There are plenty of different types and sizes of tiles on the market today it can become a little over whelming when it comes to choosing what ones would be suitable for your individual bathroom.
Here are a few basic considerations you may find useful.
Walls are constructed in many different ways i.e. blockwork and plaster skim, Plasterboard and wooden studwork (sometimes skimmed) and Plasterboard and Aluminum Channel studwork to name but three. Each of these situations have a different “wall tile weight limit” So it is important for you to ask your supplier prior to buying something that is too heavy for your walls! This is especially the case when tiles are advertised as “Wall and Floor tiles” and tend to be thicker, denser, stronger and heavier than something just designed for walls alone.
A lot of wall tiles tend to be made from either Ceramic/China or Porcelain however there are plenty of other types on the market that are not necessarily ideal for bathroom (wet) applications as they are naturally porous – such as natural stone types or Travertine. Porous tiles need to be sealed on a regular basis to prevent water ingress so beware you may need to apply a waterproof coating of some sort to your shower cubicle tiles every couple of years or so to prevent water passing through the tile to the wall behind and causing problems in the future.
Ceramic tiles can be easier to keep clean due to a high glazed finished surface whereas some Porcelain tiles may have a more buff finish which could attract dirt over time in a wet area. Ceramic tiles can usually be manually cut which can speed up tiling. Holes can be cut quite easily to fit shower surround or bath screens.
Porcelain tiles are usually a lot harder than ceramic.
Not all porcelain tiles can be easily manually cut due to all sorts of reasons i.e. hardness, thickness, brittleness so may have to be cut mechanically which will take longer. Sometimes when you think you are saving on a cheap box of tiles you will end up paying extra for diamond cutters and drill bits and additional labour time for cutting! Hole cutting for shower surrounds and bath screens can sometimes be arduous -it can take over 15 minutes to cut a single 6mm hole in a wall with a diamond hole cutter which may only cope with cutting 3 or 4 holes before it needs throwing away and replacing.
Tiles are manufactured in batches and have batch numbers written on the boxes. It is important to realise that shades can vary with different batches during manufacture. Sometimes this is highlighted in artificial light rather than daylight so may not be apparent straight away, for example when you turn on your bathroom lighting in the evening some tiles could appear to be different shades (from a different batch box of tiles) than they looked during the day time! Always try to get the same batch number on all your boxes to prevent shade discrepancies.
Don’t rush and buy something you like – you’re likely to live with them for a while!