The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

Choosing the Right Tiles

blue glass tilesHave you ever taken a walk around your local DIY store or tile specialist and felt like the options were endless? It seems that choosing tiles is something which should be left to experts. How does the average person know whether to opt for ceramic, natural stone, glass or clay tiles? And even if you did make that choice, would you know the best places to lay the different tiles, which grout or adhesive you should use and how to look after them? Sometimes it does seem easier just to call up your local tiler and ask them to do it for you.

Hopefully the following advice will be able to save you that expense and give you some confidence the next time you need to buy the best tiles for the job you need to do.

Vinyl Tiles

Maybe this is not quite the sort of tile you were thinking of, but these days there are many of these to choose from and the colours and designs can mimic wood, ceramic or natural stone. They are great for kitchen and bathroom floors and are very easy to lay with the minimum of preparation.

Ceramic Tiles

These are clay tiles which have been fired to make them extra hard-wearing and durable. The top of the tile is often glazed with a colour in liquid glass. This gives it a sheen and an easy to clean coating. If it has not been glazed, it may need to be sealed before any grouting is applied as the grout will sink into the surface, staining the tile. Ceramic tiles can be used in most applications but are particularly common as wall tiles in kitchens and bathrooms.

Porcelain Tiles

This type of tile is a type of ceramic but is made with china clay. This type of clay can be fired at a higher temperature giving it even more durability. As such these tiles will be more expensive. Once again they can be used in any application.

Quarry Tiles

These fired tiles are made of clay but are kept natural. The colours come from the materials used in the composition and therefore the colour is all the way through the tile. They will require sealing and therefore may not always be suitable for all applications. However they are perfect for hallways as they are extremely hard-wearing. The colour of the tile may change over time, but this is seen as being an advantage of this product as it develops a lived-in look.

Stone Tiles

These natural tiles have a great look, but are much harder to lay and to look after. Most will need to be sealed as they will be porous and in addition they may come in different thicknesses and sizes. When laying it is important to get them all even which may require some jiggling in terms of the amount of adhesive used and the size of the grout lines. The tiles can also fracture so they need to be laid on an even surface. Always seal before grouting and use a specialist product for the type of stone being laid.

Glass Tiles

These are great for bathrooms as they are a breeze to keep clean and are water resistant. These often come in mosaics and work well mixed with ceramic tiles. They come in all different colours but should not be used on floors as they can be very slippery. You will expect to pay significantly more for glass tiles.