Ceramic, slate, marble? Matt, textured or glazed? Small or large? Selecting the right tile for the right use isn’t for the faint-hearted but it’s something you need to spend some time thinking about. You need to be completely satisfied before they’re laid, as removing and replacing tiles is costly and time-consuming. To take some of the angst out of the process, we’ve collected some handy hints to help you out.
Where are you going to use them?
For starters consider where you are going to use the tiles, on the bathroom walls? Kitchen floor? Perhaps outside? The area will dictate to a large extent the type of tile you need to lay, as different tiles have different purposes. For example, textured or matte finishes may be preferable if you’re worried about slippage in wet areas or entryways. All floor tiles can also be used for walls but not vice versa.
Choosing size & style
Tiles come in a range of sizes so it’s completely a personal preference when it comes to size. If you’d rather there were less grouting lines, then bigger tiles are the answer. Larger tiles can also make a small room appear more spacious. On the other hand, small tiles are more easily fitted, meaning less wastage, and therefore, less expense.
Style is also a personal preference but, like paint, you can use light tile colours to make a space appear larger while neutral colours are great if you want to add brighter accessories. Darker colours can add intrigue while textured tiles can mask uneven flooring and bring interest to a room.
Highly polished, glossy tiles like porcelain and marble look sophisticated and are easy to maintain with a bit of regular care and attention. Ceramic tiles can be glazed or unglazed and are the most affordable. Glazed tiles are easier to keep clean than unglazed if using in high traffic areas, but unglazed tiles are more slip resistant. Although it is possible to get glazed tiles that are slip resistant.
If you’re tiling a large area and have budget constraints, then you can always mix and match. Use an expensive tile as an accent wall or as a border, and finish off the space with a complementary subway tile that is more cost effective.
Factor in how much time you want to spend keeping your tiles looking fabulous. All tiles need a bit of care whether it’s mopping the kitchen floor once a week or wiping down the bathroom walls after a shower. But some tiles need a bit more care than others. Marble tiles, although they look great, are porous so prone to staining and scratching and you have to be careful about what products you use to clean them.
Whereas porcelain tiles are made of a hardier material so often used for floors as they just need sweeping and the occasional mop with soapy water. Likewise glazed ceramic tiles are good for bathrooms and floors as they don’t scratch easily and are highly moisture resistant. They don’t mind non-abrasive all-purpose cleaners. It is also important to note that all gloss tiles can scratch, so proper care is required.