From small ensuites and bijoux wet rooms through to luxuriously large rooms for indulgent bathing, hotel bathrooms need to balance practicalities with aesthetics. Tiles for both walls and floors are a popular and practical decorative finish, and as Rob Lynch, specifications manager from CTD Architectural Tiles, explains how to transform a bathroom from functional to fabulous…
The very nature of bathrooms means hygiene and cleanliness is at the top of any specifiers’ checklist. As well as the fixtures and fittings, the walls and floor need to withstand regular cleaning, often with harsh chemical cleaners. Tiles are perfectly suited for use in wet areas and bathrooms owing to their hardwearing finish which means they are easy to maintain and will retain a freshness of finish regardless of how many times they are cleaned.
The most durable tiles, and therefore the most popular for bathroom environments, are glazed porcelain tiles. This type of tile offers great protection against stains, marks and scratches and good water resistance, as well as being available in a wide range of colours, shapes and patterns. A great solution is the new Abbey range of stylish Victorian crackled glazed wall tiles which requires no sealing and is exceptionally easy to maintain. Investing in good quality mould-resistant grouts and sealants, and considering the use of coloured grouts, can also create a longer-lasting ‘just decorated’ appearance.
Another key practical consideration is safety, and all bathroom floors need to be safe to walk on in wet conditions and in bare feet. Fortunately, there are many anti-slip floor tiles available that help ensure bathrooms can be both safe and stylish. Here it’s not so much about the type of tile you choose but what PTV rating it has. This rating refers to the Pendulum Test Value (PTV), which is recommended by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as the most accurate and reliable measure of slip resistance for both wet and dry conditions. It is also the only measure of the slip resistance of flooring accepted in legal and insurance matters. A PTV score of 36 denotes a low slip risk and is the minimum requirement for any new or refurbished public building.
The best commercial tile suppliers will offer a vast range of non-slip floor tiles and will be able to provide you with the necessary information and testing certification so you can be sure that the tiles you choose are the safest option. Fortunately, there are also lots of different styles to choose from and manufacturers are constantly pushing the boundaries with their products so there’s no need to compromise on style. A new addition to the CTD tile portfolio is Tele Di Marmo Onyx which is a classic marble effect tile that combines a mirror-like finish with a high slip resistance.
From boutique hotels to those that utilise refurbished, older or even listed buildings, a small or unusually shaped bathroom can present a challenge. Alongside thinking creatively about layouts and sanitaryware, it’s also worth considering how the floor and wall materials can help open up a space. Tiles can make a huge difference to the way a small bathroom looks and feels, working with the lighting conditions to create the illusion of more space. Choosing highly glazed or gloss tiles in combination with a well thought out lighting plan can make a big difference as light reflecting on the tile surface will make a bathroom appear bigger. It can also brighten up a small space, which is particularly important if there is limited natural light.
Think big even if the room is small! Playing around with layouts can create some interesting effects and this is particularly well illustrated by the versatile Metro-style brick tile. Such tiles can be laid in different patterns, whether this is installing tiles diagonally to create the impression of more space, horizontally to add depth or vertically to add height. Larger format plain coloured floor tiles also work really well in smaller areas. This is because larger tiles give more coverage with fewer grout lines and this in turn creates an expansive floor design that can add depth to a room.
And don’t forget colour. A popular approach is to use a natural, paler palette which will reflect light and will create a more seamless finish when used with a similarly pale bathroom suite. A bright colour scheme can also have a place in a small bathroom. Glossy, brick-shape tiles can be laid in different configurations and in a variety of different colours and shades to create a really eye-catching effect. Tiles such as those within our Abacus and Alba ranges demonstrate this design potential perfectly, comprising several different shades and finishes to allow interesting geometric designs to be created.
Wet rooms, where the shower floor area is flush with the rest of the room to create a more open-plan experience, are becoming increasingly popular in hotels. Unlike traditional bathrooms, wet rooms need to be ‘tanked’ and fully waterproofed, and so it’s essential that the building materials used are suitable for a high level of water exposure. Tiled walls and floors are a popular solution and porcelain tiles, thanks to the material’s great water resistance, are often used.
Despite the more challenging environment of a wet room, there is still plenty of design flexibility. Porcelain tiles are available in a wide range of colours, patterns and finishes and can be used to create a seamless finish when the same style tiles are used on the floor and walls. Similarly, the use of natural stone or wood-effect porcelain tiles can create a luxurious spa-like interior. Contrast also works well and patterned tiles can be used for a feature wall or to help zone the room, for example when used specifically around the shower area. Similarly, mosaic tiles work really well in wet rooms as the smaller surface area of the tile can help add grip and texture to the floors.
A tile supplier will be able to advise the best tiles to consider for wet room applications, whether these are natural wood effect tiles like Forest Jungle, glass mosaic styles like Pearl or the limestone inspired tiles such as Uniche. The Uniche range is particularly effective in wet rooms as it has a high slip resistance in wet conditions and although it is reminiscent of natural stone, it has a smooth finish that makes it comfortable under foot and easy to clean.
Whatever the size of the space or the style of the design, wall and floor tiles can create a hotel bathroom that is not only fit for purpose but that adds to the overall guest experience.
CTD Architectural Tiles is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.
Main image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles