Bathroom Tiles - where to begin?

Bathroom Tiles - where to begin?

If you have carpet in your bathroom or matching turquoise toilet and sink, then you probably already know that your bathroom needs an update. Even for those who are just looking to freshen things up, you are not alone, as the bathroom is the second most popular room that homeowners choose to renovate.

Knowing this, we wanted to dive right in and write about the bathroom remodeling process, but there was just too much to tackle in one post. However, when we started to dissect the process, one part seemed to be most important when considering your bathroom remodel: Tile. We are not an expert in tile, so we set out to find one that could help explain more about it. It did not take long, as we have been following a small, handcrafted tile company online for a few months. We reached out to them to see if they could help us and they graciously agreed to guide us into the world of tile!

So without further ado, meet our friends at Fireclay Tile. They are a small, but mighty, company that has been creating handcrafted tiles in California since 1986. They are a Certified Benefit Corporation with over 150 employees working together to create one of a kind tile for every client. 


 

Tile: 8" Hexagons in Adriatic Sea and Mini Star & Cross in Adriatic Sea   Design + Photo Justina Blakeney

There are a variety of factors to consider including your personal needs/taste, slip resistance, architectural details, and even how water and light can affect your tile. To help make the decision process a little easier, we've put together some pros and cons of using these materials, as well as bath tile design inspiration from some of our favorite projects. 

Handmade Ceramic Tile

Tile Shown: Old Cairo in a custom colorway.  Design: Shannon EddingsSarah Bullock McIntyre   Images: Katie Jameson

There’s a lot to love about handmade ceramic tile. Durable, heat-resistant, and water-repellent, it’s both a practical and beautiful design solution for your space. With just a little maintenance and TLC, you’ll be able to enjoy your new tile for years.

Pros 

  • Price is one of the biggest pros when it comes to ceramic tile.  Ceramic tile comes in a variety of price ranges, offering something for every budget (see the Foundations Collection). 
  • Ceramic tile is one of the most durable materials you can choose for your bathroom.  It will stand the test of time against daily wear and tear, and with the right grout and regular care, it can be fairly low maintenance. 
  • Ceramic tile is available in our largest selection of shapes and sizes, offering more options for customization. All of our handpainted tiles are made using our recycled red clay ceramic body and are completely customizable as well! 

Cons

  • Our ceramic tile is handmade which means slight irregularities and variation should be expected. While this adds character and an artisanal feel to any space, it generally means it's best to hire a pro to handle an intricate bathroom installation.
  • While gloss glazes can be used on the floor, we don’t recommend gloss glazes in a large format size for floor use. Instead, stick with a size that’s smaller than your foot, especially for shower pans. If slippage is of great concern, or if you’re working on a commercial project, we’d recommend a matte finish glaze or our new Non-Slip tiles.  
  • If you are tiling a steam shower, we would not recommend our white clay body ceramic colors. Instead, you should stick with our recycled clay body ceramic colors. 

Although ceramic tile is considered a traditional shower tile choice, your tile design style doesn't necessarily need to be traditional.  A classic subway tile is always a great choice, but if you're looking for a more contemporary or modern look, mix things up a little and try a bold splash of color, or an interesting specialty shape. No matter what style you choose, ceramic tile offers your shower space a surface material that will last a lifetime in both durability and style.

Handmade Glass Tile

Tile: Kingfisher Gloss 4x12  Photo: Fireclay Tile


Our handmade glass tile offers a contemporary look that is refreshing and unique with our modern color palette. Try our soothing blue and green tones for a coastal cool look, or opt for a neutral hue accented by a bold color for even more pop. Handmade glass tile in the bathroom is an ideal choice if you are looking to add something a little different to your shower design.


Pros

  • All of our handmade glass tile colors are available in both gloss and matte finishes. The glossy glass reflects light which can make your space appear bigger and brighter. Glass tile is translucent, therefore, unlike any other surface material, that beautiful color you picked out will show all the way through the tile, providing an additional sense of depth and dimension.
  • Glass tile is relatively low maintenance, all you need to keep it clean is a gentle cleaner and a cloth, making it an ideal choice for the shower where you will experience soap build-up that needs to be cleaned regularly.
  • Glass tile is non-absorbent and can be used in both steam and non-steam showers. 


Cons

  • Glass tile in the shower requires more care during installation, especially if you have architectural details in your shower that require special cuts. This is why we always recommend a professional tile installer.
  • Although glass is easy to clean, its glossy reflective surface highlights imperfections.  This means it will require regular maintenance to keep it looking its best.
  • Glass's slippery smooth surface may not be appropriate for all floor applications.  If you really want to use glass on your floor, use a matte finish in a smaller size for more traction. 

The bathroom below is full of bathroom tile design ideas. Glass and ceramic tile work together to create a seamless blend of the two styles. Vibrant glass bathroom and shower walls add visual interest to the space, while the ceramic tile floor in a matte finish balances the overall design and provides extra slip resistance. 

Tile Shown: Pheasant Matte 3x12, Sparrow Matte 3x12Halite 3x12   Photo: Chase Daniel



Handmade Glazed Thin Brick

Tile Shown: White Mountain Brick and Antique 4x4  Design + Photo: K Interiors


Our handmade glazed thin brick can be used in a bathroom setting and can be a great alternative to subway tile. Brick can look modern, classic or rustic depending on how you install it and provides great character with its pitted texture. 

Pros

  • Our brick is finished with hand-mixed, lead-free glazes and fired at high temperatures. This process creates a cleanable surface that’s perfect for high impact installations. Mild soap and water should be sufficient for most cleanup
  • Brick does good! As part of our commitment to protecting and honoring our planet, 1% of all our Thin Brick sales go to the National Parks Conservation Association.
  • Brick can add warmth and texture to bathroom walls and floors 

Cons

  • Brick is more porous, so although you can use it in bathroom settings, we would not recommend it for a continuously wet horizontal space such as a shower pan. You can, however, use it on the bathroom floor and shower walls. 
  • Our Glazed Thin Brick is one size only 2.5 x 8.” If you’re looking for more size/shape options, we recommend looking to our handmade glass or ceramic tile offerings. 
  • Because of Brick’s pitted surface texture, it will be more time consuming to clean than a smooth glossy surface like our glass or ceramic tile. 


If you have more questions for our friends at Fireclay Tile, you can visit them online or fill out their Design Assistance Form to have one of their talented consultants contact you.  Also, if you are a lover of "how things are made," then you need to follow Fireclay Tile on Instagram as they take you into their shop every Friday to show you how they make their tiles. 


Reminder from Selling Later: When we search for experts to help us with informative posts, we always try to select small companies that are doing their part to make a difference in their industry.  Our hope is that as we grow, we can help bring along other small companies with us to help give them exposure for the amazing things they are doing in the field.  The companies selected to help us with our posts do not pay to participate, nor do we receive money for visits to their website.  We simply want to help support small businesses with no strings attached.

 

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