How to Pick the Right Bathroom Tile

Designing a new bathroom or hoping to upgrade your existing one? There are so many things to consider when picking new tile for your bathroom. Sharing the designer tips to picking bathroom and shower tiles.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Primary bathroom with marble herringbone bathroom floor tile and large stacked marble wall tile. Learn how to pick the perfect tile for your bathroom project.

Bathroom Tile Materials

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is a popular choice because it is affordable and durable. Glazed ceramic tile protects against stains and damage.

Primary bathroom reno in an old home featuring porcelain marble-look tile in a brick pattern.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tiles are more durable and often more expensive than ceramic. DIY projects that include porcelain can be challenging because they require a diamond blade wet saw to cut.

Glass Tile

Glass tile is a great choice for walls and backsplash but not for flooring because it cracks and chips easily.

Marble Tile

White Marble Tiles are one of the more expensive natural stone materials. Marble can be used on bathroom floors and walls. They require extra sealing to protect against stains and special products to clean without damaging the tile/seal.

Bathroom refresh with original herringbone marble tile and fresh paint.

Granite Tile

Granite is another natural rock tile that you can use for flooring and is much harder than marble and less prone to chipping and cracking.

Other Natural Stone Tile

There are many other natural stones that you can use for flooring such as slate and limestone. It is important to know that they are prone to staining and discoloration so regular sealing is important.

Powder room hex pattern tile with wainscoting and wallpaper.

Popular Bathroom Tile Patterns

Brick

When laying tiles in a brick pattern, you offset each tile by half of the width of the tile. This style of pattern creates long horizonal lines of tile that can make a space feel wider.

Stacked

The stacked tile pattern is made up of rectangular tiles in the same size. The first is horizontal stack where the widest sides of the tile runs horizontally with the floor. To install this pattern of tile, you would stack them without an offset. The second, is vertical stack where the narrowest sides of the tile is running horizontally with the floor. Just like in horizontal stack, you install these tiles one on top of the other without an offset.

Herringbone tile

Herringbone tile is a classic tile pattern that you can find in homes dating back to the 1600’s. It features a pattern of rectangular tiles laid at 90 degrees next to each other. This is a very popular choice of tile pattern right now, especially herringbone marble floor tiles in showers.

Chevron tile

The Chevron tile pattern is similar to herringbone tile pattern but they are cut to shape and slot together at an angle. Chevron tile pattern is another popular choice for shower floors and backsplash.

Hex tile

Hex tile is popular in bathrooms and made up of hexagons pieced together to look like a honeycomb.

Small powder room with hex black and white marble floor and picture frame molding walls.

Bathroom Floor Tile

When selecting the best type of tile for a bathroom floor there are a few things to consider. The type of type, the size of the tile, and the size of the space. A popular choice for bathroom floors is often ceramic and porcelain tile due to their durability but ease of cleaning. In contrast, natural stone tiles have restrictions on the cleaning products that can be used.

A large format tile is great for small spaces due to the grout joints. The fewer gout lines you have, the more spacious the space will feel.

Another factor to consider is that the smaller the tile, the more grout lines, the more cleaning. Yes, there are grouts that are better at resisting stains but they still collect dust and dirt!

Small powder room with hex pattern floor tiles.

Best Tile for Shower Floor

When you are selecting a bathroom tile for the shower floor, think about how slippery the tile will be when it is wet. Often designers will recommend using a smaller format tile which assists in being non slip. Non slip bathroom floor tiles are very important to ensure people of all ages do not slip when in the shower. Shower floor tiles in a pattern also add personality and style to the bathroom, especially when the rest of the space has a different, large format tile.

PRO TIP: Pick a small tile for the shower to make it non slip but pick a larger tile for the rest of the bathroom to reduce grout maintenance and cleaning issues.

Best Tiles for Bathroom Walls

You should pick a large format tile when shopping for bathroom wall tiles. This makes the space feel more spacious and does not create visual busyness. Large tile is also great for shower walls and easy to clean.

Marble herringbone floor tiles. Large square wall shower tiles.

FAQs

What type of tile is best for bathroom floor?

It is often recommended to pick porcelain tile for bathroom floors because it is waterproof, aesthetically pleasing, and cost effective. Today, you can find marble-look porcelain tile at most stores.

What flooring is best for a small bathroom?

Selecting bigger tiles can make the space feel larger.

What kind of tile is best for shower floors?

Small format tiles to ensure the shower is non slip. Ceramic and Porcelain are often seen are the best choices.

Do you use the same tile for floor and shower?

Designers often pick a different tile for the shower floor and the rest of the room. This adds personality and visual interest. Pick a small format tile for the shower for non slip purposes.

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