Day 26 – Matte or Glossy – Flat or Shiny

The biggest challenge when selecting tile is the ability to visualize how one piece of tile and the little bit of accent will actually look over a large area. For anyone who has gone into a tile store, the selection can be dazzling. There is no right answer an any number of combinations can and would look good. If you ever find yourself in that position. I recommend you start by considering if you would like your tiles to be matte or glossy. You may also want to consider if you would like porcelain or ceramic tiles.


The current market boasts an abundance of porcelain tile, frequently in large format 12 x 24 tiles. Large tiles can only be made of porcelain. Porcelain can be finished to look like marble, granite, wood or tile. It can be Matte or Gloss. Porcelain has been used in bathrooms through out the last century. Floor tiles are generally porcelain. The material is non-porous and stands up to moisture. Although we may think of porcelain in relation to fragile china cups, it is also the material of choice for toilets worldwide. For those china lovers out there Villeroy & Boch is not only a maker of fine porcelain, it is a maker of toilets.

Although porcelain has become more popular in the last decade, most of us still think of ceramic tile when we think of bathroom tile. The classic look of a subway tile or brightly colored Mexican tiles can only come from ceramic tile. Unlike porcelain where the material itself provides some water resistance, the glaze on ceramic tile provides the water barrier. Since the glaze is baked on, if the tile is treated well, of good quality and properly installed it will last centuries.

For both porcelain and ceramic tile the glaze is paramount when selecting tile. Although, the degree in which the glaze reflects light can vary, it is generally broken into two categories Gloss or Matte. The reflective quality of any material makes a tremendous difference in appearance. In our kitchen we have glossy ceramic tile and in the upstairs bathroom there are matte porcelain tiles. One of the benefits of matte tile is that it doesn’t show water marks or soap residue. Matte tiles also provide a nice contrast to the glossy finish of the tub, sink, and toilet or the shine of chrome fixtures.


From Drab to Daylight – Master Bath tiles                              Kitchen tiles

When working on the design of our small bathroom, I selected a matte finish. I find the matte surface more restful. It would also provide a better compliment to the matte in such a small room. Since the marble and stone accents.

The tile has all been cut and installed. Tomorrow the tiler will fill in the voids with grout. We will not have to imagine if we made the right decision. We will see it for ourselves.



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