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Natural Stone & Porcelain Tile Help & Advice

How To Choose Bathroom Tiles

Although we believe that all our natural stone tiles are beautiful, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which is why choosing your bathroom tiles will be personal to you and you’ll need to agree a layout with your tiler to ensure a smooth, successful installation.

Whether your tiles are limestone, travertine, or marble, the stone will have been mined at the quarry and cut into large blocks from the mountain side or below ground. The blocks are transported to a processing plant where the mighty block is cut into slabs, and the slabs are cut into tiles.

Similar to a conveyor belt, the bathroom tiles then undergo a process of honing or polishing depending on the finish required. The tiles are inspected and segregated by grade, before being shipped around the world, with only premium grade tiles landing at our Manchester warehouse. Paying extra to have tiles independently inspected at source and accepting only premium, rather than cheaper commercial grade material, means your tiles will be consistent in quality.

However, even though your tiles have been pre-selected and the impure and fragile haven’t made it through, as the tiles are crated slab by slab, it’s expected that within a crate all the tiles will be of similar tone and pattern – this does not mean that all crates will be of a uniform colour. Therefore, to ensure an even spread of colour and pattern across your bathroom, natural stone tiles should be ‘shuffled’ on site before fixing.

To shuffle tiles, empty the crates into as many stacks as is practical and select tiles for fixing at random from the stacks. By doing this, you won’t end up with all the darker tiles in one corner, or the tiles with most pattern all along one edge of the room.

This selection process is most important for tiles with intricate and distinctive veining such as our Sterling grey marble tiles, which have fantastic waves and subtle clouds floating through every tile. Travertine and limestone tiles generally portray more subtle characteristics, such as intriguing fossil detail, but it’s still advisable to ‘shuffle’ the tiles, as the base tones of these tiles can vary within a batch and crate.

The vast majority of natural stone bathroom tile purchases are either matt (honed) or polished (shiny) and are produced in either 600mm x 400mm or 600mm x 300mm sizes. This format of tile can be laid in a ‘block’ with edges in line with each other, or with adjacent tiles overlapping in a ‘brick- effect’ design. Tumbled floor tiles can be fitted in the bathroom if the antiqued feel is desired and is in keeping with the rest of the floors in the property, but for fixing and aesthetic reasons tumbled tiles are not recommended for bathroom walls.

Assuming you are tiling the floor and walls, floor to ceiling. When you walk into a room the direction of the door opening will determine what area of the room you view first, and generally you look to the right at eyelevel, before scanning the rest of the room, focussing on features in the room, perhaps a designer radiator or shower. What you see at eye level should be your key consideration, with behind the door and on the floor being less relevant.

There are three key components to consider when choosing your bathroom tiles: the height of the bath, the positioning of the shower cubicle, and the size and height of the window. If you have a bath in the room, it’s best practice to take a full tile off the bath and work up and around. When considering the window, don’t always automatically start in the middle if this gives you awkward cuts around the corners, if practical bear in mind the ‘eyes right’ rule and fix a full tile flush with the edge of the window as this will be aesthetically pleasing. In the shower area consider where the shower valve and head fixings will go and try to avoid grout lines as this will detract from the impact of often the most expensive piece of equipment in the room.

If you need any more help or advice on choosing your bathroom tiles, drop us a line through our contact form, use our live chat or just give us a call on 0161 826 4395.

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