If you're redoing your bathroom, this is a must-read article which explains the different types of tiles for bathrooms. Amazingly, there are 13 different types.
There’s something comforting about having a gorgeous bathroom. However, bathroom design has restrictions due to the necessity to deal with plenty of water and the ability to clean it deeply getting rid of germs, bacteria and other unpleasant bathroom accumulations.
This is why carpet in the bathroom gives most people the creeps. You can’t completely clean carpet and while that’s acceptable in a bedroom, it’s unacceptable in a bathroom.
Therefore, of all rooms in a house, bathroom design MUST incorporate the practical and the aesthetic in equal doses; arguably, the practical should win.
Practical bathroom design includes materials that can deal with plenty of water and steam and also be easily and deeply cleaned.
Accordingly, tile is an extremely common floor and wall bathroom material (although there are some good tile alternatives for bathroom showers). Tile repels water and is easy to clean with powerful cleaners to kill germs, bacteria, mold and other nastiness.
But, there isn’t just one type of tile. There are many options. This article sets out the most popular types of tile for bathrooms giving you an idea as to your options.
Table of Contents
Selecting a tile for your bathroom floor is a big deal. Aspects to consider include:
- your anticipated wear and tear in bathroom;
- the architectural theme of your house;
- whether you’ll have radiant heating in the floor;
- your favorite color or texture, and/or
- your budget!
To help you pick the tiles for your bath, here are the 10 most popular types of bathroom tiles.
1. Ceramic Tiles
Ceramic tile is a type of tile has a wide range of selection, from color, sizes, shapes to finishes and texture.
You can have the rock and wood texture which is perfect for a cozy themed bathroom. Others may want a pure wood texture tiles for their bathroom to achieve a nature themed, that will look like using the same wall tiles on the floor. These kind of tiles are not easy to break, easy maintenance and cost effective.
- Glazed ceramic doesn’t absorb water.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- Huge variety of colors and designs.
- Not as impervious to water as porcelain (but also not as expensive as porcelain tiles).
2. Terracotta Tiles
Terracotta is an old-fashioned type of tiles. Terracotta tiles create a homely, cozy and delightful ambiance in your home. It is a strong surface tile flooring material, made from a discrete red or earthy hued clay. In maintenance concerns, you will need to fasten it with sealing agent every two years to prevent and protect the tiles from stains and damage.
Terracotta’s pros and cons similar to ceramic above. One additional pro is that terracotta tiles don’t get as cold as other ceramic options.
3. Vinyl Tiles
Vinyl tiles are the most commonly used in bathrooms. It is easier to install and eco-friendly since it is reusable. It’s less prone to cracks and breaking. Mainly most people use it because of its low cost than the ceramic tiles.
- Easier to install.
- Not as beautiful as ceramic, porcelain or other tiles.
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4. Stone Tiles
These tiles are becoming popular nowadays, made from marble, granite, limestone and slate. There are also different textures available in the market which includes sandblasted, etched, cleft and tumbled. Selection of colors is ranging from creams to blues, red and greens. However, stone tiles require more maintenance in terms of regular cleaning and this is more expensive that the other types of tiles.
a. Marble Tile
Sophisticated and traditional, marble tile can be highly polished and comes in a range of sizes. Marble can be patterned or veined, adding interesting color to a bathroom.
- Susceptible to scratches and stains.
b. Granite Tiles
Attractive, durable and versatile, comes in many colors and styles. Granite is ideal for decorating rustic themed rooms. Perfect for baths since it is resistant to stains and moisture.
- Durable and strong.
- Enjoy that granite look.
- Granite has a particular look that you may not like.
c. Limestone Tiles
Limestones has a strong and solid surface which is ideal as a flooring material. The muted colors of limestone tiles give a clean and comfortable feel, which is perfect for a bathroom.
- Natural appearance. Your options are natural tones and shades. Adds warmth to the design of the room.
- Soft, so you have options for shaping.
- Porous rock and soft. Be sure to seal well.
- Must use neutral pH cleaning agents. Avoid citrus and vinegar based agents (source: Stoneworth Warehouse)
5. Wood Floor
Perfect for risk takers. Since it is wood, water easily penetrates the finish. It might stain and crack in the long run. These wood tiles must be carefully sealed around the perimeter of the bathroom at all joints. Even though these are a coating applied for additional protection, you shouldn’t use it behind the pedestal sink, toilet bowl or shower area.
6. Linoleum Floor Tiles
One of the well-suited material for a bathroom. These tiles are able to repel dust and dirt while retaining its color and texture. It’s easy to install and with a proper and neat application, this stuff looks great. Linoleum is remarkably versatile and will complement any decorating style. If you have an older home, for instance, linoleum flooring can match the original period design.
- Very durable.
- Easy to install.
- Soft, which can be comfortable.
- Low maintenance.
- Susceptible to scratching.
- Requires a gas-off period during which it emits fumes (about a week).
- Can age in appearance. Must maintain it well.
If you have a contemporary home, you can have your linoleum flooring custom-cut to make a bold fashion statement.
7. Cork Tiles
Most perfect for children and elderly at home. These tiles provide a certain amount of protection in case, someone, accidentally trips and fall. Cork tile is more durable than hardwood flooring, naturally hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial and anti-fungal. It’s easy to install and easy to clean, just sweep and mop.
- Soft to walk on.
- Looks great.
- Easy to clean.
- Easy to install.
- Scratches easily.
- Easily damaged (can chip chunks out due to its softness).
- Must seal very well to repel water. It won’t seal perfectly so it won’t be as water resistant as porcelain or ceramic tiles.
