How to plan for tile in your bathroom
By Carri Carlson and Josh Blanc
at Clay Squared to Infinity
Step 1 Creating the vision of your project.
There are thousands of tile designs, colors and concepts for you to choose from and the process can sometimes be overwhelming. When creating your vision of your tile project we recommend looking at books, magazines and the internet. Clay Squared has a small library of historic and contemporary books to get ideas. Your local book stores carry a great selection of magazines and home improvement books.
We recommend utilizing the National Kitchen and Bath (NKBA) and the Handmade Tile Association websites. Bring in clippings of ideas and color schemes you like.
Step 2 Questions to ask yourself
What is the style you want to create in the space? Do you want to work with the period of the home i.e. a Bungalow, Arts and Crafts, Victorian, Tudor, Mid-century, Rambler, or Contemporary style? Working in a period will guide your decision process and help narrow down your choices. Are you more eclectic and want to make a piece of art in the space? If so, working with themes and color ranges will help you keep on task.
Step 3 Time lines
We recommend that you begin planning for your bathroom tile closer to the beginning of your remodel, before other things are installed that could limit your tile choices and design. In many cases tile selection is left until near the end of the project because that is when it is installed. Order time for tile can be anywhere from 2-8 weeks. Clay Squared to Infinity is about 3-4 weeks. You will also want to make sure that you have your tile when your tile installer is scheduled, unless you are installing the tile yourself.
Step 4 Do I need a designer or architect to do my kitchen tile project?
Designers and architects are people who understand space, design and color. They typically cost 15% of a project but when you have large projects their insights and knowledge can save you more than their fees. If you don’t have one and feel you need some help, Josh will help you find your vision and pull it all together. Josh has been working with tile since 1995 and is the designer and maker for the handmade tiles at Clay Squared to Infinity.
Step 5 Locations for tile in the bathroom
In the bathroom there are so many areas recommended for tiling that you’ll understand why 70-80% of a bathroom is often tiled. All shower and shower/tub surrounds should be tiled, at least 6” above the shower head. Tubs that have no shower but a surround should still be tiled about 6” above the top of the tub. Tile behind the sink and at least up to 4” above the sink. As far as the toilet, if it is next to a wall or has walls on both sides, I would tile all the way around the toilet for easier cleaning maintanance. And last but certainly not least, the bathroom floor.
Step 6 Plumbing and other obstacles in the bathroom
The bathroom is full of switches and electrical outlets. Switches for lights for the room, shower stall and the exhaust fan generally should be located close to their use. Outlets are generally located next to the vanity, high on the wall. A good location for many of these is above the tile, on the painted wall. If you are planning to install a shower with multiple shower heads, body sprays or thermostatic controls, understand there are no standards for where these will be installed. You will need to consult with your plumber as to their location then plan your tile design around that.
Step 7 Time to design
Now that your have removed as many items from your tile space that might restrict your tile design you can start playing with the tile. Listen to what they have to say. Your intuition is an integral part of the design process. Contemplate colors and play with new combinations, and let the mood and personality of your home guide your choices. Come into the showroom and, at no cost, check out some tile samples to help you determine colors and sizes.
Step 8 You are now ready to place your order.
If you can figure out how much tile you need, great. If you have a tile setter installing the tile, they can determine the amounts and sizes for you. Or, if you need help, we are happy to do it. We recommend you bring in a drawing with as many dimensions as possible. Digital pictures of the room or area are always helpful.