To ensure our clients make informed choices, let's cut straight to the chase – what are the pros and cons of gloss and matt tiles?
Image: Verona Glossy Floor Tiles
The Pros of Gloss Tiles:
Make Small Rooms Appear Larger
Glossy tiles are reflective and allow light to bounce around the room. They open up smaller spaces and trick the eye into making small rooms appear larger than they actually are. As a result, glossy tiles are an excellent choice for bathrooms, boxrooms or for tight areas within larger spaces.
Make Dark Rooms Appear Brighter
For similar reasons, glossy tiles can make your space appear lighter and brighter – especially white tiling. Glossy tiles are an ideal choice to brighten up darker, light-limited rooms.
Easy to Clean
The slippery nature of gloss surfaces means they’re extremely easy to wipe clean. As a result, glossy tiles are ideal for bathroom walls and kitchen splashbacks. Just take a look at this beautiful glossy marble effect tile in a stylish bathroom as an example.
A practical location for glossy tiles that many homeowners overlook is around fireplaces. The soot and grime of the fire can be effortlessly removed from the glossy surface – it’s one of the best kept secrets to save you cleaning time in the home. And the use of marble-effect or encaustic-effect glossy tiles will give your fireplace a truly original and authentic feel.
Image: Palatina Glossy Tiles
The Cons of Gloss Tiles:
Gloss Highlights Imperfections
The shinier the surface, the more easily it shows up dirt. