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Bathroom Tile Buying Guide

Bathroom Tile Buying Guide

Listed in General | Posted 03/08/2017 10:39

There is some overlap between floor and wall tiles, and there are those that are designed and sold as multi-use tiles. It is possible to use floor tiles on the wall, although we would advise against that unless they are multi-use tiles, you should never use wall tiles on the floor. This is not only an aesthetic point, with wall tiles typically being smaller than floor tiles, but it is also a safety consideration because wall tiles have a lower Coefficient Of Friction (COF), which means that they have less friction and therefore less safe especially when wet.

Comfort, slip resistance, and durability, as well as style, size, and design are among the chief factors to consider when buying tiles, while budget is paramount in any buying decision.

The cost of a new bathroom varies according to size, the quality and cost of the items bought, and the amount of time it takes to fit, but estimates range from £3,000 to £5,000. Whether you complete the work yourself or are hiring contractors to refurbish your bathroom, getting the right bathroom tiles is important. They can make or break a design. They are the difference between a tired looking bathroom, and one that is not only attractive but is functional, safe, and healthy.

The cost of a new bathroom can range from £3,000 to £5,000. Buying floor tiles from TLH Auctioneers is one way that you can save money while still enjoying high quality floor and wall coverings.

At TLH Auctioneers we regularly feature bathroom tiles and bathroom flooring, as well as other high end homeware items. Our stock comes from well-known high street brands, including John Lewis, as well as direct from manufacturers and suppliers. Buy the tiles you want for your bathroom, fit them yourself, or have a professional bathroom renovation company do the work for you.

Bathroom Floor Tiles

The bathroom endures a lot of rough treatment. It is a humid and damp environment, which means that most floor materials and floor types are unsuitable for use in the bathroom. It also means that you have to take more care when buying bathroom floor tiles than buying tiles for other rooms.

Consider who will be using the bathroom most often, and why. Bathrooms used by families with small children will have to endure puddles of water and dirt more often than bathrooms belonging to couples. Bathroom tiles for the elderly or disabled should have greater friction to prevent slipping, and the floor should be softer to prevent serious injury if slips or falls do occur.

Coefficient Of Friction – The amount of friction that a surface has is measured by Coefficient Of Friction (COF), and interior floor tiles must have a minimum COF of 0.5. Exterior tiles need a higher rating of 0.6 or higher, but for kitchen tiles, the magic number that you need to achieve is 0.5. A higher COF means more friction, which means greater grip. You need to ensure that the floor tiles you choose have a COF of 0.5, but if you are concerned about the risk of slipping then a COF of 0.6 or higher is recommended.

Porcelain Enamel Institute Rating – The Porcelain Enamel Institute has released a scale of durability for floor tiles, which manufacturers and suppliers can choose to use. This rating isn’t available with all tiles, but if it is then it is a good indication of how durable and hardwearing a particular tile is. The ratings range from 0 to V, with 0 being unsuitable for flooring. I is considered suitable for very light use flooring, including in bathrooms in private homes. A rating of V means that the tiles can be used in very high traffic areas and should not wear or become damaged too easily.

Bathroom Floor Tile Size – Generally, floor tiles are larger than wall tiles. This is primarily an aesthetic choice. Small floor tiles can be used to create a stunning mosaic effect, while large wall tiles are commonly used to create an ultra-modern look in the bathroom. The size of the tiles will obviously determine how many tiles you need, so you should decide on an approximate size before you start buying or bidding.

Material – There is a wide range of bathroom floor tile materials available; each with different characteristics and available at different prices. The following are the most common materials used:

·         Porcelain – Porcelain is arguably the best available floor tile material. It’s waterproof, has a classical and stylish look, and it is cost effective. Porcelain is part of the ceramic family, except that it has lower water absorption properties. These properties make porcelain tiles one of the most popular options. The popularity of porcelain bathroom tiles means that there is also a varied range of tile designs, styles and sizes to choose from.

·         Ceramic – The Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA) certifies tiles as porcelain if they have a water absorption rate of 0.5% or less. If the water absorption of a tile is higher than 0.5%, and is part of the ceramic family, it is classified as being ceramic. Ceramic floor tiles can be used in the bathroom, although they are not advised for those areas of the floor where water is likely to pool. Families with children are advised to use porcelain over ceramic.

·         Stone – Natural stone has a beautiful finish. It has natural water resistant properties, and stone tiles tend to be extremely strong and durable. However, there are some potential issues to consider when considering stone tiles. They can be slippery, they tend to be cold, and they are also among the most expensive flooring tile options. Buying from TLH Auctioneers means that you can buy beautiful looking tiles at a fraction of the cost.

