Tiles and Tiling

By January 10, 2020 March 25th, 2020 Flooring and Finishes, Bathrooms

The hashtag #ihavethisthingwithtiles has nearly 300,000 instagram posts. Many of us do, indeed, have a thing with tiles. Choosing tiles for your home can be a really fun part of the design process, but with so much choice, it can be a little overwhelming… 

Some things to consider:

Colour & Pattern

The bathroom is a great space to have some fun with colour (and pattern) without it being ‘too much’. Although it’s fun to be inspired by the latest trends, be sure to choose a colour that you truly love – your tiles should be with you for a long time. We love to combine a classic or neutral tile with something bolder for a floor, niche or feature wall.

Size & shape

  • Large tiles can look modern & sleek, and with fewer grout lines to keep clean are good for floors. Some porcelain tiles are available in very large formats (e.g. 1.2×2.4m) – but these require special handling on delivery and may be difficult to cut safely. (These add to the tiling cost.)
  • Small or shaped tiling can create a striking effect and are a great way to add warmth & texture (even with one colour throughout). Again, if the tiling is particularly fiddly, fitting costs will be higher.
  • If you combine different sizes or shapes, remember to consider alignment where the grout lines meet.
Scallop shaped glass tiles by Mandarin Stone
Modern bathroom styled by Absolute Project Management
Above: Large format marble effect tiles by Marazzi.
Left: Small ‘scallop’ shaped tiles by Mandarin Stone.

Material/ finish

  • Porcelain – Hard-wearing and versatile, porcelain is one of the most popular tile materials. Thanks to advances in printing technology, you can find porcelain tiles that closely imitate concrete, natural stone and terrazzo, as well as lovely original designs. 
  • Glazed – coated in ceramic or liquid glass to create a decorative finish. Includes traditional metro tiles, hand-painted decorative tiles (great for fireplace surrounds) and hand-glazed ‘Zellige’ tiles. 
Painted & glazed tiles on a fireplace - Design by Absolute Project Management
Painted & glazed tiles work well for fireplace surrounds
Bold blue Zellige Tiles…
These combine glazed & matte portions to great effect
Modern bathroom and brick red floor tiles styled by Absolute Project Management
…or subtle off-white Zellige to contrast with a patterned floor
Porcelain tiles with a lovely original design
  • Encaustic cement – made from pigmented cement set in a mould. These have a lovely warmth – but note they are thick & heavy so not always suitable for large walls/ may require special preparation.
  • Terrazzo – small chips, usually of marble, brass or glass, set in a coloured liquid pigmented cement base. 
  • Natural stone – beautiful, but some stone stains easily and may need to be sealed regularly. 
  • Glass – usually used for mosaics, but also available in larger sizes. 
Encaustic tiles are created with metal moulds…
…and are available in many colours and patterns
Pink Terrazzo
These small glass mosaic tiles create a luxurious effect

Texture

  • Floor tiles should have a suitable non-slip rating.
  • Glossy & glazed tile finishes can be lovely – but remember that they reflect light, so can create glare.
  • Texture on wall tiles is a great way to add some visual interest – but consider how you will keep them clean…
Concrete tiles on a garden wall - designed by Absolute Project Management
Sculptural concrete garden wall tiles – Kaza Concrete by Domus

finished bathroom by APM in Islington
Lightly textured hexagon floor tiles

Grout

Grout comes in many types and colours. Ask your tiler to confirm what kind they need, and be sure to specify a colour as this makes a big impact on the final look. You can even go for a bright colour!

Brightly styled bathroom by Absolute Project Management
Above: The Rombini range by Domus is perfectly designed to work with coloured grout.

Left: Yellow grout elevates the humble white metro tile in this bright bathroom.

Sustainability

As with most industries, mass produced tiles will usually involve processes that use water, energy and create waste. To minimise the impact look for hand-made options or those that re-cycle waste materials – such as Alusid. 

A word on tiling

A good tiler will ensure neat grout lines, beautiful alignment, and perfectly finished corners. If you choose tiles that are anything other than low cost, small-medium sized, and rectangular, the tiling will be tricky… So ensure you find a good tiler, and treat them well!

Alusid Clerkenwell Design Week
Small modern storage space and the mirror storage cabinet styled by Absolute Project Management
Modern bathroom styled by Absolute Project Management
Top Left: Alusid Tiles made with recycled glass and ceramics.
Bottom Left & Above; unusual wall angles and shaped tiles made these tricky tiling jobs

For help creating your dream bathroom, get in touch!