The humble wall and floor tile has gone from a practical means of waterproofing and improving sanitation to a key element in the design of any interior remodeling project.
Take advantage of the latest trends in materials, styles and colors to add a distinctive flair to bathroom remodels that include walk-in showers.
Always well suited for kitchens and foyers as well as in bathrooms, tile is a durable material and, with routine maintenance of grout lines, quite enduring.
Advanced manufacturing processes allow tile makers to produce tiles that mimic the natural processes that form marble. Ceramic tiles are made that closely match the characteristic colors and organic swirls and veins found in marble while resisting the effects of chemicals that can damage marble surfaces.
Tiles with the traditional look of marble can enliven a bathroom with colors and patterns for a fraction of the cost of marble.
Wood provides a classic and abiding look for floors and walls. Now, wood-look tiles crafted from ceramic or porcelain impart the same look as wood while providing the durability of tile.
Wood-look tile is available in traditional planks for floors but some designers chose tiles in geometric shapes or even oversize sheets for a continuous look.
For shower walls, wood-look tiles create a rustic feel without the potential for moisture damage that comes with real wood.
Familiar tile patterns, from stacked grid and running bond to Flemish bond and basketweave, have given way to nearly every shape in the geometry textbook. Tile is now available in everything from diamond-shaped to trapezoid and combinations of shapes create a fresh look that’s miles from ordinary.
Tile manufacturers understand the need to create a wide selection of tiles that appeal to a variety of tastes. Gone are the days of any tile you like so long as it was white. Today, tiles with unusual patterns and unexpected colors are selected more by personal taste than by the expected choice. From warm and cozy to industrial chic, tiles now are expected to elevate the mood of an interior space such as a bathroom.
Another trend that updates a traditional flooring material is tiles that imitate terrazzo. Traditionally formed in place or precast to fit, terrazzo is a composite material containing small chips of marble, granite or glass poured with a cement or polymer binder. Now, the characteristic dots and flecks of terrazzo are available as tile without the expense of a custom floor.
The growing popularity of large images, especially plants and the natural environment, is expressed in wall tiles for smaller spaces. The intent is to catch the eye with a familiar, comforting image presented on a larger scale than in the past.
For truly a maintenance-free shower at a cost comparable to tile, consider a shower wall insert. Made of layered PVC, wall inserts are available in colors and patterns to match marble, granite or stone.
With the many bathroom and shower tile choices available, consulting an interior design profession is always good advice.