When it comes to giving your bathroom a clean and classic look that's also extremely durable, you can't beat tile floors. There are nearly endless options to fit any design aesthetic and most budgets. Even better, given tile's universal appeal, it's a smart investment that can actually boost your home's resale value. Some of the more popular tile materials include ceramic, quarry, terra cotta, and marble, and they come in a great variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and patterns. A unique bathroom tile design can make any bathroom stand out.
Most tile is stain-resistant (porous marble, however, is easily stained if spills aren't quickly wiped up). For this reason, tile is a good design choice for bathroom floors, backsplashes, walls, and shower enclosures. Sealed tile and grout are also water-resistant, making it a great choice for the bathroom. Likewise, tile is scratch resistant, perfect for homes with pets. And as long as non-toxic grout and sealants are used, tile floors are great for allergy sufferers.
Design is rarely a limiting factor with tile flooring for bathrooms, but there are downsides to the flooring. It is cold underfoot, provides a hard walking surface, and offers no sound insulation. Tile is perfect for installation over a radiant floor heating system, which is a particularly smart investment in a bathroom where it's important to keep bare feet warm. Also, glossy finishes can be slick, a concern in bathrooms where slip-and-fall accidents are common. Ask your dealer about newer products designed with anti-slip surfaces or talk to your installer about applying non-slip additives on top of your floor. If you want to keep the same floor material throughout the space, it's easy to find tile to cover the floor and serve as bathroom shower tile.
Tile can be tricky to install for even seasoned DIYers as the process requires a special saw for cutting pieces to fit around cabinets or corners. Tiling bathroom floors can also be difficult; it can be hard to give grout a consistent and professional look. Mosaic bathroom floor and wall tiles can be purchased mounted on mesh to make spacing easier for self-installing tile. Different types of tile have different installation requirements so, if you plan to install your floor yourself, it's important to talk to your dealer and educate yourself on the material you've chosen.
More recently, snap-together tiles have hit the market. These interlocking pieces are designed to help handy homeowners create a professional-looking floor. Not all materials are available in this construction, but there are options that consist of real bathroom ceramic tile bonded to the interlocking base. Although some cutting is still required around fixtures, the no-glue installation, pre-cut edging pieces, and variety of tile sizes reduce much of the installation hassle.
Tile is generally easy to maintain, requiring routine sweeping and damp mopping as needed. Some types of tile, including marble, need regular sealing to protect them from stains. Grout can be a bit more difficult to keep clean and is likely to discolor over time. Although tile is very durable, it can be cracked or chipped if something heavy is dropped on it. This damage is difficult to repair and almost always requires a professional.