Picking the Right Tiles – A Quick Guide

It may seem like an overwhelming experience with the endless choice of colours, sizes, styles, shapes, finishes and materials to choose from.

TIP NO. 1: RESEARCH, RESEARCH

When it comes to choosing bathroom tiles, it important to understand the different types of materials and what they are most suited for.  Here are the most common types of tiles used in bathrooms:

Ceramic tiles:

Ceramic or non-porcelain tiles is the perfect tile surface for kitchens, bathrooms, basements, porches, laundries, powder rooms, and other moisture-prone areas. Ceramic tiles are commonly made with red, brown or white clay that is fired in a kiln and finished with a durable glaze which carries the colour and pattern on the surface of the tile. The glazed surface of the tile makes the tile dense and non-porous which gives the characteristic of stain, fire and slip resistant. Ceramic floor tiles are suitable for bathrooms that have a light to moderate traffic, and can be relatively prone to wear and chipping. Ceramic tiles have a generally high water absorption rate making the surface impervious to water penetration and stains.

Porcelain tiles:

Porcelain tiles offer strong advantages when it comes to design, its strong nature allows endless ideas for interior and exterior applications.  The full body porcelain tile carries colour and pattern through the entire thickness of the tile making them a much harder and denser tile. Porcelain tiles are suitable for any wall or floor application in commercial to the highest traffic areas of the home.  Porcelain floor tiles are great for bathrooms in terms of wear and tear in high traffic areas from families to pets. Porcelain floor tiles are a hard wearing surface that is resistant to stains, scratches and easy to clean and maintain.

Stone tiles:

If you’re going for a more natural earthy feel, there is a wealth of options when it comes to natural stone tiles. Natural stone tiles come in an array of colours and styles; most commonly used are marble, limestone, travertine, slate and granite. Sealing your tile after being laid and periodical maintenance i.e. sealing will keep your stone looking flawless and prevent any stains or damages to the surface. A seal helps to create a barrier between water and the stone to prevent liquids absorbing into the surface and ensure longevity. The earth itself is one of the best manufacturers for materials, so you are guaranteed to have a hard wearing surface that is also aesthetically pleasing. The beauty of natural stone’s unique pattern varies from tile to tile, so keep in mind that no two natural stone tile surfaces will be the same.  It is important to steer clear from bleaches or any harsh chemicals on natural stone as they are inclined to eat into the surface

Mosaic tiles:

Mosaic tiles are great for creating a unique feature in any bathroom design. The endless options in colour, style and size will leave you truly mesmerised. There is no denying how great a mosaic floor tile looks but can tend to be quite slippery when wet. When choosing mosaic tiles for your bathroom floor be sure to check the slip rating standards and the warranty. Glass mosaic tiles are relatively easy to clean but remember the more grout lines you have, the more cleaning is involved!

TIP NO. 2: SLIP WEAR RATINGS

It can be overwhelming choosing from a range of options when it comes to tiles for wet areas. Colours, sizes and finishes are endless! But the key is to choose a tile that has a high slip rating. Tiles are put through a slip rating test that assesses the frictional characteristic of the surface to detect what is best suited for different environmental conditions. The test measures the long-term wear throughout the life of a floor, taking into consideration, the installation process, wear characteristics, cleaning maintenance and anticipated traffic.

TIP NO. 3: CHOOSING THE SIZE OF YOUR TILE

Rule of thumb when designing a bathroom is to consider the size of the room first. Large format tiles look stunning on both walls and floors to give a large bathroom a flawless finish. However, for smaller bathroom settings we suggest giving your bathroom a feature such as penny rounds or mosaic tiles.  If you are space limited, an oversized diamond pattern on a bathroom floor can create diagonal lines that give the eye a longer path to follow from one side of the room to the other, so the room feels bigger than it really is. It might seem contradictory, but choosing larger tiles for a small bathroom works because you have less grouted joints which give the illusion of more space.

Large format tiles are great for emphasising the size of a bathroom to look elongated. When choosing shower tiles you need to take into consideration the type of drains that will be installed in your bathroom.  If you choose big tiles in a bathroom with limited space, you will find more grout lines are required in showers and tend to look untidy and messy. If you are using strip drains in your shower, you will find any tile, big or small, irregular, square, or rectangle, even large format tiles will work well together cooperatively and you can hold on to your stylish ambitions! Strip drains are a popular choice for being discrete and require minimal grout tiles – means less grout cleaning. We recommend you speak to your tiler before setting your heart on a tile that may not be suitable for your bathroom.

TIP NO. 4: THE RULES OF COLOUR IN TILE DESIGN

One of the most exciting parts in choosing tiles is picking a colour that suits your style and personality. But as a rule of thumb, colour plays an important role in projecting a warm and inviting ambience or a cool and tranquil retreat.

Dark colours not only add warmth and hide the trails of dirt in the bathroom, but they can tend to make a space feel enclosed. So it’s important to go easy on darker colours. Consider adding a gloss wall tile to enhance and create an illusion of space. A glossy tile has a reflective character and tends to look brighter and lighter when paired with darker colour schemes.

Neutral colour tones are great for keeping the design simple and basic,  allowing your accessories be the staple piece to your bathroom. Lighter neutral colours are great in small bathrooms for making a tight space more spacious and open.

TIP NO. 5: TAKE A TILE SAMPLE BEFORE YOU PURCHASE

Even when you think you are 100% set on a tile it is always a good idea to take the selected tile of choice to your home to see what the colour, size and finish of the tile will look like. The colour of the tile can look completely different depending on the type of lights the area will be exposed to, whether its natural light, downlights or fluorescent lights. The tricky part is light is never consistent and can also be dependent on the time of day and the environment.