Ripples Bathrooms Talks Tiles

 What are the most popular tiles for your bathroom for 2013 compared to those used in the 70’s!?

Over the past 5/10 years the tile industry has changed greatly, up to then the tiles used were generally ceramic coloured tiles, which matched the colour of your bathroom suite.  Ceramic tiles are still used and remain to be very popular but the colour tends to be more neutral with a tendency to blend into people’s homes.  People are now also opting for porcelain/natural stone and marble tiles throughout their home and bathrooms, due to the demand for these tiles they are not as costly as they used to be.

So far for 2013 we are seeing that porcelain tiles are the tile of choice for home owners and are the current market leaders within the tile industry.

Tile sizes – what are the most popular size?

A growing trend that we are seeing with many homeowners is a combination of big and small sized tiles.  The large format style tiles still remain to be very popular.  The advantage of using larger tiles means that there are less grout joints resulting in less dirt being caught between the joints keeping the tiles looking newer for longer.

Do big tiles have a tendency to crack more so than smaller tiles?

NO! This is a question that we are asked by almost every new client.  The only reason tiles of any size will crack is due to bad fitting.  For example, if a large format commercial tile is being fitted onto a bad floor and the tiler does not insure he has full adhesive coverage under the tile this will create a hollow effect, once you have a hollow this will in turn pose a weak point.  If the correct amount of pressure is put onto this area, the tile will give in and a stress crack will appear.  Another common reason for cracked tiles is if the subflooring is not sound to start with.  If the subfloor has a weak spot, this usually appears through the tile, regardless of size.

Are mosaic tiles just smaller and are they more expensive?

Mosaic tiles are basically just a smaller cut of a material , for example marble or stone mosaics are generally just cut from a bigger slab , glass, ceramic and porcelain are formed (man made), so they would normally be cast from the get go. Mosaic tiles are generally more expensive, due to the larger volume of work involved with the tiles as they must be cut so small and fused together onto sheets etc for fitting.  Also your tiler costs will be more costly due to the time and volume of work that’s involved in fitting them.  The fitting of mosaic tiles should be carried out by an experienced mosaic fitter as it is a more time consuming process and requires a high level of skill.

If you are doing under floor heating what type of tiles are required to get the most out of your under floor heating?

The type of tile really depends on the type of under floor heating you wish to have, electric or piped. Stone & marble tiles does not work too good with electric under floor heating only because it has limited heat and can be quiet costly to heat due to the thickness of the tiles. Ceramic/mosaics/porcelain and other thinner tiles work best with electric under floor heating systems.

Piped under floor heating from the central heating system works best for all types of tile flooring especially stone and marble as they retain the heat and the piped system has the power to heat through them.  An important tip when getting an under floor heat system is to use some form of insulation on the floor before the system is fitted, this allows all the heat to travel around and up though the floor and prevents against loss of heat.

Is the saying “you get what you paid for” true when tiling your bathroom?

When buying a new bathroom this definitely applies, for example we all see the great deals some business have on offer, “a complete bathroom refurbishment plus materials supplied and fitted for €2500”, this kind of advertisement really falls under the “if it looks too good to be true”, it generally is!  Imagine you where considering buying a deal like this, let’s do the maths.  If it takes 5/8 days to do a bathroom with 2/3 tradesmen, how much money will be left for materials after you pay for labour?  Cheap materials or cutting corners always result in bad news.  An easy tip is to ask what materials are being used and what brand?  The material those not have to be overly expensive just a brand that has an after sales team and offer a guarantee etc, remember it is the small things that count if things go wrong, so always ask yourself  “Does this look too good to be true”.

What grout do you use, is it always white grout?

It’s important to use the correct grout with the correct materials, if grouting a shower area you most use a water resistant grout.  If grouting a floor that’s got a timber sub floor it is important to use a flexible grout.

There’s a large variety of colours in grout, finishes normally depend on tile type and the area.  For example , if you are doing a cream family downstairs bathroom, most people tend to like the idea of having cream grout on the walls and floors to keep the room matching , what they forget about is the mucky boots and shoes that are constantly walking on the tiles , if this is the case then the grout will stain, the best grout for high volume floor areas such as halls/kitchens/downstairs bathrooms etc is grey as it can only turn greyer over time , it wont look dirty as easy compared to the cream grout and the grey grout will ware better.

Is there a specific depth of grout needed for all tiles to space them out- uniform    spacer size etc for all tiles or do you choose based on the job?

Most clients tend to go for smaller grout joints, the smallest joint we will work with is 2mm (about the size of a match stick) grout joints are in tiles to take the movement off floors as well as to join them together.  If you notice on some old or badly tiled jobs there’s no joint and tiles are butted together, this in tiling is very bad, tiles that are butted together normally fail/crack/or pop up because if they experience any type of movement they can only push against each other rather than against the grout joint causing all sorts of problems.