Are you renovating your bathroom now or are going to do it soon? Are you looking for inspirations, gradually creating a vision in your head for the one and only perfect bathroom? Regardless of the stage of your project, it is worth thinking of important matters that will let your bathroom become a relaxing and peaceful place. So what should be taken into consideration when choosing tiles and grout for a new bathroom? Let us check it!
When designing the interior decor of a bathroom, you must bear in mind that it will serve us for a longer period of time, therefore pay attention not only to the way it looks but also the convenience of everyday use.
When planning a renovation project for a bathroom, we usually focus only on the way it will look like afterwards. We look for suitable tiles, taking into account their colour and format, bathroom fixtures and fittings of proper shape and size and other accessories and components. However, as regards bathrooms, it is also of relevance to remember about their special use – about temperature differences and varying humidity levels, continuous contact of some tiles with water and finally – about keeping the place clean and neat, which is a must. If a bathroom is to meet our expectations, these are also matters which have to be considered.
There are no ceramic tiles which would be designed specifically for a bathroom, because, as a matter of fact, each wall or floor tile can be perfectly suitable for being used in this place. Nevertheless, when choosing tiles for your bathroom, bear in mind a couple of aspects.
Water, water, water is everywhere…
Ceramic tiles are moisture-proof materials and are not susceptible to water, even when in direct contact with a huge volume of it. They will serve their purpose, provided, however, that they receive proper treatment.
When choosing tiles and grout for a bathroom, it is important to consider a place where they are to be fixed. This is of great significance when we want to use ceramic tiles to cover a shower recess. Tiling fixed in such a place will be in direct contact with large volumes of water, therefore apart from applying, at the very beginning, a proper moisture-proof protective coating to the wall itself (hydro-isolation), for wall tiles such a coating is also necessary. Not only the selection of proper grout is of key relevance here, which will ensure protection against moisture (for more information visit our blog – https://www.paradyz.com/blog/en/grouting-of-tiles-7-frequently-asked-questions-we-know-the-answers-to/), but what also matters is its careful application.
Never leave any empty spaces without grout, this may result in water being absorbed by tiles. It is particularly dangerous for rectified tiles in which a contact point between water-proof glazing and the remaining ceramic body is very thin.
If a joint is not filled thoroughly with grout, white or bright wall tiles – due to water absorption – may change their colour (the tile underlying body will be visible through bright glazing). And although this process can be reversed, it takes a lot of time and many operations are needed to dry the tile.
Our problems can also stem from incorrect ventilation and improper type of grout. In fact, the tile itself should not be affected, but excessive amounts of moisture in the bathroom may result in mould contamination on grout lines. And if joints between tiles have not been thoroughly filled with grout, leading thus to an unglazed tile area being excessively exposed, this can result in discolouration (which may not be capable of being removed). Unfortunately, the only solution in this case would involve the removal of tiles from the wall.
When choosing tiles for your bathroom, it is worth paying attention to tile texture. We should choose as smooth tiles as possible, especially when we are going to lay them in a shower recess. Over time, due to uneven surface, limescale deposits from water will build on tiling and it will be more difficult to remove them. Even if the colour of a tile makes it possible to conceal such deposits, it is advisable to clean tiling regularly with cleaning agents which are able to dissolve limescale deposits, removing it from the ceramic surface. Using and keeping our bathroom neat and clean will be much easier then.
Sometimes it’s sunny, sometimes it’s raining…
A bathroom is a place in our house, where temperature varies most frequently. When you are having a bath, temperature and humidity in the room rise, and then, after opening a window to let some fresh air in, they quickly drop (temperature jumps are particularly high during colder periods of the year when opening the window leads to the bathroom being rapidly cooled down).
Due to huge swings in temperature, when choosing bathroom tiles, we must also consider linear expansion of materials which tiles are made of. In this case, the width of joints between tiles is of paramount importance. If you have a small bathroom or have decided to use 30 x 60cm or 60 x 60cm tiles, the joints should be at least 2mm in width. However, when you are going to install floor heating, it is safer to have wider joints. Whereas for wall heating (fitted behind tiles), it is better to fix gres tiles on the wall. Note that your tiles may be exposed to thermal shock. Ceramic tiling heated up on the reverse side can be rapidly cooled down with cold water poured on the face of it. Compared with wall tiles, gres tiles are to a lesser extent susceptible to damage resulting from a rapid temperature drop.
No friction and cracking
A bathroom is a place where movements of various materials can be seen both at points where floor/gres tiles are in contact with wall tiles (corners, crevices) and where tiles are in contact with other materials or fixtures and fittings, such as water-closet bowls, washbasins and bathtubs. In such areas, flexible grout must be applied (e.g. silicone grout). Otherwise, due to stresses acting on surfaces, it is possible that one of them will be damaged.
Because of material stresses, when choosing tiles to be laid behind a washbasin or on an underlying surface of a wall-hung toilet pan, it is better to use smooth tiles without raised surfaces and which are not textured. This will make it possible to join surfaces not only aesthetically, but also safely – forces acting between materials will be distributed evenly, which will practically eliminate the risk of damage to tiles or bathroom fixtures and fittings.
When cleaning can become a nightmare…
And, last but not least, keeping our bathroom neat and clean is yet another important aspect. As far as this room is concerned, it is particularly relevant to ensure a good state of cleanliness and to do so, we use various chemical agents. Despite the fact that dirt accumulates only on the surface of a tile and is not absorbed, it is of key importance to choose cleaning agents designed for ceramic surfaces. They do not leave any unnecessary film on tiles and are not detrimental to less durable grout lines.
You should rather avoid using detergents with peeling agents (micro-pellets), but if you decide to apply them, it is important not to rub them in one spot of the tile. By doing so, we can damage glaze (leading to a worn-down look). The most vulnerable part of a tile is delicate granilia, but if you have used decorative tiles with metal plating in your bathroom, by cleaning them in the way described above you can also cause damage to a graphic effect, and consequently, the tile will lose its original appearance.
We usually choose bathroom tiles to serve us for a longer time, therefore it’s worth taking a closer look at them. This will let us decide to use tiling which will meet our expectations. In fact, not only the colour and shape of tiles are relevant, but also their performance – adequate texture or joints thoroughly and carefully filled with grout. All these elements will enable a new bathroom, even if it’s quite small, to transform into your own home spa where you can take refuge in to enjoy a slight breather after a tough day.