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I want to know everything about... floor tiles

Most bathrooms have tiles on the floors at the very least, as tiles are the best flooring option available for bath and shower rooms. Carpets, wooden floors and even linoleum simply do not stand up the pressure (or rather the moisture) of bathrooms.

Fortunately, tiling your bathroom can be a straightforward process, no matter what design you have in mind. Choosing the right tiles and working through the steps will provide you with a beautifully tiled floor. It’s worth keeping in mind that every element of your bathroom, including the floor tiles, will impact on the final mood and feeling of the space.

Choosing the right floor tiles

In principle, you can use just about any tile material on the floor of your bathroom. This includes ceramic and porcelain tiles. It also includes natural stone tiles such as slate and marble. While some people opt for glass floor tiles, this is generally not a popular choice as they can be slippery when wet, and soap and water can easily stain the tiles if not cleaned regularly.

PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) Ratings gauge how suitable tiles are for a specific part of the home, ranging from Class I for limited wall applications to Class V for all walls and floors. Anything in Class IV and V should be safe, while Class I tiles are to be used with caution.

Some tiles are made to be multiuse. This means that, if stated in their product specifications, some tiles can be fitted to both the wall and the floor. Having the same style of tile across both surfaces could create a nice sense of continuity throughout the room, but you must check first to see if the tiles you are considering are suitable.

Although it is preferable for your floor tiles to have a matt glaze finish, bathstore also offers gloss floor tiles that have and anti-slip finish too. Some, but not all gloss finishes are often preferred for rooms that don’t expect as much moisture and water on the floor. If you do prefer a gloss glaze on your floor, always check with the supplier as to whether the tile is safe for flooring before you order.

Colour is a big thing to consider, since this will play a huge part in determining the mood and overall look of the room. Whether you are after a soft, neutral tone for your tiles (like this satin finish tile) or something vibrant and multi-coloured (such as this gorgeous pattern in green, yellow and blue), there will be something to fit the bill.

For more information on tile colours and the impact of saturation and intensity, check out our pastel or vivid colours guide [insert link to ‘Pastel or vivid colours’ here].

It’s easy to feel limited by your colour choices on the floor, but this need not be the case. You can choose black slate tiles or brilliant white tiles if you prefer. It is more important to consider how your floor tiles will work with the other tiles and features in your bathroom. Dirt and water stains are very easy to clean from any tile, and matt or satin finishes will not show them up as much. Each style can look dynamic and attractive in your suite, whether you opt for a vivid shade or a more subtle tone.

Special considerations

An often overlooked aspect of your colour scheme is the colour of the grout. This can change the overall appeal of your bathroom. Grout ranges from light to dark, usually including whites, greys, browns and blacks. Although there will appear to be some variation in grouting based on the lighting design of your bathroom, you can usually test your tile and grout combination before your order. As long as you have a tile sample, resting this on your bathroom floor with a variety of coloured papers will help you to choose the best grouting for your bathroom floor.

If you prefer natural stone tiles, such as marble, for your bathroom floor, it is important to note that these typically require more maintenance than ceramic tiles. Natural stone tiles may need to be resealed once a year or more.

Considering the size of your floor tiles

Bathroom floor tiles can range in size and shape, so it is crucial that you have exact measurements for both your floor and the tiles you prefer.

Square tiles, which usually range between 300mm x 300mm to 600mm x 600mm, are a traditional choice for bathrooms. Square tiles are easy to work into a checkerboard pattern because of their uniformity. These tiles are perfect for a classic, traditional, cottage or neutral bathrooms.

If you’re designing a more modern bathroom, but still prefer to work with square tiles, you may want to consider choosing oversized tiles or smaller, mosaic tiles. The smaller squares offer a lot of depth, no matter what size room you have, but are more typically made to be fitted to a wall, rather than the floor.

Rectangular tiles are fast becoming a popular choice because they work so well with modern and even timeless bathrooms. Rectangular tiles are typically half as wide as they are high. These can be arranged in a set pattern whereby every alternating row has gaps for grout at the same point. They can also be completely even, though this look is easier to perfect with square tiles. Rectangular floor tiles can be styled into a timeless herringbone pattern. This adds the wow factor to any bathroom and cuts down on the necessity for other features and accessories.

You can also use rectangular tiles, combined with square floor tiles, as a border in cottage or traditional bathrooms. This will define the edge of the room and create a cohesive feeling which can be critical in these bathroom styles. Keep in mind that an outline will require careful measurements in advance to ensure you have the right amount of tiles.

Before you purchase your tiles

The amount of tiles that you need for your bathroom floor depends on three things: the size of your bathroom floor, the size of your tiles and the planned layout. Always take out your measuring tape to check the length of each wall in your bathroom, even if someone else has already measured the space. A double check never hurts, and often helps. Don’t forget to also measure through doorways in the space!

If you are using square tiles in a regular pattern, then determining how many tiles to order is more straightforward. You will need to measure the length and width of your room to determine the square meters that you will need to cover. You can use the total square metres to order the correct amount of floor tiles.

If you have an L-shaped bathroom or any other unusual shape, you will need to break each area into a separate, non-overlapping square or rectangle. Measure the length and width of each of these areas. Take the square metre amount from each area and add it to the others – this is the total number of square metres that you will need to order.

If you are creating a checkerboard pattern on the floor, then you can divide this number by two to find the amount of square metres that you need of each colour. However, if you are creating another type of pattern, such as a herringbone, you will need to ensure that you determine how many tiles are needed to fill a square metre and order your tiles accordingly.

If there are partial divisions in your bathroom, you will need to order extra tiles as a tile could break in the cutting process. Indeed, you should always ensure that you have 10% extra tiles just in case, as this will help if a tile does crack during installation, or even many years later, or if a product is discontinued. To assist you with this, our tile calculator adds 10% more tiles to your order just to cover you if any extras are required at any point.

Bathroom floor tile design ideas

Depending on the style of bathroom that you have, your tile design can seriously impact the overall effect of the space. It is worth considering your layout carefully. Although square, single-colour tiles form the most common design, you need not let this limit your creativity.

You might like to consider a checkerboard pattern for your floors. It can be a combination of black and white, or any other colour set that you prefer. You can also create a colourful mosaic, either using mosaic tiles or your own design. You may also want to slowly fade a monochromatic colour set into the palest shade available. If you do plan to install a pattern, especially one of your own design, it’s a good idea to draw this pattern first to ensure that you order the right amount of each tile.

Each tiled element in your bathroom should work together to create a cohesive effect. If you are planning to incorporate splash panels in your bathroom, check out our tips here.

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