Help & advice: Buying guide to tiles
Buying guide to tiles
Amazingly versatile, always fashionable, durable and easy to clean - tiles
are real style stars. Coming in a huge variety of styles and finishes, wall
and floor tiles will help transform your home.
Do your walls and floors a favour and check out the Homebase range of tiles.
There's lots to love about tiles. They come in a huge variety of materials, shapes, patterns and colours. So whether you're after floor tiles or wall tiles, you'll always find ones to suit your style and your home. Tiles are also easy to clean and wear well. Oh, and they happen to be safe and non-flammable. All in all a brilliant buy.
- Ceramic tiles can be glazed or unglazed.
- They don't need sealing.
- They can have a decorative, patterned or coloured surface.
- They're only suitable for indoor use.
- Made from glass that's been cut, coloured and hand-finished.
- There's a massive range of colours, textures and sizes.
- They come in strips or sheets of mosaic to mix and match with other tiles.
- Glass is only suitable for indoor use.
- Glass is very difficult to cut.
- These tiles are made from natural stone.
- No two tiles are ever the same.
- They come in two finishes – natural tumbled or polished.
- Tumbled travertine has an open sponge-like texture.
- Polished travertine is filled and buffed and looks more sleek.
- Travertine can be used inside and out but check packaging.
- The range of colours available is limited.
- Travertine tiles should be sealed before and after grouting.
- Marble tiles come polished with a high-shine finish.
- No two tiles are ever the same.
- They can be used inside and out but check packaging.
- Marble tiles need to be sealed before and after grouting.
- They come in metallic and steel finishes.
- Metal tiles are used to add small areas of detail, colour or pattern.
- They usually come in mosaic strips or sheets to mix and match with other tiles.
Mosaic wall tiles (or mosaic floor tiles for that matter) can be made of any material and come in sheets containing many tiles. Individual tiles can be any shape but the webbed sheets are usually square or rectangular. When you want a pattern with a 'random' appearance, the sheets can be unevenly shaped to make joins invisible.
When laying mosaics on a webbed backing, the backing is bonded to the adhesive. Some vitreous glass mosaics are backed with a sheet of paper. When you lay these, the tiles are bonded ridged side down and the paper is peeled or soaked off afterwards. You can cut down mosaics to size or cut into strips and use as a border.
When calculating how many tiles you need, always add on an extra 10% (or a little more if you're doing a patterned border). That way you're allowing for breakages, cutting, waste and pattern matching. If you're unsure, buy more tiles than you need as unopened boxes of tiles can always be returned to store.Please click here to go directly to our online calculator
If a professional tiler is installing your tiles they'll of course know the right grout or sealer to use. If you're tiling yourself, check what grout or adhesive you need for the surface you'll be working on. There are many different grouts and adhesives for wall and floor tiles. These come in a range of colours to complement or contrast with your design. You can also buy combined grout and adhesive, either as a powder to mix yourself or ready-made. Look out for waterproof grout with mould inhibitors as these help keep the finish looking fresh and white.
Tiles come in standard sizes. Common sizes for square wall tiles are 10cm, 15cm, 20cm and 25cm. For floor tiles you'll see 30cm, 30.5cm and 40cm square.
Rectangular tiles are also available in a range of sizes, as are sheet or mosaic tiles, where many tiles are bonded to flexible webbing. When buying tiles always check the pack coverage.
There are plenty of ways to care for your tiles and keep them looking their best for many years to come.
Natural stone sealer
This seals the tiles' natural porous surface to stop it staining. Resealing should be done every six months.
Natural stone polish
Apply this after the sealer to give the tile a low-sheen polish.
Natural stone cleaner
Even sealed natural stone tiles can become stained. But this cleaner will help remove any marks or spills.
This can help make a polished tiled floor less slippery. The solution increases the friction of the surface, helping to prevent accidents.
Over time grout can become grubby and stained, especially in high-use areas. Revive it using this specialist product.
In bathrooms tiles are prone to mould but a specialist mould remover can help get rid of unsightly spots.
To get the most even finish when you're tiling, check all the tiles bought for colour variation and mix tiles from different packs.