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    A guide to choosing bathroom tiles

    Material, colour and design considerations for your next reno

    Hannah | Oneflare

    One of the biggest decisions during a bathroom renovation is tile selection. The proper choice of tile will determine your bathroom’s look, the ease of cleaning and maintenance, and your project budget Here are some of the key considerations when choosing the right tile for your bathroom. 

    Source: Blue Leaf Bathware & Tiles

    Types of bathroom tiles

    With proper installation and sealing, any type of tile can be used in your bathroom: marble, granite, slate, sandstone, ceramic, porcelain, glass, metal, and even plastic. Tile varies not only in material, but also in size, colour and texture. The patterns and combinations are limited only by your imagination.

    Before you get started, keep in mind that what you choose needs to be maintained properly. For example, if you choose very small tiles, realise that this will create extra grout lines, meaning more cleaning. If you choose whites or other light colours, this will mean more work keeping them clean looking. You may want to consider those tiles that are slip-resistant to help to keep you from slipping on the floor.

    Bathroom design & style

    The bathroom is a challenging area and any tile that you place in it needs to be able to meet some pretty stringent requirements. The tile has to be water-resistant, durable, as well as easy to clean and maintain. It should also be beautiful. You will find that these tiles can be used not just on the floors but on the walls of your home as well – you may even use border and feature tiles in the space.

    What is your goal? Are you going for a traditional or funky retro look or an elegant retreat? The look and atmosphere you want in your bathroom will influence your choice of tile. For example, large glossy ceramic tiles wouldn’t suggest a cosy retreat, nor would mirrored tiles suit a traditional bathroom.

    For style needs, though, there is much more available that can enhance the look of your space. You can choose various shapes to use in the space place. You can use a variety of materials, including glass, natural stone, and ceramic. You may want to use large tiles or very small mosaics. The options are endless.

    Cleaning & maintenance

    Traditional glass, porcelain, and glazed ceramic tile are uniquely suited for bathrooms because they are non-porous and resist moisture and mould. Clean often with a household cleaner suitable for tile, and your bathroom will look wonderful for many years.

    Not all tile was originally designed for bathroom use. However, with proper regular sealing, any tile can be used in your bathroom. Use a cleaner that is compatible with the sealant. Non-traditional tile requires extra maintenance. If you are set on using exotic tile, consider it for a guest bathroom that will not see the traffic of the main family bathroom. Less use means less maintenance.

    Source: Matrix Constructions Pty Ltd

    Renovation budget

    The driving force behind most renovations is budget. Tile ranges from inexpensive simple ceramic tiles to very expensive exotic stone tiles. Take careful measurements of your space, and determine how many tiles you need. Then, figure in an allowance for grout, adhesive, tools, and breakage. If your dream tile is out of your budget, you can wait for a sale, or look for an odd lot or discontinued line. Another option is to use a more common tile for most of the space and trim it out in the fancy tile. Again, your imagination and budget are your only limits.

    What’s right for your space?

    When choosing from all of these options, consider the space itself. When you choose larger tiles, you have fewer grout lights to fill in. This helps to make the space look larger. Perhaps your ceilings are very low. If you run the tiling in a vertical strip, perhaps using some feature tiles as well, this gives the appearance of height. It helps to change the perception of the room.

    Selecting colours

    The next consideration is the colouring. Neutral colours – like white, beige or cream – remain the common winner because it is easy to match with. However, you can use a range of options here depending what you prefer to see in this space. You may want to choose the bold colours found in glass mosaic tiles, placing these on just one wall in the bathroom. It will create a very appealing look. You can use bold colours in random locations throughout the space for a different type of appeal. Here’s some tips when selecting a colour for your tiles:

    “Clean” looking colours: that is, those that don’t easily display dirt or other blemishes. Stark whites, blacks, and dark greys tend to show spills and stains, so it’s better to pick more neutral colours where possible to help cut down cleaning time.

    Colours that create space: the right colours will help you create the illusion of having more space in a small room. Since the bathroom is generally one of the smallest rooms in the house, this is pretty important. In general, dark colours can close a space in, whilst light colours will create a more spacious feel. If you do want to use dark tiles, consider them as part of a feature or pattern, rather than the base.

    Eye-catching colours: Opt for colours that are going to draw the eye to a major feature, like a beautiful freestanding bath, a shower stall, or a lovely mirror. This generally works well when the bathroom is filled with neutral colours, meaning that the coloured tiles being used around the feature are more striking.

    Colours that create mood: Colour has an impact on the feel and mood of the bathroom, so consider what atmosphere you’re trying to create. Are you looking for a clean finish, a dramatic bathroom, or a relaxing retreat? Dramatic rooms will do well with bold colours, while classic neutral colours, like greys and whites are great for a clean-cut look. To create a feeling of calm, consider earthy tones, like greens, blues, yellows, and soft purples.

    Guide to picking the right bathroom wall tiles

    When remodeling your bathroom, you should give a lot of consideration to the type and pattern of wall tiles you want to use. Wall tiles can set the tone for the entire bathroom. Depending on what you choose, your bathroom can look simple, elegant or even fun. Here are some things to consider when picking out wall tiles.

    Choose a Tile Material

    There are many different wall-tile materials that you can choose from. Learn about the different types so that you can choose the one that fits your bathroom design, budget and lifestyle best.

    • Ceramic tiles are very popular because they are easy to clean, hold up well in high moisture environments and are inexpensive. They are available in hundreds of sizes, colours, and patterns.
    • Porcelain tiles stand up even better in high moisture environments than ceramic wall tiles, and they’re just as easy to keep clean. However, the extra durability comes with a steeper price. They are also available in hundreds of sizes, colours, and patterns.
    • Natural stone tiles are often used in designer bathrooms because they look so beautiful. The downside is that stone is porous and is prone to staining in high moisture environments. However, the application of a clear waterproof sealant can help to protect the stone.
    • Natural clay tiles have the same benefits and drawbacks of natural stone tiles. They look gorgeous but are prone to stains caused by moisture. However, just as with natural stone tiles, a clear waterproof sealant can protect clay tiles from moisture damage.
    • Glass tiles come in a wide variety of colours and designs, making them a great choice for colourful bathroom designs. Glass has a shiny, reflective quality not available in the other tile materials. Glass tiles hold up very well in moist environments and are easy to care for.
    Source: HCR Renovation & Construction

    Choose a Pattern

    You can create a pattern by using either all of the same colour tile or tile in different colours. A design using only one colour and size of tile looks simple and elegant and focuses the attention on the bathroom fixtures. A patterned design using different-coloured or different-sized tiles draws attention to the walls and adds an additional layer of interest to the bathroom.

    There are several ways you can create a wall tile design. Here are some ideas that are easy to do by yourself:

    • The easiest way to create a tile wall pattern is to purchase tiles that already have a pattern on them.
    • Plain tiles can be installed in simple pattens such as placing large tiles on one row, small tiles on the next row and repeating the pattern.
    • You can make a checkerboard pattern by alternating tile colours.

    There are numerous designs that you can create with wall tiles, such as diamond patterns, but sophisticated designs require careful measurement and quite a bit of tile cutting. If you are not experienced at installing tile, hire a reputable tiler to help you out.

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