The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Tile for Your Next Project

Today you can choose almost any material you can think of for a tile project, but with such a variety of material to choose from which are the most popular and which will be the best for you? In this post we will explore the different material types, patterns, durability, ease of installation, and sizes hoping to help you and inspire you for your next project. In order to effectively choose tile here are three questions you must answer that will help guide you through this decision. 

What is your budget? 

It is important to determine how much you can and are willing to spend from the start. Tile is generally not the cheapest material, knowing how much you can spend earlier will help you find the best deals and purchase the highest quality material. Here’s a quick guide to tile prices by material type. 

Porcelain ranges from $3-$10 per square foot

Ceramic ranges from $2-$20 per square foot

Glass ranges from $7-$25 per square foot

Travertine ranges from $2-$15 per square foot

Stone ranges from $7-$20 per square foot

Above are just the material costs, some tile material is easier to install yourself while some requires professional installation. Consult with a professional installer and find out the installation costs for each material and project. This is a crucial first step in beginning to plan for your next bathroom or kitchen remodel. 

Average costs for remodel projects in Portland by category

Average costs for remodel projects in Portland by category


What is the purpose of this project?

Deciding exactly what you are trying to achieve with this project will help you purchase only the correct type of material. Start off with narrowing down what the tile is for. Is this for a Kitchen backsplash? Bathroom floor? Kitchen floor? Accent wall? Some tile material is more suitable for one type of project and not the other. Stone tile is typically used as a countertop material, while ceramic and porcelain for floors. Using the right material for the project will ensure unmatched durability. 


Backsplash from  Home Bunch

Backsplash from Home Bunch

Kitchen Backsplash

For a kitchen backsplash the most common material used is glass tile, it has been a trendy material for years and is not leaving anytime soon. There are virtually endless combinations, colors, and patterns making glass tile one of the most versatile options. Glass brightens up any room and is also a green material as it is often made from recycled glass. 

You can browse our selection of glass tile options on our Product Catalog online 

Glass tile is not the only option for kitchen backsplashes. There are more creative materials and styles available then you can even think of. It would take forever trying to list them here, but take a look at these 45 awesome kitchen backsplashes by HGTV ranging from reclaimed wood to coffee beans.


Bathroom/Kitchen floors

Tile is by far the best material you can choose for a kitchen or bathroom. The amount of moisture present in the room is difficult for many materials to handle. You never see a carpeted bathroom, and hardwood isn’t a very great option either. Important factors to consider for a bathroom floor include; traction, durability, and of course looks. 

Porcelain tile is a popular flooring option. It is also one of the most durable tile options, guaranteed to last decades with minimal care. Exposure to water is not a problem for porcelain, as it will not cause damage or stain. Typical cost is $3-$10 per square foot, installation by a professional is typically required as it is difficult to install with no experience

Ceramic tile is also a wonderful choice for high moisture areas. Most ceramic tiles are covered with a glazed layer that does not allow for any liquid to penetrate, preventing stains and water damage. Ceramic will also last for decades, is relatively easy to install, and requires low maintenance. With ceramic you essentially have a limitless amount of colors, patterns, and textures. With modern printing you can have hardwood look alike tiles, natural stone, multiple patterns, and various shapes. Ceramic tile is less expensive than porcelain at $3-$7 per square foot and is a tile that most homeowners can install themselves with little experience. 

Travertine Tile

Travertine Tile

Travertine tile is another popular option. Travertine tile is an elegant option, since it is a natural limestone material (calcium carbonate). It has been a popular flooring material for thousands of years and today is used for practically every surface type. Travertine is the easiest tile to reshape, cut, and change making it a very popular choice for “do it yourself” homeowners. Although it is beautiful travertine may cost you more in the long run, because it is a natural limestone material it is porous and often difficult to maintain. It requires a sealant from the get go and constant attention/upkeep. Travertine doesn’t fare well with spills and liquids, requiring you to wipe up the spill immediately to avoid staining. Travertine also ends up being a little bit more expensive because of the constant upkeep requirements. 

Although it may seem like a bad choice, travertine tile is easy to replace when damaged. Finding a tile that fits the existing pattern/color is simpler than porcelain and is a simple pop and replace job (since you will only need to replace a couple tiles at most). 


Backsplash from  Houzz

Backsplash from Houzz

Do you know how to install tile?

If you have done this before you can save on installation. In no way though do we recommend that every homeowner go out and attempt to do everything themselves. Like mentioned above, ceramic tile is your best bet if you want to install tile yourself but don’t want to hire a professional. There are numerous online tutorials that will guide you through the process step by step. 

Glass tile backsplash is also another type of tile that is relatively easy to install yourself. Most glass tile comes on an easy to install sheet, which can be put together like a jigsaw puzzle.  The multitude of online tutorials are also available and will ensure you do the job correctly every time. 


Tips on size and shape if you plan on installing yourself

Generally the larger the tile the easier the installation process. Smaller tile requires an elaborate system of fitting and planning of the layout. Ceramic tile is the easiest tile to do yourself, but always make sure the edges are straight and clean (this will make installation easier). 

Compare the size of each tile in relation to all the others, sometimes there can be a slight variation in size during manufacturing (you don’t want to run into this after you have already installed half a room). 

Square and Rectangle tiles are much easier to install, especially if you are doing it all yourself. Simple projects that use square/rectangle tiles are simple enough to install with little experience, if you are going for a special look it’s a better idea to seek help from a professional. 


Bonus DIY Tile Projects

A couple of months ago we showed you three great DIY tile projects, we even broke down the cost per project and gave you numerous inspirational ideas. If you missed that post go ahead and take a look at it


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