BLOG - Tile Sizes & Layouts
Although we pick shapes and sizes out of personal liking, there are benefits to sizes and shapes both in application and aesthetics. In this edition, we will look at available sizes and their relevance to application as well as what visual appeal both size and shape can bring to the finished area.
Sizes: Tiles come in a great number of sizes, but instead of creating an exhaustive list, we can commonly group them into a couple of broad categories, being:
Mosaics: anything up to 100mm x 100mm in size
Small: up to 300mm
Medium: up to 600mm
Large Format: 600mm +
Apart from personal appeal, other factors used to decide the tile size are:
- Substrate suitability
- To get fall for water flow (particularly wet areas to a floor drain)
- A small area may not accommodate larger format tiles
- A large area may look too busy with small format tiles
- The skill of the tile layer
- The different costs associated with laying of the different size tiles
Size is often a 'need versus want' battle; the best tile size for the site may not conform to the end users vision. There are of course some ways around size limitation on a site;
- Changing drainage & elevations via screeds and levelling compounds may allow for larger formats
- Getting the same tile in a smaller format (if available) for specific areas (ie shower tray)
- Use strip drains instead of small centre floor wastes to accommodate larger tiles on-grade
- Modify substrate
- Ensure your trade qualified tiler is competent and confident in the preferred tile size or has input into the selection process. It is a good idea to get your tiler on board early in the process as their experience will be invaluable in creating the perfect end product.
Shapes: We use tile shapes for visual appeal and sometimes necessity beyond the reasons already explained in "sizes". The most common tile shapes are square and rectangular. Square shapes will create uniformity. Rectangular shapes will provide visual elongation; this is particularly advantageous for example on a kitchen splashback where horizontal rectangles will visually widen the area, giving the feeling of a larger kitchen. On main floors, rectangles can be used to make long, narrow areas appear wider and shorter (if laid cross-ways) or draw the eye, maybe to a designated focal point (if laid length-ways).
Mixing of shapes can be done via lines of different sized or shaped tiles. This can also be done using "French pattern" tiles which are designed in three different sizes to form an interlocking pattern.
Other shapes are now becoming more common place:
- Hexagons - six sided
- Round - commonly being small penny round mosaics although there are some larger circular formats available
- Rhombus - parallelogram (can make visual effects such as 3D cubes and stars)
- Lanterns, fish scales, triangles
With ever-improving manufacturing processes, far greater variety is available now than ever before. These innovations continue to increase daily.
When laying tiles, the tile shape will somewhat determine the laying pattern and careful consideration must be given to the laying pattern. Tiles are generally manufactured slightly convex (i.e. they tend to bow down at the ends when they are fired), and this can be enhanced with rectangular tiles. If you are laying rectangular tiles in a brick pattern this must be considered as the highest point on one tile will meet with the lowest point on the adjacent tile. Rectangular tiles with a length of 600mm or longer must not be laid with more offset than 1/3 for this reason. With rectified tiles, it is common to use a square tile and square laying pattern as one benefit of rectified tiles is the ability to reduce joint size, and therefore not highlight tile shape.
We hope this has explained some myths and truths of tile shapes and sizes to alleviate concerns and direct you on the path of correct and appropriate form. Remember that further assistance is never far away at Complete Tiles & Stone....and most of all, enjoy the whole experience!
Read the next blog article : Choosing Rectified v’s pressed edge tiles