How Do You Get the Best Ceramic Tile for Bathroom Floors? A Complete Guide
Home renovations costs in the United States will reach a staggering $354.2 billion by the end of 2019.
We're a nation in love with DIY, and with more inspiration flooding our newsfeeds than ever, it's easy to see why. You're happy with what you've got until you see your dream bathroom on an Instagram feed.
It's not enough to know what you want, though, you need to know how to do it. That's where we step in to help.
Today we're going to help you pick the perfect ceramic tile for bathroom floors. There are plenty of options to suit every design taste, budget, and house. By the end of this guide, you will know everything you need to pick the right tile for your DIY project.
What Should You Consider Before Choosing Your Tile?
Did you know that around 75% of homeowners are planning at least one project in the next three months? For some, it won't be their first rodeo, but if you're tiling a bathroom for the first time, you need to know a few things.
Let's take a look at all of the factors you need to consider before shopping for your ideal ceramic tile bathroom.
Ceramic has been used in pottery for thousands of years. Your ancestors were crafting ceramics long ago, and the only reason we even know that is because of its main selling point: durabilty. Ceramic tiles will last for years to come, but there are actually different grades of durability depending on your choice.
Tile manufacturers rate the ceramic tiles using the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) abrasion test. This tests their hardness, so look out for these numbers when shopping for your bathroom tiles.
The PEI ratings are between zero and five. Grades one and two will offer enough strength for use in most bathrooms, but if you have kids or you know the bathroom will have a lot of traffic, then you might want to choose a higher grade.
PEI 0 – No foot traffic (wall tiles)
PEI 1 – Very light traffic (infrequent use)
PEI 2 – Light traffic
PEI 3 – Light to moderate traffic (should be suitable for most domestic floors)
PEI 4 – Moderate to heavy traffic (fine for domestic floors and some commercial applications)
PEI 5 – Heavy traffic (all domestic/commercial uses with heavy footfall)
If you're located in a chillier climate or you just like your toes to be toasty, then ceramic isn't an ideal choice. This isn't so much about the tile itself but more to let you know that you should consider rugs or underfloor heating with your ceramic tiles.
This is because ceramic does not retain heat well unlike other material, so you're going to have to rely on other sources of heating.
There are lots of factors involved in pricing up your bathroom renovation, such as size, tile, and labor. You could have a potential savings of up to $6,000 if you DIY the bathroom renovation, but shop around for quotes if you're getting outside help.
In terms of tile pricing, this is where you see another benefit of choosing ceramic. Although generally a more costly option than carpet or linoleum, ceramic is more cost-effective than others. When you look at the cost of marble or granit, ceramic is priced at a more affordable range.
You can replicate a high-end finish without the price tag of luxury stone.
When looking for ways to improve the environmental impact of your home renovation, you're a little limited when it comes to tiles. You can, however, opt for post-industrial ceramic tiles. These are typically produced using recycled materials and are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
The good news with ceramic is that its durability means you won't need to replace your tiles for a very long time. Renovate once with new tiles and they should last, provided you do a good job the first time. Recycled tiles can provide an equally impressive finish while making you feel kinder to the planet.
Many families are now opting for hypo-allergenic options to reduce allergic and asthma reactions in family members. Carpets and other materials can trap the irritants that set these health concerns off, making your home a less than desirable environment.
With ceramic, the irritants cannot be trapped in the tiles, so there is less chance of your family and friends reacting badly to anything trapped in the floor. Easy to clean and friendlier to the health of your loved ones, another fantastic benefit of ceramic tiles.
Are you among the 43% of homeowners that have botched a DIY project? Don't make the same mistake again—make sure you know what you're doing before you start. You can check out these installation guides to get an idea of any specifics, but you should have experience.
We would suggest that you seriously think about hiring a professional. Measuring and cutting tiles to fit a small or unusually shaped space, like a bathroom, takes quite a lot of work. This labor cost might hike up the project cost by a significant margin but could save you a big headache in the long run.
A professional will often cost a fair amount, but they will be quicker and will finish your tiling to a higher standard. Some things are worth splashing out on (pardon the pun).
It goes without saying, but ceramic tiles are pretty easy to keep clean. They are nonporous, so they don't easily stain or trap dirt and you can generally just mop them with your usual floor cleaner.
If you want gleaming floors, you might want to opt for glazed ceramic tiles rather than the more rustic unglazed counterparts.
