Choosing the ideal tile for your bathroom floor can be quite a challenge. Not only do you want to select the perfect flooring to match your desired aesthetic, but you also have to consider factors like durability and water resistance. Today’s blog post explains exactly what you should look for in bathroom floor tiles and discusses the pros and cons of the most common tile options.
What to Look For in Bathroom Floor Tile
Bathroom floor tile has specific characteristics that may not be as important for other spaces in your home. Water resistance is especially vital for full baths, as is traction, so the floor doesn’t become slippery when wet. Of course, questions of style and budget also play a role.
When it comes to appearance, what matters most is that the tile's look matches your style and the aesthetic you’d like to create in your bathroom. You might want to opt for something that complements your existing design and color choices in the space.
There are unlimited options when it comes to appearance, whether you’d like to opt for something traditional or trendy, classic or contemporary. Maybe you prefer neutral flooring, or perhaps you’d like to add an exciting pop of color. It’s all up to you!
Strength and Durability
Since bathrooms are generally used multiple times daily, they can be considered high-traffic areas. You’ll want to choose flooring that can easily stand up to frequent floor traffic, and it’s even better if that flooring is built to last for several years, so that you don’t have to do another renovation project in the near future.
Anytime you’re doing an interior design project, considering your budget is crucial. As far as materials go, porcelain, ceramic, vinyl, and plastic laminate are usually more affordable than linoleum and natural stone.
Water resistance is a fundamental characteristic for bathroom floor tile. You’ll probably want to avoid porous tile unless you’re willing to seal it, as it can absorb moisture and develop mold and mildew. Unglazed porcelain and ceramic may come with the same problem, but glazed options can be excellent choices.
The last thing you want is to hop out of the shower and slip on the tile floor! For this reason, you may wish to consider textured tile or mosaic tile, which requires quite a bit of grout and creates a non-slip surface. If you’re tiling a half-bath without a shower or tub, you may not need to worry about traction as much as if you’re tiling a full bathroom, where you’ll absolutely want to prevent slips and falls.
It’s also wise to consider the upkeep and maintenance required for the tile material of your choice. For example, natural stone requires regular resealing, polishing, and cleaning with specific products. Meanwhile, many other options can easily be wiped down or mopped and don’t require any special forms of maintenance. You may not mind a bit of extra work to maintain the quality of your flooring, but it’s simply something to be aware of.
Tile Material Options
Now that you know all of the characteristics to look for in bathroom floor tile, let’s go over the many tile material options available to you.
Porcelain is a popular choice for bathroom floors, and for good reason! It’s affordable, long-lasting, non-porous, low-maintenance, and scratch-resistant. It comes in a wide variety of colors, textures, shapes, sizes, designs, and finishes. In fact, it can mimic the look of hardwood and natural stone, but without the high price and rigorous upkeep!
Another benefit is that porcelain often has through-body color, meaning that even if chips occur, the color of the tile won’t be affected.
In comparison to ceramic, porcelain is made with finer clay, and it’s subjected to higher temperatures and increased pressure during production. This creates a denser and stronger material that is often preferred over ceramic, although the two materials are very similar otherwise.
Still, porcelain does come with some drawbacks. It can be quite hard and cold underfoot. You can offset the cold temperature by installing radiant floor heating, and the addition of rugs can increase the tile’s softness underfoot.
Vinyl is a synthetic material typically made from a base layer of fiberglass that’s then coated with PVC vinyl and a plasticizer. After it’s coated, the vinyl planks are embossed with a design and finished with no-wax polyurethane or another form of wear protection.
Thanks to its affordability and practicality, vinyl is a common pick for bathroom floors. It’s also safe, durable, and comfortable underfoot, is often self-adhering and easy to install, and is available in many different looks to fit a variety of styles.
Very similar to porcelain, ceramic is also long-lasting, low-maintenance, scratch-resistant, and affordable, and it comes in a vast array of size, shape, color, and design options. Its price is typically a bit lower than porcelain, but the tradeoff is that it’s not quite as strong or durable.
Plastic laminate is a material made from kraft paper, resin, and adhesives. While it’s durable and easy to clean, it’s not always the best choice for bathrooms because it can expand and buckle when exposed to moisture.
Because of this, it is often a better choice for half-baths instead of full bathrooms. If you do choose to install plastic laminate in your full bathroom, be sure to caulk around the bathtub or shower and toilet, as well as along the walls, to prevent water from getting under the tile.
Another drawback to plastic laminate is that it doesn’t have as much style variety as porcelain, ceramic, and vinyl tile.
One of the most significant benefits of glass tile is its elegant, luxurious appearance. Its surface is luminous and reflects the light, giving the room a bright, spacious look.
You’ll often see glass tiles used on bathroom walls, but if you’d like to use them on the floor, you have two main options: Select textured glass, or use small glass tiles with lots of grout joints. Otherwise, the smooth surface of the glass is sure to become extremely slippery when wet.
Some of the other advantages of glass tile are that it’s water-resistant, stain-resistant, and inhibits the growth of mold and mildew.
However, small glass tiles with many grout lines may need additional upkeep to maintain the cleanliness of the grout. In addition, you’ll need to seek out floor-rated glass tile, or it may break under the pressure of foot traffic.
Linoleum is another tile option that comes with plenty of upsides. It looks great, repels dust and dirt, retains its original color over time, and naturally inhibits the growth of microorganisms. Plus, it’s often available in easy-to-install plank designs that DIYers can quickly click into place. However, it is one of the more expensive floor tile options.
If you want a timeless and opulent look in your bathroom, then natural stone may be the clear choice for you. Some types of natural stone are preferred to others in moisture-prone areas like bathroom floors, though. For instance, polished marble and granite tend to be very slippery, while limestone, travertine, and slate usually have natural texture that provides more traction.
Natural stone comes with a few drawbacks to keep in mind. First, it tends to be the most expensive flooring option, which is why many opt for porcelain or ceramic tile that imitates the look of natural stone.
Second, it requires special installation with a waterproof membrane. And finally, installing natural stone means agreeing to some pretty involved upkeep, including periodic cleaning with specific products, routine polishing, and regular resealing to protect its porous surface.
Find Beautiful Bathroom Tile at Tilezz.com!
Complete your bathroom renovation with gorgeous tile from Tilezz.com. Our selection is made up of glass, natural stone, ceramic, and porcelain tiles in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. Every order comes with fast delivery, insured shipments, and easy returns to make shopping for tile online as convenient and easy as possible! View our full product range here, or take a look at our blog for DIY installation instructions and lots of interior design inspiration.