By Jeanne de Power from Saint-Gobain Weber
Despite ever-changing trends, new technologies and evolutions in taste, an overwhelming majority of homes in South Africa feature tiles in the bathroom. So, what makes them such a popular choice? Are they really the best flooring material? And how do you choose the right tiles for your home?

Tiles can provide a combination of functionality, durability and design solutions. They’re commonly used in bathroom design thanks to their water and moisture resistant properties. Because the material can withstand humidity, it generally last for several decades which makes tiles a good option for homeowners who are looking to increase their long-term property value. Tiles are also easy to clean and considering the variety in colours, motifs and laying patterns available, they offer great aesthetic options to appeal to an array of personalities and tastes.
It’s hard to imagine a modern home that doesn’t include tiles in the bathroom. So how do you find the right ones for your home?

Here are some top tips from the specialists at Saint-Gobain Weber for picking the right tiles and making the most of your bathroom.

1. Select your type of material
When it comes to choosing your bathroom tiles consider using a ceramic product, specifically porcelain. Not only do ceramic and porcelain tiles offer good functionality and durability, but they also pose the largest range of options.

If your bathroom project requires practicality over aesthetics, vinyl is a good option. And if budget isn’t an issue, think about using stone tiles which are very visually appealing but be aware that they can also be cold. Other materials such as engineered wood, laminate flooring or hardwood are good flooring options, although they are less suitable for bathrooms.

2. Consider design, layout and colour choice
Once you’ve decided on the type of tile you want, decide whether you prefer a glossy or matte finish. After this, you can choose between aesthetic styles which range from geometric or classical tiles to single-colour or graphic designs.

After you’ve settled on the material, finish and style of your floor tiles, decide whether you want to tile your bathroom walls too, and if so, how far up the walls to lay them because this will influence the overall look and feel of the bathroom.

When it comes colour selection, blues and greens are great in bathrooms as they bring a fresh look and feel, while shades of white or warm colours provide a safer more classic option. And to truly stand out and leverage the full repertoire of bathroom design, try using a grout colour that contrasts with your tile colour. The right combination of white tiles with a dark grout can look incredibly stylish.

3. Go with your heart, then use your head
The selection process can be daunting considering the array of options that exists, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, rule of thumb is to simply select a tile you love and then thoughtfully construct a beautiful design around it.

If you’re still feeling unsure, take the conservative approach and opt for a look that won’t date. This can be achieved by sticking to two or three different types of tiles at most and selecting a single colour tile as the main feature, to build upon. If you’d like a more adventurous look but are hesitant about which tiles to pair together and to configurations the layout, consult an interior designer.

4. Use the right adhesive and grout for a bathroom
Finally, make sure that the renovation is done right the first time by using the correct tile fixing products to ensure your family enjoys all the best features of tiles. Because the floors and walls in bathroom are exposed to higher water and humidity levels than other rooms in the home, use a bonding agent such as Bond-It to improve waterproof properties, but keep in mind this will make the grout dry a shade darker. And using an adhesive and grout like EpoxEasy will ensure the surface remains hygienic and aesthetically appealing, as well as waterproof.

If a practical and sensible choice for bathroom flooring is what you’re after, tiles offer the perfect solution thanks to their water resistant and durable nature, and the fact the tiling opens the door to endless design options in your bathroom.