Ceramic wall tiles are the most popular bathroom wall covering and for good reason. They are durable, reasonably priced, and versatile. For shower surrounds that can last twenty years or more, come in a variety of colors and textures, and cost only slightly more than flimsy plastic shells, ceramic wall tiling is your solution. For similar reasons, they’re also a great choice for kitchen wall tiles and countertop backsplashes. In fact, it’s hard to find a home that doesn’t have at least some ceramic wall tiling. It’s not a given that ceramic wall tiles are the right choice for your bathroom or kitchen remodel, but it’s usually a good place to start.
Ideas for Ceramic Wall Tiles
Get creative. A great advantage of ceramic wall tiling is the decorative design options. Mosaics and elaborate backsplashes are a way to bring flair to any room. Decorative tiles are usually a little more expensive, but given that ceramic tiles are usually cheaper than the alternatives, you’ve probably earned the right to splurge. Keep in mind that the larger the tile the more expensive the project and the more elegant the look. The best choice for you will probably be a combination of your allotted budget and where the tile is going. There’s usually no need to install large tiles in a shower stall, but you may want to consider a slightly larger tile for your kitchen wall. Wall tiles are almost never as big as floor tiles, but the basic rule of having a minimum of three tiles across still applies.
Ceramic vs. Stone Wall Tiles
Many people wonder about the differences and superiority of ceramic and stone wall tiles. For flooring, the comparison is incredibly even and invokes an even-handed shrug from tile contractors. Stone is harder to crack, has a classic look, and creates a tighter setting that minimizes grout exposure. Ceramic tiles are harder to stain, a bit less expensive, and available in numerous colors. Stone wall tiles are a different story, however, because the extra weight can add too much stress to pre-existing wall structures. If your walls need help supporting the weight of stone wall tiles, the cost of project can spiral out of control. Still, if the look of natural stone tile pulls at the decorating strings of your heart, it doesn’t hurt to talk to a tile contractor about your options.
Ceramic Wall Tiling Maintenance
As great as ceramic wall tiles are, they’re not perfect. Every home improvement decision has its strengths and weaknesses, but the good news for wall tiles is that these weaknesses are being minimized by new innovations. Ceramic wall tile maintenance is still a considerable chore, but it used to require pretty strict diligence. In many homes, it still does: You probably already know that grout can be a prime spot for the growth of mold and mildew. Cleaning treatments and even automated spray systems installed inside the shower itself have dramatically reduced the weekly and monthly cleaning loads for homeowners who take advantage of these innovations. Whether you use these treatments or stick to the old-fashioned system of weekly cleaning and elbow grease, it’s hard to underestimate the risk posed by mold and mildew. If the grout or caulking becomes compromised, water can find its way behind the ceramic tiles and then you’re looking at hiring a professional to come in and repair your tiles.
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Ceramic Tile Installation and Repair
Of all the home improvement projects out there, installing ceramic wall tiles is probably one of the leading DIY projects. You might see or learn the basics of ceramic tile installation and say, “I can do that.” The problem is while the basics of tile installation aren’t hard to grasp, absolute precision must be practiced to correctly install the tiles. Constant leveling and measuring are critical; even a single millimeter can affect the integrity of the installation. Even capable homeowners often find it worth the money to hire a professional, simply because the project can be tedious, time-consuming and often risky.
There are always alternatives to any home improvement project and ceramic wall tiling is no exception. Bathroom wall coverings can be almost anything (paint, wallpaper, stone), but most of these materials become less and less practical the closer they get to the shower and water exposure. If you’re remodeling a bathroom that has only a shower and no traditional tub, this stall can be fiberglass or acrylic, and no wall tiling is necessary. For greater durability and less maintenance, you can also choose stainless steel tiling. Still, if for nothing else, it’s hard to get away from ceramic tiles for your shower walls, and many homeowners find the same advantages that work in the shower apply for other areas of their home.