Tile comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and styles.

How to Design a Ceramic Floor Tile Plan

by Tim Anderson

Tile is one of the preferred flooring materials used in homes around the world because of its durability and range of color selections. On top of that, there are numerous styles to choose from, ranging from glazed to unglazed, mosaic and large-bodied. When it comes to designing a ceramic tile floor, there is no right way or wrong way to go about it; there are only personal preference and budget to consider.

1. Visible Walls

Many times the first step people make is to center the layout in a room. While this may look good in certain settings, it leads to excessive labor that can be avoided in most circumstances. Instead, look to the longest, most visible wall or the doorways and other visible areas. Consider a bathroom, for example, with full tile at the doorway and against the bathtub; any cuts are behind the toilet and the cabinets where they will rarely be seen. This leads to a far more efficient installation and saves on time as well as material costs.

2. Size of Room

When you are working with a larger space, you can use any type of tile or pattern that you desire; but a smaller space gives the room a smaller feel. Optical illusions are the greatest tools in a designer or installer’s pocket. If you are working in a smaller room, consider using larger-bodied tiles to create the illusion of space. The suggestion about not centering your installations applies -- even if it means buying extra material and spending more time on the installation, because the same-sized cuts around the perimeter add a feeling of space to the room.

3. Style

The type of ceramic tile you are using also depends on the room. Unglazed tiles are not meant to be used in high traffic areas or areas where regular moisture is occurring, because they will soak up stains and liquids. Use glazed tiles instead to ensure ease of cleaning and avoidance of stains. Large-bodied tiles do not work well on floors that have sloped drains, because they cannot bend to the floor. Instead, use small-bodied tiles that work with the slope, such as mosaic tiles.

4. Considerations

If you are working with a room that has limited natural light, or no windows at all, consider using a light-colored tile to counter the darkness. Don’t forget that you aren’t limited to single-size tiles, as there are numerous patterns to choose from where multiple tile types are used together, such as a pinwheel pattern. For areas with visible termination points, such as a kitchen floor dead-ending into a living room, try to find material that has matching bullnose (tile with rounded edges) to terminate the floor. If not, there are a variety of transition strips available to help you transition to another material.

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