LARGE FORMAT TILES

As tiles get thinner and lightweight without compromising on strength and durability they become easier to work with.  This has ensured larger format tiles have recently become increasingly popular over a short period of time. 

 This blog will touch on things to think about before deciding to choose a large format tile.

 Years ago it was only commercial venues that used large format tiles, I remember walking into restaurants and hotels a like looking at the natural stone large format tiles and being amazed by them and how they added class to each and every venue no matter what the overall style of the venue was.  Now as time has progressed, the large format tile has come into our homes and is used in a number of settings.  The main reason people are choosing them is simple - the larger the tiles, the less grout lines there are. This is the main draw to large format tile.  Less grout lines create a sleek look I would describe as ‘calmer’ than smaller tiles where grout lines can create a busy look distracting you from the tile itself and towards the grout.

As technology has progressed (as mentioned in my wooden effect tile blog) different materials have become easier to recreate and replicas can often now appear as good as the real thing, which has now allowed everyone to enjoy marble or slate style tiles as if they were the real deal. The large format tiles imitating high end materials really give a wow factor when entering a room and can transform a space from average to superior.

 Larger tiles trick the eye into thinking the space is larger than it actually it, I think part of this is due to the uninterrupted look without patterns and grout lines.  Whatever the reason, it is clear to say that large format tiles don’t only benefit bigger spaces but work well in some smaller rooms too. Check out our Instagram or Facebook page where we have projects showing large format tiles in smaller spaces as examples. I find a gloss large format works particularly well in smaller spaces as it just adds more light creating the feeling of space.

The only issue with using large format tiles in smaller spaces is that they can become fiddly, and more time consuming to fit which can increase the cost, also the point of large format tiles is that they are meant to have less cuts and lines so using in tighter odd shaped rooms may not have the intended effect.  That saying, if you have a simple shaped room and it’s a relatively simple top to toe wall and floor, don’t shy away from them!  A  good rule of thumb is, if there are lots of undersized cuts (the tile needs cutting in half) – downsize the tile.

 My favourite large format tile is a polished marble style porcelain tile.  This tile works incredibly well in bathrooms and living spaces.  In the bathroom it creates a simple clean look and screams elegance.  The best part about this tile is it works well with all colour taps and sanitary products so if you fancy black taps or wooden effect sanity wear you don’t have to worry about if it will work. The polished look in a bathroom creates a feeling of light so works well in smaller bathrooms too.  The grey marble veins blend in well with white sanitary wear if you wanted to create a seamless look.  Ultimately smooth and honed finishes are dependent on furnishing choices as well, but getting a polished tile with the right setting really does reflect light perfectly and adds sparkle and sleekness to any room.

 Pale coloured large format tiles are a certain way to make the space look larger and more streamlined.  Using the same colour on the wall and floor is absolutely fine, but never use a smaller floor tile than you do on the wall. So make sure if you use a large format wall tile, you choose the same size or larger for the floor space.  I know it seems obvious when you think about it, but not everyone does and its disappointing when a tiler points it out after taking ages to choose your dream tiles!

Porcelain and ceramic tiles offer a more uniformed appearance than natural stone tiles and are perfect for living areas thanks to their durability. I would edge towards choosing a porcelain over ceramic in living areas as they are that little bit more durable even if they are slightly more expensive.  Another pro to porcelain tiles is I find the colour and pattern carry through the entire tile thickness so it looks a little better quality wise on larger format tiles.

 Getting the floors and walls right in any home will make everything else slip in to place like a dream, so spend time picking your tiles and start off with natural colours. If you’re intending to tile your downstairs space or kitchen try to pick the tiles before choosing anything else.  Once you’ve decided on your large format tiles you can add colour and texture to fabrics and furniture easily and work with colours that really bring out the detail in the tiles.  The one thing I will say about large format tiles is, you should choose a better than average tile setter to complete the job.  It’s not something you should try if you’re a DIY enthusiast looking to complete on your own.  They are easier to lay in some ways, however as they look so slick and symmetrical, any line even slightly out of place will be very noticeable.  The floor also needs to be made incredibly flat in comparison to laying smaller tiles.  Something to keep in mind if you are considering laying yourself.

 A natural stone effect porcelain tile is a very popular tile to use throughout the entire downstairs space.  Using just one tile throughout helps blend rooms together and again helps create a sense of space and openness. A natural stone effect tile such as slate works really well in helping to create a farm house feel and works well in older traditional homes.  You can of course mix contemporary with traditional and have a traditional floor using the slate and mix with contemporary furniture and brighter paint on the walls.  I have recently completed an older property with slate effect large format tiles on the floor but the walls were filled with modern art, this bought a feeling of elegance to the room you would not have achieved with any other floor material and worked well with their needs given the fact it was a family home which was also used as a workspace.

Another thing to avoid is contrasting grout colours, normally this is encouraged to bring out tiles and to add character, however as part of the reason for large format is to create the seamless look, adding a contrasting grout may make the room feel choppy and more disjointed.

Finally, don’t go crazy with laying patterns, keep it simple or it will be too much to take in. 

 As kitchens have become open planned and symmetrical but minimal lines have become trendy and a must have – people are striving to create this throughout the kitchen as a whole including the flooring.  This is part of the reason why large format tiles have become popular.  They create a uniform appearance and a plain polished tile can look incredible seamless. Even a white tile and a white kitchen with a large format tile looks high quality.  This is something that’s harder to achieve with smaller tiles due to appearance and grout lines.

Large format are also easier to keep clean due to the less grout lines so perfect for kitchens and living spaces a like.

 Although over time this blog will become outdated in terms of tiles in years to come a few of my favourites I believe are timeless classics are the following.

Topps Tiles Stadia Cliff tile.  These are extra-large porcelain marble replica tiles measuring in at 90cmx90cm these are perfect for bathrooms and living areas alike.

Staunton Graphite Tile from Topps.  These are smoky black natural stone effect tiles which are perfect for inside and outside the home.  They look perfect with natural wood so would work well with a traditional country kitchen and in a living space with an open fire.  They also work well against modern furniture contrasting between modern and classic.

Finally the Regal polished Coal tiles 80x80cm from Topps.  This is a gloss porcelain tile that works well for a minimalist look and works incredibly well on walls as well as floors. The gloss makes spaces seem larger and even though they are dark, the light bounces off them to create warmth and space. If you have any questions regarding these tiles please let me know.

 This blog should help you decide on whether or not large format tiles are for you or your space, but as always if you have any questions please contact us and we will be happy to help.

 DR Tiling Headquarters