The bathroom differs from others in its purpose and difficult temperature and humidity conditions. All family members regularly use it; there is a lot of water and splashes, high content of wet vapors in the air, and high temperatures. Therefore, a limited number of building materials are used for finishing the premises, which can withstand adverse operating conditions without losing their appearance and consumer properties.

Ceramic tiles are ideally suited for these tasks. Before choosing a ceramic tile for a bathroom, you should familiarize yourself with the features of this material.

What types of tiles are used to decorate the bathroom

Depending on the raw materials and manufacturing technology, several types of tiles are used for decoration:

  • Ceramic tile.
  • Ceramic granite – porcelain stoneware.
  • Glass tiles, or mosaics.
  • Clinker.
  • Natural stone tiles.

Ceramic tile

It is made from red or white clays with the addition of feldspar and quartz sand. The production process of ceramic tiles is multi-stage. It consists of grinding and mixing components, removing moisture from the mass, firing in high-temperature furnaces at t 1000-1250 ° C. Depending on the method of molding the raw assembly: whether it was cast into blanks, pressed, squeezed out of the molds by extrusion – samples of the slab material are obtained with different properties, configurations, and sizes.

Ceramic granite

This facing material is also made of clay but has nothing to do with natural granite. It got its name because of the increased strength and the similarity of the granular surface of some samples to stone. Porcelain stoneware is made from rare types of kaolin clay, from which a dense material is obtained.

First, the raw material is dry crushed to fine dust: the more pleasing the particles, the denser the porcelain stoneware. Then the powdered clay gets under the press. Pressing takes place under higher pressure – up to 500 kg / sq. cm, and firing – at an elevated temperature – 1200-1300 ° C. Due to the absence of pores in the body of porcelain stoneware and its high density, its water resistance, temperature resistance and wear resistance is increased.

Excellent consumer properties have expanded the scope of use of porcelain stoneware. It is used not only for interior work – finishing a bathroom, shower room, bathroom, kitchen, and great for outdoor use – it fits on terraces and garden paths.

Glass mosaic

Glass mosaics are made from the same raw material as ordinary glass – quartz sand, which is melted to a liquid state, then molded and cooled. To give the desired properties and color, various substances are added to the mass. Since the size of individual elements is much smaller than that of traditional tiles, for ease of installation, they are produced on a cardboard base or on a polymer mesh, where sufficiently large areas are combined.

Clinker tiles

Clinker is a more durable and practical ceramic material, but it is more often used outdoors. The material is made from rare stiff clays, the deposits of which are limited. There is no raw material for clinker production in Russia, so it is imported from abroad. Before processing, the clay is carefully sorted – it should not contain any impurities.

Then the raw material is moistened and formed by extrusion – squeezed out through the molds—high-temperature firing – at t more than 1200 ° C. The result is a highly durable tile material with excellent technical characteristics.

The main advantage of clinker is its excellent vapor permeability combined with moisture resistance and low moisture absorption. In practice, this means that even the smallest vapors that penetrate the pores of the cleaner do not harm the tiles since they do not accumulate inside but go out. Therefore, clinker is often used for outdoor work – it is more frost-resistant, does not accumulate moisture, it will not burst at sub-zero temperatures after many years of operation.

Natural stone tiles and mosaics

Natural stone tiles are beautiful, environmentally friendly, and prestigious. It is waterproof, durable, and resistant to household chemicals. Significant disadvantages of the material are its high weight and high price, due to which not all people can afford finishing with natural stone. The best option for replacing raw material is ceramic tile or porcelain stoneware with a stone-like pattern.

What types of tile surfaces are used in the bathroom

Depending on the type of surface, tiles are of the following types:

  • glossy;
  • matte;
  • embossed.

Glossy tiles

Glossy samples are smooth, with a pronounced luster. They reflect light rays and fill the room with light. But lovers of polished shine should consider that water stains and traces of splashes are visible on such a surface. Glare is formed after installing the lamps on the glossy tile, which does not always look aesthetically pleasing, so this nuance should be considered when setting the light.

Matte tiles

Matt ceramics create a more refined interior as they gently diffuse light. On a matte surface, dirt is less noticeable; water stains drop, splashes are not visible. However, more effort will be required to clean such a facing material. Since the matte surface is less slippery, it is preferred for floor finishes.

Embossed tile

Embossed tiles create a whimsical play of light and shadow, but at the same time caring for them is difficult. Experts recommend using embossed tiles in the bathroom in limited quantities – to create panels, decorative inserts, etc.

