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The Essential Guide to Choosing Tiles For Your Home

April 24, 2018
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The right tiles can instantly enhance and refresh the décor in your home! Not only is it sleek, stylish and on-trend, tiles can be fitted to almost any budget. But just where do you start?

There are a multitude of choices when it comes to materials, patterns, colours, durability levels, and a whole lot more. To help you navigate the world of tiles, here’s a quick guide on tiling for your home:


1. Tile Material and Colour

There are plenty of stylish tile options to choose from and homeowners are often either swayed by personal preferences or current tile trends. But what’s essential – apart from costs and usage – is whether it matches the décor of the room or common space in which you plan to lay the tiles.

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: A Moxie Associates Sdn Bhd

Darker ceramics (especially in grey and ashy hues) and most porcelain tones look impeccable in modern, urban modern and shabby chic décor, whereas lighter marble and glossy ceramics work well with minimalist décor.

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: Pocket Square

Wood-effect tiles go well with contemporary, Scandinavian and rustic looks. Rustic tiles like terracotta and metal-effect options are at home with industrial décor.

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: X Two Concept

Spanish clay or Peranakan tiles appear fitting in artsy décor spaces with eclectic and bohemian styles.


2. Tile Shape and Size

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: A Moxie Associates Sdn Bhd

You’ll also want to think about tile shapes – besides the usual rectagular/square shapes, other popular alternatives include penny rounds (coin-shaped), basket weaves, honeycombs (hexagonal shaped), pinwheels, subway bricks and chevrons (popular for backsplashes).

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: Dot Works

A general rule of thumb when using different tile shapes? Smaller-sized ones (like penny tiles) work great for smaller spaces or areas where you'd want a highlight - like a feature wall or kitchen backsplash. However, they are harder to clean (due to more grout linings).

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: Torch Empire

Likewise, larger-scale tile pieces work great for creating a background and making a space look visually 'larger'- which is why they are a popular option for flooring. They are also easier to clean.

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: Yong Studio

If an illusion of length (and taller height) is what you're looking for, go with plank-style tiles that give a room an elongated appearance!

3. Tile Durability

When making a decision on tiles, you’ll need to consider the resilience of each option.

Rooms that get more traffic will require heavy-duty materials whereas spaces that entertain fewer footsteps can stand to do with regular sturdiness.

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: Zyon Interior Design

For maximum durability, floor tiles made of granite, ceramic and porcelain are great options. In rooms, where the aesthetic is important, but traffic is low, marble tiles make for an incredible choice. Do be careful though, marble can stain and scratch, and will show wear over the years.

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: Pocket Square

If you are looking for an option that is durable and attractive, premium vinyl tiles might be of interest. Some vinyl tile options are even specially constructed to be water-resistant, so it may be used in kitchens and bathrooms too.

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: JL Concepts Haus Sdn Bhd

On the other hand, outdoor tiles are meant to be weather and temperature-resistant. As such, suitable outdoor materials include stone, ceramic, and clay. Indoor tiles are typically softer and smoother underfoot, like ceramic, porcelain, slate and marble.


3. Tile Cost

A major concern for homeowners when deciding to tile their homes is how much it will cost them. Tile costs are derived from the material, finishing and labour.

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: UP Creations

The most expensive tiles to put down are granite, marble and limestone. Estimates for granite or marble range from RM15 to RM250 per square foot.

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: Torch Empire

Meanwhile, porcelain and ceramics are mid-range options, with prices ranging from RM6 - RM60 per square feet while vinyl and laminate are some of the most inexpensive choices, at RM4.5 to RM12.

Read More: How much does it cost to renovate a home in Malaysia?


4. Tile Installation

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: Designers' Home

Some materials like granite, for instance, are harder to cut, making it difficult to customise in spaces with odd angles or shapes. Thus, when choosing tile options, the natural layout of the space (to be tiled) needs to be considered for installation.

Rooms with non-standard floor shapes might be better suited with softer materials like vinyl or laminate tile.

And if you're choosing heavier materials like stone, you’ll also need to check the current condition of the subfloor and its overall structure to see if it's able to sustain the load of tiles when placed.

Tile Guide Malaysia

Interior Designer: Latitude Design

If you're contemplating going the DIY route or hiring a contractor to lay tiles for you - both have its advantages. Obviously a DIY job helps you save on labour costs, but laying tile is labour-intensive and can be quite technical. This option is better suited for stick-on vinyl tile options. If it's hardy, ceramic tiles that may required complicated laying, applying of grout, etc., it's best to call a contractor to do the hard work for you.


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