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April 4, 2024

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    When choosing bathroom tile, you should first consider moisture resistance and durability. The best types of tile will withstand water exposure while providing a slip-resistant surface that can withstand heavy usage over time.

    From ceramic and cork to natural stone and vinyl, in this guide, we take a look at the best tile for bathrooms to help you determine which type optimally balances the performance, maintenance, and design factors you value most.

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    Types of Bathroom Floor Tiles

    So, which tiles are best for lining your bathroom floor? We called on our in-house flooring experts and conducted additional research to find which tiles work best and what homeowners can expect in terms of benefits and drawbacks. Let’s delve in.

    Ceramic Tile

    Ceramic is a versatile and durable option for bathroom floors. It’s made from clay and fired at high temperatures for hardness. This type of tile is a popular choice due to its longevity and the range of styles and colors available. However, it can be cold underfoot and may become slippery when wet.

    Durable and long-lasting
    Wide range of styles and colors
    Easy to clean
    Can be cold underfoot
    Can be slippery when wet

    Cork Tile

    Cork is a natural and renewable material that provides a soft and comfortable surface underfoot. It’s known for its excellent thermal and acoustic properties, making it a warm and quiet flooring option. Despite its many benefits, cork flooring can be susceptible to damage and requires regular sealing to maintain its quality.

    Comfortable to stand on
    Natural insulator
    Susceptible to damage
    Requires regular sealing

    Glass Tile

    Glass tile is a modern and stylish option that can create a sense of space and light in a bathroom. It comes in a wide variety of shapes, transparencies, and colors, allowing for a high degree of customization. However, it can be slippery when wet and may be more difficult to install than other types of tile.

    Variety of colors and designs
    Reflects light for a spacious feel
    Resistant to mold and mildew
    Can be slippery when wet
    Difficult to install

    Linoleum Tile

    Linoleum tile is a cost-effective and eco-friendly flooring option made from natural materials. It’s a budget-friendly choice that’s also easy to install, making it a popular choice for DIY projects. However, it is susceptible to moisture damage and requires regular maintenance to keep it in good condition.

    Easy to install
    Susceptible to moisture damage
    Requires regular maintenance

    Porcelain Tile

    Porcelain is a type of ceramic that’s fired at higher temperatures, making it more durable and water-resistant. It’s a highly durable option that’s also resistant to water, making it a great choice for bathrooms. However, like ceramic tile, it can be cold underfoot and is more brittle, which may lead to chipping or cracking.

    Highly durable
    Low maintenance
    Can be cold underfoot
    More brittle than ceramic

    Stone Tile

    Stone, such as granite, marble, or travertine, offers a luxurious and spa-like ambiance. It’s naturally water-resistant, making it a good choice for bathrooms. Natural stone tiles like marble or granite are excellent flooring choices for a saturation-prone space like a bathroom due to their natural resistance to water. However, they can be more expensive and require more maintenance than other types of tile.

    Luxurious and timeless
    Naturally water-resistant
    Can be expensive
    Requires regular maintenance

    Vinyl Laminate Tile

    Vinyl laminate tile is a practical and versatile flooring option. It’s the easiest flooring to install in a bathroom, making it a popular choice for DIY projects. It’s also budget-friendly, durable, and low maintenance. However, while it’s a durable option, it doesn’t have as long a life span as ceramic tile.

    Easy to install
    Durable and low-maintenance
    Shorter life span than most alternatives
    Less luxurious appearance

    Designs & Shapes

    In addition to the material construction, tiles come in a variety of shapes and formats. Each style offers a unique aesthetic. Here are some of the most popular varieties.

    Hexagonal tiles are a unique yet simple shape that can blend into any design. They are available in ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone. Black and white hexagon floor tiles can evoke a vintage Parisian flair, but the variety of sizes, materials, and patterns available today can create a multitude of contemporary looks.

    Large format tiles are a modern choice that can make a small bathroom appear larger. They come in a variety of materials, including ceramic and porcelain.

    Mosaic tiles are small, often square tiles used to create detailed patterns and designs. They can add a touch of luxury and personal style to your bathroom floor.

    Patterned tiles can add visual interest and personality to your bathroom. They come in a variety of designs, from intricate geometric patterns to more subtle, textured designs.

    Subway tiles are a classic pick for bathrooms, known for their durability and timeless appeal. Subway tiles are rectangular and often arranged in a staggered brick pattern.

    Tile Flooring Compared

    According to our research, tile flooring costs vary greatly depending on the specific type of tile, the region, and the complexity of the installation. Most homeowners pay between $10 and $15 per square foot. 

    The durability and level of upkeep can also vary depending on the material and level of traffic. For example, stone tiles may require sealing to protect them from stains and damage, while porcelain tiles are extremely durable and low maintenance.

    TypeCost (sq. ft.)DurabilityMaintenance
    Porcelain$12–$40Very HighLow

    Cost data include material costs and labor, if applicable. We sourced the cost data in this article from RSMeans construction materials and labor database and bids from top contractors.

    What to Look For In Bathroom Tile

    When choosing a tile for your bathroom floor, consider the following factors:

    • Durability: The tile should be able to withstand high foot traffic, especially in a busy bathroom.
    • Water Resistance: Bathrooms are high-moisture areas, so the tile should be able to resist water and not absorb moisture.
    • Maintenance: The tile should be easy to clean and maintain.
    • Cost: Consider your budget and the cost of the tile per square foot. Remember, the cost can vary depending on the type of tile and the brand.
    • Aesthetics: The tile should match the style and decor of your bathroom.

