Porcelain bathroom floor tiles – a buying guide

Porcelain is a brilliant material for bathroom floors. It's hygienic, easy to clean, and tiles are available in different slip ratings so if you are looking for a little extra grip, you can find it. Porcelain bathroom floor tiles can also mimic other materials that are not perhaps suitable for bathrooms such as natural wood and does so cost effectively.

Bathroom floors need to be waterproof. Water can splash from sinks, steam from showers can mist surfaces and water is likely to find its way onto floors no matter how carefully you step from the bath.

To be called porcelain, a tile must have a water absorption rate of less than 0.5%. That makes porcelain pretty much waterproof - in fact, porcelain can be used outside it is so hardwearing and tough. So porcelain bathroom floor tiles are perfect for busy bathrooms.

We should add if you are looking to create a wetroom then you will still need to 'tank' the shower area etc to ensure it is full waterproofed - whilst porcelain has a low water absorption rate you will still need to grout in between the tiles. However, porcelain as a material is the ideal canvas for bathrooms delivering both durability and design in spades.

So including design, what are the key considerations when choosing porcelain bathroom floor tiles?

1. Tile Design

As tile technology continually improves, porcelain design has also come on leaps and bounds. Gone are the days when a marble tile had 2 graphics per collection and therefore repeated across large spaces. Today, some porcelain collections may boast 20, 30 or even 40 different designs per tile.

It's not just the differing designs, technology is also pushing the boundaries of realism with porcelains now mimicking other materials to the highest degree. This is about pattern and tile finish aligning, so gone are completely flat wooden planks and in are wood effect porcelain planks that have a slightly undulating surface and where the surface texture and pattern align to echo the knots and gnarls of really wood. So much so, it is hard to tell the difference! These really are premium floor tiles for stunning bathroom design.

Now you really can have wood in the bathroom and what's more, all this needs is a quick wipe down with a mop and warm water to keep it in tip top condition!

2. Tile Size

The size of tile you choose can have a dramatic impact on your overall design. That is mainly due to grout lines.

For bathrooms, which tend to be some of the smallest rooms in our homes, size of tile is a key consideration. Porcelain bathroom floor tiles come in a range of sizes and generally you will find the same design of tile available in 3 or 4 different sizings from smaller format to larger options.

The larger the tile, the less grout lines. Sometimes it is tempting to think small space, so opt for smaller tiles. But opting for a larger format tile with fewer grout lines can actually make your space feel larger.

There are a few things to consider if you are loving the large format option so read on!

3. Tile Format

Tiles come in all shapes and sizes with square and rectangular the obvious front runners.

With square, there are less things to consider regards installation. Whereas with rectangular tiles, particularly for floors you will want to consider whether you stack or brick bond tiles into a pattern. You will also want to think about which direction you run the tiles in.

It is also worth noting that if you do go rectangular, then for tiles with a length longer than 600mm you don't want your overlap to be more than 33%. Even the best porcelain will have a very slight curve for longer length tiles and offsetting by no more than 1/3 of the tile length will help reduce any lippage so where your porcelain bathroom floor tiles meet they are flat.


Porcelain bathroom floor tiles showing offset of less than 1/3

4. Installation Considerations

Every bathroom and every bathroom project is of course, different and we would always recommend employing the services of an expert regards your tile installation. It is always worth checking with your installer before you go ahead and purchase your tiles to ensure they are suitable and to consider things like room access, the substrate you are adhering to aswell as the complexity of the room ie are there lots of cuts, corners etc.

If access is restricted into the bathroom or there are tight corners and stairways then it may be a squeeze trying to manoeuvre extra large porcelain tiles - those 1200 x 1200mm giant tiles are also very heavy and the recommendation is having more than one person to lift. It can also be tricky trying to lay really large formats in small spaces so always speak with your installer before committing to a tile size.

Floors are likely to be more flexible in a bathroom due to their make up (unlike ground floors which may be concrete) so again, check with your installer if you are wanting to go for extra large porcelain tiles. Some of these larger formats can be thinner (to make them lighter for handling purposes) so you may find them at 6mm or 8mm thicknesses. It is critical there isn't movement in the floor especially with much larger tiles that are thinner. Essentially the porcelain tile will be fine as long as it is installed correctly and doesn't move!

But that's not to say you can't have that stunning large format tile you always dreamed off to create the wow! factor. Just check it out first!

5. Wastage and tile size

This is something we get asked lots! Bathrooms are one of the tricker spaces regards wastage.

For a tile size of around 600 x 600mm it is usually 10% and that rises to around 20% for larger formats. However, you may get away with less if your room is pretty straightforward. But if there are lots of angles and cuts you may need more.

If you are able to plan out the layout with your tiler this can help. You may be able to work out the number of tiles you actually need and then add on a specific number of spare tiles instead of a percentage.

Whichever you do, it is important to order enough tiles for your project in one go. Chance are you won't be able to buy from the same batch if you don't.

6. A seamless canvas or plenty of pattern?

The secret to a seamless canvas is to opt for porcelain bathroom floor tiles that are pretty uniform in design. Concretes and cements are brilliant options. They have a little something going on from a design perspective, so they aren't too flat, but they also allow you to match a similar colour grout so the floor can look as seamless as possible.

Contrast this with say a marble where you have veining that is running across the tile and you maybe have a few different colours to consider. So picking a colour in the tile is a good way to match a grout. If you want to blend the grout, then in the example below you may want to opt for a very light grey. Or, you could go mid or dark grey and make a feature of the grout lines.

7. Underfloor heating and porcelain

Another huge advantage of porcelain bathroom floor tiles is the fact you can also install underfloor heating. Porcelain works brilliantly with underfloor heating systems so whilst tiles may feel cold to the touch, with the right system this problem is eliminated.

8. Slip ratings

In Summary - Porcelain ticks all the boxes!

Porcelain bathroom floor tiles are hardwearing, non-porous, available in a variety of finishes, easy to clean and designed to last. Add to that the incredible diversity of design and sizes along with great value and it is little wonder these premium floor tiles are the top pick for bathroom projects.

Want to know more about porcelain bathroom floor tiles? Click on the links below the images to find out more about our collections. You can order samples via our website or get in touch with us. We'd be delighted to help with your project.

The TilePortfolio specialise in Italian and Spanish Porcelain and Ceramic tiles, in particular large format Porcelains and Porcelain tiles for inside and outside. Our carefully curated, stunning tile portfolios are beautifully presented online and supported by our fuss-free ‘go-the -extra-tile’ service and tile consultancy service. Visit our website for unmissable interiors inspiration or visit our Northamptonshire Showroom. The TilePortfolio team are always available to chat, we’d be delighted to help with your project so please do get in touch.

Please note: We strongly recommend using a professional tiler for your project. Installation requirements may vary depending on the tiles you choose, the fixing products used and the specific conditions. Always check with your tiler regards the suitability of the tiles. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.

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