Choosing the Perfect Tile

There have been incredible advancements in tile manufacture over the past few years, which means we are now seeing the most beautiful patterns and exciting sizes.  With some slabs now being as tall as three meters you can use the tiles vertically on a wall right up to the ceiling without any horizontal joins for a wonderful seamless look.

Classic Trading has the most gorgeous range of slab tiles, as well as exciting bathroom feature tiles.  They are my “go to” showroom for all my tile needs, not only because they have been a wonderful source of beautiful tiles over the years, but because of the wealth of information and expertise they always provide about the tiling industry, so I am confident that I am getting the best quality tiles and that I can ensure they are laid correctly.

When I asked Classic about the tile market at the moment they have provided this insight: “Leading Tile manufacturers are replicating the luxurious and opulent look of natural marble. Owing to modern-day technology, this results in large format tiles with amazing patterns , colours and rich veins making it absolutely aesthetically pleasing particularly for large homes/bathrooms. The marble-look tile finishes allow the beauty of your flooring to enhance your home. The authentic look of marble with the price and durability of a tile. This extravagant and stylish look is one of the best looks to consider as you design your interior spaces in 2019.

The continued trend for larger format tiles also referred to as ‘slabs’ sees the traditional 600 x 600mm tile virtually as old-fashioned. There are many benefits of making use of larger format tiles such as :

  • It provides a greater sense of spaciousness
  • Creates a continuity effect
  • More hygienic
  • Reduces installation time”

However, with so many options now available choosing tiles can be a daunting experience for most people.  How do you know which tile is the best for your application?

The Look

My advice would be to first think very carefully about the area you are tiling and the look you want to achieve, this will be helpful when you walk into the tile showroom and chat to the sales people.  Consider the following:

  • Are you looking for a tile for the general floor, bathroom or a feature wall perhaps at a fireplace or staircase?
  • Are you wanting to create a look that is simple and elegant, or are you wanting something more eye-catching?

If you are looking to create feature areas I suggest finding one wall and treating tit differently by using a different coloured or patterned tile here.  Mosaics behind vanities or in the shower still have their place, but there is such a selection of amazing feature tiles in larger formats so you can do an entire feature wall with excellent results.  The below images show one for the Classic Trading’s tile ranges where a “family” of tiles can be used together to create the most amazing look for any interior.  It is not too busy and creates a aesthetic of true elegance.

Stuff You Should Know

Some terms I feel you should know before you head into the tile showroom (so you are aware of what the sales people are offering you):

Ceramic tiles are very reasonably priced compared to most porcelain tiles, however their application must be carefully considered.  Ceramic tiles are more susceptible to water infiltration, therefore should not be used as an exterior surface treatment as they are not durable enough to withstand the elements.  With a ceramic tile you see the clay material at the back of the tile, and once laid, if the tile should get chipped the clay material is quite obvious through the chip and can be unsightly.

Porcelain tiles are better suited for heavier traffic in comparison to ceramic tiles, the clays in porcelain tiles are more dense and less porous, making them impervious to moisture.  The materials are kiln-fired either with a glaze on top or without. Porcelain tiles are also more durable due to their through-body (or full-body) composition.

A Fullbodied porcelain tile is a product whose surface colour is the same all the way through the tile. This means that in the rare event of the tile being chipped, the damage can hardly be seen at all.  However remember to consult the sales people to determine if the tile you are interested in needs to be sealed (this is less and less likely with modern tiles but it’s worth it to be sure).

A Glazed porcelain tile is a full bodied porcelain tile with a front surface that has been further enhanced by glazing. Most tiles are glazed. The glaze can be a matt or glossy finish and there are many tiles that are available in the same colour but both finishes (for example you can use the glossy tile on the bathroom walls and the matt version on the bathroom floors).

A Rectified tile can be either a ceramic or porcelain tile that has been mechanically cut or ground down to an exact size. Since it applies only to the tile’s edges, it is called an edge treatment. Additionally, the edges are usually precisely cut at a “square” or 90-degree angle.


Ideally grout spacing should be about 2mm apart for general floor area applications. As the tile sizes get larger it is advisable to leave more spacing between tiles. For wall tiles, to achieve the most pleasant aesthetic appearance you should use a 1mm spacer between tiles. It should be noted that some tiles might require larger grouts compared to others and the manufacturer or supplier should advise if a larger grout spacing is required i.e. rectified tiles generally allow for smaller grout spacing as the tile is cut to an exact size.

I personally prefer to go with a standard wall and floor grout in a light grey colour called ‘Dove Grey’, as it doesn’t show up dirt as much as the white grout, and the creamier grouts can be a little bit yellow.  There are however different grout options available with some of the more expensive ones being epoxy and resin grouts which have better stain resistant properties but please ensure you do your homework here as they are not as easy to work with and you would need to ensure your tiler is confident in using these products.

There is so much more to discuss when it comes to tiles, but I hope this summary has provided you with some useful information when it comes to choosing your tiles.

For more information on tiles visit or stop in to a Classic showroom to see their amazing range:

  • Durban: 9 Acaciafield Close, Springfield Park, Durban.  031 579 1900
  • Johannesburg: Shop G1, Woodmead Commercial Park, Waterval Crescent, Woodmead.  011 656 0400
  • Cape Town: Shop 9 Roeland Square, Roeland Street, Cape Town.   021 4659277

For more information on Interior Design please visit our website or contact us on 031 303 7265.

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Committed to style, creativity and uncompromised service, Jossi Design strives to deliver eye-catching design that carefully considers function, comfort and style. Through a keen interest in emerging and current trends, we aim to achieve the right balance of contemporary chic and timeless finishes that reflects all client personalities and individual tastes.

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