The wide availability of different types of bathroom tile for flooring means there is most likely an option to suit the aesthetic and function of any design. Varieties of bathroom tile for flooring can range from traditional midsize ceramic tiles to oversized natural stone, vinyl, or linoleum tiles, to tiny mosaic tiles. Each material is usually available in an extensive array of colors, designs, and finishes to accommodate multiple styles. The most important aspect of bathroom tile for flooring is that the tiles are durable enough to withstand the high traffic and moisture inherent to a bathroom.
Ceramic tiles are usually considered the classic choice for bathroom floors. These tiles, which are formed from clay and heated at high temperatures to become solid and inflexible, are frequently chosen because they meet the demands of the job. Bathroom tile for flooring needs to be long-lasting and water-resistant, and ceramic tiles meet both of these requirements. Generally, it is probably best to choose unglazed ceramic tiles, because glazed tiles are very smooth and may become slippery when wet. If glazed tiles are selected, a solution to slipperiness is to use small area rugs on top of the ceramic tiles near the shower or tub; using rugs also addresses the complaint that ceramic tiles sometimes feel too cold against bare feet.
Natural stone shares many of the same properties as ceramic when it comes to bathroom tile for flooring. Similar to ceramic tiles, natural stone is very durable and water-resistant, but the polished versions might be slippery, and the tile can feel cool to the touch in cold weather. Using natural stone as bathroom tile for flooring allows access to a wide variety of natural colors and patterns and produces attractive results. Tiles made of natural stone are often one of the more expensive tile flooring options.
Less expensive options for bathroom floor tiles usually include vinyl or laminate tiles. These tiles are synthetic, and while they are not made from stone or clay, they are often designed to imitate those natural materials. Synthetic tiles are usually easier to install, but may not be as durable or resistant to moisture as ceramic and stone. Most laminate or vinyl tiles are applied to the existing floor with a glue-like adhesive—many are peel-and-stick—, in contrast to the grout used to install ceramic and stone tiles. The cracks between laminated pieces may separate over time as the tiles shift, however, opening up opportunities for water to seep in.
Mosaics are another option when selecting bathroom tile for flooring. Mosaic tiles are tiny, so a great number of them are needed to cover an entire floor. As a result, individual mosaic tiles, which are usually ceramic, are typically used in conjunction with larger tiles as a decoration to add visual interest. Some synthetic mosaic tiles, however, are available in large rolls of vinyl or laminate or, alternatively, in the form of large tiles processed to look like a bunch of tiny mosaics. These options are available to achieve the look of a full mosaic floor without incurring the cost or intensive labor of using individual tiles.