The best method of tile selection is to visit your local tile distributor, explain your application, and allow the experts to suggest alternative tiles for your installation. The research that can be done on the internet, will allow you to become coherent with the terminology and the various application of basic tile products, however the local professional, is the salesperson that is providing tile to local contractors and homeowners. This individual will understand the common applications, will not waste your time with obscure tile that is not locally available, and will normally provide you with a good recommendation for a professional installer.
Your selection will be based upon the following;
- Where the tile is being installed? If the tile is a wall tile and the application is a shower or a bathtub, the size as well as type of tile will probably consists of a glazed, easily cleaned tile that could be provided in almost any size. If the tile is a floor tile, the selections are broad in terms of finishes and sizes. The installation location is important to the selection of the tile, stone or other hard surface material.
- What surface is most applicable for the application? If the tile is going to be used in a foyer, the more traction that the tile provides, the better. Tile in a foyer has a tendency to be slippery when wet, the more abrasive the surface of the tile, the less slippery the tile will be. If the application is for a wall surface in a bathroom, a glazed surface, that is easily cleaned will be suggested.
- What color tile should be selected? Color is a personal determination that reflects your aesthetic interests and requirements. My only suggestion is to be careful of any tendency to introduce a color of tile that may become dated and require removal at a later date. The pink and blue tiles installed during the 60’s, have a dated appearance, and unless the intent is a retro look, is being removed from homes.
- What size tile should I use? The size of a tile is dependent upon the aesthetic look desired. However, normally a larger floor tile is used to make the area covered, appear larger and less confused. For example the use of large tiles in an open family room, allows a more open look, and allows more entertaining type of decorating for the walls, ceiling, etc. If the floor is too busy with smaller tile, the entire presentation becomes too complicated. Smaller tile works well in an area that presents itself to focusing on the color and decorating of the room based upon the floor. Areas such as bathrooms, entry foyers, if small, etc. are many times tiled in smaller mosaic tiles. In some cases, when professional artists are involved, the use of small tiles to paint a picture or scene is used to provide a very interesting and conversation inspiring look.
However, at this point, I must make my disclaimer statement, my observations and opinions are based upon the eyes of a contractor, who has seen multiple installations of tile, and have repaired and removed installations both commercially and residentially. I do not claim to have any designer credentials or architectural capabilities, other than; I get it done, construction wise. So this is my disclaimer, if a designer and or architect may read my comments and disagree.