Unpatterned Tips: Top 5 Tile Considerations
Tile is one of of those things that sounds somewhat simple: I'd like to retile my bathroom. Or add a backsplash. Or replace a floor with tile. But in reality there are a handful of considerations to be aware of when selecting tile for any location. Here we are breaking down our Top 5.
1. Layout and direction: This is the simplest, but not to be overlooked. How will your tile be laid? For rectangles/squares: is it brick pattern or stacked (grid) or one third or herringbone? Is it laid horizontally or vertically? Even sheeted tiles might need to be specified a direction or in some cases we have cut a sheeted tile to lay it differently.
2. Grout - joint width, color, sanded/unsanded: How much grout do you want showing? In many cases, not a lot. In some tiles, they require a specific minimum or maximum joint size. What color will the grout be - matching or contrasting? How much contrast? And is it sanded or unsanded? Most manufacturers will specify if a certain type of grout or thinset must be used or avoided. Always check and always go over with your installer.
3. Edges: This is the detail that most consumers overlook. It basically boils down to: how do you end your tile? Does it butt up to a wall on all sides? Or is there an exposed edge you need to address? Is the tile finished all the way through the body of the tile? (stone should be, but ceramics and porcelains are often not.) There are tons of options to choose for finishing, you just need to select the one that is appropriate for your application, style of your home and personal preference aesthetically. Some tiles can be ordered with finished edges on specified sides. Or you can add a trim piece (bullnose, quarter round, pencil liner, etc.), mud in and paint the edges the same color as the wall, or use a schluter strip. The options go on. This is undoubtedly the most overwhelming part if you're not working with a designer. This doesn't even consider things like inlaid patterns and mouldings - that's another level.
4. Sealing/porous materials: Don't walk into a DIY nightmare. Natural stones require special sealing, often before and after grouting and again annually! Cement tiles have specific soaking and sealing installation instructions. Ceramic tiles with crackle glazes need to be sealed and resealed. And certain glass or other natural materials like stone and mother of pearl can be sensitive to grout stain. Always check the manufacturer's installation instructions.
5. Use & Maintenance: Most tiles sold direct to consumers list the areas they are appropriate to be used. Is is suitable for wet locations, like a shower? Can it be used on the floor and the wall? What are the impacts on the user, good and bad, if this surface is tile (versus wood, cork, carpet, etc.)? And what are the requirements on the client once the tile is installed - how do you clean and how often to reseal your marble backsplash.
To be honest, 5 bullet points just scratch the surface (pun intended!) of tile selection. Have I overwhelmed you? Well the good news is if you work with Unpatterned to design your tile, we would analyze, sketch out, select, order, and discuss all of these points throughout the tile selection process, whether we're selecting a single backsplash or different tile for all 6 of your bathrooms.
Get in touch if you'd like to discuss your tile project!
All images, with the exception of Image 4 of the Schluter strip are interior design projects by Unpatterned. Click through each image for more on those projects!
Photo credits include: Michael Kaskel, Dustin Halleck, & Aimée Mazzenga.