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Help & Advice

With more shapes, sizes and styles to choose from than ever before we know that, for many homeowners, choosing the right tiles for your project can be a daunting experience. Whether you’re just starting out, an experienced DIYer or simply picking the tiles you want your fitter to install, our handy hints should help you on your way to achieving your dream room. If you would like advice on any tiling topics that we haven’t covered, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Choosing your tiles

Apart from ensuring the tiles are suitable for your desired application, there aren’t many right or wrong answers when it comes to choosing your tiles and much of the decision will be based on your own personal taste and budget. If you’re spoilt for choice, here are some frequently asked questions that you may find useful.
What’s the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?
Glazed porcelain and ceramic tiles are made in a similar way. Clay, sand and other ingredients are mixed together, pressed into tile shapes and fired in a kiln at very high temperatures to produce a base tile or ‘biscuit’. A layer of glaze is then applied to the surface to give the tile its colour or pattern. The main difference between glazed porcelain and ceramic tiles is the ingredients which make up the tile. The ingredients of porcelain tiles make them more dense and less porous than ceramic tiles, and they are therefore more hard wearing and suitable for both floors and walls. Due to their low water absorption, some porcelain tiles are also suitable for outdoor use, whereas ceramic tiles are suitable for indoors only. Through bodied porcelain tiles are made using a similar method but instead of having a glaze applied to the surface of the tile, the colour or pattern forms part of the body of the tile due to the mixture of ingredients. This makes them even more hard wearing than glazed tiles as there is no glaze to wear away, and in the unlikely event that a tile does become chipped, the visible tile underneath will be the same colour as the surface so it won’t be as noticeable. Through bodied porcelain tiles can be left matte or polished to give a very shiny surface.
 
Are natural stone tiles better than porcelain or ceramic copies?
Nothing can beat the beauty of natural stone. Formed over thousands, or even millions, of years underground, each piece is completely unique with its own individual shading and patterns. With a little care taken during installation and maintenance, natural stone is incredibly hard wearing and will retain its beauty for many years. It is a real investment in your home. Porcelain and ceramic stone effect tiles are widely available and with advances in inkjet printing technology they are now more realistic than ever before. They are also generally cheaper than natural stone tiles and are easy to install and maintain as they are thinner and don’t require sealing. However they can never truly replicate the individual shading, pattern and texture variations of natural stone, so the decision really depends on whether you prefer the natural, unique look and longevity of the real thing or the more uniform look and convenience of the reproductions.
 
Does it matter what size tiles I choose?
No, this depends on personal preference. Traditionally people tended to use smaller format tiles on kitchen walls than they would in bathrooms, but nowadays the use of small format ceramic tiles to give a vintage look on bathroom walls is incredibly popular. Larger tiles can actually make a small room appear bigger by reducing the number of grout lines. If you’re tiling an awkward space with lots of cuts, you may find smaller tiles easier to work with, or better still mosaics are ideal for awkward spaces as the mesh backing is easy to cut with a knife or scissors.
 
Should I use the same tiles on the walls and floor?
Some ceramic tiles are only suitable for use on walls as they are not strong enough to withstand floor use. Tiles that are suitable for use on the floor can also be used on walls to give a fully co-ordinated look. Some ranges feature a ceramic wall tile with co-ordinating porcelain floor tile. Aesthetically, the decision on whether to use the same tiles all over depends on your personal taste. Using matching tiles throughout a room can make the space appear bigger, especially if you use gloss tiles which will bounce light around the room. Matching wall and floor tiles also help to give a tranquil, spa-like feel. Using different tiles throughout the room can look more contemporary and add interest. For example you could combine concrete effect, wood effect and ceramic tiles to give an on-trend industrial look. Using different shades of the same tile is a subtle way to add contrast, and you may choose to use different tiles to zone specific areas of a room – for example using mosaics inside a shower cubicle or to create a feature wall behind a bath.
 
Are there different tiles for bathrooms and kitchens?
No, almost any tile can be used in any room. Although the design of a tile might be more suited to a particular room, there’s no reason why you can’t use it wherever you like. There are some limitations on using certain tiles in very wet areas – look for the symbols in our product specifications for full details. Tiles aren’t just limited to kitchens and bathrooms either; why not create a tiled feature wall in your living room or make your hallway or conservatory floor hard wearing and easy to keep clean.
 
How can I make my room look more interesting without spending a fortune?
Mosaics are the perfect way to dress up any room without breaking the bank. Just a few sheets can transform a room as they’re simple to cut into strips to create borders or feature panels. Using structured tiles alongside smooth is also a good way of adding design interest, as is using more than one colour or shade of the same tile.
 