·         Vinyl – Vinyl is the most cost effective of all bathroom flooring options. It has also come a long way with regards to its design. It is extremely water resistant and vinyl tiles can be easily installed in a weekend without having to use contractors or refurbishment services. Vinyl tiles are a very safe option for use in children’s bathrooms because they aren’t slippery. As well as vinyl floor tiles, you can also buy vinyl in sheets which are easier to lay and do not leave any gaps that might be prominent with poorly laid tiles.

·         Wood – Wood looks beautiful and some wood has natural waterproof properties, but not all and not if the water is allowed to pool. Solid hardwood feels warm underfoot but it is vital that there are no gaps when it is installed, otherwise you will have moisture problems, the wood will warp, and you will need to replace the floor sooner rather than later. If you do buy solid hardwood flooring, we suggest using professional installers to ensure that it is fitted properly, and so that you suffer fewer problems in the future. Engineered wood has a solid hardwood layer, on top of a plywood base. The base protects against moisture, and you can still enjoy the benefits of hardwood. This is a popular option for bathroom floors, if you really want wood.

·         Laminate – Laminate flooring is a popular flooring choice in every room. It is inexpensive, easy to lay, and readily available. High quality laminate flooring also looks similar to real wood. It is really just a photograph of wood on top of a wood chip base. The top layer is coated in a wear layer, with some of these layers guaranteed for as long as 30 years. This layer does protect the flooring, but only if you lay the tiles so that they are perfectly flush. Any gaps allow water to get below the top layer, and this means that they can warp and bubble the wood chip base. If this does happen, the only solution to fix the warping is to rip the laminate flooring up and start again.

·         Rubber – Rubber flooring is becoming popular with homeowners, and especially for use in children’s bathrooms. It is very hard wearing, but it tends to be slippery when it is wet. This can be counteracted, at least to some extent, by using a textured tile. The texturing increases the friction, but the danger of slipping still remains a real possibility. One major benefit of rubber tiles is that they provide a soft landing if somebody does slip and land on it. Rubber tiles are normally used for home gyms, utility rooms, and hallways, and may be best avoided as a bathroom flooring option.

Ceramic tiles are the most popular option for bathroom floors. They are water resistant, inexpensive, and come in a wide array of designs and styles.

Preparing The Floor

One of the most important stages in fitting bathroom floor tiles is preparing the floor underneath. Laying tiles on an uneven floor greatly increases the chances that they will crack or smash. It’s best to remove existing flooring before laying new. Use a floor scraper to remove the old thinset. Even a small amount or a small bump could lead to floor problems in the future. Repair the subfloor by patching minor cracks and filling gaps. Use a leveller to ensure that the subfloor is straight and is ready for the installation of your new tiling. Ensure that you flatten, smooth, and prepare the surface right up to the corners of the room and right up to any step edges.

Once you have prepared the floor, ready for installation, you can start to plan your tiling. Start in the centre of the room and lay one horizontal and one vertical line that intersect in the middle of the room. If you are left with a very thin tile segment at the ends of the room, adjust the layout so that you have a reasonable size tile cut at the ends.

How you lay the tiles or bathroom flooring will depend on the type of surface you are laying. Tiles and laminate floor planks have different installation requirements to one another, and if you are also laying underfloor heating, you will need to incorporate this into your design too.

Bathroom Wall Tiles

Bathroom tiles are a popular choice for creating high quality, durable, and long-lasting wall covering too. Although floor tiles can be used on the wall, this would typically mean spending more money than is necessary. Because you don’t have to consider friction levels, there are more options and more affordable options available when buying wall tiles. You can use unusual and unique materials to create a bold statement. You can even use materials like leather, although you do need to consider the moisture levels that are present in the bathroom.

·         Ceramic – Ceramic tiles are not only a popular floor tile choice for the bathroom. Their water resistance and good looks means that they are a popular wall covering too. Ceramic tiles are a common form of multi-use bathroom tile, and while ceramic coverings once had a gloss finish, you can opt for a semi-matt finish if you don’t want the gloss look.

·         Stone – Stone tiles are available for bathroom walls, but you do have to consider weight when buying them. As such, you should look for stone tiles designed specifically for use on the walls. Stone wall tiles can look luxurious, but be careful if you have stone floor tiles as well, because it can be overwhelming if you have natural stone on the floor and the walls.

·         Glass – Glass wall tiles are especially popular as mosaic tiles. They come in many shapes, sizes, and colours, although they tend to be small. Glass tiles naturally have a gloss finish and if you are creating a feature wall then mosaic tiles are a bold and striking option. Glass tiles are a good option for bathrooms because they are non-porous and easy to clean.

·         Other Materials – There are wall tiles available in a huge array of materials. You can even buy leather tiles, but whatever material you choose, you do need to consider the properties of that material and whether it is suitable for use in the warm and damp environment of a bathroom. Leather, for example, may not be a suitable choice for use in this kind of environment.