How to Pick The Right Size Tile for Your Bathroom
Some common mistakes when it comes to picking the right tile for your bathroom is assuming the size based on your room size. For example, if you have a small room you need small tiles. To choose the right tile you need to think about size, color, size, and positioning.
A smaller bathroom can actually be transformed with a larger tile. It's a sort of visual trick as the large tiles and less grout expand the space. The overall look feels cleaner and more open, especially in a light and bright color.
You can also choose different-sized tiles to separate different areas and create a modern look. Consider small mosaic tiles in the shower or perhaps large wall tiles with a patterned tile floor.
We recommend that, where possible, you try to order samples so you can get a sense of how a tile will look off the shelf.
When it comes to color you definitely have more options with a bigger room. When faced with a small bathroom you need to be aware of the basics.
In a small bathroom, you can increase the perceived size by sticking to light colors—white is obviously a very popular choice. This is because light colors reflect more light.
You can also opt for gloss finishes to improve the amount of light reflected. This serves the same purpose as a light color, so for maximum effect, choose a white, gloss finished tile.
That being said, a dark tile with a gloss finish can add depth to a small space if done well. You should be careful when using patterned tiles in a small space as this can make the room feel cramped.
Stick to just a select area or aspect using the pattern to avoid feeling boxed in. Patterned floors? Stick to plain tiles on the walls and vice versa.
You can take advantage of another optical trick with tiling to increase the perceived size of your bathroom. You can position the tiles diagonally or in chevrons instead of square. This draws the eye to the longest part of the wall or floor, tricking you into believing the space is bigger.
By using simple design tricks, you can give the impression of space even when you have very little to play with. It's like tile magic— you can thank us later.
Different Styles of Ceramic Tile
We see trends come and go with any wall or flooring tile, and you might already have a vision in mind. If not, let's take a look at some tiling trends that are showing no signs of losing popularity.
These have had a resurgence with modern DIY fans around the globe and for good reason. Whether you're going for modern chic or and industrial finish, subway tiles can get you there.
Experiment with a different color grout or tile for a twist on a classic or stick to trusted white. The subway tile has endured for a reason and is a solid choice for your bathroom.
Bought those subway tiles and then changed your mind? Then just take a look at your positioning as we said before.
You'll probably need an experienced professional to help you with this one but the finish will be high-impact. Herringbone your tiles to achieve a luxurious high-end finish that homebuyers love.
You can be creative with herringbone—choose a contrast color, play with different lengths or even multicolor tiles. For floors and walls, the herringbone trend is a showstopper.
Mosaic or Geometric
If you feel a little fancy then you might opt for something more unorthodox. Geometric tile shapes, such as hexagons, are making a ripple in the interior design space, and they can add a quirky finish to your room.
Or perhaps you want to play around with a mosaic style with lots of textures and colors? Ceramic tile mosaics or geometric tiles are for those of you who feel a little braver or have the right team working for you.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from our last trend is large scale tiling. These are more commonly seen on flooring but are starting to become popular for a modern look on wall tiling also. Instead of messing around with a small intricate tile grid, you can install sweeping large tile installations for a feeling of space and elegance.
Stone or Wood Finish
It might surprise you to know that you can get something a little more rustic from ceramic tiles these days. If you want the look of wood or stone but the durability and ease of ceramic, you can now have both.
Wood and stone-effect ceramic tiles are convincing as replacements for the real thing but much hardier. They won't absorb water like wood will, and they are extremely hard and resistant to scratches, making them perfect for a family bathroom.
Available in all sorts of finishes and colors, you will be able to find a tile that fits your specific design style no problem.
Is the Perfect Ceramic Tile for Bathroom Floors Out There?
Okay, so we're a little guilty of giving you plenty of ideas for your tiling. Hopefully, along the way you've also figured out what you need to be looking for when shopping for ceramic tile for bathroom floors.
You can't really go wrong with ceramic with its versatility in design and the fact that it really is built to last. Just remember to get samples, choose the right PEI grade and select your tile to complement your space.
If you're raring to go after reading our guide then why not browse our selection of tiles? For more tile and renovation news, you can also check out our blog.
Author : Mike Belk
Bio: A graduate of Ohio State University with an MBA in Business, Mike Belk has been in the tile and stone industry for over 20 years. Mike is the owner and founder of Belk Tile. He has become one of premier tile experts in the nation. Not only does Mike love every aspect of his job, he strives ensure your experience is the very best. He runs a successful blog and, when not immersed in the world of tile, is an avid golfer and wine maker. Mike enjoys interacting with customers and wants to hear from you today.