Selecting tiles can be an overwhelming task! Whether you are working on a new bathroom, updating your kitchen splashback or re-tiling your whole house, there truly is a world of possibilities available in the tiling industry. So where do you start? How do you make the decision less daunting?
Inspiration & Style
The best way to get started in selecting tiles is to do your research! Look online, peruse magazines, get some ideas of what the latest trends, styles, materials and techniques are in order to narrow down your search. Target an overall style you would like to achieve in your space and draw inspiration from various sources. Checkout our Pinterest profile for a world of inspiration!
There are particular tile colours, styles and shapes that lend themselves well to certain home decorating styles; for example, a Moroccan themed Bathroom could incorporate lantern shaped Moroccan tiles to really compliment the overall scheme. An industrial styled home would look complete with concrete-look porcelain tiles and a Period style home would benefit from the charm and character of concrete tiles.
Set a Budget
Always set yourself a budget early on in the selection process! Do investigate various tile showrooms and websites in order to get an understanding of how much different types of tiles cost; This will help you set a realistic budget figure to work with and again, will narrow down your search to selection in a) Your selected style and b) Your selected price range.
Types of Tiles
There are many different tile materials available from glass, ceramic, porcelain, natural stone and concrete or encaustic tiles. The key is to select the material that will suit your intended application best and assist in achieving the overall style you are wanting in this space.
Glass tiles are made of a combination of sand and minerals and are suitable for wall applications, swimming pools and low traffic flooring applications. Glass is a popular material for creating mosaic tiles, such as the Andy Warhol inspired mosaic featured below. Mosaic tiles usually come in sheets (usually around 30 x 30cm) that make installation simple. Glass tiles are often more expensive than ceramic and porcelain tiles, making them better suited for feature walls and splashbacks.
Ceramic tiles are made of natural clay and sand and can be used for wall and floor applications. They are generally much cheaper than their porcelain counterparts and also have the added benefit of being non-absorbent, meaning they will not soak in water and grow bacteria. New technology has allowed for printing on patterns and colous onto the surface of ceramic tiles, creating a colourful and bold scheme in any room! Glazed ceramics are water resistant and can be used in wet areas around the home however, they will not be as durable as porcelain tiles. Unglazed ceramics will require regular sealing to avoid disturbing the coloured or patterned surface of the tile.
Porcelain tiles are made of a dense clay which is fired at a much higher temperature than ceramic tiles. They are suitable for just about any wall or floor application, including outdoor areas. Generally more expensive than ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles are highly durable and easy to maintain, with no ongoing sealing or professional cleaning required. With advanced technology, porcelain tiles are now being created in a way that almost perfectly mimics the look and texture or natural stones such as marble, allowing you the luxurious natural look for less cost and less maintenance! Porcelain tiles are also water resistant and will not allow the growth of bacteria, while also being highly fire resistant, minimising the movement of flames.
A traditional form of tile manufacture, cement tiles are handmade using coloured clays and have been used since the 1800s. They are also known as encaustic cement tiles but are more commonly referred to as cement tiles. Featuring bold, intricate patterns and bright colours, these tiles are perfect for period style homes or for blending the old with the new in a modern upgrade to a traditional styled home. A key point to keep in mind is that all cement tiles do retain a bit of moisture from the manufacturing process; once laid, they will dry up to their intended colour after a few days. If laid in direct sunlight, cement tiles can also fade over time so opt for a porcelain tile instead if this is of concern to you. Cement tiles do require sealing as they can absorb liquids. A beautiful product, we find cement tiles easiest to maintain when used as a feature wall, as shown in the example below.
Natural Stone Tiles
Natural stone tiles such as marble tiles, can be used in a variety of applications from walls to floors and splashbacks and even outdoor areas. All natural stones require sealing after application and may require professional cleaning and re-sealing every few years depending on the amount of traffic the tiled area receives. As you can expect, natural stone products are not cheap and there is the ongoing maintenance factor that will add to the cost. Natural stones, require a bit of extra care in your daily cleaning routine: marble for example is renowned for being a soft and porous stone that can be easily scratched or stained. Thankfully, a qualified professional is able to renew your marble surface: Visit BK Stone for natural stone maintenance requirements in Melbourne.
Grout Types & Colours
Now that you’ve selected your tiles, it’s time to look at different grouts and grout colours. Selecting a grout may seem like a menial task however, the grout colour you choose can literally make or break the whole look of the space! Consider if you would prefer your grout to blend in with the tiled surface or if you would rather create a visual contrast between the colour of the tile and the colour of the grout. This technique works especially well with tiles that feature an interesting shape, such as lantern or hexagonal shaped tiles, as it makes the unique shape of the tile stand out.
A good tip to keep in mind when selecting a grout colour is to pay attention to the colour used on the tile display in the showroom you are visiting: they have selected that particular colour for a reason!
Thanks to the many advances made in the tiling and grout industry, grout offerings have developed to include an astounding amount of varying colours, the ability to mix grout colours to create the perfect shade and even the added benefit of providing waterproof and mould resistant grouting options. Epoxy grouts fro example, are perfect for wet areas as well as kitchen splashbacks as they play a major role in preventing the build up of grime and mould, providing you with a super easy to clean surface! Do keep in mind, that Epoxy grout is a little more expensive than traditional cement based grout and due to the fact that it is more difficult to work with and to clean after grouting, will add a cost to your labour bill. However, the end result is truly worth it!
Share your top tile picking tips in the comments below!
- Bisazza’s NEW Wooden Tile Collection + 2017 SNEAK PREVIEW!: World famous glass mosaic manufacturer Bisazza has wowed the design world yet again with their new collection of timber tiles!