Knowledge centre

Tiles

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  • Ceramic or Porcelain?

Choosing between ceramic or porcelain tiles will depend on where you are installing your tiles.

Porcelain tiles are best suited for flooring due to their strength and minimal water absorbency. In comparison, ceramic tiles are considerably weaker and less hard-wearing.

When tiling walls, either material can be used providing you adhere to the weight limits of the background you are applying your tiles to. As ceramic tiles are lighter, easier to drill and easier to work with, there are situations where ceramic tiles would be a better material for wall tiling. 

Remember all surfaces in wet areas should be waterproofed before tiling commences.

  • Can you use floor tiles on a wall?

Yes, you can use floor tiles on a wall providing the tiles do not exceed the weight limit for the background they are installed upon. In situations where a floor tile can be used on a wall, it provides more scope when choosing and using tiles for a room as the walls and floors can be matching.

  • Can you use wall tiles on the floor?

No, as wall tiles will not withstand foot traffic. General footfall will cause the glaze on the tile to wear and the tile damage very quickly. This will not only detract from the aesthetics of the tiles, but any damage could prove hazardous due to sharp edges or chipped tiles.

  • What is the difference between a wall and floor tile?

A floor tile will have been manufactured to withstand foot traffic and will have a wear and slip rating associated with it. A wall tile will not have been produced for the same purpose and will generally lean towards the decorative side rather than the durability aspect.

  • Do smaller tiles suit a small room better?

Not necessarily. Small tiles can create a busy look as there are more grout lines to draw the attention of the eye, where larger tiles can create a calm ambiance in a room by reducing details in a space.

It is a personal choice but don't be afraid to use a larger tile as long as the size is practical for the room, as the results can be great!

  • Are larger tiles quicker to install?

Generally larger tiles do not speed up the installation process taking the same or more time to install. If the background you are laying your tiles onto has any irregularities then it will take longer. It is sometimes advisable to use a self-leveling compound before laying large format tiles, as they can emphasise uneven surfaces.

  • Can I lay large format tiles and large wood effect tiles in a brick fashion pattern?

Laying large format tiles in a brick pattern is not advisable but can be done. When large format tiles are manufactured, it is common for a slight bow to form in the centre of the tile. When laying them in an overlapping pattern, such as a brick pattern, this bow causes the edges and corners of the tile to protrude (known as lippages). These lippages not only increase the chances of the tile being damaged but pose a health hazard.

 

Check the tile manufacturer's guidance if your tile can be laid in an overlapping pattern and, if so, what the maximum percentages or measurements for overlapping the tiles are. Manufacturers may also advise using levelling clips to provide a level finish between adjacent tiles.

If no information is forthcoming, check with a tiler if a 1/3 running bond (third bond pattern) can be used to create a brick pattern and alleviate any lippage.

  • What colour adhesive should I use with natural stone?

A white adhesive is recommended for natural stone as it contains lower quantities of minerals and salts that can cause problems when drawn up through the stone by capillary action. It also prevents unsightly shadowing when using a translucent stone like marble, for example, and even with darker coloured stone such as dark greys and black coloured stone.

  • What adhesive do I use for see-through glass mosaics?

There are two options for adhesive for glass mosaics; both need a full bed of adhesive with no gaps or hollows behind (this should be the case for all tiles when laid).

A white adhesive can be used to fix mosaic tiles or, more commonly, an epoxy grout due to its colour options and its ability to also be used as an adhesive. For example, a blue see-through glass mosaic can be fixed and grouted with a blue epoxy adhesive/grout.

  • Can tiles be used with underfloor heating?

Yes, tiles and stone can be used with underfloor heating and will retain and radiate warmth. As tiles are fired to extremely high temperatures they can cope with the heating from underneath, as can stone. However, rapidly heating a cold floor to a high temperature can cause thermal shock, which risks damaging your installation. 

Please use your underfloor heating correctly by bringing the operating temperature gradually and adhere to your manufacturers and installers advice.

  • Can I use natural stone split face tiles in my shower?

No, it is not advisable to use split face tiles in wet areas as they are not designed to be grouted and therefore cannot be sealed to protect against water ingress. Their irregular surface also lends itself to bacteria and mould build up in wet/damp areas.

These tiles are great for feature walls in dry areas and provide a stunning backdrop but they are not to be used in wet areas.

  • Can I use natural stone in my shower area?

Yes, you can use natural stone in your shower, although you will need to check with the supplier regarding suitability and ensure it is sealed and maintained properly throughout its life. There are many options when using natural stone in wet areas, it is best to talk to your local tile showroom to determine the best solution for you.

  • Can I tile over tile?

Yes, it is possible to tile over tile providing specific measures are taken in preparation and application. 

 

Check how firmly the existing tiles are adhered to the background or sub-base, and if tiling over tiles on a wall, check the weight limit of the background. If the tiles do not exceed the weight limits and are firmly adhered to the background, then yes it is possible to tile over tile but a special primer must be used before tiling! It is best to ask your local retailer for the correct materials.

Remember your tile installation is only as good as the background and bond beneath the tile. If there is any doubt, do NOT proceed until you have sought and received professional advice.

  • If I am removing a bath to install a shower, and wish to tile over the existing tiles, how do I make up the depth where the bath has been removed?

The easiest way to fill a gap when making up depth is to use a tile backer board, generally 6mm with a bed of adhesive behind. This is both waterproof and structurally sound (providing the background is sound).

Another method is to use some cheap white sacrificial tiles to tile the untitled area and, once dry, tile over the whole wall - including the old and new tiles - using a special primer available from most good tile retailers

  • Can you still get 6” x 8” (150mm x 200mm) tiles?

6” x 8” (150mm x 200mm) tiles were once popular but unfortunately are extremely hard to come by, as trends have changed and popularity has waned.