How do I choose the right tile for my bathroom remodel?

With so many choices on the market, finding the right bathroom tile can be a challenge. There are many textures and materials, installation methods, and characteristics of bathroom tile, so the more you know in advance of making your selection, the better the chance you make the right choice.

You want something that looks good and is meant for bathroom use. Is easy to maintain and does not break your budget. The type of materials you choose for your bathroom will make a big impact on the overall look, but that can’t be the only consideration. You also must consider the resiliency, smoothness, and amount of shine of the tile.

When buying certain types of tile like ceramic, porcelain or glass, be sure it is rated for use on floors. In fact, ceramic tile comes with a coefficient of friction rating (COF) – choose one rated .50 or greater. COF slip resistance ratings help you determine if you are buying the right tile for the right location.

When looking at a porcelain tile, opt for one that is at least PEI III. The PEI rating indicates the tile hardness. The scale ranges from one to five, with five being the strongest and most durable.

The most common types of materials used in bathroom tiling include:

Ceramic Tile: If you like stone, wood lookalikes, interesting patterns or custom finishes and colors, you will likely find ceramic tile a great choice. Like vinyl, ceramics are easy to maintain and can easily be installed over radiant floor heating. When protected with a high-grade glaze, ceramic will resist wear and scratches. Ceramic tile is manufactured in sizes ranging from one inch to twenty-four inches square, so bring a tape measure when you go shopping.

Stone Tile: In the past, stone tiles were typically used in foyers or large kitchen areas. Made from limestone, marble, granite, and slate, stone tiles are available in colors that range from creams to blues, reds, greens, and golds. Available textures are nearly as numerous and include tumbled, sandblasted, etched and flamed variations. Stone requires more maintenance than ceramic tile - regular cleaning and sealing are recommended. When it comes to price, stone is typically more expensive than similar-looking ceramic or porcelain tiles.

Glass Tile: Glass tile offers a contemporary look that is refreshing and unique. Glass tile is relatively low maintenance, all you need to keep it clean is window cleaner and a cloth, making it an ideal choice for the shower where you will experience soap build up that needs to be cleaned regularly. Glass tile can be higher in price than some ceramic tile options. If Glass is over your budget, you may want to consider using glass as accent, rather than covering large surface areas. Glass can be slippery if used for floor applications so use a matte finish tile in a smaller size for more traction and try adding a non-slip sealant for increased slip resistance.

Porcelain Tile: One of the most expensive tiling options for the bathroom is porcelain. Porcelain is one of the most popular, maintenance-free options as it has a tough, dense surface that absorbs minimal water, making it a great option for the bathroom. However, installation can be a little tricky so leave it up to a professional bathroom remodeling contractor.

Vinyl Tile: Vinyl is a very popular bathroom flooring material, because of its low cost and high degree of practicality. It is well-suited for any bathroom in the house, from the master bath to the powder room. Hands down, it beats other popular choices for safety, comfort, and durability. Almost as important, vinyl tiles have come a long way in aesthetic appeal and ease of installation. The material is self-adhering and can be cut with a utility knife. Vinyl tiles win for cheapest and easiest to work with. However, they don’t last as long as their harder surface counterparts, and the gaps between them can be hard to seal.

Cork Tiles: Cork flooring is warm to the touch and very easy on the feet, and the tiles come tinted in a variety of colors. Glue-down installation is not difficult but expect to apply multiple coats of polyurethane to seal the flooring and prevent moisture from reaching the subfloor, even if you purchase finished tiles. Generally, cork tiles are installed with a troweled-on adhesive, but click-in-place floating floor products are also available.

Walk into many older homes and you will likely find small tiles spanning the bathroom floor and walls. Today, larger tiles are the new norm. Larger tiles often make a space feel bigger and more spacious. If you want your bathroom to look larger, stick with tiles that are 12×24 or larger. If you prefer the classic look of smaller tiles, subway tiles still look great when combined with more modern features. You can also find larger subway tiles measuring 4 x 16 that combine this classic look with a modern twist.

Mosaic is a popular option for bathroom tile. However, many homeowners dislike the look of grout between tiles. Not only does grout create a grid-like feel on your bathroom walls, it is also fast to discolor and notoriously difficult to clean. Avoid these problems by having your grout tinted to the same color as your tile. That way your grout blends perfectly with the tile and it appears as one cohesive sheet.

If you have a small bathroom, it is wise to choose a diagonal tile. Diagonal tiles create the illusion that the bathroom is bigger than it really is. While diagonal tile can boost a small bathroom’s aesthetic, it can be hard to install. Most do-it-yourselfers have trouble installing diagonal tile due to the way the tiles must be cut and placed. When installing diagonal tile, there is a higher risk of error which can result in wasted time and money. If you want diagonal tile in your bathroom, opt to have a bathroom remodeling contractor install it.

Tiles are the floor and wall covering of choice in most modern bathrooms. This is partly because tile offers an easy-to-clean, hygienic surface that is simple to maintain. It is also partially due to the sleek and sophisticated look of tile and the wide range of styles to choose from. No matter what color, style, material, or texture you like, you are sure to find it available in tile form.

When considering a bathroom remodeler speak to an experienced bathroom remodeling contractor who knows the right tips and techniques for a polished look.

Jon Adamo – President Phase One Construction
(718) 554-6565 admin@phaseonenyc.com

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