Tiles offer a hardwearing, long lasting finish to bathrooms and kitchens. B&Q offers a wide range of tiles for every style and budget, from traditional to contemporary to help you get the look you want. We also offer "how to" advice should you need help in fitting them. This guide will help outline the different tiling styles and materials, as well as advising you on adhesives and grout you'll need to do the job.
Types of tile materials
Tiles can be made from a variety of materials. Here are the benefits of the most common types:
Ceramic tiles are the lowest maintenance of all tiles; they don't need sealing and are waterproof after grouting. They're easy to cut and fix too - and thanks to inkjet printing advances, can mimic other materials like natural stone.
Granite is very hard wearing and can be used in most high-traffic living areas of your home. Its colour doesn't fade and once grouted and sealed, granite tiles are waterproof and easy to look after. You just need to reseal them from time to time.
These tiles need to be sealed before and after fixing and then polished with a gloss finish. But take care - highly polished marble in areas where there are water splashes can be hazardous. Because marble is a natural product, no two tiles look exactly alike.
Mosaic isn't strictly speaking a 'material', but it's worth mentioning here. If you think you have to fix and space each and every tiny square, you'd be wrong. They come fixed to a mesh backing (or with a paper facing), making them easy to fix and giving you an elaborate finish.
Quarry tiles are made from natural clay, making them exceptionally strong and durable. They're unpolished and unglazed; meaning the potential for slips and trips is very low. You can safely use quarry tiles in high-traffic areas from kitchens and utility rooms to hallways.
Slate tiles resist scratches and stains well, making them ideal for kitchens, bathrooms and any other room where mess is a potential problem. Strong and hard wearing, slate can be used in most high-traffic areas - though it will need sealing.
Porcelain tiles come in four grades (from 1 to 4) depending on the amount of wear and tear they need to withstand. They can be glazed or unglazed, but unglazed will need regular cleaning and sealing. Above all, porcelain is hard wearing and durable, and looks great polished.
These tiles are made from natural stone - so no two are ever alike - and are characterised by voids in their surface, which you can fill with coloured grout, resin or cement, or leave unfilled. They're only suitable for low-traffic areas, and need regular cleaning and sealing.
Borders, inset tiles and trims
Add a decorative finishing touch to your tiling with borders, inset tiles and trims.
Border tiling - sometimes in a different width and colour to the main tiling scheme - can be used to mark the end of wall tiling, or to create 'zones' on the floor (in a kitchen-diner, for example). It can be textured or patterned, with some border tiling designed to match co-ordinating inset tiles.
Inset tiles can be patterned, or plain but in a complementary colour to the main tiling scheme. Add them into your design in a regular sequence or randomly, depending on the effect you're going for. Some inset tiles also have holes cut into them, into which decorative pieces of tile can be fixed.
Tile trims hide the edges of tiling that goes around corners. This not only makes for a more attractive tiling scheme, but also disguises any rough edges - while also preventing accidental injury to you, or damage to the tiles. The depth of trim you need to buy depends on the tile thickness you're using:
|Tile thickness||Recommended trim depth|
|6mm||6mm||7mm||6mm or 8mm|
|8mm||8mm or 9mm|
|9mm||9mm or 10mm|
|10mm||9mm or 10mm|
Tile adhesives, grout and sealants
Tiles need to be fixed to a surface with an appropriate adhesive, grouted in the gaps between them and then sealed for waterproofing. Some tiles may also need a specialist polish to maintain their finish.
Tile adhesives, which come as a powder or ready mixed, are used to stick tiles to the wall. There are many varieties available - make sure you buy the right sort for the tiles you plan to fix.
Tile grout is also available as a powder or ready mixed, and is used to fill in the gaps between tiles. As well as general-purpose grouts, there are now many grouts on the market specially formulated for tiling over different surfaces and working with different kinds of tile. These can both improve the durability of the tiled surface, and make the job easier. Use a grout reviver to clean up dirty-looking grout and give it a newly grouted finish.
Tile sealant is used to give a waterproof seal, especially in places where the end of the tiling scheme comes into contact with surfaces like bathtub edges or kitchen worktops.