The quick guide to tiles


The quick guide to tiles No longer simply confined to splash backs and showers, tiles are becoming increasingly popular in Irish homes. Our guide to all that you need to know, as well as the latest styles and trends, is a must-read for anyone thinking about tiling their home.

Clay tilesPerfect for these looking to recreate an old-fashioned Mediterranean feel.

  • Terracotta. These tiles are known for their deep red colour, due its high iron oxide contact. They generally remain red (there are black version available, when the red clay is mixed with black clay), but surface treatment can vary greatly to suit your taste. These tiles need to be sealed once laid, with linseed or natural wax, and then buffed and can be used in high moisture areas. There are also reclaimed terracotta tiles available
  • Ceramic & Porcelain. These tiles are created from a clay biscuit, but ceramic starts life as a grey tile until its surface is treated with colour, texture and a multitude of other treatments, while the colour of porcelain tiles goes straight through the tile, meaning it is more chip / scratch friendly, but there are fewer colour and treatment options available. Clay tile prices vary greatly because of their versatility, so it is possible to get plain good quality tiles for reasonable prices, while you will pay more for more extravagant styles.


Natural Stone Tiles
There are many types of natural stone, the most luxurious being marble, limestone and travertine, while slate is becoming more popular.

  • Marble is the purest of natural stones, and therefore the most expensive. Most marble found in Ireland comes from Southern Europe and is usually cut to order although some can be cut at the source making it cheaper. Marble never looks the same twice so can give your space a completely unique look, but is high maintenance as it needs to be sealed at least three times initially and then at least once a year.
  • Limestone is a sedimentary stone that develops after millions of years of compacted earth; it eventually turns into marble but because it is quarried earlier it can be softer than other natural stones and is not always suitable for floors.
  • Travertine is another type of limestone but develops near natural spas creating small air pockets which create holes in the stone. These holes need to be filled initially and will need to be filled again some time after laying, as further holes may appear after initial use.


Trend tips from the topPaul Bryan, Creative Stone & Tile

  • “This year, trends are in line with technological advances in recent years. Popularity of wallpaper effects, subtle baroque and figurative patterns remain strong, exploring the possibilities of new digital printing technology. These three dimensional relief designs add texture and depth to surfaces, either as decorative strips and borders or, more dramatically, as feature walls”
  • “Greys and darker tones are still the dominant colours, with various takes on blue, especially cornflower.”
  • “Large rectangular formats dominate, and after the pop art extravaganza of recent years stripes are now prevalent. Strong colour in ultra-large gloss tile formats is an emerging trend with vibrant primary colours giving a new twist to retro styling”
  • “A continuing trend is innovative texture such as animal skin, deeply grained wood style, linen, sea grass, hessian, concrete and distressed stone.”

Ruth McCarthy, TileStyle

  • “Natural stone material is still growing in popularity with people opting for classic marble and limestone, as well as more contemporary stones such as Berlin Blue. More unusual stones such as the Grigio St. Denise are also becoming more popular.”
  • “Porcelain tiles that look and feel like natural stone or wood are also proving popular. Advances in production techniques mean that it is often impossible to tell the difference, so customers who want the look of wood or stone but don’t want the maintenance can opt for a porcelain alternatives.”

Source: House & Home
Words: Alexia McInerney

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