Purchasing Tile

Hundreds of tile, glass, stone and allied products
National Tiles showroom

Numerous showrooms display a wide variety of hard surface finishes. Featured is National Tiles' Lawnton showroom, and below, Living Tiles' showroom in Rozelle, New South Wales.


Sounds simple enough, but tiles, like many other products used to construct our built environment, come in many shapes, sizes, textures and generic types.

Our guide to the most common tile types details the intrinsic benefits and characteristics of each particular member of the tile family. The descriptive text is supported by appropriate images.

There is also a table specifying the PEI rating of various tiles. This grading system is commonly used to enable consumers and specifiers to select the right floor tile for the job at hand. Any tile salesman should know the PEI rating of the tile he has on offer and should be fully conversant with the system and its function.

If you have already visited our PRODUCT PROFILES, you're probably ready to rush out and purchase your tiles. Before you do, consider carefully if you are going to fix the tiles yourself or employ a professional. It might be an idea to visit INSTALLING TILE so that you can assess the skills and equipment required to do the job properly.

When you eventually arrive at the retailers, you should have a clear idea of the area you wish to tile. Remember you may need accessories like soap dishes and brass strips to finish off your tiling in doorways. Here is a list of things to do:

  1. Measure the floor and wall areas to be tiled. If the tiles are regular in size (15 x 15cm or 20 x 20cm) then you should add no more than 10 per cent for wastage. Some tiles will have to be cut, and the offcut may not be useful anywhere else, others may be damaged in transit or blemished. Always order an extra 10 per cent, even if you do not use them, they often come in handy at a later date.
  2. If you are using a floor or wall border, measure the linear distance to be tiled and divide it by the length of each border to arrive at the net number of tiles required. Again add a few extra pieces for waste.
  3. If you are tiling the bathroom walls, why not tile the whole room. There is only one thing more tiresome than painting a 900mm strip of wall between tiles and ceiling, and that is having to repaint it every few years.
  4. Do not forget to check carefully if the floor tile selected will withstand the foot traffic it will be subjected to. (About Abrasion Resistance).
  5. Consider slip resistance and its relevance to your household or environment. (About Slip Resistance)
  6. What about ease of maintenance? Ceramic tiles are easy to clean, but what about terracotta, marble or porcelain. Make sure you understand what is required to keep your floor looking good. The products porosity values are important. (About Porosity)
  7. Everyone wants a bargain but if you discover an attractive but average tile in terms of appearance and durability that only costs $20 per square metre, compared to excellent product available at $30 per square metre. Do not sign on the dotted line without considering:
    • If you need 10m2 at an extra cost of $10 per m2, what is $100 compared to living with your second choice for 10, 20 or even 30 years? Remember, many grade 4 and 5 floor tiles are guaranteed for 30 years plus.
  8. Make sure you buy the right adhesive for the tile in question and a compatible colour grout. Make sure the ceramic tile adhesive is compatible with the waterproof membrane system.
  9. If employing a tiler, check out his reputation and do not be afraid to ask questions.
  10. Do not be too staid in your choice of colour, use a complementary grout and be inventive. Tiles are fun, they are an ancient and durable product that will reward the inventive user.

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