How to buy bathroom tiles

March 2, 2015

Here’s how to find bathroom tiles that will look great in your bathroom and keep you within your budget.

How to buy bathroom tiles

Bathroom tiles are one of the most important considerations when renovating a bathroom. They must be functional and safe, but they can also define decor.

Types of bathroom tiles

Tiles come in different materials, each with their own advantages and drawbacks.


Porcelain tile is an easy-to-clean material that’s extremely durable and water-resistant, so it’s ideal for bathrooms.

  • It can come glazed or unglazed.
  • Glazed tiles are specially treated to resist scratches but can get slippery when wet.
  • Unglazed tiles require more upkeep, but they’re less slippery and fit with rustic design choices.


Ceramic tile will very likely outlive anything else in your home.

  • It's scratch-resistant, water-resistant, extremely durable and available in plenty of colours and sizes.
  • Look for ceramic tiles if you want a low-maintenance option.


Most glass tiles are slippery when wet, which makes them dangerous in bathrooms.

  • If you have your heart set on glass, incorporate plenty of slip-resistant mats to make your bathroom safer or use it as wall tiles instead.


Stone tiles are luxurious and full of individual character, but they’re also porous and hold water for longer than other materials.

  • Granite and slate are the best for bathrooms since they’re durable and require little upkeep.
  • Marble, however, is very soft and can noticeably wear down in the high-traffic or wet areas of your home, like the bathroom.


Mosaic tile is made from all kinds of materials, marble and ceramic being the most common.

  • These tiny little tiles all blend together to form a unique design.
  • Most mosaic tiles are connected together by a mesh backing so you aren’t stuck installing thousands of tiny tiles.

Factors to consider when buying bathroom tiles

Tiles get very expensive very quickly, even more so when you factor in regular upkeep, installation and sealing costs.

Your budget

To set a budget, first measure out the space you need tiled and consider how much money you can spend.

Then divide that amount by the square footage so you have a maximum price per square foot.

Since tiles are sold by the square foot, you can then see what kind of tiles you can get without having any financial surprises along the way.

Bathroom tile buying tips

  • Light colours can help small, dark bathrooms feel bigger and brighter.
  • Always buy five to 10 per cent more tile in case some break during the installation.
  • Select a grout colour that complements your tiles.
  • Choose tiles with a coefficient of friction (COF) rating of .50 or higher for a less slippery surface.
  • Since installing tile is time consuming and quite technical, consider professional tile installation.

Every bathroom renovation should start with tile installation. When buying tiles, set a budget, think about your decor and consider all your options before settling on any type.

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