiles with thin tiles such as Niro Granite Slim. In this category, it is a clear win for tiles.
In summary, here are the main differences between tiles and epoxy flooring:
|Less expensive upfront but requiresmore maintenance and repairs over time
|More expensive upfront but cheaper to maintain
|Resistant to impacts but weak against scratches and scuffs
|Resistant to scratches and scuffs but weak against extremely strong impacts
|Easy to clean, but requires refurbishing every few years
|Easy to clean and requires no special maintenance for decades
|Health & Safety
|Anti-slip, but emits VOCs and also toxic compounds if damaged
|VOC-free and can come with additional safety features
|Cold and unyielding
|Cold and unyielding
|Design & Surface
|Many designs but only smooth surface
|Many designs and surfaces
|Not biodegradable or recyclable
|Recyclable and has the option to be installed without hacking