Cork’s sound dampening properties dramatically reduce echo and impact noise. Yet, it is a very soft material, any sharp object can cause a puncture. Chair and furniture legs can pierce and scrape the material.
To be able to protect it from water stains and damage, you need to seal it to create an invisible barrier over its surface. If this seal is not perfect, the flood will probably warp, discolor and ruined the material. High humidity can also cause the cork to curl or pump, which may lead to tiles popping out.
8. Glass Tiles (including Mosaic)
Glass tiles are now becoming popular because of the increasing number of options that are customized depending on your wants and needs. The different types, shades, and tints of the glasses attached to the wall will beautifully reflect on the lightning inside your bathroom.
Thus it has a variety of patterns to choose from depending on the styles and theme you want to apply. Multi-colored glasses are now available used in mosaic arts perfect for accenting bathrooms. Installed properly, this type of tile holds up well and if textured, it can resist slips. Glass tiles are resistant to stains and molds. They tend to show dirt easily so you will always know when it is time to clean. Easy to clean with just warm water and mop.
With this kind of tile, installation needs extra careful and are susceptible to scratches. Highly durable, yes, but dropping something heavy at a great height will lead to crack or chipping the tile.
- Gorgeous (it shines).
9. Metal Tile
Metal tiles are more commonly used for bathroom walls; however, we include it because it’s not impossible that it could be used for the floor (although very unlikely you’d go this route).
Fresh and brilliant, this material gives a sophisticated look for your walls and partitions. A variety of textures to choose from, stainless steel or different metallic tones and glass hues for broad appearance. You can also choose from simple smooth squares, classic patterned designs or something more artistic such as mosaic brushed.
These metal artistic design tiles can bring a texture perfect for modern backsplashes, bathrooms or even fireplaces. This type of material often uses in conjunction with another type of tiles.
10. Cement-Bodied Tile
Cement-bodied tile is a good choice for any area that has a lot of wear and tear such as a kitchen or bath. This tile is tough and durable. It will give years of service when properly installed and maintained.
- Chips don’t show like ceramic tile chips (same with scratches).
- Offers that chic industrial look that you don’t get with other flooring materials.
- Porous. Must seal well. Overall, cement tiles aren’t ideal for wet bathroom environments.
11. Slate Tiles
Slate is one of the toughest standard natural stone floor finish materials. It has a built-in rigidity that makes it resistant to cracks, scratches, breaks, and chips. It does have to be sealed against stains on a regular basis depending on the environment where it is installed, but if properly maintained these materials can last for decades, looking great without having to be removed or replaced.
The metamorphic rock we know as slate has become a popular floor tile option around the world. It features a fine grain and rich palette of colors that can easily accent any decor. From copper to red, navy to sage, and tan to black, it’s an excellent tile flooring choice for outdoor walkways and paths, as well as indoor rooms. Its diverse arrangement of colors makes slate tile a perfect accent for rustic, contemporary, modern or traditional baths.
- Many styles and colors.
- Able to replace individual tiles if damaged.
- Unique: every tile is unique making planning a particular design difficult.
12. Porcelain Tiles
Porcelain is an excellent tile for your bathroom. Compared to traditional ceramic, it’s harder, more durable, more scratch resistant, absorbs less water, and is more stain resistant. While porcelain tile falls under the “ceramic family” it is different than ceramic tile.
Porcelain clay is kiln dried at higher temperatures than ceramic clay, which in-part explains its better performance as a bathroom floor tile compared to ceramic tile.
With respect to options, you can get porcelain tiles in many colors and to mimic other natural materials such as wood and stone. If you’re installing radiant heating, porcelain is perfectly suitable for that as well.
- Extremely durable.
- Many color options.
- Looks great.
- Highly water resistant.
So, why would anyone opt for ceramic? Price. Porcelain is, on average, 62% more expensive than ceramic.
13. Pebble Tile
Pebble tiles, also referred to as river rock pebble tile is tile that is a collection of pebbles. It’s a particular look that brings nature into the bathroom. It’s relatively durable. The big negative is cleaning it, which you can imagine is not easy given it doesn’t have as flat of a surface as other tiles.
Unique look (brining outdoors inside).
What is the best tile for a bathroom floor?
What’s best for one home, may not be best for your home. But I still want to answer the question. I’ll do so by telling you what’s the most popular type of tile for a bathroom floor.
We assessed 213,744 bathroom designs to determine which tile flooring options are used most in bathrooms. Here are the results.
The 5 most popular bathroom floor tile types are:
- Porcelain Tile: 38%
- Ceramic Tile: 33.7%
- Marble: 14.8%
- Mosaic Tile: 4.3%
- Limestone: 2.7%
Bathroom Floor Tile Chart
Poll: What’s Your Favorite Bathroom Tile?
How to Install a Tile Foor (Video)
When choosing and buying tiles, always list down its pros and cons. You have to take care of its installation, durability, maintenance, environmental, safety and cost. This is a big help in finding the best tiles for your house, especially in your bathroom.
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Abigail is the founder of Thehandynest, where she and her trusted blog that’s full of tutorials, ideas, advice and information will inspire you and help you with your home improvement and other needs. She is also a mother of two where she enjoys her passion and her dream of making the best place for her children.
About the Homestratosphere Editorial Staff & Writers
Home Stratosphere is an award-winning home and garden online publication that’s a result of our talented researchers and writers who work directly with hundreds of professional interior designers, furniture designers, landscape designers and architects from around the world to create helpful, informative, entertaining and inspiring articles and design galleries.
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