Miles of Tile
Choosing the best materials and format for showers, walls, and floors takes focus.
Synopsis: When you’re building or remodeling a bathroom, chances are that you will end up looking at tile for walls or floors, but the array of choices can be overwhelming. In this article, FHB managing editor Debra Judge Silber takes a look at the world of bathroom tile with an overview that will help tile shoppers to decide the best material whether it’s for a shower or the entire bathroom, walls or floors. Bathroom tile can be made of several materials: ceramic; porcelain; natural stone; metal; and glass. Silber also looks at trends in bathroom tile, including artisan and handmade tile; ink-jet porcelain; sustainable tile; mosaic tile; split-face tile; and large-format tile. In addition to a list of tile resources, this article includes a visual glossary of tile parts, such as chair rail, liner, bullnose, V-cap corner, cove base, quarter-round, radius cap, V-cap, and field.
The tile you choose not only has a substantial impact on the cost of your bathroom project, but it also affects how your new bath functions, ages, and impresses those who peek inside. If that’s not daunting enough, consider the sheer volume of choices facing you inside the local tile store.
Designer-builder Patrick Sutton of Austin, Texas, suggests that clients avoid the tile store until they know what they’re looking for. “I always tell people, ‘I can’t forbid you from going to a tile showroom, but I wish you wouldn’t. Sit down first and make a list of what you’re trying to do. Then go to the tile store.’” Lexington, Mass., architect Lynn Hopkins encourages clients to consider the style of the whole house before choosing one feature — which could be tile — to set the design tone for the bath. “Ask: What is this tile saying about the character of…