Planning your project

How do I calculate how many tiles I need?
Simply measure the height and width of each area you wish to tile and multiply them together (e.g. height 1.2m x width 2.5m = 3m²), then make a note of them. If your wall or floor is an awkward shape, split it into two or more rectangles and measure each section separately before adding them together. Once you have your measurements divide the total area you wish to tile by the number of tiles per metre of your chosen style. We recommend you add an extra 10% to your order to allow for any cuts or wastage. As shades may vary slightly between batches, it’s important to order all the tiles you need at the same time so it’s better to order slightly too many than not enough.
 
Do I need to seal my tiles?
This depends on the type of tile – glazed porcelain or ceramic tiles don’t require sealing as the glaze acts as a barrier. Natural stone tiles or through-bodied porcelain tiles may be porous so sealing is recommended before and after fixing to prevent staining during the installation process and from general day to day usage. Mosaics containing natural stone pieces should also be sealed for protection. We recommend resealing tiles at least every 12 months to retain the protection. Always use a sealer that is suitable for the tile material.
 
How long does it take to tile a room?
This depends on the size of the room and the type of tile you are using. For instance, basic ceramic tiles are quicker to install than natural stone tiles as they don’t need sealing and are thinner and easier to cut. You should always allow at least 48 hours for any tiling project and generally more, as the adhesive needs to be fully dry before you can begin grouting otherwise the finish and quality will be compromised.
 
When tiling, should I just work my way through each box one at a time?
We recommend that you mix tiles from different boxes as you’re tiling and ensure you’re happy with the blend of different patterns and shades BEFORE you fix the tiles to the wall or floor.
 
If I run out of tiles will I be able to buy more to finish the project?
We recommend that you mix tiles from different boxes as you’re tiling and ensure you’re happy with the blend of different patterns and shades BEFORE you fix the tiles to the wall or floor.
 

Aftercare

What should I use to clean my tiles?
Glazed porcelain, ceramic or glass tiles and mosaics can be cleaned using mild household cleaners, taking care not to scratch the surface. Do not use harsh chemicals, such as those designed to remove limescale, or abrasive cleaners which may damage the surface of the tile. Natural stone or porcelain tiles should be cleaned using a sealer which is suitable for the material to avoid damaging the surface or removing the protective coating of the sealer.
 
Do I need to reseal tiles that have previously been sealed?
We recommend resealing natural stone or through bodied porcelain tiles at least every 12 months to retain the protection, though this is a straightforward process that shouldn’t take too much time. Always use a sealer that is suitable for the tile material.
 
Can I use a steam cleaner on my tiles?
We do not recommend the use of steam cleaners on any type of tiles but especially not natural stone or porcelain tiles which have been sealed.
 

Inspired Showrooms

Summer Sale - 25% OFF all tiles is also available in store* quote promo code 004

*Cannot be used with any other offer.

Hastings

Inspired Tile Shop at
Inspired Home Interiors
Highfield Drive,
St Leonards on Sea,
East Sussex  TN38 9TG

Telephone: 01424 856850

Mon - Fri:  7.30am – 5pm
Saturday:  8am – 12pm

Eastbourne

Inspired Tile Shop at
Inspired Home Interiors
Courtlands Road Industrial Estate,
Eastbourne,
East Sussex  BN22 8TR

Telephone: 01323 458165

Mon - Fri:  7.30am – 5pm
Saturday:  8am – 12pm

Worthing

Inspired Tile Shop at
Inspired Home Interiors Southdownview Way,
Worthing,
West Sussex  BN14 8NL

Telephone: 01903 258140

Mon - Fri:  7.30am – 4pm
Saturday:  8am – 12pm

Showrooms

Hastings

Inspired Tile Shop at
Inspired Home Interiors
Highfield Drive, St Leonards on Sea,
East Sussex TN38 9TG
Telephone: 01424 856850
OPENING HOURS
Mon - Fri: 7.30am – 5pm
Saturday: 8am – 12pm

Eastbourne

Inspired Tile Shop at
Inspired Home Interiors
Courtlands Road Industrial Estate,
Eastbourne,
East Sussex BN22 8TR
Telephone: 01323 458165
OPENING HOURS
Mon - Fri: 7.30am – 5pm
Saturday: 8am – 12pm

Worthing

Inspired Tile Shop at
Inspired Home Interiors
Southdownview Way,
Worthing,
West Sussex BN14 8NL
Telephone: 01903 258140
OPENING HOURS
Mon - Fri: 7.30am – 4pm
Saturday: 8am – 12pm