Choosing Tiles for Your Home
Choosing the right tiles can be a little daunting, so here’s a quick guide to get you started…
Tiles are wonderfully versatile: from floor to walls, indoor to outdoor, wet room to front room, tiles are a durable and attractive covering that can really bring new life to your home.
Where are you tiling?
The first thing you need to consider is, of course, where your tiles are going. It seems obvious, but if you fall in love with a tile for your floor only to realise it’s a wall tile, it can be a real headache!
Floor tiles are far stronger than wall tiles of course, but even these can vary, so think about the amount of traffic you’re expecting them to have to deal with: will they be subjected to muddy shoes, running kids and scampering pets in the hallway? Or will they be reserved for the occasional barefoot visitor in the guest bathroom?
Are these tiles going to be indoor or outdoor? Or are they going right through from one to the other? Our expert friends at Rock Unique tell us that the connection between indoor and outdoor needs to be carefully planned and ordered to avoid a haphazard and messy aesthetic.
Additionally, if it’s wall tiles that you’re after, will they want to be dark and decorative or pale and plain? Similarly to floor tiles, the colours, textures and laying patterns of your wall tiles should be carefully selected to create continuity.
What material should you use?
Your choices for tiling are porcelain or ceramic. Ceramic tiles are easier to cut and drill, which will be reflected in the installation price, but they are not as strong as porcelain. Ceramic tiles are also graded to show whether they are suitable for domestic or commercial use, and this is a good indicator of how durable they will be. Although ceramic tiles can be really beautiful, if it’s a hard wearing and long lasting investment that you want, it’s definitely worth opting for porcelain.
Porcelain tiles are stronger because they are denser, which also means they will not soak up water. This makes them ideal for kitchens and bathrooms, but also for outdoor use, because they won’t freeze and crack in the winter.
Porcelain can also be supplied in large format for bigger areas, both indoor and outdoor, and Rock Unique have had fantastic success blending indoor and outdoor porcelain to create garden rooms and other eye-catching features.
What style do you like?
If you prefer sympathetic décor in your period home, then a rustic or ‘vintage’ style is going to work for you. However, just because your home is old, doesn’t mean your aesthetic needs to be! Some of the best effects are created by blending contemporary tiling with antique surroundings.
Think clean, large porcelain tiles leading from your conservatory onto your patio; the fresh, smooth, modern visuals juxtaposing the dark timber and low ceilings.
What colours will work?
When choosing colours, don’t just try to coordinate with existing tiles – think of the room as a whole. There are some basic points to consider of course: pale tiles will make the room seem bigger and lighter, but will show the dirt more (muddy paw prints will need wiping away from a white tile every half hour in winter!). Dark tiles will negate this problem but can close in smaller areas.
It’s important to go for something that will stand the test of time (especially if you think you might consider selling in the future), but you mustn’t let practicality get in the way of what you really want. Tiles, wall tiles especially, come in myriad colours and designs, so if you want to make a feature of them then go for it!
What should you do next?
When it comes to period homes, tiling should not be a DIY job! Sloping floors and wonky walls require an expert fitter and a good quality tile.
We asked some of our trusted suppliers what they recommend and top of the tiles were:
Bert & May, who offer handmade tiles in curated colours and are stocked by local company De Wiit.
Atlas Concorde: high quality Italian porcelain that are slip resistant, anti-stain and extremely durable. These are available from Rock Unique.
Whatever style or material you choose, remember that your home deserves the best, and high quality tiling can make a world of difference.