How to Choose Bathroom Tile

How to Choose Bathroom Tile

How to Choose Bathroom Tile

bathroom tile

Tile is likely the best, and most sensible, decorative tool you can use in your bathroom remodel. Offering up an abundance of options for size, cut, pattern, color and material, it combines the best of both aesthetics and practicality. But with the means for copious customization, starting the buying process can be overwhelming. Our team will help lead you through the buying process, but here are a few tips to get you started.

Have a design in mind. As you start the buying process, it’s important to have an idea in mind for how you want your bathroom to look. If your bathroom is small or stashed away in a darker portion of your home, think about using light-colored tiles to open the space. On trend right now, glass mosaic tiles reflect the light, making a compact space seem a little more open.

Know the grading and rating. Every tile made and sold has a specific intended use, which is made clear on the label. Unfortunately, the label is in code. Understanding that code keeps you in the know and will help you make an informed decision on tile before digging into your pocketbook.

  • Grade. The first category on the label is the grade. Every tile has a grade from one to three with one as the highest quality. These are your hardest materials, best for the heaviest foot traffic. Grade two is still heavy duty and will suffice for residential bathroom floors, while grade three is reserved for a wall tile.
  • PEI rating. The PEI rating is the Porcelain and Enamel Institute’s rating system to test a glazed tile’s ability to resist abrasion and its suitability as a floor tile. The 5-scale rating is as follows:
    • 0 – No foot traffic (wall tile only)
    • 1 – Very light traffic (guest bathroom)
    • 2 – Light traffic (bathroom)
    • 3 – Light to moderate traffic (most domestic floors, no heavy appliances or heavy traffic)
    • 4 – Moderate to heavy traffic (door entry or light commercial uses)
    • 5 – Heavy traffic (all domestic and commercial uses)
  • W.A. rating. There are four categories in the Water-absorption rating system that help you know if a tile is smart choice for wet areas.
    • Nonvitreous tile absorbs more than 7 percent of its weight in water and should not be used in a wet area like a bath or spa.
    • Semivitreous tile absorbs between 3 and 7 percent of its weight and is also only appropriate in dry spaces.
    • Vitreous tile absorbs just 0.5 to 3 percent of its weight in water and it’s the rating you’re looking for if you’re using a tile in a wet zone like the shower.
    • Impervious is the least absorbent material, absorbing less than 0.5 percent of its weight in water when exposed. Porcelain tile must have an impervious rating to be classified as porcelain.
  • COF rating. The coefficient of friction rating refers to a tile’s natural resistance to slip and it’s measured by the force required to slide an object across a surface divided by the object’s weight. The higher the number, the less slippery the floor will be.
  • Frost. Frost is a simple either/or rating and doesn’t really matter if you’re using a tile indoors.
  • Tone. Tone only applies when there is intentional variation from tile to tile to mimic the look of natural stone. If you’re looking for a tile with consistent color, toned tile isn’t going to be for you. This category, though, is definitely something to look for if you’re looking at single tile samples.

Size and Shape. Larger tiles are definitely a popular trend right now, offering a polished look of luxury and ease of maintenance, but smaller tiles are safer and tend to allow for more customization. Smaller tiles offer more traction and provide better footing in slippery-prone areas like the shower. Marry the trends by using a larger tile in the dry spaces then have it cut into smaller sizes to create a more slip-free zone, say, in the shower.

Grout lines. Grout lines have a huge influence on the product’s final look. Small tiles can look great, and are definitely safer for flooring, but they do cause a large number of grout lines, which could create a space that looks too busy and possibly unappealing. Be mindful of the grout color, too. Contrasting grout will further define the shape of tiles while grout in a similar or matching color will create a more subtle appearance.

Stoneworks is a direct importer of a wide array of European porcelain and limestone tiles. We have more than 100 varieties of natural stone slabs to allow clients to select from an extensive and diverse inventory at competitive process. Whatever your style, taste or budget, we want to help you achieve a look you love.