Ceramic tile is one of the top choices for the bathroom floor. It's impervious to moisture, stands up to stains and won't absorb bacteria or odors. It's a great choice for a bathroom that gets a lot of traffic. Ceramic tile comes in a wide range of colors and designs for a sleek, luxurious look. Tile sizes range from tiny mosaic to large format and come in just about any shape imaginable. Choose from almost any installation pattern, and incorporate trim pieces, borders, and inlays to accentuate decorative elements. Mix and match colors and sizes for visual interest, or repeat the same styles on walls, countertop, or shower for a cohesive look.
When choosing tiles, consider how wet your bath gets. Moisture-prone baths require tiles that are impervious to water and safe to stand on in bare feet. Shiny, glazed tiles add glamour to walls and countertops but they can be slippery. They might be best for a guest bathroom that doesn't have a shower or tub. Tiles with a matte or textured finish provide traction and are safer for wet feet. They're a better choice for a bathroom used by children or the elderly.
Manufacturers are introducing tile options that incorporate recycled materials, for a more eco-friendly product. For the ultimate indulgence, install radiant in-floor heat to warm up bare feet.
You can also get grout that has enhanced moisture resistance and antimicrobial properties.
Tough Enough? Ceramic tile lasts for decades and stands up to the toughest wear you can dish out. It can withstand water and foot traffic.
How to Clean. Ceramic tile is easy to clean. Avoid abrasives such as steel wool and scouring pads lest you scratch the tile surface.
Underlayment. Ceramic tile should be installed on a subfloor that's smooth, flat, rigid, and clean. Acceptable surfaces include concrete slab, cement-based backer board, underlayment-grade plywood, and existing tile (in good condition). Specialty underlayments and membranes are also available; often these can extend the life of the floor, add a moisture barrier, dampen sound, and minimize cracking.
The Lowdown. Ceramic tile is composed of clay, water, and other substances fired at high temperatures. It's resistant to stains, water, bacteria and odors. It also resists scratches and fire, and it's available in a range of shapes, colors and styles. Keep in mind that without radiant heat underneath, ceramic tile can be cold on your feet, and it can be uncomfortable to stand on for long periods. Also be aware that the tiles can crack and the grout can become stained.
At a cost of $1 to $8 per square foot, uninstalled, ceramic tile is considered moderately difficult to install. For do-it-yourselfers, it can be hard on the back and knees.
Harder than ceramic, porcelain is a fashion-forward flooring choice for bathrooms.
Could your bath use a makeover underfoot? Explore today's freshest flooring options.
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