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21 Tips for Perfect Bathroom Tile | Material, Size, Color, Waterproofing

bathroom tile

Decorating or remodeling your bathroom is exciting! There are so many different ways to create the look for your perfect space using various materials. Consider using tiles if you want your bathroom to look fabulous while reflecting your style.

Remodeling your bathroom can be an expensive investment. Doing it the right way will save you money and time and ensure your tiles last a long time. Tips like choosing the right tile, using the correct waterproofing, and a few designer secrets will help you in your decision-making.

In this article, we introduce key ideas and concepts on how tiles can be used effectively in your bathroom and we share expert insider tips, tricks, and tools to help you choose the best tiles and methods for your space.

No matter what tile project you are undertaking, a tile calculator can help you know exactly how much you’ll need to order and what it will cost. Get my FREE bathroom tile calculator. Fill out the form below and I’ll send it right to your inbox.


1. Follow a Designer’s Process

A Designer's Guide to Choosing Bathroom Tile

Decisions, decisions! Tile size, shape, style, pattern, color, and even tile material – so many options! 

Before you even think about choosing tiles, consider all your options! What is your budget, and should you install the tiles yourself or hire a professional?

To help while navigating the ins and outs of upscaling or redecorating your bathroom, read through our article on 11 Designer’s Secrets for Choosing Bathroom Tile.

Get an insider’s secrets on what you should know before attempting any tiling project, how to plan, what to buy, and how much it will all cost!

Planning correctly for your bathroom makeover will ensure that you create the environment you like. Tiles are not an item that you change regularly, so make sure that you choose what is right for you – you will have to live with your choices for a very long time!


2. Pick a Durable, Easy-to-Clean Bathroom Tile Material  

Bathroom Tile Materials

Bathroom tiles are available in many ranges to suit any décor. From ceramic to stone to mosaic, tiles protect the area from moisture, mold, and mildew while looking smart and gorgeous! 

17 Bathroom Tile Materials: A Comprehensive Guide, explores the best tile materials, the most durable, the easiest to clean, shapes, colors, and prices, along with the pros and cons of each – this article really is a one-stop guide to the best tiles for your bathroom.

These days, tiles are extremely durable. As long as you buy the correct tiles and grout for your bathroom and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on caring for them, they should last a good long time!



3. Understand Glass vs Ceramic Shower Tile 

woman in ceramic tiled shower

The choice of tiles in your shower is entirely up to you, but if you had to choose between Glass or Ceramic tile, could you?

Discover the pros and cons of these tile materials in our post Glass or Ceramic Shower Tile?

Did you know that colorful glass tiles are eco-friendly? Ceramic tiles though, are the more affordable option and are easier to install.

Both glass and ceramic tiles are often used together in the shower in different areas to create unique elements in the space. Find out where each tile will work best in your shower, and have fun creating your ideal space!


4. Make a Statement With Bathroom Accent Tile  

Choose Accent Tile for Bathroom

Did you know that by choosing the perfect accent tile for your bathroom, you can update an old design and change the look and feel of the bathroom according to your taste? 

How To Pick The Perfect Bathroom Accent Tile explains the purpose of accent tiles in your bathroom and provides handy-to-know tips like the mysterious “rule of proportions.” 

Simply by adding a few accent tiles to the bathroom, you can break up solid walls of color, include different, new colors to the space, or even carry over a theme from one room to another.

Budget-friendly and super easy to install, accent tiles add a certain uniqueness to the room –  and they’ll make you happy!


5. Know the Perfect Size Tiles BEFORE You Buy

Small bathroom with subway tile

Tiles are available in various sizes and shapes – the choice can be quite daunting!

If you are looking for the perfect tile for your space, check out this post:  What Size Tile Is Perfect for Your Bathroom? You’ll find out how to choose the best tiles for your main bathroom area, the walk-in shower, and the tub surround.

Hint: You can determine the right size tile by looking at the size of your bathroom and where you plan to install the tile. Choosing the wrong tiles could impact the look and feel of the bathroom, so we’ll show you how to plan first before you buy in order to avoid costly mistakes! 


6. Pick The Best Bathroom Wall Tiles! 

luxury bathroom with wall tile and freestanding tub

A bathroom is classified as a wet area in the home simply because this is the room where we all bathe daily. To keep the walls in great condition requires good tiles. Choosing the best tile for bathroom walls takes some planning and research.

Wall tiles are available in many different materials, shapes, and sizes, so research the best for your bathroom before making the investment.

How to Pick the Best Bathroom Wall Tiles is designed to help you pick the correct tile within your budget. We discuss the best tile materials and the pros and cons of each type.

We also chat with a bathroom designer who shares tons of valuable advice and tips to help you with your decision-making! Your bathroom tiles should be functional, easy to maintain, and bring you joy!


7. Choose the Right Bathroom Floor Tile

Bathroom Floor Tile Material

Bathroom floor tile should be hard, slip-resistant, and water-resistant. But of course, gorgeous, too. In our minds, there is a clear winner when it comes to bathroom floor tile materials, plus lots of runners-up.

