Tiling Walls: How to Choose Wall Tiles
Tiling is perfectly feasible for the average home handy person, but it is a good idea to start with a small project, such as a basin splashback. Avoid anywhere that requires any tricky tile cutting, and choose tiles that don’t need any complicated pattern-matching.
Most wall tiles are made from a thin slab of clay decorated with a coloured glaze, and often with a pattern. There are many shapes beyond the usual squares and rectangles, including hexagonal, octagonal, curved Provençal styles and small ‘drop-ins’.
The most common square tiles are either 10 cm (4 in) or 15 cm (6 in). Rectangular tiles are usually 20 x 10 cm (8 x 4 in) and 20 x 15 cm (8 x 6 in). Border tiles, used to finish off the top edge of a panel, usually relate in size to the standard square and rectangular tiles, but are narrower in depth.
‘Universal’ tiles have several glazed edges, useful where you would otherwise be left with an unglazed edge exposed.
You can also buy feature panels — sets of tiles that form a large design. These can be used alone, rather like a piece of artwork, or set into a wall of plainer tiles.
Other types of tiles
Mosaic are tiny tiles supplied made-up on a mesh backing, usually 30 cm (12 in) square. They may be different tones of plain colours or form a distinct pattern. The sheets are laid in a bed ofand then grouted. Faux mosaics are standard tiles scored to look like mosaic.
Cork tiles are usually fixed as panels, rather than covering a whole wall, although cork has good insulating properties. Ideal for pin boards or feature walls. Most come in ‘natural’ colours, although some may be stained or dyed. Unsealed tiles are thick and crumbly, so it is better to choose the pre-sealed type. Cork can be sealed after hanging, but as it is very porous it may need many coats.
Metallic and mirror tiles are often used for their reflective value. The metallic tiles are usually produced in a lightweight metal such as aluminium, made to simulate copper, pewter or stainless steel and some have interesting textures and self-patterns. They are fixed by self-pads. Mirror tiles are much heavier, and come in a wide range of sizes. Some are hung using a special adhesive, but heavier panels need to be fixed by means of special plates or mirror . Choose very high-quality tiles for a bathroom, as condensation can cause the silvering on the back of cheap mirror to perish.
Reflective tiles must be hung on an especially flat surface, or you will get a distorted reflection. If necessary, fix them to a panel ofor and then attach this to the wall.