Around the House: Bathroom Tile

Home Depot's Mike Cartozzo shares tips on how to pick out tile and design an amazing bathroom:

Designer Tips

Designing with tile is an opportunity to combine a sense of artistry with practical needs.
No matter what kind of tile you employ and on which surface you install it, tile will bring an element of color, texture, pattern, and form.
As with any home improvement project, you should consider quality when selecting the tile for your application. When working specifically on a bathroom tile project you also want to consider durability as this is a high traffic area in most home.

Small rooms usually look better with smaller scale tiles.
In a larger room you will achieve a more comfortable relationship between floor and room with larger tiles. Large tiles in a small room accentuate the sense of smallness.
If you arrange small tiles in a large pattern (a large mural for example) the overall effect might become more important than the size of the tiles.

Darker floors draw attention, defining and confining space.
Lighter floors let other elements in the room become prominent making the room larger.

Shiny surfaces reflect light and feel more spacious while surfaces with little sheen absorb light and confine scale.
Isolated and irregular shapes draw attention to themselves while a series of shapes inlaid in a uniform progression create a sense of motion. Mixing the two can create a very dramatic effect.
Borders, accents, and character tiles break up a large expansive space.

Floor vs. Wall
Since walls don't have to stand up to the heavy loads floors do you will find tile made specifically for walls. These are generally thinner.
You can put any floor tile on a wall but can not use wall tiles on the floor.

Types of Tile

Ceramic tiles are slices of clay fired at high temperatures, usually between 1,900 and 2,000 degrees.
The clay may be coated with a glaze that colors the surface or it may be mixed with dye and fired.
Easy to clean.
Pet and child friendly.

Porcelain tiles are ceramic tiles made from highly refined white clay.
They are fired at extremely high temperatures, around 2,500 degrees for nearly twice as long as ceramic tiles.
The result is an extremely dense, waterproof tile with a glossy surface.
Low maintenance — scratch and acid resistant

Stone (slate, granite, marble, travertine)
Stone soaks up stains
Comes in a variety of finishes; polished, clef, matte finish, and tumbled.
When installing stone on wall critical concern is keeping joint lines straight.
You can't hide imperfect grout lines or unsquare tiles, especially if the tile is polished.

Comes in hard and soft varieties
Unique texture makes it a good choice for floors where safety (slipping) is a concern
Unique style
Low maintenance — acid resistance
Great for interior or exterior projects

Many unique patterns and colors
Low maintenance — resistant to heat, scratches, and stains

Subtle veining creates a formal flowing appearance
Available in many beautiful patterns and colors

Nonporous glass tile is easy to clean but will scratch easily.
Glass is good for accent tiles on wall but not floors or countertops.
The translucent blending of natural light can pick up colors in your room and provide a focal point without being overpowering.
Colored glass is made by fusing colored ceramic glaze onto selected quality glass.

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