Ceramic tile is the surface of choice for a bathroom that is attractive, durable and easy to clean. Many styles are available in a stunning variety of color and design options. While the initial cost will be greater than some other options, ceramic tile will stand up to years of normal use and still look as elegant as the day it was installed.
Four Popular Ceramic Tile Choices for the Bathroom
Ceramic tile is the surface of choice for a bathroom that is attractive, durable and easy to clean. Many styles are available in a stunning variety of color and design options.
While it may be tempting to shop for tile at a warehouse-type store or a discount establishment, the best option is to select tile from a tile supply house. The employees of a specialty shop are much more knowledgeable about the various products and can advise consumers about the best choices available. Workers at other stores simply have too many types of merchandise to keep up with.
Ceramic Wall Tiles
Made from white clay covered with a glaze and kiln-fired, ceramic wall tile is water-resistant but not water-proof. Standard American wall tiles are four and one-fourth inches square and can be purchased with trim pieces in a variety of shapes to accommodate corners and other architectural features. It became popular with the advent of indoor plumbing, and has been a mainstay for bathroom decor.
Monocottura tiles are manufactured by “dust pressing” bisque or clay with high pressure. The tile is then covered with a glaze and kiln-fired at over 2,000 degrees. This is an extremely durable tile. It can be made for walls or floors. Tiles that are used for floors may be textured to provide better traction.
Monocottura ceramic tile comes in a wide range of styles and colors, and will be suitable for most residential applications. Although it is water-resistant, monocottura tile is not water-proof. It is very serviceable for floors and walls, but may not be the best choice for an area that is often submerged in water.
Larger pieces of this type of tile were formerly reserved for floors. However, more modern applications may call for 12x12 floor tile on bathroom walls.
Porcelain is extremely dense and hard. In order to qualify for this classification, tile must meet a water absorption standard of .5 percent. This tile is often used for the area around a pool, which is subject to frequent submersion in water.
Porcelain may be glazed or unglazed. Unglazed porcelain is less expensive and can be textured to provide very good traction. Glazed porcelain has a warmer and more inviting appearance. Because of its extreme density, porcelain is very hard to cut and will require the expertise of a master tile installer.
Mosaic tile can be any type of clay but is in very small pieces, 2 inches square or less. While it is often square, mosaic tile can come in any shape. Hexagonal tile is quite popular and makes a very attractive pattern. For easier installation, mosaic tile comes with a backing that allows more than one tile to be installed at a time.
Mosaic tile can be used to cover surfaces that would be difficult-to-impossible with larger pieces. For example, a floor drain can be accommodated with mosaic tiles that cover a sloping surface to form a bowl around the drain. The combination of small tiles with grout lines affords a surface that gives more traction. Clay mosaic tiles may be interspersed with glass or metal tiles for an attractive design feature.
A skillful designer will usually combine sizes, shapes and colors of ceramic tile to create a pleasing over-all pattern. The basic pattern will be broken up with sections of tile laid in a different direction. Chosen with care and properly installed, bathroom tile will look wonderful year after year.