All About Tiles
Let’s talk about tiles; what are they, where should they be used, and what materials and colours are best for you? Read on to find out more!
What are tiles?
Tiles are pieces of material formed to cover walls, floors and roofs, and originally were made from clay. Generally speaking, the word ’tile’ covers most products made from ceramic (clay), glass, stone, marble, cement, and even metal. Tiles are usually thinner than bricks or pavers, between 3mm and 12mm, although they can be thicker. Tiles are designed to cover walls and floors for waterproofing, style, and decoration. Historically, ceramic tiles were glazed in beautiful colours and used to decorate buildings. You can now buy timber-look tiles that give an authentic vibe of real timber flooring with the durability of tiles. Tiles can be laid in a variety of patterns. If you’re on a budget, for example, you could buy a low-cost tile and have it laid in a herringbone pattern. You could also splurge on a strip of feature tile, and then use an inexpensive tile everywhere else.
What are tiles made of?
As a custom home builder, we come across many different materials and products and encourage our clients to try new things. Tiles are most commonly made from ceramic or porcelain, however technology has come a long way and there are many beautiful materials available. Mosaic tiles can be made in glass and marble, even metal! Encaustic tiles are ceramic tiles that have a pattern inlaid into the tile, instead of glazed after the tile has been made. These are beautiful and hardwearing, but expensive! The main difference to look for when choosing materials comes down to use. Smaller format tiles are generally used on walls as a feature, however the penny round tile has made a comeback in recent years and also looks great on the floor. We used a beautiful marble feature tile at our Melville project, which you can check out here.
Where should I use tiles?
Tiles are most commonly used in laundries, kitchens and and bathrooms, as splash backs, skirting, and flooring. Tiles are also a great floor covering option in main living areas as they are durable, easy to install, and come in a range of styles and finishes. They provide a functional and beautiful option for protection against splashes and stains when compared to painted walls. Wall tiles are normally thinner than floor tiles, and are not designed for the kind of foot traffic that floor tiles receive. Floor tiles can be used on walls, but wall tiles must only be used for walls. If you are feeling adventurous, you can use tiles as decoration almost anywhere. The main thing to consider in this case is the cost to supply and install, and whether wallpaper or paint would be more cost effective on a large mural wall instead. Make sure you check the specifications when choosing tiles for wet areas, and if you’re unsure, ask your builder or supplier to confirm where the tile can be used.
Where can I buy tiles?
There are many places you can buy tiles, however the best place would be somewhere that has a showroom and some displays so you can see the tiles in-situ. Sometimes a sample doesn’t translate well on a large scale, so it is a great idea to check Pinterest and Houzz for some examples of tiles that you like. At Mindful Homes, we use a handful of different tile suppliers to ensure our clients have a range of options to suit their budget. You can also buy tiles at DIY hardware stores if you’re feeling adventurous, however not all hardware stores have staff with specific product knowledge. We do not recommend buying tiles online, simply because you cannot guarantee that the finish, quality, and even size will be correct. It is always best to view the product in person.