Tiles are a tried and tested form of surface covering that have been used for thousands of years as method of decorating floors and walls throughout the home. They can be installed to provide a uniform colour or various patterns can be produced by installing tiles of differing colours.
Ceramic tiles are what most people will think of when referring to tiles but they can be made from a wide variety of materials
- natural stone
Natural stone tiles have become much more popular in recent times with the introduction of automated production facilities and the availability of surface treatments to enhance the practicality of the stone. See the following page for more information on natural stone tiles.
Glass tiles are now readily used as an accent tile, as part of a border or within a mosaic pattern and can add a "lift" to the overall design. The way they interact with light provide great visual interest and can impart colour with real depth. They are also totally waterproof and resistant to scratching.
Although not quite as common a sight as they once were, cork tiles display many unique properties that lend themselves to use in bathrooms. They are warm underfoot and provide a reasonable degree of insulation for both heat and noise. The tiles provide a soft surface yet are very resilient as well as water resistant. Cork is a natural product so the tiles made from this extraordinary material can have some variation in colour.
Although modern alternative wall and floor coverings have been available for some time, tiles still appear to be as popular as ever and are the first choice for many rooms, especially bathrooms and kitchens. Many of the waterproof wall panels now available are styled to emulate tile or mosaic effects. Vinyl flooring will quite often be designed to give the appearance of a tiled floor. See our bathroom wall and bathroom flooring sections for details of the pros and cons of tiles against their competition.
Carpet tiles can be an ideal choice for anyone looking for a warmer floor covering in a bathroom. They are not ideal for use in areas that get splashed as they can retain moisture but they can be protected by a separate bath mat. A great advantage of tiles over regular carpet is that any tiles that get dirty or damaged can be removed and either cleaned or replaced with a spare tile.
Bathroom vinyl will provide a continuous waterproof membrane for a bathroom floor but vinyl tiles by their very nature will not. They are, however, easier to lay than a large, one-piece vinyl floor. Both types of vinyl require the underlying floor to be perfectly flat and smooth or any imperfections will show through to the surface.