Small vs. Large Floor Tile for Bathrooms

Updated April 14, 2017

Small tiles and large tiles each have their benefits and drawbacks. Small tiles tend to give a more elegant look, while larger tiles are often easier to clean. Installing large tiles means less grout work, while installing smaller tiles means less cutting. Bathroom floors can also be made up of several different tile types (as pictured) or of non-tile options, such as vinyl sheeting, laminates or hardwood.

Sizes and Shapes

Floor tile for bathrooms comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. Tile thickness generally ranges from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inches, according to Tiles usually measure between 4 inches by 4 inches and 2 feet by 2 feet. Mosaic tiles, which come mounted together on mesh sheets, are generally 2 inches by 2 inches or smaller. Bathroom floor tiles also come in hexagons, octagons and other shapes, even in custom patterns. Vinyl tiles for bathroom floors are typically between 12 inches by 12 inches and 18 inches by 18 inches and have a wide variety of patterns.

Types of Bathroom Floors

Because of their durability, resistance to dampness and ease of cleaning, ceramic and porcelain tiles are popular choices for bathroom floors. According to, ceramic and porcelain tiles are also relatively safe to walk on when wet.

Vinyl bathroom flooring comes in sheets or tiles and is also relatively easy to clean and are safe when wet. Vinyl sheets are easier to install and have fewer seams than vinyl tiles, but vinyl tiles can be replaced more easily.

Laminate flooring comes in a wide range of materials. It is durable and easy to clean. It is generally considered a sensible choice for bathroom floors.

Carpet can be used for bathroom floors, but it should repel water and mildew, be stain-resistant and have a waterproof backing. Carpet provides countless colour options.

Hardwood bathroom floors are a reasonable option if they are finished and are water-resistant. They can also be stained or painted to match the decor of the bathroom.

Natural stone can provide a durable, easy-to-clean floor, but it can also be cold and slick when wet.

Benefits of Small Tiles

Small tiles provide a more visually appealing bathroom floor, according to author Rachelle de Bretagne. Especially in small bathrooms, large tiles can be somewhat overwhelming. Small tiles also reduce the number of cuts needed to fit the shape of the floor. Smaller tiles can be replaced more easily when damaged. Similarly, vinyl tiles, rather than the larger vinyl sheets, are also more easily replaced.

Benefits of Large Tiles

Large-tile bathroom floors are easier to clean and require less grout work during installation. Similarly, large vinyl sheets require fewer seams and are more easily cleaned. Large tiles often come with patterns and designs that may not be available on the smaller tiles.


Before making the choice between large and small tiles, author Kimberly Heit recommends considering several other factors. Durability, functionality and cost are major factors, but matching the decor and providing safety and comfort should also affect the final decision.

Heit recommends weighing the pros and cons of each type of flooring, including non-tile options such as hardwoods and laminates.

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About the Author

Jeff Thompson is a news radio anchor and writer in Portland, Oregon. His newscasts and reports have been broadcast on Clear Channel stations throughout the Northwest since 2006. He has published articles for many of those stations' websites. He graduated summa cum laude from Portland State University. He began writing for Demand Studios in September, 2009.