Tile Style

If you are thinking about a bathroom facelift, replacing existing tile can be one of the largest components on the job. Removing tile can be messing and replacing it is something you would only like to do once.  With all of the styles available, picking the right product for your project can sometimes seem overwhelming. Here's a quick lesson on tile that may prove helpful.

One of the first things homeoweners can run up against when thinking about tile is the difference between porcelain and ceramic. Here are some simple differences. Porcelain is denser, more durable and has a slightly lower water absorption rate than ceramic. Porcelain tile generally is more expensive that ceramic and may require a higher labor cost to install.  Generally, for most home projects, ceramic tile is the product of choice and is more that adaquate in terms of durability. A lot of times we draw our inspiration from tropical homes. Because of all the moisture they encounter, they build for water. Take for example, this Dominican Republic Villa.

Tiles come in a multitude of sizes.  If you are working with a smaller bath or space, you may like the look of a smaller tile such as a 6" x 6" or a mosaic tile that is typically based on a 12" x 12" mesh screen. These mosaic sheets are easy to trim down to fit around plumbing or wall angles and can replicate the look of vintage tile styles often found in older homes.  A large 12" x 12" tile (or larger) can create a smooth finish on a floor with fewer grout lines. The only challenge is to make sure the grout lines you do have are centered on the room and make sense in the layout. If you are installing a shower floor in your project, the general recommendation is to use a smaller sized tile.  The installer needs to get a slight slope to floor drain and this can be tough to do with a larger tile. Smaller tiles also means more grout which can create a safer floor finish in a shower. More grout can equal fewer slips on wet tile. When looking at wall tiles, it is important to ask whether the tile you are looking at comes with bullnosed edges (smooth edges on one size) or whether there is a finished cap piece available.  Anywhere the tile ends in a shower, there will need to be a smoothed edge of tile. Nothing is worse than a beautiful tile installation but a poorly thought out edge detail.

Grout color is another important aspect of the overall design. One can use a contrasting color and have the grout play a larger part of the design. White subway tile with a dark grey grout can be striking. Selecting a grout color that matches your tile as closely as possible can create a continuous, monolithic look and can eliminate the visual "noise" of a space. Unless you love to clean, white grout is typically discouraged.

Installation patterns are also seemingly endless. A few basic styles are either straight, diagonal, or a running bond. A running bond is a staggered pattern that is often employed when using rectangular tiles, or subway tiles.

Now once you select the majority of your tile, sometimes called field tile, you may want to add an accent tile. Overwhelmed yet?  If you need a hand, our parent company Home ReBuilders has designers on staff who can walk you through some tile selections. Tile can be one of the best paints in your palette when creating a new bathroom. 

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