How To Choose Tile

Living are Tiles Design

How do you choose the right tile for your home? 

Tiles are one of those materials that are unlike most other materials when renovating. It’s so resilient you can use it in dry areas, really sunny areas, dark areas or really wet areas. You could use it somewhere as hot and humid as a sauna or you could line the pool with them. You could also do an accent wall in your living room or tile your porch. There are so many different things you can do with tile these days it’s really quite amazing.

I mean just think, the Romans would use marble for all the beautiful homes and water fountains, it would withstand all the abuse, and last for an unthinkable amount of time.

That’s great and all, but wait … how do you choose a tile that will suit your design and needs?

There are so many kinds of tiles these days. Whether looking at a mosaic which are small tiles mounted on a mesh, a subway tile which is usually a rectangle in a slightly smaller tile format – like a 3 x 6 or 4 x 12, what about those big beauties? Who doesn’t want one of those 24 x 48 or 48 x 48 tiles? One of the things to consider is how much maintenance you would like to do. Also, what is the budget you would like to spend?

Some of the options out there are:

Glass tile

Glass tiles depending on the size. These are usually more expensive tiles as well as you can sometimes pay a premium to install them. They can look beautiful but may also scratch over time.

Ceramic tile

A ceramic tile will be good for bathrooms and kitchens. They also come in smaller sizes that are perfect for shower floors and decorative backsplashes which is usually where I personally use them. Usually cheaper to install and to purchase the material. Keep in mind, they can break if you drop a pot or something solid on the floor.

black white and grey multi pattern tile on bathroom floor

Porcelain tile

Porcelain tiles are my favourite. They come in a large variety of sizes big and small. They are thicker than typical ceramic tiles; they are usually the image range products as far as price and installation which is what I usually suggest for my clients as you can get them in high-end and low-end products. They are very versatile but may be harder to drill and cut. If you drop a pot on your kitchen floor, and your tile is installed properly, it will probably not break. One of the nice things about porcelain, if it does break it is usually the same colour all the way through.


Granite can be a very nice tile. It’s not something I see very often anymore. The price point is usually much higher than something like a porcelain tile and you will need to make sure you care for it. This means not leaving your salty snow-covered shoes on it and making sure you reseal them. This is not a product that is recommended for people who have dogs or do not want to spend the extra time maintaining their stone. This can be a beautiful product when in the right home.


Marble can also be a nice product for a variety of different spaces. Most people do not understand the work involved and keeping your marble in nice condition. A lot of times I see people buy a home with an orange marble shower, and they do not understand that it used to be white. This can be caused by hard water and even rust coming from your pipes and shower fixtures. Marble does come in a variety of different colours but most people choose the lighter ones. There is a large variation in cost as more and more people are looking for these kinds of products in the market. You can get them from China or you can get them from Italy. Some marbles can be very soft and can scratch the finish quite easily. One of the beautiful things with a product like a natural stone is the fact that you can call a stone refinisher and make it look new again.

Cement tile

Cement tiles are a very popular tile more recently for people who are looking for something different than what everyone else has. These are a higher price point but you will definitely get what you pay for as they are sure to make your friends envious.

These are also fantastic options as there are so many different styles and vibrant colours to choose from. Because of this they are getting eaten up by designers everywhere. We did a brick pattern install this year that looks phenomenal. We have a 3D version is installed on the fireplace soon. I’ve done them in a variety of shapes, colours and patterns. They can look fantastic but you will pay a premium to install them as most tile setters do not know the proper way to install them properly.

Red Bricks Wall

Although these are a great option, as mentioned it has a tricky install and depending on the area you were using them in they can be damaged fairly easily. I would not suggest them in high traffic areas if they are hand-painted. You also must be diligent to seal them regularly if they are in any kind of area where they will see water or stains. In my opinion these are one of the tiles I would suggest not using in an area that is constantly wet like a shower as they are very porous.

My favourite is still the porcelain because of its versatility and price point, but there are so many good options out there these days.

Whichever option you pick, (and of course there are others out there as well) have fun with it and let your space have personality!

If you’re considering tile, contact one of our Intelligent Design Pros and we can put together a pattern or design package for you.