Do Floor Tiles Make a Room Colder?


There are so many beautiful choices for floor tiles these days. If you’re considering replacing the carpet in your home with floor tiles, you may wonder if the change to tile flooring might make the room colder.

Do floor tiles make a room colder? A room will most certainly feel colder with floor tiles when compared to carpet or even timber. Floor tiles make a room feel colder by repelling heat. While other types of flooring such as carpet retain heat, floor tiles do the opposite making the room seem colder to your feet.

Now you might be saying, “Wait a minute! What do you mean by ‘feel’ and ‘seem’ colder?” Does the type of tile matter? Also, what are the pros and cons of switching to tiles? We’ll answer all of those questions and more to help you decide which flooring type for which room.

Cold Floor Tiles… The Science

Floor tiles do not actually make the room any colder. The temperature of the tile is the same temperature that you have your thermostat at home set to, but it does feel cooler to your feet. Why is that? Peek into any science textbook and you’ll discover that the answer is heat transfer. It works like this:

  • Heat transfer is the movement of heat to one object to another.
  • When heat transfers from an object to a colder one it gives a feeling a coolness to the warmer object. In this case – our feet.
  • The speed at which heat transfers, or conducts, depends on the material of the object. That is why tile feels cooler than carpet or wood. It’s a better conductor of heat.

So, what does all that information mean in regards to floor coverings? Whenever your feet touch the floor there is a transfer of the warmth of your body to the object it touches. Whenever you touch an object that is cooler than your body and that object conducts heat well it will give you a feeling of coolness to that part of your body. 

The feeling of coolness that your foot feels when it touches floor tile isn’t the tile being cold and making our feet cold, rather it is a product of the heat being pulled away from our feet due to tile being a good conductor

That is why flooring materials such as carpet, cork, and engineered hardwood are considered warmer flooring. They do not conduct heat well and act as an insulator, meaning that heat does not transfer very well to that material. The lack of heat transfer from our feet to those types of flooring materials gives the feeling of it being a warmer substance. 

So, in reality, the carpet or tile is the same temperature and it’s just the tile is faster than carpet at removing heat from our feet that makes the tile feel colder to us.

Can Floor Tiles Ever Make a Room Feel Warmer?

You might be surprised to find out that the same reason that tiles make the room feel colder can be used as a great benefit in the wintertime to make the floor feel warmer as well. 

When paired with a radiant in floor heating system, the tile will easily warm up and transfer the heat from your heating system to your feet in the wintertime. 

If you live somewhere warm where you don’t have a cold winter, a heating system in the floor is not a necessity. But if you live in a colder area, then radiant floor heating under your tiles will make your home very comfortable in the winter months. Having a warm tile floor is favorable over even carpet flooring.

Pros and Cons of Having Floor Tiles in Your Home

Some people decide on a change from carpet out of necessity. Maybe, over the years, pets have had an accident or two that has stained and damaged the carpeting. In this case, although carpet tends to have a recommended lifespan of ten years, loving pets can cut that life short a few years earlier. 

Even if the carpet isn’t damaged, some make the switch to a tiled floor simply due to its ease of cleaning. But making any major change in a home’s interior requires some research. You may not want to make a decision based on one perceived benefit alone. 

You’ll want to know what you are getting with your selection. So, let’s cover more pros and cons of our having tiles in your home. Here’s some things that may help you decide: 

Pros

  • Tile flooring is easy to clean and difficult to stain. Whenever you have a spill, the liquid doesn’t absorb into the tile meaning you can simply wipe or mop the spill right up. If there is a little stain left, almost any type of cleaner can be used on the flooring without any damage to the tile. 
  • Tile flooring is durable. The materials tiles are made of are usually hard and tough to damage. If a tile does get damaged, you are able to replace the tile or tiles that need replacing without having to redo the entire room. The carpet we just had removed lasted us ten years. While a tiled floor, if installed properly, has an expected life of 20 years or more when properly maintained. 
  • Tile flooring is affordable. While more expensive than carpet, tile flooring is generally $5 to $10 a foot. Premium materials like marble may cost more.

Cons

  • Tile flooring is heavy. Tile weighs more than many other materials and you may not be able to use it upstairs. The structure of any upper-stories in your home might not be strong enough to support the weight of a tiled floor.
  • Tile floors are slippery and hard. The hardness of tiles makes them uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time. Also, the hardness makes the floor slippery. Since a spilled liquid isn’t going to be absorbed by the tile, the floor is going to slippery. Be careful not to fall.
  • The floors feel cold. We have already talked about this one a good bit. The use of area rugs and wearing slippers on your feet eliminates that sensation of cold. Also, if you have a radiant below-surface heating system, all of sudden this con gets pushed to a pro.

Does The Type of Tile Matter?

Tile can be made from many different materials. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Ceramic tiles
  • Porcelain tiles
  • Marble tiles
  • Mosaic tiles
  • Granite tiles
  • Quartzite tiles
  • Cork tiles
  • Wood tiles

As you can see, flooring tile can be made out of many materials so the type of tile that is used also matters as to how cold or warm the floor will feel to you. Ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone tiles are excellent conductors and will feel cool to your feet when you step on them. 

Some tiles are made of materials such as wood and cork, that aren’t very good conductors so your experience with them won’t be the same. They even make carpet tiles – so, yes, the material of tile you choose will matter.

Once you determine what material is best for your needs and budget, as well as the look you want to have, you’ll have a better idea of whether you’ll be walking barefoot or in slippers! Either way, you’re sure to enjoy your new flooring. 

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