The Keys To Selecting Bathroom Tiles: Types & Elements

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Bathroom Tiles

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If you are looking for tips on how to choose bathroom tiles to refresh your existing bathroom or a complete bathroom makeover – then you have come to the right place! Besides protecting the walls in the baths and showers, tiles are also an excellent way to decorate a dull room and make a statement.

Every household member uses the bathroom on a daily basis, and while cleanliness is of primary importance, aesthetics should not be overlooked. Hence whether you want to pick marble, ceramic, porcelain or glass, we will help you find clarity in our guide and discover which is the best tile for you to use in your bathroom. 

The process of choosing the right bathroom tiles for your home can be challenging, but extremely rewarding when you understand the key factors.

What to Consider?

Before you take on this challenge to hunt the perfect bathroom flooring to pair with your theme and other fittings, here are a couple of factors to take into consideration: 

Lifestyle

Bathroom Tiles

Be mindful of what kind of lifestyle you currently lead and what it will look like in the future in your home – this will have a big impact and the ability to sway your decision on your choice of bathroom flooring. 

As an example, families with toddlers might want to go for porcelain or ceramic tiles instead of wooden or glass tiling. Ceramic tiles are able to withstand splashes of water, comparatively wooden flooring spoils easily when it comes into contact with water. 

Budget

At the end of the day, it always comes down to your budget. We’re able to always narrow down our choices based on what we can afford, but this doesn’t mean that we should compromise on the quality.

The bathroom flooring industry is constantly innovating and developing. As compared to decades ago, today they’re able to offer quality products, at competitive rates. 

You can also look at your bathroom flooring as a long-term investment when considering its cost. By making an informed decision, you’re able to potentially increase the value of your home in the future.

Practicality and Functionality

The type of bathroom flooring you end up choosing will have to complement the overall design style, yet at the same time meet all of the bathroom’s essential requirements, such as, being anti-slip, low maintenance and also being able to withstand water staining well for a long period of time.

Pick Your Wow Factor

Once you have locked-in your budget, the next step is to choose a must-have tile style for your bathroom design. Typically every homeowner has their own favourite tile design. It could be a unique accent tile, a simple white subway tile or even something extravagant such as a specific Moroccan-inspired tile design. 

Protip: Limit your bathroom to three types of tiles. This is to avoid any visual conflict. 

Weather

Malaysia is well known for its all year round hot and humid weather. A problem arises to maintain wooden floors, which easily absorb excess moisture. To overcome this, you can opt for vinyl flooring. It’s installed using a special glue that gives you an aesthetic look and feel of the wooden floor without any hassle. 

Determine your Tile Size

Even though smaller tile size was once widely used for bathroom tiles, large tile sizes are now more recommended for homeowners. Furthermore, this may create the illusion of a larger bathroom.

The average tile size is 300mm x 600mm. Although this is not a setting stone rule, depending on your interior designer’s or contractor’s recommendation, you may be able to choose a smaller tile size.

Protip: By adding a few pops of smaller tiles such as a subway tile (290mm x 300mm) or even Moroccan tiles (300mm x 30mm) in between your larger bathroom tiles, your design will instantly pop. 

What Are Your Potential Bathroom Flooring Options?

Once you’ve considered all the factors mentioned above for your bathroom tiles, you can list out your main priorities based on the functionality you need for your daily routine, and what your budget allows.

Now, let’s dive into the different options you can consider that fits your bill: 

Porcelain tiles

Bathroom Tiles

This highly durable yet costly tile comes with a wide range of colours. It is quite possibly one of the most common tiles you can find in a household. 

Because this surface of porcelain tiles absorb little moisture, this low-maintenance tile is ideal for both bathroom floors and walls. This also means that it resists stains. Plus, only soap and water are needed to maintain it. 

One of the biggest downsides of porcelain tiles is that it’s a hassle to install. The material is very dense, making precise cuts harder and this takes the installation process longer to complete. In addition, porcelain tiles also require a fair amount of grout, which can get dirty if it isn’t sealed properly. 

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles can be an attractive flooring option for bathrooms. Besides giving your bathroom a sleek look, the tiles are also sturdy and extremely durable – some ceramic tiles have survived for thousands of years. 

Ceramic tiles not only come in a classic white subway tile, but also in a variety of colours and patterns that give remodelers a lot of possibilities to choose from. 

Ceramic tiles are water resistant, so water damage is one less worry for you! It also withstands most scratches and stains, and the daily wear and tear will not be an eye-sore at all. 

On the other hand, ceramic is softer than porcelain, so it’s not a good option for frequently used bathroom floors. And when ceramic chips, the colour underneath is different from the shade on top, which makes the breakage more noticeable (porcelain is the same colour throughout). 

