If you’re looking to add some style and personality to your bathroom or kitchen, tile can be your best friend. These versatile pieces come in nearly every color, texture and style that you could imagine, and can be combined in ways that are limited only by your imagination. Whether you prefer a traditional look or a trendy one, tile can help you create it. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the newest styles and materials, some trendy design ideas, and a few tips for choosing the tile that’s right for you and your household. We’ll also review when a professional tiling contractor is preferred.
We’re all familiar with ceramic tile. Chances are good that it lined the walls of the bathroom you grew up with, and perhaps it does the same for your bathroom today. Ceramic tile has been used and loved for years, and with good reason. It’s very durable, and if properly installed it can withstand the humidity of a bathroom remarkably well. It’s also available in every color of the rainbow, allowing you to customized and create any look you can think of. For bathroom walls and kitchen accents and back-splashes, ceramic tiles are still one of the most popular choices.
Flooring made of ceramic is also popular. Whether you choose larger tiles for a contemporary look, or a mosaic made up of smaller pieces to create a funky art-deco style, a ceramic tile floor is undeniably beautiful. However, you must be absolutely certain that the tile you purchase is intended for use in flooring. If you buy tile intended for wall use, it will not be as strong, and is likely to crack underfoot.
You should also be aware that while ceramic tile is available for flooring, it’s still not the strongest of materials. Most experts caution against using ceramic tile in an area where extremely heavy objects will be placed. This is something to consider if your bathroom features an old-fashioned claw-foot bathtub. When filled with water, the pressure may be enough to crack the tiles. This is a situation where you should consult a contractor to determine your best options.
A material that not as many people associate with tiling is metal. Available in stainless steel and copper, metal tiles are a hot trend these days. Depending on the décor of your room, metal can add a sleek modern touch or complement a warm and rustic atmosphere. A country style kitchen, for example, looks lovely when accented by a copper tile back-splash behind the sink or stove-top.
Unless you’re designing an ultra-futuristic bathroom, most experts advise using metal tiles as accent pieces. They can create a border along the ceiling or partway up the wall. They can also line a shower (check with your contractor for moisture specifications) for a modern-spa feel.
One of the most versatile and trendy tiling materials out there today is glass. Earth-conscious consumers love it because most glass tile is made from recycled glass. Everybody loves the fresh, unexpected look it lends a kitchen or bath.
Glass tile is available in every color imaginable, as well as numerous different finishes. You can create a brilliantly shiny back splash, or use a flat, matte finish for a modern shower.
Using glass in a bathroom is particularly popular, because of the spa-like feel it creates. Light plays off the material beautifully, creating a look that’s both modern and romantic. With all the different combinations of color and finish, you can really go wild with design when using glass. Lining a shower with blue glass tiles instantly creates a fresh aquatic feel, while using white frosted ones creates a futuristic look that’s trendy but still familiar enough to be comfortable.
While glass tiles are much more durable than your average drinking glass, they are still, obviously, made of glass. Read the specifications that come with the tiles themselves, contact the manufacturer, and consult a contractor to get an idea of just how much abuse your glass tiles can withstand.
We all love the look of hardwood flooring. It’s a traditional material that can be used to create a traditional look, but can also lend itself beautifully to a modern, contemporary décor. However, for years homeowners have been frustrated by the warning that hardwood is simply not suitable for bathrooms. The consistently high levels of moisture in even the most well-ventilated bathroom are extremely hard on wood flooring, and while it may look stunning for a few years, all too soon it will begin to warp and discolor.
What’s the solution? Porcelain hardwood tile! Tile manufacturers have been at work for years coming up with innovative ways to make durable, moisture-resistant materials resemble other materials which can’t handle moisture. Porcelain tile today is nearly impossible to recognize as such with a casual glance. Even up close, the hardwood-look porcelain tiles available today are unbelievably realistic.
Porcelain is breakable, so always ask your contractor whether your household is suited to porcelain tile. However, if your contractor gives the go-ahead, you’re in for a treat. Whether your bathroom is traditional or modern, Victorian or futuristic, the look of hardwood can complement it in a truly gorgeous manner.
We know what you’re thinking. Before you cringe and skip this paragraph altogether, take a second to search for images of high-quality vinyl tile. Go ahead, we’ll wait.
Not what you were expecting, right? That’s because vinyl tile has improved so drastically since the hideously ugly floor coverings of yesterday. We’ve all lived in an apartment (or visited one) which featured ancient, peeling, 1970’s-toned vinyl flooring. For many people, that impression sticks, and when it comes time to improve their own homes, they don’t even think of vinyl.
It’s definitely time to give vinyl tile another chance. Today’s vinyl tile is absolutely beautiful, and it combines what we love about many other materials (beauty, style) with unbeatable durability and versatility.
Flooring is the most common usage for vinyl tiles. Technically you could use them on a wall, but they’re intended to be walked on. This is why they’re such a welcome alternative from ceramic tiles. Any look which you can create from ceramic tiles, you can create from vinyl. In addition, you can find vinyl tiles which replicate slabs of marble for a truly luxurious look, and even hardwood!
Another advantage of vinyl tiles is ease of installation. While they can be grouted, there are many designed to allow you to skip this time-consuming step. In addition, vinyl tiles are available which mimic the look and feel of ceramic, for those who prefer a more traditional look…these tiles are an excellent choice for bathroom floors. You don’t have to worry about heavy objects, installation is much simpler, and you’ll never have to deal with an ice-cold floor on a chilly morning!
In today’s design world, the biggest trend is to ignore the trends! Tiling can add so much personality to a room, there’s no reason to follow what the rest of the world is doing. Flipping through magazines and websites for inspiration is one thing, but there’s no need to feel as though you must copy the looks exactly.
Unique tile is a big trend today, which is wonderful because it allows you to channel your creativity into your remodeling project. Look around for funky colors, designs and materials until you find the look that’s right for you.
Another big trend in tiling is to go a bit wild! This is most applicable to bathroom tiling. Since a bathroom is typically the smallest room in a house, there’s a lot of potential for style and flair without breaking the bank. Many homeowners are using bathrooms as their “fun” project, keeping the rest of the house traditional while going all-out on bathroom décor. Perhaps you like the look of a nightclub bathroom, with deep dramatic wine walls and a black marble-look floor…unique tiles can bring the club to your home! You may love the look of the rainforest, green and lush…this can easily be created with tiling in vibrant jungle hues. A crisp white look can evoke impressions of a snowy day…warm it up with brightly colored accents, or keep it cool with frosty pastels. The options really are limitless!
Subway tiles are a newer design element that deserves mentioning. These elongated tiles look fresh and modern, while somehow also appearing vintage at the same time. Extremely popular for lining a shower, they are most often used in plain white, but are available in many different colors.
Do You Need a Professional?
This is a common question, and the answer is that while you may not absolutely need a professional, you can almost always benefit from one. At the very least, consult a tiling contractor to ensure that the tile you’ve chosen is of the best quality, and that it’s suitable for your household. Having an experienced, knowledgeable person help you along the way is never a bad thing, and it can save you from making some very costly installation mistakes. It’s also nice to have somebody already in mind to call upon if you should begin the project and discover, partway through, that you’ve taken on more than your experience has prepared you for.
Ensure that your contractor is licensed and insured, and read reviews from former clients to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the quality of their work. These reviews can also clue you in as to how the contractor operates, which can help you decide if he or she is the right fit for you.