There are two kinds of laundry rooms: ones you hide in your basement, and ones you photograph for magazines. In an ideal world, we would all have the latter. But creating a dream laundry room can be a major undertaking. That said, tile can make a big difference. A well-picked laundry room tile can brighten even the dullest concrete floor while adding a layer of practicality, even without any other laundry upgrades.
Should You Tile Your Laundry Room?
The short answer is yes. Tiling your laundry area began not as a trend, but as a practicality. The laundry room regularly encounters water. From soaking a difficult stain in the sink to moving your dripping clothes from washer to dryer, water damage can happen at any moment. A non-porous surface like tile repels water instead of absorbing it, which leads to less warping and cracking over time.
Floor to Wall Coverage
Water damage isn’t just limited to your floors. Your utility sink can splash and your detergents can leak. Tiling along your counters, either as a backsplash just against the sink or for the entire room, gives an extra layer of protection to the laundry splash zone. Most people choose a different style of tile for their walls and floors to keep a strong visual distinction. Otherwise, you risk your laundry room resembling a (very nice) shower stall.
Options, Options, Options
When it comes to picking a tile, your laundry room can stand out from your bathroom or kitchen. The laundry tends to be a smaller room, so you can place a more patterned or colorful tile without it making you feel dizzy. If you like the look of a bold, graphic tile but aren’t sure you can get away with it in your kitchen, a laundry room is a good place to try it out. That said, you can also go more traditional. Wood look tile is especially popular because it gives you all the appeal without the risk of warping. In some cases, it may even be easier to match a wood-look tile to your existing wood flooring than the real thing (and without re-staining!)
Caution: Slippery When Wet
Tile doesn’t absorb water, which is great because you won’t have water damage! But too much water on the floor can become a slip risk. When a floor becomes slippery depends heavily on the floor’s texture and grout spacing; the more seamless the finish, the less places water has to go. This is why most pool areas have very tiny tiles with a thick grout between each square. If you can, opt for a tile with more texture or ridges on the surface of the tile as well (look for the tile’s slip rating, ideally R10 or 11). Otherwise, consider a no-slip mat for safety that you can place in the dryer or hang out to dry.
Tiling: Harder Than It Looks?
Planning on doing the tiling yourself? Large-format field tile is the easiest to install. But smaller, fiddlier mosaics aren’t as complex as you’d expect – provided you buy them in sheets. Lots of small tiles attached to a 12″ mesh square install almost as easily as more traditional field tile. Keep in mind that whatever type of tile you choose, you’ll need to lay them with care – especially for tile with more detailed patterns. Badly aligned tile will look worse as you go, and need extra trimming around the edges. If this is your first time laying tile, consider a uniform, blocky shape like squares and rectangles and skip the joining mosaics. And if you already fell in love with a busy tile, consider using some of your renovation budget to hire a professional.
Tile can look intimidating, but it’s almost a necessity for any long-lasting laundry room. It brings character to an otherwise boring chore space and can be a DIY project that even beginners can be proud of.