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Choosing the right tile

Whether you need to cover a kitchen backsplash, redo the floor in your bathroom, or pick finishes and materials for an entire house of new tile, tile is a huge part of remodeling projects. But walk into a tile showroom or home improvement store, and you may be overwhelmed with options. Cement or porcelain? subway tiles? Glass tiles?

Many tiles are made from clay which has been shaped and dried, then fired in a kiln at very high temperatures, which make it hard. To get a glossy finish, tiles can be glazed and fired again. Unfinished tiles are also sold, but they come in a limited range of colors. Other tiles are made of natural stone—marble, travertine, limestone, etc.

There are even styles made of metal or leather, but their uses are more decorative than practical (think a metal tile backsplash or leather wall tiles in a study), since they’re not a good match for water.

Which tile you choose depends on your budget, your style, and how you need your space to function. Here are a few ways to make picking hard surfaces easier.

Tile styles, like other household finishes, change more quickly these days thanks to Pinterest, blogs (like ours), and a design-hungry populace. It’s helpful, when choosing what to install, that you be up on what’s current, especially if you plan on reselling in the next five to 10 years.

A few things to know: Foot square tiles aren’t as common as they were in the 1980s and 1990s; now you’re more likely to find 1920s-throwback penny mosaic tiles, four-inch hexagons or even jumbo-sized rectangles (18 by 36 inches!) meant to mimic wood plank floors. And if your taste leans toward traditional, or you live in a historic house, sticking to tried-and-true styles (think what you’d find in Grandma’s bathroom circa 1920): like black and white basket weave styles, subway tiles (nope, they aren’t going anywhere despite their ubiquity).

There is the right tile for every remodeling project, we have over twenty years of helping our customers select the best tile for their remodeling projects.

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