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How to Choose Bathroom Tiles for Your Home

By the Vevano Home Team
November 23, 2020

When you think of design styles for your bathroom, odds are tile comes to mind. Tiles are both versatile in size and style, as well as incredibly durable and water-resistant. They are a great stylish choice for your bathroom flooring, walls, and showers.

Unlike other rooms in your house, the bathroom requires more practicality when it comes to remodeling the floor or walls. With all the moisture your bathroom sees, look for flooring and wall materials that can withstand the waterworks in its various degrees. That’s where tile excels. Plus, tile looks great and it’s so versatile in design that it can contribute to any style you like. When installed and maintained properly, tile can last a lifetime.

This guide will go over some of the best types of bathroom tiles and design options available to enhance the different edges of your bathroom.

Best Type of Tile for Bathroom Floor

Porcelain - Materials start at $3 per square foot

Porcelain tiles are perhaps the strongest and most versatile in terms of style and design. Porcelain makes for a dense, fine grained, and smooth tile that is harder and more impervious to water than ceramic tiles. However, since it’s harder, porcelain is more brittle especially prior to installation. It can be designed and manufactured to resemble different materials, such as stone tiles or wood. A large variety of colors, patterns, and finishes can be found in porcelain tiles, more than almost any other flooring material. They are also very easy to clean with water, a mild cleanser, and a mop. It does come at slightly more of a premium than ceramic and may require professional installation and regular maintenance (particularly for grout lines) for long-lasting beauty and durability.

Ceramic - Materials start at $.50 per square foot

Though not quite as varied in design, ceramic tiles are a classic and hardy option for your bathroom floor or walls. Ceramics are typically made from clay and include stoneware and earthenware as well. These tiles are also easier to install than porcelain tiles. They may be softer than porcelain, but ceramic tiles are still quite sturdy. However, ceramic may be prone to visible chipping since it doesn’t have the same color throughout the tile like porcelain usually does. Ceramic tiles typically come in solid colors, most commonly white, off-white, earth tones, and black. Ceramic is generally easier to cut than porcelain and more affordable, so it’s an easier DIY project. Like porcelain, ceramic is very easy to keep clean with a mop and soapy water, and easily maintained by regularly sealing the grout annually to prevent water damage.

Note that all porcelain is part of the ceramic family, but not all ceramics are porcelain due to the slight difference in material and higher heat application during manufacturing. Both porcelain and ceramic are beautifully versatile and can be used for flooring, walls, and shower walls and floors.

Wood Look - Materials start at $3 per square foot

Even though we don’t recommend actual wood floors due to the moisture levels in bathrooms, you can still achieve a more rustic and natural theme with tiles that look like wood paneling. This flooring style has gained popularity in recent years. Wood look tiles can come in either porcelain or luxury vinyl tile (LVT). Both options are perfectly able to withstand your bathroom’s damp conditions. When made out of porcelain, the wood look tile has a white base, which makes the colors of the printed wood look design stand out more. If you see wood look ceramic tiles, it will most likely have a porcelain base. A multitude of designs and colors are available due to inkjet technology advancements, making the tiles look more like wood than was previously possible. Wood look tiles are generally very easy to clean since the grout lines tend to be thinner, which also means less grout is needed during installation.

The porcelain, ceramic, and wood look are also usable for wall tiles as well.

Floor Tiles vs. Wall Tiles

A good point to remember is that all floor tiles can be wall tiles, but not all wall tiles can be floor tiles. This is important to keep in mind as you make your tile selection. Be sure to look for the rating and thickness of the tile to know if it’s suitable for walls, shower walls/floors, or flooring. You can also always reach out to our team to make sure as well by phone or email.

Tiles suited for flooring usage are typically thicker than the wall counterparts. Wall tiles are not durable enough for regular foot traffic and also tend to be slicker than floor tiles, which can lead to trouble as a flooring option. No accidental slips wanted here!

floor-vs-wall-tile

Best Tile Styles for Walls, Backsplashes & Showers

Subway - Materials start at $2 per square foot

Inspired by the white glazed ceramic tiles first installed in New York City’s subway stations, the subway tile style offers a timeless and practical look. Due to their glossy and glazed finish, white subway tiles are stain-resistant, easy to clean, and reflect light, making the bathroom feel bigger and brighter. Typically, the tiles come in 3” x 6” rectangles, but more sizes are available. While subway tiles are usually made from ceramic, you can also find subway tiles made from glass, marble, and even stone. Subway tiles are normally quite thin and slick, so they aren’t ideal for flooring, but they work great for walls, especially shower walls and backsplashes.

Glass - Materials start at $5 per square foot

Glass tiles offer a clean and contemporary look, lending its glossy translucency to a bright and reflective bathroom. Less porous than ceramic, glass can stand up to water and heat easily, making it a beautiful and easy-to-clean addition to your backsplash or shower. Glass is also resistant to mold and mildew, however it is prone to scratches, which can dull the appearance over time. Also, glass is one of the more eco-friendly tile options as it uses half the energy that ceramic tiles need for manufacturing and is often made with recyclable materials. Due to all these characteristics, glass is very popular. We recommend that a professional install glass tiles, as they are very delicate prior to installation. Once installed, glass tiles are remarkably sturdy. We recommend glass tiles for the wall, backsplash or shower walls, however, there are few floor-rated glass tile styles available that would make for a beautiful glass shower floor.

bathroom-tile-backsplash

Mosaic - Materials start at $5 per square foot (increases with material, size, and customization)

For a more intricate wall, shower, or backsplash, the different colors and shapes of mosaic tiles can create a luxurious, sophisticated, or artisanal feel to your bathroom. Mosaic tiles come in a variety of materials, from glass, natural stone, marble, and ceramics in varying shapes and sizes. You have all the room to create a unique spread of colors and finishes in your bathroom. Mosaic tiles come in subway tiles, hexagon tiles, small squares, circles, herringbone, and more. The stunning variety of designs make mosaics both a popular and premium upgrade to your walls or backsplashes.Because of their intricacy, mosaic tiles may require professional installation and repair. Overall, the beautiful and trendy mosaic tile lends itself as a gorgeous backdrop to your bathroom.

Which Types of Bathroom Tiles Appeals to You?

There are a variety of stunning tile options available to transform your bathroom. While function is paramount here, tile also has the benefit of looking beautiful. Use one tile or combine two to three tile types throughout your bathroom to create your personal style.

Decide what kind of style you’d like to achieve, consider the maintenance needs, look at what your budget can manage (whether you need a professional to install the tile or if you plan to DIY it), and check to make sure the tile is applicable to your walls or flooring. These steps help you in choosing tiles that work for your bathroom. Happy tiling!

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