    Tile Installation Tips

    Proper installation is crucial to ensure the longevity and durability of your bathroom floor tiles. When it comes to a job as time- and detail-intensive as laying tile, experts often recommend hiring a professional flooring company. 

    If you’d like to tile your bathroom floor without using a contractor, here are a few DIY tips:

    1. Prepare the Surface: Ensure the floor is clean, dry, and level. Any unevenness can lead to cracking tiles.
    2. Plan the Layout: Dry lay your tiles to plan the layout, starting from the center of the room. Doing this helps to avoid narrow tile cuts at the walls.
    3. Apply Adhesive: Using a notched trowel, spread tile adhesive on a small area of the floor. The trowel size depends on the tile size.
    4. Lay the Tiles: Place the first tile firmly into the adhesive, wiggling it slightly to ensure a good bond. Use spacers to maintain consistent gaps for grout.
    5. Cut Tiles as Needed: Use a tile cutter to trim tiles that will line the edges of the room.
    6. Let Adhesive Dry: Allow the adhesive to dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
    7. Apply Grout: Fill the gaps between tiles with grout using a rubber float. Wipe off excess grout with a damp sponge.
    8. Seal the Grout: After the grout has dried, apply a grout sealer to prevent moisture absorption and make it more stain-resistant.
    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    Remember, safety comes first! Always wear protective gear when cutting tiles and handling adhesive and grout.

    Tile Floor Maintenance

    Maintaining your bathroom floor tiles not only keeps them looking new but also extends their life span. Regular cleaning is crucial to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime. Use a mild detergent and a soft cloth or sponge to avoid scratching the tile surface. A rag or chamois-type mop is recommended over a sponge mop, as the latter can push dirty water into the grout lines, making them harder to clean.

    Sealing is another important aspect of tile maintenance, especially for certain types of tiles like natural stone. Sealing protects the tiles from stains and damage, enhancing their durability. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the sealing process to ensure its effectiveness.

    Grout, the porous material that fills the gaps between tiles, can discolor over time due to dirt and stains.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    Regularly cleaning grout lines is essential to maintain their fresh appearance. Use a grout cleaner specifically designed for this purpose, and follow the instructions carefully.

    In addition to these steps, sweeping or vacuuming your tile floors can prevent dulling from repeated exposure to sand and grit.

    Lastly, always address any stains as soon as possible to prevent them from setting in and becoming difficult to remove.

    So, Which Type of Bathroom Tile Should You Choose?

    The best type of bathroom tile depends on your specific needs and preferences. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are great for their durability and water resistance, making them suitable for high-moisture areas like bathrooms. On the other hand, vinyl tiles offer a more comfortable and affordable option, especially for those who prefer a softer feel underfoot. 

    Whether you choose ceramic, porcelain, or vinyl, make sure to consider factors like durability, maintenance, cost, and aesthetics to make the best choice for your needs.

    FAQs About Best Tile for Bathroom Floors

    Is vinyl or tile better for bathroom floors?

    Both vinyl and ceramic tiles have their advantages. Vinyl is inexpensive, easy to clean, and comfortable underfoot. Ceramic tile, on the other hand, is very durable and can last up to 40 years compared to an average of 10 years for luxury vinyl tiles.

    What is the safest tile for the bathroom floor?

    Slip-resistant tiles like pebble, mosaic, or textured tiles are the safest for bathroom floors. Non-slip vinyl tiles also offer an affordable and safe option for your bathroom.

    How durable is ceramic tile?

    Ceramic tile is very durable and can withstand high foot traffic. It’s also impervious to water and stains, making it a great choice for bathrooms.

    Can porcelain tile mimic other materials?

    Yes, porcelain tile can convincingly mimic other materials like marble, granite, and wood. The material’s versatility allows you to enjoy the benefits of ceramic tile with the aesthetics of different materials.

    What are the cons of vinyl tile?

    While vinyl tile is fairly durable, it is susceptible to warping and mold if not sealed properly and periodically resealed. It’s also vulnerable to marring from sharp objects. Over time, some vinyl floors may bump or begin to curl at the edges and along the seams.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Jilli Cluff

    Jilli Cluff

    Jilli Cluff is a writer and innovations analyst with a background in journalism, data analysis, qualitative research, and editing. Her primary focus is on providing homeowners with informational content that is insightful, well-researched, and easy to navigate.

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    photo of Irma Omerhodzic

    Irma Omerhodzic

    Irma Omerhodzic, an accomplished editor for Today's Homeowner, brings a wealth of expertise to her role. Holding both a Master's and Bachelor's degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, Irma is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, a national honor society in journalism. Beyond her successful editorial career, Irma is a dynamic professional who holds an active real estate license in Ohio. She is proudly affiliated with Howard Hanna, a nationally acclaimed real estate company that stands as the third-largest in the country. In her spare time, Irma finds joy in outdoor adventures, frequently embarking on hikes with her dog. Her love for exploration extends beyond nature, as she equally delights in traveling to new destinations and savoring culinary delights.

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