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What are the best bathroom tiles Indian homeowners can use?

Sunita Vellapally Sunita Vellapally

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Given the tropical climate and the custom of washing the bathrooms every day, when it comes to choosing the best bathroom tiles, not every option that is used in western homes is suitable for Indian homes. Many houses in India, especially older ones, don’t have dividers between the different areas such as the toilet, the basin and the shower area. Therefore, wet floors are a common feature.

Keeping this in mind, when it’s time to design or renovate your bathroom, it’s important to choose the right type of tile that is non-porous, water resistant, easy to clean, maintenance-free, anti-skid and comfortable to walk on barefoot. Additionally, it’s always preferable to choose larger-sized tiles over smaller ones as there will be less grout to clean. Today, we look at the best bathroom tiles to suit Indian homes.

Get more tips on how to choose the right tile for your bathroom.

1. Vitrified tiles

Vitrified tiles, which also include porcelain tiles, are popular for bathroom flooring because they are made from a dense material that is harder and not as porous as ceramic. Additionally, the reason these tiles rate among the best tiles for bathrooms is that they offer higher resistance to stains and water compared to ceramic tiles. Besides this, vitrified tiles are the ideal choice as flooring for bathrooms in cold places as they work well with radiant heating. They come in a wide array of designs. The versatile range is perfect for almost any style of house as you can find everything from natural stone to faux-leather finish to coordinate with the décor style of the rest of the home.

Within vitrified tiles, there are two types of finishes. The stronger and more durable option is the through-bodied tile without glazing, which has the colour and texture running all through the depth of the tile. This type is more resistant to chips and scratches. The second variety, glazed tiles, are covered with a surface finish, which can wear out over time, but they are among the best bathroom tiles in India because they come with the advantage of a wider selection of colours and designs.

Among the disadvantages of vitrified tiles is the fact that they can feel cold under the feet if they don’t have radiant heating underneath. Additionally, the hardness of the material makes it uncomfortable to stand on for a long time. Vitrified tiles have grout in between, which can get dirty and stained after a while, making it difficult to clean.

Cost: The cost of installing vitrified tiles can vary depending upon the size of the tile. Usually, it ranges between INR 145 to INR 285 per square foot. Decorative designs are costlier.

2. Natural stone tiles

For those who like to use locally sourced and eco-friendly materials in their home, natural stones are the best tiles for bathroom floors or walls. They bring a luxurious look to the bathroom. They are strong, hard and can last for years if maintained well. Like porcelain tiles, they work well with radiant heating so that the stone doesn’t feel cold under bare feet.

Natural stones come in several options, including granite, marble, slate and limestone. Of these, granite has the most options in terms of colours. Marble, which is characterised by its luxurious look with rich veins running through, is most commonly seen in white, but it also comes in a few other shades. Like marble, limestone come in white as well as a few neutral shades. Slate, which is one of the hardiest natural stones is available in grey and a few other shades. Natural stones come with advantages and disadvantages, which one should be aware of before deciding which of them will make the best bathroom tiles. For instance, natural stone tiles need to be laid by experts.

One of the biggest issues with natural stone, especially as flooring tiles, is that it has a very smooth surface and once the tile it wet, it becomes extremely slippery. However, this can be resolved to a certain extent, by using finishes, such as matte or tumbled, to minimize the slipperiness. If you need to repair a section of the flooring, finding the exact shade of stone will pose a challenge. Hence, it’s best to buy a few extra tiles at the time of installation to ensure that you have the perfect match if the need for replacement arises. Natural stone tiles need to be sealed to protect them from moisture and stains. This coating needs to be reapplied every few months to ensure that the stone doesn’t absorb dirt and moisture. While the process makes natural stone a high-maintenance option, it also ensures that the tiles last a lifetime. The surface is easy to clean, but care must be taken not to scrub with steel wool or scouring pads that scratch the surface.

Cost: Depending on the variety of natural stone you use the cost can vary considerably. Indian marble costs approximately INR 250 per square foot on an average. Italian marble is more expensive at around INR 650 per square foot. Granite costs between INR 80 and INR 450 per square foot, based on the quality and colour. Slate is cheaper with prices starting from INR 50, while limestone is the cheapest option for Indian bathroom tiles designs as its prices range between INR 40 to INR 200 per square foot.

3. Ceramic tiles

Among the best bathroom tiles in India is ceramic as it is one of the most affordable options. Additionally, it is tough, water-resistant and can withstand high traffic. It’s relatively easy to clean but using steel wool or scouring pads can leave scratches on the surface. These tiles, which are made from clay fired at high temperatures, resist water, scratches and fire. They come in hundreds of colours and patterns, making them easy to adapt to almost any design style.

Get ideas for colours inspirations for the bathroom using ceramic tiles.

One of the disadvantages of ceramic tiles is that they are cold under the feet. These tiles are not as strong as porcelain or natural stone and can crack. Additionally, like with porcelain, the grout between the tiles can get stained and will need heavy-duty cleaning or refilling to maintain a fresh look.

Cost: Among the cheapest alternatives for bathroom tiles, ceramic floor tiles cost between INR 40 to INR 350 on an average. The prices vary depending upon the colours and patterns.

4. Concrete

When one thinks of the best bathroom tiles Indian homes use, concrete doesn’t usually come to mind. However, it is economical, and once it is sealed, it is strong, easy to clean, water-resistant and stain-resistant. All it needs is periodic mopping of the surface. While earlier, it was not considered for bathroom floor because it was limited by its dull grey, nowadays, concrete can be stained in a variety of hues, textures and designs to match almost any style. In its original version, it is ideal for a rustic-style bathroom or an industrial one.

The dull grey colour of concrete is one of the points that work against this material, but with the advances in technology, this problem is easily resolved. Another disadvantage is that concrete needs to be sealed periodically to ensure that it retains water and stain resistance.

Cost: Laying a concrete floor in the bathroom will work out to around INR 100 to INR 300 per square foot depending upon the stain, finish and texture.

Before you decide on the best tile for your bathroom, it’s advisable to consult a bathroom designer who can guide you through the process of selection based on your requirements and help to design the perfect bathroom for your house.

Which of these materials will you use in your bathroom? Leave us a comment to let us know.
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