Bathroom Tiles Buying Guide

Buying Bathroom Tiles - everything you should consider

Tiles are an integral aspect of the bathroom. They make a statement about what kind of styling it is that you value and allow you to showcase your personality, making each bathroom a more unique habitat. Choosing the right choice of tiling can often be tricky, but with this guide we aim to outline exactly what's available to you, and which options would be best suited to your particular requirements.


A key choice many people face when selecting the finish of their tiling is which material is the best overall option. Although many are similar in appearance, there are a number of differences between them:

Ceramic Tiles

These are ideal for walls as they are made using natural clay and feature a durable glaze finish which looks superb. They are also easy to clean and maintain, saving you the hassle of constantly trying to keep the bathroom looking its best.

Porcelain Tiles

Made using a mix of clay and sand, these tiles are perfect for both walls and floors due to their scratch resistant nature and high level of durability. The colour also usually runs right through each tile, rather than simply being baked onto the face, which is handy if you happen to chip one!

They are also ideal for use in wet rooms and areas which will attract higher levels of moisture as they have a lower water absorbency rate than regular ceramic tiles.

Natural stone

For a more bespoke feel, natural stone tiles offer a stunning way to enhance the room. Choose from materials such as travertine, slate and marble for the ultimate finish. These tiles are ideal for floors due to their highly durable, robust nature. The lovely thing with natural stone tiles is that every individual tile will be slightly different, allowing for a really personal touch.

What are my options?

Whether you wish to create a bright and colourful bathroom, or perhaps you would like a more refined, understated setting, there are an abundance of tiles out there for you to choose from. The following are some of the most common examples of tiles that will suit a wide spectrum of bathroom styles.


If you want a brighter bathroom, there are a vast array of colours available that will give you the exact look you desire. With everything from vivid reds and gorgeous greens to classic monochrome options, there is something to suit every bathroom.


If you fancy something a little different, try opting for some patterned tiles. There are a lot of styles out there, including marble effect, floral patterned, and Damask designs which will give your bathroom a more unique edge.

Mosaic Tiles

For a highly stylish look, mosaic tiles are definitely the answer. You can select tiles which contain either large or small mosaic designs depending on your preference. Available in various colours and finishes including everything from natural stone to iridescent metallic, there's a huge amount of choice here.


Border tiles are an ideal option when it comes to finishing off the overall look of your bathroom walls. These items can feature anything from subtle to more intricate patterns, allowing you to achieve a more personalised feel. Used in the right places these tiles can be very effective.


Grout is used to seal the joins between each of your new bathroom tiles, be they on the walls or floor. It is an essential aspect to get right as it can lead to loose or ill-fitting tiles if done incorrectly. It contains a mixture of sand, cement and water which forms a protective bond around your tiles.

There are also a surprising amount of colours available from standard white, to black, colour specific and even glitter effect grout if you're feeling brave.

How many tiles will I need?

It's very important to work out exactly how many tiles you'll be needing before you order as the last thing you want to do is get half way through then realise there aren't enough tiles! It's best to order slightly more (around 10%) tiles than you need to allow for any damage while in transit or while installing them.

You can work out how many tiles you need by using a tile calculator. Many websites have them; all you have to do is take some measurements of the room and type them into the calculator to see how many tiles you'd need to cover the desired surface.

Tile Ratings Explained


The PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) applies to floor tiles which feature a glazed finish. This system rates tiles, giving them a class of 1 to 5, with 1 being suitable for wall use only and 5 being able to handle excessive amounts of weight. Check the PEI class of any floor tiles you're interested in to avoid any potential mishaps.


The W.A. (Water-Absorption) rating of tiles outlines their suitability to be used either outdoors or in a damp environment such as a bathroom. There are four W.A. ratings: Nonvitreous, Semivitreous, Vitreous, and Impervious. Non and semi vetreous tiles are generally not suitable for bathrooms as they have higher absorption levels.


The C.O.F. (Coefficient of Friction) rating essentially measures how slippery the surface of a bathroom tile is. This works by calculating the force needed to move and object along the surface of the tile divided by its weight.

Pay attention to this number when selecting your floor tiles for your bathroom, as the higher the number, the less chance there is of your slipping on the surface of the tiles. Generally, a rating of .50 - .60 will be sufficient.

So which tiles are suitable for me?

Essentially this all depends on your personal tastes and requirements. If you want to achieve a specific look then you'll probably already have the ideal tiles in mind. If you're open to ideas however, we suggest going for light coloured tiles in smaller bathrooms to create a feeling of space, while hyper-modern products such as iridescent mosaic tiles are best kept to contemporary bathrooms only.

Keep in mind that some tiles can be really cold underfoot, especially during those winter months, so installing some underfloor heating may be a good idea.

Look at the amount of space you have; border tiles can help to break things up a bit in larger settings. Work with the shape of the room and you'll have a bathroom to die for in no time!

Where to next?