Ceramic and porcelain tiles are two of the most common tile varieties, but stone tile also has its place in many homes. Vinyl tiles, laminate tiles and even wood tiles can also be used in different designs and styles. If you are worried about impact damage and potential cracks, your best bet will probably be porcelain tile, but most tile types are used for their durability, so it's hard to go wrong.
Ceramic tiles are made primarily from clay, although there is often a mixture of other materials like shale, quartz compounds and other trace elements. Like many clay products, the ceramic tiles are shaped, covered with a glaze, and then fired in a kiln. This makes the tiles very heat-resistant, while the glaze protects them from moisture damage. This is the toughest tile option for a project on a budget.
Porcelain tile is very similar to ceramic tile. It is also made from clay with other materials added for stability. However, porcelain has slightly different mixture ratios than ceramic tiles and is usually compressed before being fired. This makes porcelain tile highly stain- and moisture-resistant, and even stronger than ceramic tile. It is one of the toughest tiles you can buy.
Stone tiles do have their weaknesses. They can be stained much more easily than ceramic or porcelain tiles, and need to be resealed from time to time, in order to protect them. However, some types of stone, like granite, have the highest heat resistance of most types of tile and are available in larger tile shapes than other options. However, stone is often more expensive than ceramic tile.
Other Tile Options
There are a number of other tile options, but none will be as strong as ceramic, porcelain or stone options. Brick and concrete tile may come close, but they are not as durable. Laminate tile is one of the weakest options available, and wood, although stronger, is useful only as decorative tile.