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How to Select the Right Bathroom Floor Tile

How to Select the Right Bathroom Floor Tile

Posted by Matt on 21st Aug 2020

Discover the pros and cons of the different bathroom floor tiles on the market to make an informed decision about the best tile option for your washroom.

Bathroom floor tiles are made of several different materials. Many people select ceramic, vinyl or porcelain tiles when tiling their bathroom. This is because they are the most practical tiles on the market; though, there are many other materials available to choose from. Cork and stone tiles can be beautiful and functional additions to your home. You can easily find the best bathroom tile options to meet your needs by reviewing this tile guide.

Vinyl Tiles: the Most Popular Tile Option

Many people select vinyl tiles to adorn their bathroom floors because of their practicality and low price. Vinyl is a comfortable addition to any bathroom. People use this material in both their master bath and powder rooms. When it comes to comfort, durability and safety vinyl cannot be beat as a flooring option.

Installing vinyl tile in the bathroom is easy. You can use a utility knife to trim these tiles down to fit the dimension of your room.

In addition to the above, vinyl tiles are available in a myriad of designs to match your decor.

Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles: Feature Low Maintenance

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are available in many beautiful and intricate designs; including lattice patterned squares, colorful penny tiles and wood or stone facsimiles.

Both vinyl and ceramic tiles require little to no maintenance; though, unlike vinyl tiles ceramic tiles are not as comfortable on bare feet. Installing radiant floor heating beneath the installed tiles can make the floor more comfortable; however, it cannot make the hard surface feel any less hard.

When compared to vinyl flooring ceramic and porcelain tiles are more difficult to install; however, it is a project that many people are able to complete on their own as long as they have the right tools.

When you cover your ceramic tiles with a high-grade glaze they become highly durable and resist scratching. Porcelain tiles are stronger than their clay based counterparts. One advantage they have is their through-body color. The color helps if the tile ever becomes chipped.

Glass Tiles: An Attractive Alternative

Glass tiles are some of the most exquisite flooring options available. Glass tiles can create an illusion of depth if applied in a thin layer to a section of the floor. You can obtain a stained glass look by employing tinted glass.

Proper installation of glass tiles is paramount if you want your tiles to be durable. Prevent slipping in the shower by selecting a textured glass tile. Another way you can stop yourself from slipping is to surround small glass tiles with joint compound.

Create an impressive bathroom design feature using small glass tiles on a shower floor or up the sides of the shower.

Key Information for purchasing ceramic, porcelain or glass tile

Ceramic, glass or porcelain tiles need a floor use rating. Ceramic tiles need to have a grade 1 or 2 rating. Their coefficient of friction (COF) must be above .5 to ensure safety. When choosing porcelain tiles use the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rating system. Select a porcelain tile with a rating of PEI III or above.

Stone Tiles: From Foyer to the Bathroom

Stone is a relatively new tile option for the bathroom. In the past you would only be able to see stone tiles in the foyer of the home. In the last decade these tiles have begun to invade other rooms of the house including the bathroom.

Kinds of stone tiles to use in your bathroom include granite, slate, limestone and marble. They come in an array of colors. They range from creams to blue, greens, golds and reds. These stone tiles come in many texture options as well; including, sandblasted, flamed, tumbled, cleft and etched.

When compared to ceramic tiles, stone tiles require a lot of additional maintenance. It is highly recommended that stone tiles are regularly cleaned and sealed.

When it comes to cost stone tiles are definitely a more pricey flooring alternative; especially, when compared to the cost of ceramic and porcelain tiles.

Plastic Laminate Tiles: Good for Transitions

When remodeling you may want to opt for plastic laminate tiles (often available in plank form). Laminate flooring is similar to the laminate material that used to cover countertops.

You should consider using laminate flooring in your remodel to prevent problems transitioning between your new floor and an existing floor in an adjoining room. Laminate flooring tiles do not raise existing flooring significantly making transitions easier.

Laminate floors are durable and easy to clean; though, they do have problems dealing with moisture. Because laminate flooring can expand and buckle when standing water infiltrates the tiles' fiberboard core it is not the best option for a full bath. It would work best in a half bath.

You must caulk gaps along the toilet and walls when using laminate flooring to prevent the infiltration of water. If you use this material in a full bath (not recommended) make sure you caulk around the tub to prevent water from getting into the fiberboard core.

Laminate floors do not come with many aesthetic options like ceramic and vinyl tiles do.

Linoleum Tiles: From Retro to Contemporary

Linseed oil, wood flour, ground limestone, pigments and cork powder can be found in linoleum. Linoleum works well in bathrooms whether you are going for a retro or contemporary design. This material retains its color while preventing the growth of microorganisms as well as fighting back dust and dirt.

Linoleum comes in a plank design and is easy to install. The only problem with this flooring option is its price. This type of flooring can be expensive.

Cork Tiles: High in Comfort

One of the most distinguishing features of cork is that it is warm to the touch. It is comfortable to walk on and comes in an array of colors.

The glue down part of the installation is easy to complete. Sealing the cork floor with multiple coats of polyurethane can be time consuming; though, it is necessary to stop moisture from finding its way into the sub floor. This is true even for finished cork tiles.

Installing a cork tile with a trowel on adhesive is simple but not necessary if you decide to purchase the click in place cork flooring option.