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The most googled tile questions answered

Image of Marlborough Terracotta Parquet tile from Ca' Pietra

The most googled tile questions answered

If you like the look of tiles for your home but don’t know where to start, you’re not alone – it’s a commonly googled topic. The experts at Ca’ Pietra have answered five of the most searched-for tile queries.

What tiles should I use in a small bathroom?

Opinions differ on the best tile size to use in a bijou bathroom. You could embrace the cosiness of the space with small mosaic tiles. But if you want to make your bathroom feel bigger, we suggest using 30-60cm plain-coloured tiles on both the walls and the floor. When you use the same tile throughout, it’s more difficult to see where the wall stops and the ceiling starts. This draws attention away from the dimensions of the space.

Before you commit to a specific tile, check that it’s designed for where you want to put it (walls and/or floor). Also check it has an appropriate slip rating: you don’t want little feet slipping on tiles post bath-time. Finally, if you’ve set your heart on a wetroom and plan to have underfloor heating, double-check that your intended tiles are compatible with it.

What tiles are suitable for a fireplace?

Tiling a fireplace is a sure-fire way to make it even more of a special feature in the room. The good news is that there are plenty of tile materials that are suitable for fireplaces so you won’t be limited for choice. Porcelain is always a good bet because it naturally absorbs heat due to its density. However, ceramic, glass, marble and natural stones such as marble and slate work well too. Whichever tiles you choose, allow a buffer of at least 2cm between your tiles and the flames.

What tiles can I use outside?

Porcelain tiles can live just as happily outdoors as they can indoors. They’re frost-proof (they don’t absorb water so they won’t crack) and they’re super-low maintenance so will stay looking as good as new with very little TLC. They’re also available in a wide range of colours. Why not opt for patterned porcelain tiles to jazz up sections of your garden as an alternative to crazy paving?

Once you’ve narrowed your options, make sure that your chosen tiles are suitable for exterior use and that they’re slip-resistant if they’re likely to get wet. Many Ca’ Pietra internal porcelain tiles are available as external options, so you can use the same tiles inside and out for a seamless look.

Natural stone tiles are another worthy contender for patios and terraces. Just like you would with porcelain, make sure the stone you’ve selected is frost-resistant and has adequate slip resistance. Think about the amount of maintenance you’re likely to be able to provide, too. Stone will need sealing regularly to stop it soaking up too much water. If you think the upkeep of a natural stone will be too much for you to take on, it’s wise to go for a porcelain alternative.

Which tiles are best for underfloor heating?

Nothing beats waking up on a cold winter morning and warming your toes on toasty bathroom tiles. To reap the rewards of underfloor heating, use tiles that conduct the heat well and that aren’t too dense for the heat to pass through.

Porcelain tiles are ideal for underfloor heating and they’re a more affordable option than natural stone. But if you’ve been dreaming of a limestone, marble or terracotta floor, rest assured that these are great conductors of heat too.

Top tip: any cracks that appear in tiles laid over underfloor heating are normally a sign of a poor screed, so be sure to lay the right groundwork. It’s important you don’t gloss over this area.

Large format tiles underfoot will create a feeling of space. This works particularly well downstairs where you can run the same tile from the hallway to the kitchen and utility room. It can then continue into the boot room or conservatory and perhaps out to a terrace for that seamless inside-out look.

Which tiles need sealing?

Sealant will protect your tiles and give them a long and happy life. Most natural stones will need some level of sealant, especially those more prone to staining. However, durable porcelain and ceramic tiles can be left sealant-free.

Ca’ Pietra’s Stone Essentials Stain Block Eco sealant is a water-based sealant you can use on all types of natural stone including limestone and marble. If you’re installing crackle-glaze tiles, make sure to seal them with our Stone Essentials Crackle Glaze Sealant Protector.

A quick note: grouting is naturally porous so will need sealing too. With a layer of sealant over the top, it’ll be far easier to clean. This means the dreaded toothbrush-scrubbing chore will be needed much less often.

About Ca’ Pietra: Ca’ Pietra is a family business that is celebrating 30 years of being at the forefront of tile and stone design.

Featured image: Marlborough Terracotta Parquet tile from Ca’ Pietra.

Want more? Don’t miss our other blogs that focus on tiles. From how to regrout tiled surfaces and using tile paint to creating a new look on a budget with tile stickers.