Tiles are a versatile, durable and easy to clean surface material, ideal for a range of high traffic areas. They are often preferred over carpet in hallways and living rooms for their hypoallergenic nature. However, there’s a lot of variation in the physical characteristics of different tiles (size, texture, light reflection, porosity, colour and thickness) which need to be taken into account when choosing tiles, and deciding how to lay them.
Stone tiles are a popular modern material for bathrooms, as they help to create a natural look whilst offering grip and diffusing light. However, it is prone to cracking and can be very porous, and so requires sealing in order to be used in areas where it may be subject to staining or heavy foot traffic. Unsealed stone can get dirty very quickly, and is much harder to clean once it is soiled. But don’t let this put you off; from a design perspective, they are far superior to ceramic tiles, as the subtle natural patterns and variations cannot be recreated. Stone tiles need to be laid by a professional tiler, as they have unique surface preparation requirements.
Pebble tiles are popular for the same reason; they recreate the look of a river bed or sea floor, and are very popular for shower walls and floors. They are not as simple as they appear; each individual pebble is attached to a backing, and it is this flat backing that is then attached to the floor. Some manufacturers also provide pre-prepared square foot mosaic tiles, which are then blended together with individual stones. Grout is then applied in between the pebbles for a seamless finish and more even overall floor surface. The process of laying these tiles includes many more steps than regular tiles, and it’s worth it in the long run to get a professional tiler with experience in planning and executing each stage.
Even regular ceramic tiles require special attention to detail, in order to achieve a perfect finish. With small mosaic tiles, it can be hard to achieve a perfectly flat finish without preparing the surface correctly and securing the tile before the mortar sets. A single tilted tile on an otherwise perfect wall quickly becomes an eyesore. With larger tiles, careful measurement and planning is required to fit the correct number of tiles within the available width and height, whilst taking into account other fixtures to be attached later- it is extremely difficult to trim tiles once they have been laid. A professional tiler will be able to plan the project from start to finish, taking into account other bathroom renovation tasks if necessary.