My Interior Design Facebook Group has been booming with tile design questions lately! And with bathroom remodels being one of my favorite projects to work on, it was about time I shared some knowledge on the topic. I regularly see homeowners being misinformed on tile types or completely disregarding technical information that is important to consider.
While bathrooms are often designed to be a sanctuary to provide an area for relaxing and self-care, every bathroom needs to be safe for everyone to use. For example, installing a polished tile on your shower floor can have you slipping around like Bambi on ice! Okay – that’s probably an extreme example – but you get the picture: safety is just as important (if not more) than how the bathroom looks.
That brings up the question: How do you select the right tile?
And with the many different installations in a bathroom, what should you be considering for each instance?
In this blog post, I’m going to answer all of these questions and break down the most common tile areas of the home so you can choose the right tile!
We need to kick-start this blog post by explaining exactly why you should be concerned with safety when it comes to selecting tiles for your home.
When every tile is made, it is given a slip rating. And this is to ensure its safety when installed, particularly as flooring. If your chosen tile doesn’t meet a specific slip rating then it isn’t suitable for use on the floor and can be a safety hazard!
Choosing the wrong tile – particularly for your flooring – can be dangerous for you and your family. Please always check the slip rating and ask a professional if you have questions or concerns.
The slip resistance rating system called DCOF (Dynamic Coefficient of Friction) is widely used by tile manufacturers. This slip rating system will help you to identify which tile is right for each desired location.
As a general rule, the higher the DCOF number, the better the tile is for wet environments (the less slippery the surface will be). And the lower the DCOF number, or closer to 0 the number is, the more slippery the tile. Zero means the material has no friction at all.
Sometimes there are specific recommendations for different tiles in terms of the locations they are suitable for. These will be categorized by Dry, Damp, and Wet.
Let’s have a look into specific locations and what to look for when selecting tiles for these areas.
Bathrooms in general are referred to as “Damp Locations” due to the condensation and moisture often found in the air. It is important to note, however, that showers are classed as Wet – we will cover the shower area in more detail next.
It’s unlikely that your bathroom will be covered with water, and is more likely to have the occasional spillages and condensation. Your bathroom flooring therefore should have a DCOF rating of 0.50 or greater.
Being classed as a Wet Location, bathroom showers are important in terms of safety and the slip resistance should not be ignored. Failure to install shower floor tiles with the correct slip rating will lead to accidents – no one wants to be showering with an ice rink underfoot!
When choosing a tile for your shower floor you should look for a high DCOF rating. Ideally, this should be higher than your main bathroom floor tile as the entire shower floor is likely to be wet for a lengthier period of time. Look for tiles that are 0.60 or higher.
Bathroom and Shower Walls
There are more options available to you when choosing the wall tiles in your bathroom and shower. This is because of its location not directly impacting someone’s stability and balance when walking.
For your bathroom walls, you can choose tiles with any slip rating. While for the shower walls you may wish to have some friction on the surface (although not entirely necessary). Shower walls should be more resistant to water to avoid swelling and cracking. Consult the manufacturer or a professional if you are unsure.
When looking into tile options for your backsplash, almost anything goes! This area should be treated in the same way as bathroom walls. If the tile is heavy, then a cement board may be required for installation.
For the majority of this blog post I have shared information for tiles and no other material. This is because tiles are a very popular choice for flooring in wet environments. There are some other materials you can consider for your bathroom or shower flooring if you prefer something different!
Our favorite material options for wet environments include mosaic tiles (my personal favorite for shower floors!), natural stone, or porcelain tiles. You can also consider vinyl flooring for the bathroom, outside of the shower area.
Some homeowners will prefer a seamless and sleek look, however, if you would like to break up the flooring in your bathroom or kitchen, using a textured runner or bath mat will help to create a change in texture underfoot. This will also make the floor surface safer.
I hope this blog post has provided you with informative tools and information in order to make a more informed decision on your tile choices for the future! Do you know what slip rating your floor tiles are in your home? I’d love to hear all about your experience with choosing tiles in the comments section!