March 30, 2016
Every year the tile manufacturers come to the tile convention trying to outdo each other with bigger, and bigger tile.
They are doing it for you, because you made that face, and complained about the grout. (There are other reasons, more on that later.)
Let's take a trip, back through time, and look at our tile floor choices for an itty-bitty bathroom...
I have to say seeing these all together like this makes me SO happy. These are all the exact same bathroom, just tiled with the "standard size" tile in their respective times. Let me ask you a question...
Which bathroom tile do you want to clean?
Of course, easier cleaning isn't the only reason to prefer bigger tile. As you can see it is an uncluttered, lighter look. It allows the tile itself to be more interesting because it doesn't have to compete with a gridded graph of grout lines. Call that reason #2.
Most times, when people are doing a bathroom remodel, they want it to look updated. There are the rare occasions when someone wants to refurbish in the style of the era in which the home was built, and there are ways to do that. Those are usually homes built in the early part of the last century and we have lots of fun with the tile mosaics that were popular then. (Me! me! me! see my last blog post). Those are the exception. Most of us just want an updated bath that is pleasant to be in and easy to maintain. It doesn't make any sense to update your 70's bath to the 1990's, right? That's #3, right there.
Technological advances have been made in both tile manufacturing and the supporting characters of underlayment and tile adhesives. The triumphs in these areas are what have allowed tile to grow, year after year. In the simplest terms, there are more (and better) products available to perfect your subfloors before tiling, which allows the consumer to select larger tile.
In spite of my 3 reasons, and my convincing infographic, some are still resistant to this idea. I can only chalk this up to nostalgia, the hard-worn memories of all the floors we've walked on, and all the houses we've lived in. We're accustomed to bathroom floors tiled with the multi-sized mosaics that were SO popular from the 50's to the 80's, in our elementary schools, dorm rooms, and apartments that it's hard for some to accept that anything else could work in an "itty bitty bathroom".
This applies to other areas too, I firmly believe that the size of tile chosen will put a time stamp on your project. When I walk to into a house, & I notice a 12" square on the foyer floor, I think that this could have been installed yesterday, or up to 20 years ago. If I see a 20" square I think, yesterday? Or up to 5 years ago? This varies a little regionally but more or less is true to market trends. This is something to be considered. If you're listing your house for sale, and wanting to claim that your tiled floor is "new" and you've chosen a 12" tile, your claim may be suspect.
We've come so far! I'm so happy when I can convince someone to open their mind and see a big tile, in a small space. We have a great selection of large-format tile, which you could take home & consider for your next project. Trust me, you won't miss the grout lines.
One more, for arguments sake....
This is where I have to admit that I was skeptical. Over the years this shape & size has only become more & more popular, and it too, is only getting bigger. I look at it this way, if you accept the 12x12 in your space, it's not hard to make the jump to this size.
Mathematically speaking, it's very similar, just with 50% less grout.
Aesthetically, it gives the room an energy and a direction.
Professionally, it is decided, the large format rectangle is here to stay.