Tile is a lovely way of adding a warm, custom element into your home design. There are so many ways you can use tile including on the walls and floors of your kitchen, bathroom, and even hallways. Tile can add value to your home if it’s a modern quality style that has been installed properly.

Because there are so many types of tiles, we wanted to give you some of the important things that you should consider before selecting and installing them.

What Is Tile

First, let’s take a step back and identify what is tile. Tile is a type of hard flooring as well as wall covering and a countertop, which is typically made from ceramic, porcelain, adobe, clay, glass, cement, marble, mosaic, granite, limestone, or similar materials. Tile can be cut large, medium, or small in rectangular, square, triangular, and any other shape needed to fit the space and design.

5 Things You Need to Consider

When choosing your tile, it is important that you understand where the tile will be installed and what use it will be expected to stand up to. You will want to be sure that you select the tile that is designed for the traffic or circumstance you will be installing it for in your home.

Where Is This Going?

Relief Tile - PortlandDifferent tile has different hardness. You may see people refer to the Moh’s scale. There are five classes:

  1. Use on walls only. Not appropriate for foot traffic.
  2. Walls or very light and soft foot traffic.
  3. Light to moderate traffic, countertops, and walls.
  4. Moderate to heavy traffic. These are the most versatile.
  5. Heavy to extra heavy traffic. These tiles can withstand commercial traffic.

You can use floor tile on the walls but you cannot use wall tile on the floor. It won’t stand up to the wear and weight of the traffic. Wall tiles are usually thinner, smaller, and lighter making them weaker.

Floor tile is designed to be more durable by its nature (i.e. stone instead of ceramic) and has a stronger glaze to protect the tile from damage. They also can stand up to temperature and humidity changes better.

You also want to consider if it will be in the strong sun as some painted or natural stone tile types may fade.

Color and Size and Texture and Pattern (Oh My!)

Portland tile - mosaicYou want the tile you select to flow with the rest of your home. Tile can be a wonderful accent, or it can be the main focus, so there is a lot to consider when choosing the right tile for your project. For example, you can have large granite tile flooring and granite tile counters that complement or coordinate the two, or you could incorporate a splash of colored and/or patterned tile on the kitchen backsplash to create impact.

You will also want to consider the layout or install pattern that you are going to use. There are many ways of setting tile, for example, there is a mosaic pattern or stacked in a subway tile pattern.

Some wall tile also has a three-dimensional texture which is often called a relief. This can add a fun design element to a wall, but you’ll want to be careful that nothing can hit up against it breaking off or damaging the relief.

How Big Is The Room?

Tile can help adjust the feel of a room. Large tile can make the room feel larger. Lighter tile will also make the room feel larger. However, dark and small tile makes a room feel smaller or cozier. So you will have many more options with a larger room, and you will need to consider how the tile will affect a smaller room more intently.

Neutral tile allows you to add in color accent in many other areas including a tile accent, paint, or decor and pillows.

The bottom line is you want to be sure the size of the tile matches the scale of the room and the colors and patterns of the tile will compliment the overall design you are trying to achieve.


Portland Tile - subwayYou want a color of grout that works well with the tile you’ve chosen and matches your ideal design. A contrasting grout emphasizes the lines and the design. A complimentary one blends in giving the tile a softer look.

You also want to be aware of what may easily make the grout dirty. If you chose lighter grout for the floors, you will need to steam clean regularly as dirt will get ground in. Grout in the kitchen will have to deal with grease, significant traffic, and a lot of spills and crumbs.

So make sure your grout is well sealed and regularly maintained.



Is It Finished?

Some tile is glazed and has a non-porous texture. These are great for areas where there’s a lot of water like in your shower. Other tile is baked and allowed to have a natural finish and can be very porous. Finally, some tile such as granite is polished to provide a shiny and non-porous surface.

Some rooms in your house will need a balance. For example, an entryway will have high foot traffic and the possibility of lots of water and dirt. So you want something that is easy to clean and will repel water easily.

Best Bathroom Tile

One quick word of caution about tile on your bathroom floor. Be aware that someone could easily slip on the tile if the tile has a polished or glazed finish on it. The best bathroom tile could be one with a textured surface, natural stone, or small size. The smaller tile will have more grout which provides traction and reduces the potential for a scary incident in the bathroom.

Things You Didn’t Know About Tile

There are a few things that some people don’t know about tile, so we wanted to break those down a bit for you.

  1. You can install hot water pipes underneath floor tile to naturally heat the floor. They also stay cooler in warmer weather helping your home stay more eco-friendly.
  2. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are the most common types of tile used around the world.
  3. Tile is a renewable resource. And if the tile was installed properly, it can easily be removed and reused in another place.
  4. The earliest known tiles were found to date back to 4,700BC and were discovered in Egypt.
  5. A rounded edge of a tile is called the bullnose. If the tile is rounded on both ends, it’s called a double bullnose.
  6. Grout is actually very finely powdered cement that can be made to have a wide variety of colors.

Have you been thinking about upgrading with some new tile?