Pro-tip: Choose a beautiful design to enhance the wall and decor of your bathroom, as this might make up for the high cost with hopefully a better resale value in the future. 

Marble tiles

Subtle, beautiful and timeless. A surefire way to improve your home’s value is by using marble tiles. Natural stone like marble gives off a luxurious, elegant feel and is perfect if you want to add some style to your bathroom designs. The veins and colours that run through the surface of the tiles add to their beauty.

Marble is amazing for bathrooms as it is naturally water-resistant, but something to watch out for is that marble easily gets damaged by acidic materials such as your cleaning agents. 

Furthermore, marble can be vulnerable to being scratched. That being said, individual marble tiles can be easily replaced without the need to redo your entire floor in some cases.

Wood flooring  

Solid hardwood flooring has a natural warmth and inviting feel to it, but it doesn’t do well in areas with high moisture and humidity. 

Hardwood flooring is well-known to expand and contract with different temperatures, as well as absorb water. This means that spills and splashes will need to be kept at a minimum if you want your floors to last a good few years. 

A layer of oil can be added to protect the wooden floors, but this only makes it water-resistant. Maintenance will still need to be carried out often to help preserve the wood. 

Water absorption will result in the wood swelling, which will leave you with uneven flooring and become a costly maintenance, or worse case scenario – you’ll have to replace the entire flooring. 

Untreated wooden flooring can also attract termites which can result in permanent damage that will be expensive and time-consuming to repair, let alone replace. 

PVC or vinyl flooring

Bathroom Tiles

Water resistant, low-maintenance, durable to wear and tear, and a variety of design options – what more could you ask for? PVC or vinyl flooring is a great material to consider for your bathroom flooring because of the mentioned reasons. 

Vinyl bathroom flooring is available in an array of assortment which includes sheet vinyl, tile vinyl and plank vinyl. 

The best option for your bathroom is sheet vinyl, as this comes as one big solid piece, as compared to the vinyl tiles that are individually laid out. 

It will be difficult for water to penetrate the subfloor and cause any serious damages to your flooring because of the lack of seams in the sheet vinyl. 

Terracotta tiles

In addition to providing earthy shades, they contribute to the warmth of the bathroom. However, they require sealing efforts to prevent damages and stains. Furthermore, that surface sealant don’t last forever, has to be reapplied regularly, making them a rather troublesome choice for bathrooms.

Glass tiles

An opulent touch can be added to any bathroom with glass tiles. Since they are resistant towards stains, mould, as well as mildew – they are easier to keep clean. In addition to that, the tile is available in a rainbow of colours, as a mosaic collection with a mesh backing as well as individual tiles. 

A downside to glass tiles is the upscale feel of glass tiles comes with a price tag to match. Tiles like this are among the most expensive. The installation of glass can also be challenging. The glass tiles are also easily scratched, which means that a floor of glass tiles may only look and last good for a few years. 

The Comparison Guide – Learning the Key Difference

Advantages Disadvantages
Porcelain tiles
  • Extremely durable 
  • Various colours
  • Highly water resistant 
  • Expensive
  • Difficult to install
Ceramic tiles
  • Durable 
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Huge variety of colours and designs 
  • Water-resistant, but not as durable as porcelain tiles (and not as expensive) 
Marble tiles 
  • Looks highly polishes and comes in a range of sizes 
  • Can be patterned or veined, adding interesting colour to a bathroom
  • Expensive 
  • Susceptible to scratches and stains
Wood flooring
  • Perfect for risk takers 
  • Water easily penetrates the finish 
  • Stains and cracks might occur over time
  • It should not be used behind pedestal sinks, toilet bowls, or showers
PVC or vinyl flooring 
  • Inexpensive
  • Resilient
  • Easy to install 
  • It may not be as attractive as ceramics, porcelain, or other tiles
Terracotta tiles
  • Create a homely, cozy ambiance 
  • Strong surface tile flooring material 
  • Durable & relatively inexpensive
  • Old-fashioned type of tiles 
  • Ensure that the tiles are professionally sealed every two years to prevent staining and damage
  • Doesn’t get as cold as other ceramic options 
Glass tiles
  • Gorgeous (it shines!) 
  • Hard 
  • Durable 
  • Scratches easily 
  • Expensive 

Ringkasan

Before you jump into purchasing bathroom tiles, you’ll have to take into consideration the factors mentioned above, i.e. type of lifestyle, budget, practicality and functionality of the bathroom, as well as picking your style and wow factor. Additionally, do consider your tile size preference as well. Large-format tiles will produce an attractive finish or you can create a seamless and minimalist look when you mix and match the tiles to create a unique look. 

Learning the key differences between each tile is an essential step for you to make an informed decision. Tiles of all types have their perks and drawbacks, but what matters most is how well they match your budget and whether they meet your expectations and requirements. So with that in mind, happy tile hunting!

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