Renovating a kitchen or bathroom? The tile world demystified!

If you are preparing a kitchen or bathroom remodel, you will undoubtedly need to choose various tiles as part of the process. During the planning phase, a few moments inside a tile store can quickly become overwhelming. This guide will help you better distinguish the different types of tile and make your decision easier.

Here are the materials most often used in kitchens and bathrooms:

Ceramic

  • Made of white or red clay, ceramic tile is easily recognised because the top decorative layer is not the same colour as its bottom layer. In the event of a chip or crack, this means the damage will be easily visible.
  • Since the clay is molded and baked into shape, there will be variations in the dimensions of each tile and rounded corners, forcing the grout lines to be of a minimum of 1/8”.
  • The available sizes are often limited.
  • Given its lower purchase price, it can prove to be an excellent choice for low-budget renovations.

Porcelain

  • Made of sandstone, porcelain provides a better colour-match between its top and bottom layers, therefore chips and cracks are hardly noticeable.
  • Finishes and textures are easily created allowing for more realistic imitations.
  • Generally speaking, it is referred to as rectified porcelain meaning that each tile has been precisely machine-cut, assuring the least possible variability in the dimensions, thus allowing for grout lines as thin as 1/16”.
  • Its greatest advantage is its resistance to temperature variations, making it the perfect choice for a bathroom sauna or even an outdoor kitchen!

Glass

  • Made of crushed, ground or powdered glass mixed with resin.
  • Offers a wide range of colours, shapes and finishes.
  • Since most are translucent, it enables the use of LED strips to create a modern, sophisticated design.
  • Often used for kitchen backsplashes or bathroom detailing.

Slate

  • Cut from natural stone, its colours can vary widely from blacks, greys, greens, purples, and oranges.
  • Depending on its source, slate may require a sealant. For a low maintenance option, opt for a slate made in Canada since these tend to be denser.
  • It is impact resistant and reacts well with temperature variations.
  • It is easier recognised by its unique texture.
  • Often used for kitchen and bathroom floors.

Marble

  • Natural stone, it stands out by its distinctive and unique veining.
  • Marble is very porous and absolutely requires a sealant that must be reapplied periodically.
  • As with any natural stone, it is possible to order oversize slabs to cover larger areas with lesser grout lines.
  • Because of its porosity, it is safe if well sealed in a bathroom environment but will not be recommended for kitchen countertops.

Granit

  • Again a natural stone, it is usually more speckled than its marble counterpart.
  • Denser than marble, it allows for a various surface finishes and requires much less sealing.
  • Has very high heat tolerance but can chip in case of impact.
  • Also available as large slabs.
  • Can be used as kitchen or bathroom countertops or as bathtub podiums and wall coverings.

Limestone/Travertine

  • Natural stone formed by shell and coral mineral deposits, its colours are normally softer and offer less variability.
  • Extremely porous, sealing the stone will be a necessary and continuous process.
  • Softer than other stones, desired shapes and edges can be easily carved.
  • Its distinctive advantage lies in its non-slip surface texture. However, this material is not recommended for showers because it may stain due to its porosity.

Installation Style 
 

Aligned: tiles are placed in a grid pattern parallel to the walls. Offers a more urban look for modern renovations and gives a more refined style to your kitchen and bathroom remodel. 

céramique pose alignée

 

 

 

 

 

Staggered: also known as brick pattern the parallel grid pattern is offset from one row to the next and according to a desired proportion and repeated every second or third row. This creates a more versatile look that will adapt to any renovation and will add visual texture to compliment your kitchen cabinets or bathroom fixtures. 

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Diagonal: Tiles are arranged at a 45 degree angle and can be aligned or staggered, this look enhances any classic kitchen or bathroom. 

céramique pose diagonale

 

 

 

 

 

Herringbone: Tiles are laid out as to create a zigzag effect. This type of installation is generally reserved for more classic remodels but is making a comeback as a stylish modern detail. It is usually used in small quantities due to its high installation cost.

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Random: characterized by mixing different tile sizes in a pattern that seldom repeats. It is usually reserved for a more traditional renovation. 

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Mosaic: smaller tiles found in various shapes mounted on a mesh backing create a predetermined and variable pattern. Mosaics are usually used as a detail in order to enhance your décor and create a specific focal point in your kitchen or bathroom.

céramique pose aleatoire

 

 

 

 

 

Your tile choice is an important detail of any renovating project. You will spend lots of time contemplating it, so taking your time and treat yourself!

We wish you beautiful kitchen and bath remodels.

 

-The Groupe SP Reno Urbaine team

- Serving your Montreal home