While selecting the right tile should be as simple as choosing the tile that goes best with your cabinets or furniture, it’s not. Both aesthetics and technicalities need to be considered when selecting the tile that is right for your project.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to become a tile expert overnight. Our estimators will walk you through the pros and cons of each tile type and help you decide on a tile that is perfect for your project, whether it’s a tile shower, tile floor or tile accent wall. Here are a few points you need to be aware of when selecting tile.
How to choose tile
The primary factor to consider when selecting tile is its durability. It’s essential to pick tile that can withstand the wear and tear of everyday life and last for years to come. If not, tile can break and will need to be replaced. Look at the tile's PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) rating.
Also, keep in mind that tile cannot be installed everywhere. Some work in water-prone areas while others are best left dry. Some tile can be walked on and some can’t. For example, you don’t want to install wall tile as a high-traffic commercial flooring solution. An easy way to determine which tile goes where is the PEI rating. Tile that is being installed in a high-traffic area should be harder and denser than tile that receives no foot traffic. Explore PEI ratings below.
Other things to consider
The room where you are going to install the tile can help narrow down the options. The bathroom and kitchen require waterproof material like ceramic or glass for the walls. However, you could also accommodate certain stone tiles to high-moisture areas. Tile floors will need more durable materials since they will have to withstand walking pressure and foot traffic. So, purchase ceramic or porcelain.
Most tiles will come in a variety of different sizes, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find something that will fit the particular space you’re working on. A Flowers Flooring estimator will laser measure your area and make tile suggestions that will keep the room proportions in mind, which will help you select a particular tile size. Large floor tiles can make a room appear larger since there are less visible grout lines to break the pattern. Small tiles can create a crowded look, so they work best in rooms with minimalistic decorations.
Tile comes in a wide variety of colors and variations of the same shade. Flowers Flooring suggests sticking to a few basic color rules to make tile selection a bit easier.
- Vibrant, playful colored tile will make a room seem happy and warm
- Neutral tile colors are the easiest to integrate into any room décor
- Dark colored tiles can add depth, but may make a room look smaller than it actually is
- Light tile hues make spaces look bigger, and can brighten a room with very little natural light
Like most other floor types, tile also has various textures. Textured or matte tiles are less slippery when compared to smooth or shiny tiles. This is an important factor to keep in mind, especially if your installing floor tiles in a bathroom, kitchen or other wet area. The type of tile you select shouldn’t clash with the décor of the room. Some tile options fit easier into most ambiances. Here’s a few rules that Flowers Flooring follows:
- Wood-like tiles (wood plank) are extremely durable and can give any room a more natural look
- Marbleized tiles bring timeless beauty to any room
- Stone tiles or tiles that mimic stone can have a rougher, more natural look, but can work in any setting
- When in doubt select a neutral color, with minimal texture
Tile grout comes in various colors, and you want to be sure to select a grout that fits the design of your project. For example, a grout color close to that of the tile will make the grout almost unnoticeable, so the tile installation looks compact. A contrasting grout color can make individual tiles pop. It all depends on what effect you want to create. Click here to view grout colors.
Some tiles are easier to clean than others and some also require less maintenance to keep them looking their best. Here is a basic guide to tile maintenance.
- Ceramic and porcelain tiles are very easy to clean. Be sure to check if the tile you select needs to be sealed
- Natural stone usually has to be sealed and is harder to clean because it has more pores that collect dirt and grime
- Glass tiles are prone to water spots, so you may have to spend a little more time polishing it. However, glass tiles do not hold dirt like natural stone