As a Do It Yourself (DIY) project, laying tile, either on a floor, wall, or in a bathroom, is not the easiest of tasks. With a bit of care and practice it is still well within the DIY range of expertise to do a professional quality job of tiling. When contemplating tiling a section of your home you will need to investigate the types of tile and their features. Some tile works better on walls, others of floors. Tiles are durable, easy to clean, waterproof, and can be very attractive.
By far the most commonly used material for producing tiles is ceramics. These heated clay tiles are strong in functionality and beautiful in their decoration. Different types of ceramic tiles can be used on walls, floors, roofs, tables, and counters. While very durable under normal wear, one should be careful as a sharp blow can break the ceramic tiles.
Especially used in bathrooms on both walls and floor are mosaic tiles. Mosaic tiles are smaller than standard tiling. As well as ceramic material, mosaic tiles can also be obtained made of glass. For the DIY project, mosaic tiles are usually made in “sheets” to facilitate a quicker installation. While mosaic tiles involve much more grouting than standard tiles, proper maintenance will prevent mold from forming and destroying the grouting material.
Used mostly for flooring, the quarry tile is an unglazed ceramic tile. While still maintaining the strength and durability of ceramic, the unglazed surface provides better traction, especially when wet. Quarry tiles can be had either hand-cut or machined for more uniform fit.
Stone or slate flooring tiles can become quite expensive but is an excellent choice for flooring. Being natural material, stone or slate tiling is not consistent in coloration but can be patterned to enhance the decor. Stone or slate is especially good in high-traffic areas of a home or building. Marble and granite are two very popular types of stone tiling.
For the more rustic decor, brick tiles can add a very convincing accent to any room. Brick tiles look very good on walls and can be used in conjunction with a fireplace. There are two basic types of brick tile. One is brick material formed in thin sheets. They can be fitted into a greater number of decors but do not always look like brick. The other form of brick tile is the cutting of thin sections, called “slips” from actual brick to form the tile unit. They tend to look much more authentic.
The least expensive form of tiling is to use plastic tiles. While not anywhere near as durable as ceramic tiles, plastic is still sufficient to prevent condensation damage to walls. Plastic tiles come in premolded sheets for quick installation. Plastic tiles are more versatile than some natural material tiles. They can be used on uneven walls and can be finished to look like ceramic or imprinted with a design. Be careful cleaning plastic tiles as abrasive cleaners can mar and scar the surface of the plastic tiles.
There are other special-use tile materials that can be used for specific home decor accents. Cork tile is very beautiful but not very durable. Small mosaic tiles made of mirror can help reflect light in a bathroom and give it a brighter appearance.