6 Best Tiles for Bathrooms

With daily use and plenty of moisture, bathrooms see lots of action, which means their tiles will need to be sturdy. Contractors need to guide clients to tiles that will last for years to come. And given the fact that the average bathroom home improvement project costs thousands of dollars, you’ll want to know the best types of tile. 

Why is bathroom tile important? 

There are health and safety concerns to consider when choosing the best tile for a bathroom. First is water resistance, especially if there is a bathtub or shower. Non-porous or sealed tiles are a must to prevent water seepage in and under the tile, which can cause damage and mold growth. Even in powder rooms with no tub or shower, a leak or spill could cause issues. 

Size and location of the tile also matter. A smaller pattern is a good choice for slip-resistant bathroom floor tiles; the extra grout lines between the tiles can reduce the chance of falls. Meanwhile, large tiles may overwhelm the appearance of a small bathroom, while too many small tiles in a large space can look busy.

Some types of tile are also easier to clean than others. Those with softer surfaces may require certain cleaning products, while others may need to be resealed. Educating the client on these details is a must to prevent moisture issues down the road.

Best tiles for bathrooms

These six types of tile are popular choices for bathrooms. 

Ceramic tiles

There’s no shortage of ceramic colors and patterns for bathrooms. Ceramic is more affordable than other tiling materials, like porcelain, and its hard surface is easy to clean without scratches or stains. Ceramic tiles are semi-porous, so they need to be glazed and possibly resealed. Additionally, the glaze won’t go all the way through, so chips will be visible.

Pros of ceramic tile

  • Wide selection of colors and styles
  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean

Cons of ceramic tile

  • May need resealing
  • Visible chipping and wear

Porcelain tiles

Porcelain is a hard, extremely durable tile. It’s also the same color throughout, so chips aren’t as visible as they are with ceramic. One downside to porcelain tile flooring is that it’s cold to the touch, prompting many to add radiant heat underneath. And since their quality beats that of other tiles like ceramic, porcelain is pricier, though it’s easy to source in a range of styles. 

Pros of porcelain tile

  • Durable 
  • Moisture-resistant
  • Chips aren’t visible

Cons of porcelain tile

  • Expensive
  • Cold to the touch

Glass tiles

Glass tiles are durable like porcelain or ceramic, but can easily break when installed. Glass tile also smudges or watermarks may show up in high-touch areas. On the upside, glass mosaic tiles work well for accent walls and backsplashes, and smaller tile patterns are less slippery, making them ideal for flooring. Another bonus? Glass is easy to clean.  

Pros of glass tile

  • Looks sleek
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean

Cons of glass tile

  • Smudges are visible
  • Slippery 

Marble tiles

Marble is a type of natural stone with unique veining patterns, which makes it attractive but hard to install. Getting input and approval from your client beforehand can ensure they’re happy with the result. Marble also requires some amount of upkeep on the part of the owner. To avoid stains, for instance, it needs to be cleaned on a regular basis and resealed yearly in order to stay waterproof. 

Pros of marble tile

  • Beautiful aesthetic
  • High-density to withstand wear and tear

Cons of marble tile

  • Unique veining makes installation tricky
  • Requires regular upkeep
  • Expensive

Stone tiles

Many other natural stone tiles can effectively be used in a bathroom. Granite, slate, and travertine have an earthy feel with a more uniform look than marble. Still, as with marble, the client will need to have the tiles resealed annually. Non-acidic cleaners are ideal for preserving the natural surface.

Pros of stone tile

  • Natural materials
  • More uniform tiles available

Cons of stone tile

  • Annual resealing required
  • Requires non-acidic cleaners

Vinyl tiles

Using vinyl tiles in the bathroom presents a fair number of pros and cons. On the plus side, it’s resistant to moisture and stains and available in a range of styles. You can find tiles that mimic natural stone or wood flooring, especially if you opt for luxury vinyl tile (LVT). The installation process is also easier, particularly when making cuts, and you won’t have to worry about broken pieces. From the homeowner’s vantage point, vinyl is a good insulator and easy to maintain. Still, scraped or punctured tiles are hard to repair. 

Pros of vinyl tile

  • Budget-friendly
  • Requires less upkeep
  • Easy to install

Cons of vinyl tile

  • Lower resale value
  • Hard to repair

MT Copeland offers video-based online classes that give you a foundation in construction fundamentals with real-world applications, like drywall finishing. Classes include professionally produced videos taught by practicing craftspeople, and supplementary downloads like quizzes, blueprints, and other materials to help you master the skills.

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