Wall tiles have been used for centuries to add colour and charm to homes and commercial interiors. They be used as feature elements or simply to beautify and stylise what would otherwise be a conventional interior.
Wall tiles are easy to care for as they are not designed to be load bearing. As such they are often lighter and thinner than floor tiles and their glazing isn’t a concern for resistance to high wear.
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Wall tiles are easy to maintain
Wall tiles are usually easy to maintain and can help provide a water-proof barrier to areas where moisture is a concern, such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. Some tiled applications can even last for generations. Tiles are hard-wearing and not susceptible to fading from UV light.
Tiles are manufactured as a piece of hard-wearing material using various types of clay, metal and/or glass.
Ceramic or Porcelain
When deciding which material is best for internal walls, there is no preference whether one should choose a porcelain over a ceramic or vice versa. Porcelain is a more important concern for floor areas where there is higher traffic, but this is not relevant for walls, as no one walks on walls!
Ceramic tiles are usually produced by firing red or white clay in a kiln, and coating with a durable glaze which carries the colour and pattern. White clay based ceramic tiles are more the norm than red clay based. Ceramic wall tiles can either have non-rectified or rectified edges. Larger format wall tiles tend to have rectified edges, which allow for smaller grout joints and a seamless look.
Porcelain tiles can also be used on the wall, irrespective of their manufacturing process.
Ceramic Wall Tiles
Ceramic wall tiles are typically used for wall applications, and the most popular being subway tiles with width-to-height ratio of about 2:1 or 3:1. Ceramic wall tiles are fired at a high temperature to create a dense, durable tile that’s resistant to moisture. The process of glazing allows for brighter colours and patterns. With ceramic tiles, they are categorized by PEI Wear Ratings but this rating does not apply for wall tiles as it is relative to suitability for floor tiles.
Glass Wall Tiles
Glass tiles are pieces of glass in various colours formed into uniform shapes. They are available as both mosaic collections with a mesh backing and as individual tiles. Glass wall tiles can be used to design a patterned or plain splashback in the kitchen or bathroom. They can also be combined with other materials, such as porcelain and marble, mesh mounted to create interesting mosaics.
Mosaic Wall Tiles
Traditionally, mosaic tiles are decorative designs made up of small materials arranged to create a pattern or image. A mosaic is defined as an inlay design pattern. Individual mosaic patterns vary greatly, featuring diverse materials, colours, and tile shapes. They are available in shapes and styles like square, penny round, arabesque, chevron or herringbone. Normally, mosaic tiles are used for splashbacks and walls. Mosaic tile can be used for floors, but please check the suitability of the material first before laying on the floor.
Natural Stone Tiles
Natural stone tiles have been used for a very long time. The tiles remain popular today due to their ability to withstand wear and tear while retaining their aesthetics. Normally, stone wall tiles are made from granite, marble, slate, and travertine. These work well where moisture is not a concern. Natural stone tile will have rectified edges. They can be heavy, and all stone tiles are porous and require constant maintenance. It’s important to remember sealing before installation is complete. Natural stone tiles can be found in a variety of commercial and residential properties and applications, mainly in kitchens, bathrooms, and hallways.
Wall Tile Sizes
One of the biggest decisions in selecting what type of tile to use in a design is the tile size. There are countless options available. The size of tile you choose can have as much an effect on the appearance of your project as the design and finish. Larger tiles will leave a room with less grout lines, creating a more streamlined look that can make a small room seem bigger. Smaller wall tiles like subways can allow for the implementation of interesting designs such as herringbone.
As one of the most popular tile types, subway tiles are made with a 1:2 or 1:3 aspect ratio (height to width). They are used on bathroom walls, kitchen splashbacks, showers and bath tub surrounds. Subway tiles is most often made of ceramic or porcelain, though sometimes it is made of glass or metal, depending on the availability of designs at the time of purchase.
Square and Rectangular Tiles
Both square and rectangular wall tiles can be used in kitchens and bathrooms. They can be applied on any of the wall areas including showers. The shape of the wall tile selected depends on personal choice, as there is no rule as to which is better. The overall look of the area is of utmost importance when selecting between a square wall tile or rectangular wall tile.
Plank tiles are normally 4 inches / 100mm wide by 24 inches / 600mm long, or larger. As far as width, they can be made as large as 15 inches / 400mm. Planks were made as long, narrow tiles normally applied in flooring. In modern interiors, plank tiles are increasingly used to create a wooden panelling look, splashbacks or feature walls. The most common look today is using timber plank tiles as both wall and floor tiles and/or feature walls. Natural timber itself cannot be used as a wall or floor covering in a bathroom as it will expand and contract, warp and absorb moisture. Therefore, timber look tiles create a whole new design element for wall areas, whether in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry.
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