How To: Choose Tile

Determine the right type, quality, and quantity when choosing tile.

Choosing Tile

Photo: Flickr

Evaluate Your Needs
Choosing tile is not as easy as walking into a showroom and picking the right color or pattern. First, you have to consider how it will be used.

For wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens, you need a vitreous or impermeable tile, not a porous one. Floors need tiles with more flexural strength than those that go on walls. Tile for countertops needs to resist impact and acids. And glazed or polished tiles are easier to clean for walls, but they’re not suitable for wet floors because they lack traction. 

Checking for Quality
It’s also important to know that price is not always a good indicator of tile quality. You should ask your dealer if the tile you’re considering complies with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and if it’s reliable for the type of project you’re doing.

Once you know what type you need, you can choose your tile’s design and color.

Ordering Tile
Once the task of choosing tile is complete, be sure to order from the same lot number and shade number since tiles that weren’t fired together can look very different.

To determine the quantity of tile you need, multiply the area’s width and length and then add 5 percent for waste. Round up to have extras for any repairs down the line.

Choosing Grout
While you’re specifying tile, don’t forget to choose the grout carefully. There are so many colors and options available today, you don’t have to default to that stark white that will have you forever scrubbing to keep it clean. You want one that’s mildew-resistant in a color that complements your tile.