Modern Bathroom: modern Bathroom by Joe Ginsberg

Shower floor tiles: which, why and how?

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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Shower floor tiles need to be a big consideration when any new bathroom installation is being completed and it's surprising how many facets there actually are to take into account. Everybody will have a different idea as to what is the best tile for shower floor areas, but the age of a home, wider styling and intended frequency of use will all play a part, not to mention costs.

Any bathroom designer will be explicit in their advice as to the optimum shower flooring materials, but all of them will agree on the following:

- tiles must be non-porous
- finishes need to be non-slip
- grout lines need to be easy to keep clean and mold-free

This guide has been created in order to help answer all the pressing questions that choosing the right shower floor tiles will raise, but naturally, personal choices and aesthetic preferences will be the final consideration.

Size matters with shower floor tiles

Universal Design Master Suite Renovation in McLean, VA: minimalistic Bathroom by BOWA - Design Build Experts
BOWA—Design Build Experts

Universal Design Master Suite Renovation in McLean, VA

BOWA - Design Build Experts

First things first: when it comes to bathroom flooring, size really does matter, particularly when it comes to showers. It's not so much of a concern in the wider room, as a bath mat can simply be placed in the floor to account for slippage and wet feet, but inside a shower, things need to be thought out a lot more carefully.

It is generally recommended that shower floor tiles are no larger an 6 inches square, in a bid to allow for a greater amount of grout, which in turn, offers a good deal of grip and stability. It makes perfect sense, when the amount of water that will flow in a shower, is taken into account. Large tiles will naturally become far more slippery and increase the risk of accidents significantly. If larger tiles are wanted, they could be kept to the walls.

Shower floor tile mosaic varieties are great.

Modern Bathroom: modern Bathroom by Joe Ginsberg
Joe Ginsberg

Modern Bathroom

Joe Ginsberg

With the knowledge that smaller shower floor tiles are better in mind, it means that mosaic varieties, which are already to fantastically popular and attractive, are the ideal solution. The sheer number of grout lines that will be necessary guarantee a far less slippery finish and without negating on aesthetics at all.

Mosaic tiles tend to be offered on a large sheet, comprising of individual squares as small as 1 inch. Backed with a special mesh, these are easier to lay and can be exceptionally cost-effective as well. All high street DIY stores have a wide variety of mosaic designs to choose from and with the advent of colored bathroom grout, it's never been easier to get the perfect finish to complement an already stunning bathroom. 

Shower floor tiles are so varied.

Award Winning Winslow Project: classic Bathroom by Futurian Systems
Futurian Systems

Award Winning Winslow Project

Futurian Systems

The cost will always be a significant factor during any home improvement project and when it comes to bathroom tiles, it's easy to spend an absolute fortune. Thankfully, there is such a huge selection of tiles to choose from, for a shower floor, that there are options to suit every budget. Some of the most popular options include:

 - Pebble-effect tiles. Similar to standard square mosaics, these are mesh-backed for convenience and allow for a great amount of grout to be used, but there is a definite bonus with pebble designs that might be instantaneously clear. Reflexology is a proven science and nothing will help to relax and restore balance like a little foot massage, while in the shower.

- Every color under the sun. Let's not ever forget just how endless the options for tiles colors are these days. Regardless of size or shape, there will be a perfect hue to go along with them.

- Natural stone tiles. Treated natural stone tiles that won't absorb and store water, are a great choice for any shower floor, as they can offer a huge amount of grip when left unpolished. 

- Porcelain tiles. Generally a little more slippery, porcelain is best kept to very small tile designs.

​Porcelain flooring ideas can work.

Richman Duplex Apartment, New York: modern Bathroom by Lilian H. Weinreich Architects
Lilian H. Weinreich Architects

Richman Duplex Apartment, New York

Lilian H. Weinreich Architects

Having just mentioned porcelain, it's worth talking a little more about it, as it can create an utterly phenomenal finish to any shower floor, not least because it can be used to create the impression of far more money having been spent.

Not everybody has the budget available for real marble tiles, but porcelain, which is far more cost-effective, can be made to look VERY similar. An added bonus is that the smooth finish of the tiles makes them intrinsically easier to clean and more resistant to mold and mildew.

​Shower floor tile adhesive advice.

A critical thing to remember, when laying flooring in a shower, is that the right adhesive absolutely needs to be used. It's not just a case of using generic tile glue, as the amount of water that will be splashing down onto the surfaces will run the risk of making the glue come unstuck. Special polymer blends need to be used where water ingress is a genuine concern and more than that, matching grout is vital as well.

Bathroom-specific tile adhesive and grout has been formulated to resist the potential damage that water could cause and moreover, it will be far more mildew resistant than normal varieties. Professional tile-layers will be able to advise as to the best adhesive and grout brands for different tile types.

​Getting creative is encouraged.

Finally, it's worth remembering that a little creativity goes a long way, even in the bathroom. Just because a shower floor is a practical and necessary inclusion, it doesn't mean that it needs to be boring or lackluster. For a really cohesive finish, it is worth trying to continue the same flooring style as the wider bathroom, but a change can be as good as a rest, so they say, so what about a funky pattern or a contrasting color? 

As long as bathroom-specific tile adhesive and grout is used, alongside non-slip tiles, the rest really does come down to personal taste. 

Are you feeling a whole lot more informed and ready to make a tile selection now?
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