7 Best Bathroom Floor Tile Materials tells you which tile materials we think lead the pack when it comes to flooring and why. We dive into a side-by-side comparison of two of the most popular bathroom floor tile materials.

When it comes to flooring, though, in addition to the tile material for the main part of the bathroom, you’ll also want to consider the best material for the shower floor, and you’ll need to consider the finish and thickness for your bathroom floor tile as well.


8. Consider Bathroom Tile Thickness 

Bathroom Tile Thickness

What happens if the tiles you choose are too thick for the space? Are certain tiles better suited to an area than others? And what about grout? Does grout have an effect on the thickness of tiles?

Are thicker tiles better in a bathroom or not? We have the answers to these questions and many more in our handy article Why Bathroom Tile Thickness Matters.

Discover everything you need to know about tile thickness when planning your bathroom remodel.



9. Create a Mood with the Right Color Tiles

Best Bathroom Tile Color

The choice of colors in your bathroom can create a Zen space or a passion palace – it’s up to you to use color to your advantage!  

Tricks to Pick the Best Color Tiles for Your Bathroom will walk you through the color palette and describe the pros and cons of various colored bathroom tiles.

What mood do you want to create? Will you put your home on the market anytime soon? These are just a few of the questions you need to answer before settling on tile color.


10. Choose a Bathroom Tile Color That’s Easy to Keep Clean

Color Tile Easiest to Keep Clean

Life is full of trade-offs. Sure you want your bathroom tile to look clean, but how much time are you willing to put in scrubbing away?

Did you know that some color tiles appear cleaner than others, even when they’re not? Take advantage of this wisdom to give yourself some grace.

Let’s play a game. I’m going to list some colors. I want you to put them in order of hardest to easiest to keep clean. Ready? Deep Sea-Blue, White, Black, Dark Gray, Cream. Now check out THIS Is the Easiest Color Tile to Keep Clean for answers.

Choosing tiles in colors that will look cleaner for longer is a great gift to give yourself!


11. Select Tile to Help a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger 

Accent Tile for Shower

Does your bathroom feel small and cramped? Would you love a bigger space or at least the illusion of one without costly renovations? 

The clever use of tiles can make your bathroom appear and feel bigger!

18 Ways Tile Can Help Small Bathrooms Feel Bigger is a must-have guide to help you choose and install the correct tiles in your smaller (quaint?) bathroom.

We discuss tile types, how to match the floor and wall tiles, how to make the best use of natural light, and offer a few simple, clever tips on how to lay tiles to make the room appear bigger.


12. Make Your Design Pop With the Perfect Tile Finish

bathroom with unique tile finishes

If phrases like “glazed finish,” “matte,” “no-sheen silica,” and “high-gloss” sound like a different language to you, you are not alone!

All these terms are methods used to seal, glaze or texture tiles.  

To learn more about the different finishes on tiles and where the finished tiles should be used, read our article on 12 Tile Finishes to Make Your Bathroom Design Pop!

You’ll discover that all tile finishes are the same – some are designed for man-made materials like ceramic and porcelain tile, while others can only be used on natural tiles like stone or granite.


13. Get a Durable Tile for a Rental Property

Best Bathroom Tiles for Rental Property

The tile you want for your rental property bathroom should be extremely durable and easy to maintain. But of course, you also want to pick something that’s aesthetically appealing. 

You may be preparing your new AirBnB to put on the market or you might be flipping a house. In either case, you can be sure that the bathroom will probably be the most highly-trafficked space in the unit.

Read What’s the Best Tile for a Rental Property? to get excellent suggestions for affordable tile materials that stand the test of time and keep away mold.

In this post, we’ll explore sealants, cleaning practices, and other maintenance habits all contribute to long-lasting tile, especially for renters.

There’s no doubt a rental property bathroom will have to handle moisture on a daily basis, so plan ahead to avoid any mold or mildew problems in the future—which can be costly and a huge pain to deal with. 


14. Waterproof Shower Walls Before Tiling 

Waterproof Shower Walls-Before Tiling

Waterproofing shower walls before laying tiles is not optional. The reality is if you don’t waterproof your shower walls before laying tiles, mold, mildew, and wood rot could thrive in damp places, and the structure of your home could become damaged. 

To find out more about the importance of waterproofing your shower and how to get the job done, read How to Waterproof Shower Walls Before Tiling

Be aware: A good quality backer board, a waterproof membrane, tiles, and grout all work together to provide a waterproof environment in your bathroom.


15. Know If Your Tiles Are Water-Resistant or Waterproof 

Are Bathroom Tiles Waterproof

Take the guesswork out of tile selection by checking our comprehensive list of the different tile types and how waterproof they really are.

Are My Bathroom Tiles Waterproof? explores the differences between waterproof and water-resistant tiles.

This article includes tips on installing a waterproof membrane and repairing bathroom tile cracks. It addresses why you should waterproof your bathroom.



16. Make Thin Grout Lines in Your Shower

Use Spacers for Thin Grout Lines

Grout is a wonderful way to add color to your bathroom while keeping the tiles looking neat and tidy. Grout adds an additional layer of waterproofing to the floors and walls, so make sure that you choose the right grout for your space.

