There have been a plethora of new wall and floor covering systems coming onto the market in recent years. But bathroom tiles have remained one of the most popular materials when it comes to decorating bathrooms. This is despite the new, increased competition.
Tiles are used a lot more extensively in warmer climates where the cold surface temperature is less of an issue. Living areas, hallways and even bedrooms get tiled regularly. They are primarily used in bathrooms and kitchens in the UK because they are too cold underfoot for use elsewhere.
The amount of options available in the tiling sector is simply massive. There are literally thousands and thousands of different choices. Shapes, sizes, colours, finishes, patterns, and materials all vary hugely so there will definitely be something on the market that suits your needs.
Bathroom Tile Materials
When we talk about bathroom tiles it is sort of inferred that we are talking about ceramic wall and floor tiles. In reality, there are a lot more materials available that can be used in both these situations.
Cork, mirror, glass, vinyl are all available in tile format and are used regularly in bathrooms. But it is ceramic and stone tiles that are the most heavily used and the ones most associated with bathroom decoration.
Most standard wall and floor tiles are made from a fired ceramic material. They can be glazed or unglazed and come in a bewildering range of sizes and designs. There are even various different shapes available – not just the standard rectangular or square one we see most often.
There are also natural stone tiles that are used in high-end bathroom installations. Some stone tiles will be familiar to you while others might be known but not often seen.
Ceramic Bathroom Tiles
Natural Stone Tiles
What Are The Alternatives To Bathroom Tiles?
There are quite a few. A lot of the products are no better than tiles when it comes to maintenance and some are considerably worse.
- Painted Plaster – this will not cope very well with the wet conditions of bathrooms and is not suitable for use in showers
- Timber Cladding – similar to painted plaster in that it just does not cope well with moisture
- Bathroom Wall Panels – can even look like tiles but has none of the drawbacks
So if you want to make life easier for yourself you need to do away with grout altogether and fit waterproof wall panels in place of bathroom tiles.
Are The Alternatives Easy To Fit?
Panels are also much easier to install than tiles.
Preparation is everything if a tiled wall is going to look first-class. So everything has to be smooth, primed and perfect otherwise any unevenness will show through in the grout lines.
Panelling is much more forgiving and can be installed over a variety of surfaces with little or no preparation needed. This means that hacking off old tiles, skimming and plastering are all unnecessary making for a much quicker, cleaner and cheaper fit.
So what are the disadvantages? The answer is none, really. The only significant difference that we can see is that there is a much wider choice of designs with tiles.
Why Are Tiles Still So Popular?
Mainly because people are unaware that there is a suitable alternative.
Tiles are the first product that most people turn to when decorating a bathroom but people are slowly coming around to the idea of using something else in this high-demand area of the home. The amount of hard work that is needed to keep tiles looking pristine is huge. And it is a thankless task because once the grout has turned mouldy it is almost impossible to eradicate without raking it all out and starting again.
The simple fact is that this grout is not maintenance-free, unlike modern panelling systems which provide a “fit and forget” surface.