What qualities should a tile for walls and floors of a bathroom have?

Unlike the tiles laid in public premises, the tiles used for the bathroom do not impose increased thickness, strength, and durability requirements. 

All bathroom tiles can be divided into two categories: walls and floors. Since the load on these two surfaces is different, then the tile material must have other properties.

There are several general requirements for the tile used in the bathroom:

  • Resistant to moisture.
  • Resistant to household chemicals.
  • Qualitatively finished front surface.

Resistant to moisture.  Ordinary ceramic tiles have high water absorption, so they are not used for outdoor decoration. When the moisture that has got inside the tile freezes, the material will collapse. In the case of the bathroom, such processes are not observed. Therefore, ordinary ceramic tiles are widely used in this room since they can accumulate and give off moisture quickly. In addition, the outer layer of the tile prevents water from penetrating the inner layers.

Resistant to household chemicals. Consumers are accustomed to the fact that the tile is an easy-to-care, moisture-resistant, unpretentious material that can be easily cleaned of dirt with the help of friendly detergents. Meanwhile, all types of ceramic products react differently to harsh chemicals.

Front surface. The front side of the tile should be evenly covered with glaze, flawlessly smooth, without inclusions, swelling, roughness. Any kind of defect is excess moisture inside the tile. Suppose for any other room. Slight surface defects are not fundamental. In that case, they are invisible and do not affect the life of the tile, then for a wet room, a violation of the integrity of the top layer means increased moisture absorption.

Choosing bathroom wall tiles

There are different requirements for wall and floor tiles. On the packaging of tiles intended for wall mounting, manufacturers place a drawing of a hand or palm.

The main requirements for such a tile:

  • Have a minimum water absorption coefficient.
  • Be resistant to chemically aggressive substances.
  • The geometry of the shapes must be flawless.

Tiles laid on walls perform only a decorative role. Therefore, expensive and durable tile modifications are not worth using for walls. For domestic use, ceramic tiles of double firing, I-II class of wear resistance are sufficient. This is a budget material, but it resists detergents well and can last for many years.

Naturally, other tiles can be used for wall decoration, including porcelain stoneware and mosaics, but the cost of these products and subsequent installation will cost you more. 

Choosing bathroom floor tiles

For floor tiles, different requirements are imposed, as the bathroom floor is subjected to significant loads.

  • High wear resistance. The tile is divided into five classes in terms of wear resistance: the first is the minimum degree, and the fifth is the maximum. The durability class is indicated on the packaging with the Latin letters PEI with Roman numerals. For bathroom floors, you need products with the PEI IV – V label.
  • Good anti-slip effect. For an anti-slip effect, notches are applied to the surface, a relief is made, and roughness is formed. Western manufacturers mark non-slip products with the word “Grip” indicating the class. The angle of inclination at which the anti-slip effect of the tile is preserved is indicated by the letter R: R6-9.
  • Strength. The thicker the material, the stronger it is. As a rule, floor tiles are produced by the manufacturer with a greater thickness than wall tiles – 9–15 mm.
  • High level of bending resistance.
  • Resistance to the action of abrasive, chemically aggressive substances.

For the floor, it is best to use:

1. Single-fired ceramic tiles are a very durable and wear-resistant material.

2. Porcelain stoneware has increased strength and wear resistance; it will be enough for use in a bathroom with a large margin.

What color of tiles to choose in the bathroom

At the moment, all manufacturers of ceramic tiles in their assortment have ready-made collections designed for installation in the bathroom. 

TYPICALLY, THE COLLECTION INCLUDES:

Light-colored tiles.

Decorative tiles.

Dark floor tiles.

Border.

Tile with a transitional tone from light to dark.

Floor tiles.

Hence, if you are unsure of your sense of color and do not want to involve a specialist in the choice, you can trust the manufacturer’s designers.

The choice of color largely depends on the tastes and preferences of the owners of the house. But there are general fashion trends, and the advice of designers will help to expand or narrow the space visually, make the interior stylish.

Bright light colors

White, gray, beige, and other light shades have been trendy lately. They are especially relevant in small bathrooms, as they visually expand the space. In addition, the universal color white is an excellent background for decor, furniture, bright accessories. Walls finished with white tiles always look fresh, shine clean, never get bored.

