May 28, 2020
Do you know why tile sets the stage for any space?
Well, let me tell you (in case you didn’t know) tile is expensive and fairly permeant.
There is definitely a skill-set when it comes to installing tile and not one that I have ventured into myself. Along with electricians and plumbers, I figure the tile installer should also be a specialist. Why?
- It’s difficult to cut
- It’s difficult to layout
- It’s difficult to measure
- It’s difficult to calculate quantities
- It’s overall complex.
After all, I show up on the jobsite and tell them how I want it to look at the end or submit renderings, it’s their job to figure out how to make that vision become a reality. Comparatively speaking, my job is easy, but I do need to be prepared with product and questions.
Tile to me is like frosting on a wedding cake. It should be essential and thoughtful to make the statement intended. Sometimes, you will want the tile to sit back into the background and be functional and other times you want it to dance. Controlling the eye and how your home is experienced is essential to how your home is experienced by not only you but your guest.
FLOORS: Typically, we do tile the floor. I always figure that while a fiberglass shower base is less expensive, it’s only about half the price and limits your size and room layout. The benefits of tiling the floor far surpass the limits of a fabricated shower pan.
The transition between the bathroom floor and shower is typically a step over a threshold (approx. 4” that will retain the water in the shower and define the shower space. While it is possible to have no threshold, it is a bit tricky and needs to be considered before framing).
WALLS: Walls are a great place to consider patterns and accent tiles. Functionally, it’s also a great opportunity to built out shower niches (or a void in the wall in order to store your shower products in. I like to have fun with these spaces and use accent tiles in the spaces. The bottom of the niche should be a stone product ideally.
CEILINGS: A tiled shower ceiling is always recommended even if you are not doing a steam shower. Moisture will escape to the ceiling and over time cause mold so you might as well plan ahead and simply tile the ceiling.
I always recommend heating tile floors. Radiant is still an amazing product and application but electric floor mats are less expensive and just as functional. There is nothing like getting out of the shower to a warm floor or wet/ snowy boots drying on a mudroom floor. And there is a strange sensation in that a heated tile floor is somehow “softer”. I know that it is not technically but it does feel softer when it’s warm.
Design-wise, I’m a fan of not spending a lot of money on floors. After all, it’s just a floor and do you really want people noticing it and checking it out – dirt and all?
A tile backsplash typically runs from the upper cabinet or cooktop hood and lands on the countertop. I recommend running the whole tile at the countertop and cutting the tile that meets the upper cabinet as it’s less visible.Backsplashes can be the accent in any project and it is often where my clients step out and have fun / spend more money. But if you have a countertop that has a lot of movement and color, I recommend going with a solid colored backsplash tile.
You can probably tell that I love tile and find it fun even within the challenge of installation. It’s an opportunity to add dimension and interest to an otherwise plain space. Have fun with it and invest well in your product and installation.