A guide to choosing and laying square tiles

square tiles

Square tiles are one of the most popular tile styles, providing a practical, durable and economical surface for walls and floors. As one of the most basic and versatile tile shapes, square tiles are available in small mosaic sizes up to large format tiles with measurements of 1200 x 1200mm or even larger.

Traditionally, tiles were often limited to walls and floors in areas which were likely to get wet, such as bathrooms and kitchens. However, the increase in options such as patterned tiles, realistic wood effect tiles and stone effect tiles, has led to tiles being used in many new areas as a focal point or feature. Today, there are many tile shapes available, including popular rectangular metro tiles and geometric shapes, however the grid like pattern achieved with square tiles has stood the test of time and despite these evolving tile finishes, it is clear that square tile shapes continue to remain a popular choice.

Whether you are tiling a bathroom floor, kitchen splashback, bedroom wall feature, or a dining room floor, there are a variety of square tiles available which will create an excellent finish.


Square tile materials

There are two distinct tile types, natural stone tiles and manmade tiles, with both options providing a durable and long-lasting surface.


Manmade square tiles

The most popular type of tiles are ceramic tiles, which are easy to cut, waterproof, low-maintenance and budget friendly. In addition, ceramic tiles are available in a variety of patterns, textures and colours which can mimic natural materials such as stone and marble.

Porcelain tiles are known for their durability and strength, with a variety of effects available in both matt and gloss finishes. It is possible to choose either unglazed or glazed surfaces, although most individuals choose glazed tiles as they are easier to clean and keep sealed. The hard-wearing nature of porcelain tiles makes them a great choice for flooring, where they are capable of withstanding loads whilst also and looking great.


Natural stone tiles

Natural stone tiles are often chosen for their non-uniform finish, as no two tiles will ever be the same. Typically, there are four types of natural stone which are used within tiling; marble, travertine, slate and quarry stone.

Marble tiles create a luxurious feel whilst also offering durability, making them a popular choice for bathrooms and hallways. However, they can be very slippery when wet and will need sealing and polishing after installation.

Travertine is a form of limestone, which means that  tiles benefit from unique grooves and they are available in a variety of warm tones. Although, it is prone to chipping and because it is a porous stone it will stain, which means that travertine tiles are most suited to walls which do not need to be cleaned regularly.

Quarry tiles are manufactured from natural clay and provide a matt terracotta finish which is naturally very durable. The versatility of the warm tone makes quarry tiles a great choice for kitchens, bathrooms or hallways, especially as they offer great traction.

Slate tiles are durable, versatile tiles which are highly resistant and easy to clean. The tone of slate tiles makes them an ideal option for both contemporary and traditional interiors, where they can be used on both walls and floors. However, it is worth noting that slate is the only tile type which cannot be used with underfloor heating.


Choosing square tile sizes

The size of tiles can significantly influence the final feel, with sizes available that can increase the feeling of space, define a focal point and add texture. For example, large format square tiles can create a feeling of space in a small room, as there are fewer grout lines dividing the space. In comparison, if you are looking to divide a large space or enhance a feature within a large room, small square mosaic tiles are a great option. Whichever option you choose, square tiles have the added advantage of being easy to install, and it is also very easy to calculate how many are needed to cover an area.


Design options for square tiles

From stunning patterns to plain stone effect square tiles, there are many options available to suit every type of interior space and style.


Bathroom tiles

Neutral stone effect tiles are a popular choice for bathrooms as they create a natural relaxed feel. If you are choosing bathroom floor tiles they should have an anti-slip surface, however with wall tiles the options are almost endless. A great example is the Weller range of square 600x600mm tiles, which are ideal for multiple interior styles. There are four potential finishes; Blanco, Marfil, Perla and Gris with each offering a neutral, matt finish.


Kitchen tiles

The kitchen is often the hub of the home, so it is important to consider the design carefully. There are many options available to create a stunning kitchen design, from patterned splashbacks to large floor spaces. An example of square tiles which create a great focal point are these Imagine tiles, which are available in black, white and grey patterns. These versatile tiles can be used on both walls and floors, making them a great decorative addition for those looking to make a statement.


Hallway tiles

First impressions count, so if you plan on installing a tiled floor it is important to spend time carefully choosing the right tiles. Hallway tiles need to be very durable, as they will need to withstand a lot of traffic. For example, the gloss Moonstone tiles from Navarro offer a durable porcelain finish, with an elegant design that will suit a variety of hallway styles. In addition, you may wish to consider wall tiles instead of paint or wallpaper, as your walls will be protected from muddy shoes, scuffs and dirt. The tiles will allow dirt and marks to be quickly cleaned away.


Patterns when laying square tiles

Although square tiles are the simplest shape available, there are a variety of potential laying patterns which can add an interesting finish.


1. The grid patterns

This is the most obvious pattern, with tiles laid in a square grid design. The simple grid pattern can be enhanced through the use of lightly coloured tiles and a dark grout.


2. Staggered pattern

The staggered brick style pattern is ideal for those who are looking to create a less structured finish, and an informal style.


3. Diamond pattern

The diagonal placement of square tiles results in a diamond pattern, is a great way to create an illusion of space. This style is commonly found in small kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms.


Tools you may need during installation

Once you have picked your tiles and planned your installation, there are a variety of tools you may need. Whether you are looking for the ideal tile adhesive, grout, tile cutter, sealant or trowel, here at Quantum we stock everything a professional tiler may need. Our products are available on a wholesale basis, so if you would like to find your nearest stockist in the UK or Ireland, please contact our team. Alternatively, if you are a retailer and would like to stock the Quantum range, please contact us to open an account.