The material that's uesed to make tile and the methods of manufacturing determine its durability and absorption. It's important to know what tile is best suited for your specific situation.
Most ceramic tile is glazed. Glazed tile is made from a mixture of clays that are pressed into shape. A "glaze" is then applied to the top and baked on. Glazed tiles are available in high-gloss, matte and abtasive slip-resistant finished. Glazed tiles also come in decrative styles with a pattern or hand-painted design. The glaze on the tile doesn't go all the way through, so if it gets chipped, you're going to see the color inside. Glazed tiles may tend to get scratched on frequesntly-used countertops, but they're ideal for walls.
Mosaic tile is made from different types of clay with color pigments added so the color goes all the way through the tile. Mosaics are suitable for almost any surface because they resist moisture, are staing-proof and will not chip easily.
Quarry tile is a broad classification for any tile made out of a mixture of clays. They are usually deep red in color and left unglazed. These tiles are used mostly for interior floors because they're usually porous and irregular in shape. The surface of these tiles can be sealed or left unsealed, although, they may stain if left unsealed.
Another hot trend is natural materials such as slate, marble, granite and limestone cut into thin pieces and installed like tile.