Everyone wants value for money when redecorating a home, but the choice of bathroom tiles needs a lot of serious thought. You may have thought you found a bargain, but the wrong bathroom tile can destroy the entire remodelling effort. When it comes to bathroom tiles, the material, colour, durability and gloss are all important factors, as well as their grouting and the ability of a decorator to install them. Get advice from a tiling expert before you choose.
Bathroom tiles have evolved from standard-sized ceramics with added border features to all manner of materials and patterns. Householders are looking for different shapes from the usual squares or mosaics, or other materials such as glass or natural stone. They also want the bathroom to resemble a work of art. But bathroom tiles perform an important function. They have to keep the moisture in and protect the house’s walls from any accumulated mould and damp. They have to be sealed properly at the grouts. And they have to be safe to walk over when wet.
Ceramics and Porcelain
Ceramic tiles remain the popular bathroom tile choice for most householders. They combine a moderate price with durability, especially when glazed. If fitted correctly, they can last a long time. But porcelain is a better, though more expensive material. It is much harder-wearing than ceramic. But this is where the buyer must beware. Do you know if you are buying a glazed tiled or a full body? The glaze on a porcelain tile sits on the surface, rather like icing on a cake. This is fine for decorative purposes but may not be strong enough for bathrooms in heavy use. A full-bodied porcelain tile has the colour evenly all through the tile’s thickness and is much more durable.
Another advantage of porcelain tiles is that they can be manufactured to look like glass or marble but with harder properties. Most people buy porcelain tiles for their decorative appeal. The best option is to choose them for their durability and then find a pattern to match your bathroom’s colour scheme. Porcelain tiles may be difficult to install so it’s best to call on the services of a professional for the job.
Take great care when choosing natural stones such as marble. The quality of the stone and its installation are very important. Natural-stone laying is a professional skill. There could be problems in fitting the larger stone slabs around drainage points. And more importantly, not all natural stones are suitable for the wet and humid environment of a bathroom. Marble absorbs moisture and eventually cracks. Travertine is a natural stone that was used as a cladding and a building material since early Roman times and still makes an excellent material for bathroom tiling. Just don’t skimp on the professional who lays it.
Janet Hughes is an interior-decoration consultant. She writes widely on home remodelling for a range of websites and blogs. Her latest book on bathroom decoration has many ideas inspired by the tiles available from sites such as www.bathroomtiles.co.uk.