When planning your kitchen or bath remodeling, another choice you’ll need to consider is which tile to use in the renovation. Your choices abound, and each has its own features, benefits, and drawbacks.
Depending on the type of remodel you have planned for your bathroom or kitchen, you may be able to keep or reuse your current tile. If you have vintage tile with crumbling grout or mortar, you may be able (with some effort) to save and reuse a majority of the tile. This is a great “green” or eco-friendly option if you have old subway tile, hand-painted tile, or intricately designed tiles.
If you are doing a “pull and replace” or face lift kitchen or bath remodel and your tile is in good shape, you may not want to replace it.
Research Tile for Your Kitchen Remodel or Bath Renovation
As with other decisions you make during your kitchen remodel, you can’t allow yourself to make your decision based purely on color or “what’s hot.” The allure of the new trend is hard to ignore, but we can help you assess if a certain material is right for your kitchen.
Similarly, your bathroom remodel must take into account the risk of “slippery-when-wet” floors, increased chance of water damage, and a feel that matches your home. Again we will help you decide what tile to add to your remodel.
Tile Material Options:
Ceramic tiles are the workhorse of the kitchen and bath remodel. Ceramic tile is durable and a popular choice.
Ceramic tiles also are available in a wide variety of colors, so you can match them to virtually any component of your kitchen or bathroom remodel. In addition, their surface is ideal for embellishment through paint or decals.
Ceramic tile benefits include their durability and ease of cleaning, low maintenance and waterproof surface, relative ease of installation (even for a do it yourselfer), and their value for the money.
Stone tiles are an increasingly popular choice in today’s kitchen remodels. They also make a practical choice in entryways.
Stone has an advantage that few other tile materials can realistically mimic: natural variations in coloring and texture. These variations ensure that no two floors are exactly identical, which can make matching difficult, however, this variation also helps prevent an accidental pattern from emerging in the installation.
Stone is extremely durable when properly maintained. Depending on the material, periodic sealing may be required. Ensure you discuss with your kitchen remodeler the maintenance requirements of your favorite stone. Not sealing as recommended may leave stone tiles porous and more prone to stains or moisture absorption, which can lead to cracking or crumbling.
Note that smooth stone is a good choice for kitchen flooring. When remodeling your bathroom, stone tile used underfoot should have texture. Stone tile can get slippery when it is wet, so use any stone tile in wet areas with caution.
Glass tiles are very popular today, both in large areas and as accent pieces. Glass may also be recycled, which adds to its “eco friendly” nature, and it comes in a wide variety of colors, finishes, textures, and sizes.
Glass tile has been used in kitchen and bath remodels for years, but it has seen a recent surge in popularity. With a foot in the mosaic movement, glass tile, especially the small accent-sized squares, creates a wonderful bright area of color.
The mosaic-style glass tile is also available in many shapes and sizes, which adds to the infinite design possibilities, including squares, rectangles or subways, “pennies,” as well as custom cuts and sizes. From complex multi-colored patterns to simple repeating tones, glass raises a kitchen or bath remodel to a new level.
In addition to a variety of shapes, today’s glass tiles are available in many colors and finishes, including iridescent accents, light-reflecting or refracting elements, frosted or shiny finishes, as well as imprinted designs on the back which seem to shimmer through the glass.
Glass tile’s size has gone beyond the tiny mosaic style. Its uses range from waterfall effects to “bamboo” look to large “cinderblock” size. It also is used to break up the heavy look of stone-tiled walls.
Glass is easy to clean and looks best when kept sparkling. Talk with your design specialist about the amount of time you can commit to cleaning your tile. You may prefer one finish over another if less time is required for cleaning.
Keeping Tile Clean
It’s important to keep maintenance in mind when you choose tile for your kitchen or bath remodel. Be honest with yourself and with your kitchen or bath remodel specialist. If you have hired help, you could consider bringing him or her into the discussion to ensure everyone understands the requirements of the new flooring.
No matter which tile you choose, keeping it clean protects it. Aggressive cleaning (required on a very dirty floor) could scratch or damage softer materials. Keeping tile clean also helps keep grout mold free. Mold is hard to eradicate once established, and it can cause permanent staining.
• Rinse and wipe wall tile frequently. It’s not necessary to wipe an entire shower or to scrub it dry after each use, but removing shower spray, soap residue, or shampoo or conditioner bubbles will help keep tile sparkling. A quick warm-water rinse (especially helpful if you have a handheld sprayer) will go a long way towards ensuring the tile stays clean.
In the kitchen, wiping grease and dust from the tile will also help it stay bright and shiny. If you have tile near the sink, a quick wipe down will prevent water spots or, especially if you have hard water, a white filmy buildup.
• Sweep and wash floor tiles regularly. If you have animals, kids, or a spouse that brings in fine dirt particles, take a few minutes to regularly sweep your floors, which will help prevent scratches and ground-in dirt. There is a variety of disposable-cloth dusters on the market today that help pick up fine dust. Alternatively, old-fashioned lambs-wool or cotton dusters will also pick up fine dust. To pick up more dirt, turn off the beater brush on the vacuum and give the floors a once over, or use a stiff broom to sweep away debris.
Follow the dusting by washing the floor with a damp mop or disposable-cloth mop. Depending on your tile material, you may be able to use a gentle cleanser such as vinegar or a specialized cleaner in the water. Frequent light mopping avoids the need for noxious chemicals and aggressive scrubbing.