Buyer’s Guide to Bathroom Tiles

From ceramic to stone and glass, bathroom tiles provide the perfect way to inject colour and texture into your bathroom so you can easily create a look you’ll love. We have created this handy buyer’s guide to help you choose the best tiles to suit your bathroom…

Bathroom tile options

bathroom tiles

Tiles are available in a range of materials including ceramic, porcelain, natural stone and glass. The majority of tiles are suitable for use in all areas of the bathroom, but some do need to be properly sealed. Tiles made from porous stone, such as limestone or marble are less water resistant compared to ceramic, and therefore require regular sealing to protect against water and stains.

Wall tiles aren’t suitable for use on the floor as they aren’t as thick as floor tiles, so won’t be strong enough to walk on.

Porcelain and ceramic tiles


A very popular choice, porcelain and ceramic bathroom tiles are really easy to keep clean. Available in an array of styles, ceramic and porcelain tiles are much lighter and more affordable than stone tiles, and they can be used on both the floors and walls.

Pros :

  • Long lasting
  • Low maintenance
  • Wide range of designs
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to fit
  • Can chip or crack
  • Cold to the touch

Stone tiles


Stone tiles tend to be large and heavy, so it’s a good idea to check with a builder that your floor can take the weight. A diamond blade is required to cut natural stone tiles.

Suitable for use on both floors and walls, stone tiles are available in a variety of natural colours and textures making them ideal for creating a spa-inspired bathroom. Much easier to handle compared to large tiles, stone mosaic tiles are another option, and the grooves also offer a non-slip surface.

Pros:

  • Creates a spa-style look
  • Variety of colours and textures
  • Longevity

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Very porous
  • Requires sealing every two to three years
  • Cold to the touch

Glass tiles


For a glossy finish to your bathroom, multi-coloured or textured glass tiles are perfect. Often suitable for floors (make sure to check with your supplier first), glass tiles are non-porous, which makes them water and stain resistant. Glass tiles that have a foil or safety film backing won’t splinter if they break, and they are considered to be just as hardwearing as ceramic tiles.

Pros:

  • Available in an array of colours
  • Easy to clean
  • Water and stain resistant
  • Hardwearing

Cons:

  • Difficult to install
  • Expensive

Measuring up

Before buying new bathroom tiles you’ll need to work out how many you will need. First, multiply the height and width of the area that you want to cover to find out how many square metres of tiles you’ll require, and then add a minimum of 10% to allow for cutting and wastage.

Research

It’s important to research how to look after and maintain the condition of your bathroom tiles. If you have opted for natural stone such as travertine, slate and terracotta, then you’ll need to reseal them approximately every two to three years to keep them in top condition.

Adhesive

When choosing tile grout and adhesive, ensure that it’s suitable for use in the bathroom. Opting for mould resistant grout is useful for the shower area, while coloured grout is ideal for floor tiles, such as grey if you have chosen slate tiles for example. Although a bit more expensive than self-mix, ready-mixed versions are easier to use if you plan to do your own tiling.

Taking on the tiling work yourself can save money, but if you’re really not confident with this then ask around and get word of mouth recommendations to help you find a reliable tiler.

Make sure to check out our step-by-step guide on how to grout bathroom tiles.

Underfloor heating

Underfloor heating

Tiles can feel cold underfoot, especially during the winter months. Fitting underfloor heating provides a great way to create an inviting feel to your bathroom, and nothing feels more luxurious than walking onto a warm floor. Underfloor heating also creates more wall space, as there’s no need for a radiator, although you may want to install a heated towel rail to keep towels toasty and dry.

Finally, check out this video which shows you how to tile a wall.

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About

Liz has a passion for home decor, interior design and renovation projects.

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