Dark colors

Dark colors – black, graphite, dark purple, dark blue, and others – are considered noble. Experts recommend using them if the bathroom area is significant, as dark tones visually reduce it. It is ideal if, along with the dark tiles in the room, the backlight is correctly exposed, giving it a romantic touch and relieving the gloom. Also, the dark range of finishes will help out in the case when the apartment has a complex layout, and the geometry of the room is not ideal – it will hide the flaws.

Black

Noble black stands alone among the tones of the dark spectrum. With a responsible approach to the design of the bathroom, it looks spectacular, luxurious, and noble. It is better to decorate the walls with black tiles in large bathrooms, complementing the decoration with mirrors and lighting since dark tones absorb light.

Today, manufacturers paint tile materials in all shades of black: ebony, charcoal, raven, blue-violet, blueberry, and prunes. You can combine them with contrasting inserts in light shades. Spectacular black tiles are also practical – you cannot see drops from splashes, soapy streaks from water, pollution.

Green

Green is life-affirming color. According to psychologists, it has a beneficial effect on the psyche – it soothes without suppressing emotions, creates a joyful mood. When combined with wood finishes and furniture, greenery creates a feeling of living nature, naturalness, freshness. There are many shades of green: light green, mint, menthol, fresh greens, bamboo, herbaceous, emerald, coniferous. Each of them will bring an atmosphere of joy, freshness, life to the room.

Blue

Blue is the color of water, so I often use it to decorate bathrooms and showers. It belongs to cold tones, brings a feeling of freshness to the interior, creates a calm emotional state, and improves tone. Most people like shades of blue: turquoise, clear water, sea wave, pearl, opal, aquamarine, sky blue, porcelain, tourmaline.

They all look great when paired with the versatile white. Whatever material is used for interior decoration: wood, metal, or plastic will be harmoniously combined with blue tiles.

Milky shade

This is a variation of the classic white color. The use of milky tiles in the interior will visually expand the space, bring light, cleanliness into the room, and allow you to get away from the operational severity of a purely white surface. Milk is combined with all other colors, and when combined with shades of black, the interior will look luxurious, expensive, and respectable.

Orange

Orange is the life-affirming color of the sun. The bright orange design of the bathroom will appeal to young, energetic people. The bright interior will look non-standard, bold, and original. Moreover, there are no less than a hundred shades of orange of varying degrees of brightness, from which even very conservative people can choose a suitable one for themselves.

The following shades are considered varieties of orange: flesh, peach, almond, apricot, powder color, amber, pumpkin, ocher, carrot. Each of the shades can be creatively used in a modern interior, moving away from the excessive brightness of orange.

Turquoise

Turquoise, like blue, is one of the most commonly used colors for bathroom decoration, as it plays up the nautical theme. It is warmer than blue and promotes relaxation. The use of turquoise tiles will allow you to create wall compositions in the bathroom on the summer holidays, games of marine life, and bring a touch of freshwater. Turquoise is successfully combined with shades of white, blue, green.

Blue

Blue is a severe cold color rarely used without diluting it with white, blue, turquoise, milky, or creamy tones. Designers recommend using blue with caution. With a skillful combination of colors, the use of blue will allow you to decorate the interior boldly, original, unconventional.

Lilac

Lilac is a pleasant color, and it looks impressive in combination with white, black, or when using several tones of different intensities. The lilac color goes well with dark eggplant or light pink tones. To add elegance to the interior design of a bathroom, shower room, bathroom, you can use mosaics on the walls with several shades of lilac. Today pink, coral, flamingo colors are coming into fashion.

Yellow

Sunny yellow will appeal to energetic, life-loving people. It fills the room with light, improves tone, improves mood. The warmth of yellow is especially lacks for people in winter, so decorating a room with its use will add a positive to live. Yellow goes well with essential white and black and with blue, blue, green, red, creating bright combinations.

There are many shades of yellow: honey, banana, wheat, mimosa, lemon, amber, sunflower, turmeric, saffron, straw. Each of the tones in combination with other colors will create a colorful interior. Prevalent today is the eco-style, which often uses natural shades of yellow: honey, wheat, or amber.

Pattern and relief of tiles

Drawing.  When choosing a tile with a pattern, all the nuances must be taken into account:

  • The area of ​​the bathroom
  • The height of the ceiling
  • The amount of furniture
  • The location of the plumbing units

Small and large designs will look different in small and large spaces. 

In small rooms, one-tile-sized drawings or small, non-bright paintings assembled from several tiles look best. Large solid panels should be avoided in small bathrooms, as they visually bring the wall on which they are located.