How To Make Thin Grout Lines In Your Shower discusses choosing the correct tile grout and the best grout types for your bathroom tiles. We even throw in a few videos from experts to show you DIYers how to make thin grout lines.

Traditionally, thicker grout lines were used in the bathroom to cover over chipped tiles and hide discrepancies between tiles. But modern grout lines are thinner thanks to the advancements in technology. 



17. Seal Bathroom Tiles and Grout

seal bathroom

To keep your expensive and carefully chosen tiles in top condition requires maintenance. Porous tiles like natural stone are not waterproof and require a sealant to keep them free from bacteria. Some, but not all, non-porous tiles don’t need a sealer, so check with the manufacturer before installation.

For ideas on which types of sealer, grout, and caulk to use in your bathroom, read this handy article, Don’t Forget the Sealer: Tile and Grout Guide.

We include a step-by-step guide on how to seal bathroom grout and provide a few of the top products to use for sealing grout!

This handy guide should answer all your questions!



18. Tile Around Your Freestanding Tub 

Freestanding claw foot tub with brown tile wall behind it

A freestanding tub certainly adds glamour to your bathroom! But the tub’s location in the space could possibly lead to water damage to the surrounding walls and floors or, even worse, create mold and mildew problems.

In Do You Need to Tile Around a Freestanding Tub?, we discuss placement options depending on your needs, protecting the walls surrounding the tub, and which tiles are the best to use around a freestanding tub.

You’ll get designer tips to help you make the best decisions in your bathroom, including how high your tub should be off the floor and why.



19. Replace Tile Around Your Bathtub…DIY!

a woman with hair curlers is excited to remodel her old bathroom

If you consider yourself handy and are looking for a DIY project, this is it! Replacing tiles around your bathtub can take about 10 – 15 hours to complete, but can make a huge difference in the appearance of your bathroom!

How To Replace Tile Around A Bathtub (In 12 Steps) will lead you through the ins and outs of replacing tiles around your bathtub, including which PPE you should wear and a step-by-step guide on how to get the job done.

We also include a section on resources to help you plan your project and a few tested tips from experts.



20. Prevent Mold Growth Under Bathroom Tiles 

Mold Under Tile

The first thought that comes to my mind when I hear the word “mold” is “Yuck!” Can mold really lurk underneath your bathroom tiles, and how is that possible? 

Sadly, mold can quickly grow in damp, dark, and humid places, so behind your bathroom tiles is the ideal environment for them!

Is Mold Lurking Under Your Tile? will provide you with an 8-step guide to controlling mold growth under your bathroom tiles.

We also recommend budget-friendly products to help you determine if you’ve got a water problem beneath your tiles. (You won’t need to remove any tile to use these mold detection tools.)



21. Combine Bathroom Tile and Paint

Tile or Paint Bathroom

Tiles can be costly, but they are a great investment, especially if you are remodeling to re-sell your home. Tiles are durable and long-lasting and can be used in many ways to change the look of different areas of your bathroom.

That said, tile can be costly. By using a combination of paint and tile in the bathroom, you can create a unique look! 

Read To Tile or Paint The Bathroom? You’ll get advice on exactly where in the bathroom to definitely tile and where it’s okay to paint instead.

Not all walls are the same – some would look better painted while others will look fabulous tiled!



Are There Great Bathroom Wall Materials That Are Not Tile?

bathroom wall alternatives feature

Yes, there are. In addition to paint, you can update and modernize your bathroom by tiling part and using an alternative material (not tile, not paint) in the rest of your bathroom.

For a completely unique bathroom look, read 12 Cool Bathroom Wall Materials That Are NOT tile! We discuss alternative materials to tiles that you should know about.

The choice of wall coverings for a humid environment is surprising, so read our article for tips on what to use and where to use them.



Maintain Your Bathroom Tile For the Long-Haul 

A hand scrubbing bathroom tile with a cloth and vinegar

Once you choose the perfect bathroom tiles, you want to take care of them correctly so they will last for years to come. 

There are many safe products to use to clean your bathroom tiles. Some are safe to use on all tile types, while others are recommended for certain types. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for suitable cleaning methods. 

While we always enjoy a nontoxic cleaner, be sure to read Will Vinegar Destroy Your Bathroom Tile? In this handy article, we discuss the different types of tile and grout and the effects of vinegar on each. 

We also offer suggestions on how often to inspect your tile grout, how often to clean tiles and grout, and we provide a step-by-step guide on how to get the job done!


So, How Do You Choose The Perfect Bathroom Tile? 

multifired tile

With a little help from your friends! This guide is designed to point you in the direction of our top posts on bathroom tile. 

These articles include tips from designers and contractors, ideas on which tiles to use in different sized bathrooms, and the waterproofing materials necessary in any wet space.

To get your tile at up to 40% off retail prices, check out the great selection at Stonetiledepot.com. You’ll find gorgeous tile in a variety of materials and finishes.

And if you’re in the middle of a bathroom remodel project, be sure to download our Save Big $$$ Cheat Sheet. You’ll get designer hacks that can literally save you thousands of dollars. Just fill out the form below and we’ll send it to your inbox.

Tags: bathroom tile, grout, ultimate guide

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