Top 10 Tips For Choosing Tiles
Tile is much more than a practical floor or wall covering. Your choice of tile contributes to the feel of a space just as much as any piece of furniture. And for certain spaces (especially kitchens and bathrooms) tile is just about the best material you can use; after all, tile is hard-wearing, long-lasting, non-allergenic, easy to maintain, and it comes in an almost limitless variety of shapes, patterns and colours.
But having decided tile is right for you, how to choose which tile in particular? Should it be porcelain, natural stone…? Maybe a Moroccan style, or a mosaic? Here are our top tips at Coolum Tile & Stone Studio for finding the perfect tile for your project.
Colour & Design
- Don’t be too timid – when it comes to colour, it’s easy to play safe but a bold tile design can really make a statement and enhance your home, creating a vibrant talking point out of your bathroom, kitchen or any living space at all.
- Equally, make sure the colour fits the space – dark tiles are wonderfully dramatic but can in some instances make a small room feel smaller. That said, smaller, darker spaces can be made to feel bigger and lighter with brighter colours, gloss or metallic finishes, or even glass.
- Choose a tile size to suit the room – some spaces (such as smaller bathrooms) may need a lot of tile cuts to fit around corners, fixtures and fittings; however, large tiles can open up a small room because there are less grout lines giving a less busy-looking result. Ask us for expert advice on finding the right tile size for your room.
- Feel free to be bold – you don’t have to have plain walls; consider something a little more dramatic, maybe a feature wall for extra impact?
- On a practical note – bear in mind colours and shades vary between batches; once you’ve chosen your tile, make sure your tiler confirms the quantities before you order your tiles, allowing for waste, cuts and breaks.
Quality & Cost
- Never compromise on quality – get a tile that is right for your purpose; ‘going cheap’ will only cost more in the long run (and remember their lifespan; if tiling a wall costs more than painting, that’s because tiles will last so much longer). Besides, it costs the same to lay a ‘cheap’ tile as it does a more expensive tile, so cutting down on quality is a false economy. And beware of the phrase, “End of line”: you may get a better quality tile for a lower price but if there are breakages or a miscalculation on quantities, you may not be able to get the same batch or even the same tile. “End of line” means “Discontinued”!
- That said, always have a clear budget in mind – tiles don’t have to be expensive but it’s also possible to get carried away and costs can spiral out of control. As a point of reference, the average cost for a good quality standard size glazed tile is $30/m2. Always know what proportion of your project budget is allocated to tiling. Of course, it’s possible that when you see the options available you want to spend more, but at least then you’re adjusting your starting figure, and you know that more on tiles means less for the rest of the project.
- Besides, price isn’t the only indicator of quality – suitable tiles can be cheaper than non-suitable; it all depends on what’s right for your project. As well as price and appearance, you need to consider wear ratings and durability. The PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) has a rating scale for resistance to foot wear. The scale goes from PEI 1 (wall use only; i.e. not good for walking on at all) to PEI 5 (suitable for all residential flooring and heavy commercial application). Pick a rating that fits the intended use.
- Choose your material wisely – different types of tile suit different kinds of use; ceramic can be inexpensive and relatively easy to apply, porcelain is highly water-resistant, terracotta gives a warm feel to its surroundings, natural stone tiles are very hard-wearing… see our FAQs for a description of each of these, including the various kinds of stone tile available.
- Think about absorbency and grip – natural stone tiles make beautiful floors but if the sealant isn’t maintained properly they can soak up spillages resulting in staining. Meanwhile, high-gloss glazes are rarely a good choice for bathroom floors; the last thing you want is someone slipping on a wet tile; and for poolside, anti-slip options with textures and/or matte finishes may be the way to go.
Materials, quality, budget, colour and design – these tips should get you thinking along the right lines when choosing your perfect tiles. For more in-depth advice, visit Coolum Tile & Stone Studio showroom at Coolum Beach industrial state and talk to us.