Relief. There should not be too many embossed tiles in the bathroom. She should not finish the entire surface of the walls but only use it as an accent.

Tile size and shape

Another critical aspect of choosing a bathroom tile is its size and shape.

Square.  It is easier to lay, and it is easier to fit the elements than products of other shapes. If there are problems with the geometry of the walls, then purchasing a square tile will solve the problem.

Rectangle. Rectangular ceramic tiles are often used for bathroom decoration. Its popularity is explained by the fact that bathrooms are usually small in size, and horizontally laid rectangular tiles help to expand the space visually. Vertically oriented stripes will visually raise the low ceiling.

Non-standard shapes: honeycombs, hexagons, triangles, rhombuses. A surface lined with irregularly shaped tiles looks impressive, significantly if individual elements differ in tone. But for all parts to fit perfectly, their geometry must be flawless. Therefore, experts recommend buying non-standard tiles from well-known European factories.

Mosaic. It gives the interior charm, exclusivity. Looks better in rooms large in area and volume.

In small rooms, do not use small tiles. The best solution for a bathroom would be a tile size of 400 × 275 mm, 600 × 300 mm, 500 × 200 mm. They will help expand the space, while they will not cause a sensation of pressure and will not ripple in the eyes. The size of the tiles depends on the geometric features of the room: if the bathroom is rectangular, then it is recommended to use products of the same shape for decoration.

Finishing with large-format tiles gives fewer seams, the room decorated with it looks nobler. Large samples are more expensive. Suitably sized bathroom tiles can significantly improve the perception of space.

What tile laying patterns are suitable for the bathroom.

The tiling pattern is not only a matter of the skill of the tiler. An experienced artisan will unmistakably offer the best option, but the customer has to think about this when planning repairs, choosing, and purchasing materials. Therefore, an ordinary consumer should know the basic layout methods:

Straight stacking without shifting elements

When the components are mounted in series in a row, the simplest traditional method is vertically installed one above the other without offset. It turns out a neat classic pattern – with a mesh.

Straight stacking with offset

This is a classic way, reminiscent of brickwork. Depending on the displacement type, the pattern turns out to be different: the shift of elements in a row relative to the previous one can be half the element, by a third or by two-thirds. Best used on plain walls.

Herringbone

This scheme is also called linear-angular. The elements also fit in a line but at a 45-degree angle. The result is a recognizable herringbone pattern. Laying in this way allows you to increase the height of the ceiling visually.

In practice, professional artisans use more techniques for laying out tiles: braiding, linear-angular at an angle of 90 degrees, block, modular, chess.

How to check tiles upon purchase

When choosing ceramic tiles, buyers are guided by the brand, country of manufacture, technical and dimensional parameters, color, and pattern. However, in addition to this, when buying, you must carefully study the information on the packaging, make a visual inspection of the samples.

Pay attention to the following parameters:

  • The geometric accuracy of the tile shape.
  • The density of the structure of ceramics.
  • No defects on the front side.

More details on determining the compliance of the parameters specified in the accompanying documentation for the goods with real ones during the inspection are described below.

Geometry

To understand how accurate the geometric shapes of the tiles are, you should compare several samples from different packs. You need to take one representative from each group and attach them to the backside to do this. Tile samples should be tightly joined, and the gap should not exceed 0.5 mm. If your layout has 5-6 tiles from different packs in a row, the height difference should also not be more than 0.5 mm. Tile products from Western European manufacturers usually pass this test. The geometry of Italian, German, Spanish tiles is exemplary.

Structure density

The density of the ceramic is visually determined by looking at the reverse side. Its moisture absorption depends on the thickness of the tile. The higher the density of the material, the less moisture it absorbs. The manufacturer indicates the water absorption coefficient in the accompanying documentation, but the reverse side of the tile should be inspected for control.

A material with a high density is smooth to the touch, without large visible pores. There should be no more than ten delicate pores in the entire sample. If the thickness of the tile is low, then many pores will be visible on the backside. Such tiles will quickly absorb a critical amount of moisture, become heavy, and move away from the wall.

Front surface

The ideal surface of ceramic bathroom tiles is essential not only for the beauty of the look – it ensures a long service life. There should be no apparent defects on the front side: air blisters, bubbles, open pores, small cracks, tiny cobwebs. If the tile is glazed, then there should be no chips at the corners and ends. Any damage to the glaze means that the tile will absorb moisture and fall off after 2-3 years of use. To inspect the front surface, it is enough to get several samples from different packs selectively.

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