Glass wall tiles are ideal for the bathroom. They are easy to clean and maintain, and the range of colours and styles means that you can create any look you want from your bathroom.

Multi-Use Bathroom Tiles

Creating a wet room means that the whole room is waterproof, from floor to ceiling and from one wall to the other. This type of room is popular with those that want extra space when having a shower. They are popular with people that cannot easily get in and out of a shower cubicle and are useful if you have limited space in a bathroom. While you can use any combination of floor and wall tiles you want to create this type of space, using multi-use bathroom tiles is a convenient option that provides a uniform and attractive design.

Multi-use bathroom tiles can be installed on the floor and on wall surfaces. They can be used to create a feature wall that also incorporates part of the floor.

Matt Or Gloss

There are many options available to you when choosing bathroom tiles. The choice between matt or gloss finish tiles is just one. Gloss tiles are most often used for the wall, because they tend to be too slippery for use as a floor covering. It will depend on the material chosen, but even porcelain tiles, which are traditionally and naturally a glossy material, come in a semi matt finish.

Some tiles, like natural stone, have a natural matt finish, which is one of the reasons for their popularity as bathroom floor tiles. Although the stone itself can become slippery when damp, the textured and matt finish increase the friction, which reduces the likelihood of somebody slipping on your new bathroom floor surface.

I’ve got a small bathroom, which tiles are best?

Having a small bathroom does not have to limit your tile choice. Traditionally, designers and homeowners would choose small tiles because it gives the appearance that a surface is larger than it really is. Mosaic tiles, therefore, can be a good choice, but you should try to avoid colours that are too dark. Light colours can enhance the feeling of space, while dark colours bring the walls in and make the room appear and feel even smaller. Use floor and wall tiles that are a similar colour, and a grout with a similar style. You can choose any style of tile for a small bathroom, but lighter colours, uniformity across all surfaces, or the use of mosaic tiles enable you to give the bathroom a more spacious feel.

Which bathroom tiles are easiest to clean?

Few people look forward to the job of cleaning the bathroom, but it is an essential chore. If you leave tiles dirty or damp, it can quickly lead to mould, mildew, and the discolouring and warping of the tiles. Generally, gloss finish tiles including porcelain and glass tiles are the easiest to clean. They typically only need a quick wipe down, and the moisture on gloss wall tiles will simply run off. In these, and a lot of other cases, it is the grout that is difficult to clean and also where mould is most likely to form. Try to avoid grout, where possible, by using larger tiles, and if you do have to include grout, make sure that the grout line isn’t much deeper than the tile itself or you will struggle to get into the gaps to clean properly.

Are bathroom floor tiles cold?

Carpets are not usually considered a good option for bathrooms, because they will become damp, smelly, and potentially full of mould and mildew. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to endure cold tiles every time you want a shower. If it isn’t too expensive, consider having underfloor heating installed. Alternatively, choose tiles made from warmer materials. Porcelain tiles and stone tiles can be cold, while engineered wood provides a warmer option. Alternatively, use throw rugs and bath mats to reduce the cold.

Are bathroom tiles slippery?

Again, it depends on the type of tile and the material used in their construction. Regulations dictate that floor tiles must have a Coefficient Of Friction rating of 0.5 or higher, and bathroom floor tiles do include a COF rating. If you want grippier tiles that have even less chance of a person slipping on them, consider a rating of 0.6 or higher. This is the same rating as is required for tiles that are laid outdoors.

Are bathroom tiles waterproof?

How waterproof a tile is, should be one of the first considerations when choosing bathroom flooring and wall covering. The bathroom is a naturally damp environment and even if you are careful whenever you get in and out of the bath, some water will find its way onto tiled surfaces because of condensation and splashes. Choose tiles that have good waterproof levels and ensure that the tiles are fitted properly and with good quality grout to help reduce the potential damage caused by damp and water.

Why tile bathroom walls?

There are many considerations when it comes to choosing bathroom wall coverings. Wallpaper and paint can be affected by the moisture and condensation in the room. The section around the bath and shower than will get directly wet from the taps should be tiled, but you may not necessarily need to tile the rest of the room. Tiles do offer a more waterproof environment than other options, and the range means that there is a great selection of designs and styles you can create in your bathroom.

Although tiling a whole bathroom can prove expensive, buying quality bathroom tiles from TLH Auctioneers enables you to keep costs down while retaining the high quality that you want.

TLH Auctioneers offers both live and online auctions. We have a large selection of bathroom and homeware auctions, including tiles for the bathroom. Check out our existing bathroom lots, register to bid, or visit one of our auction houses to see the lots before they go on sale.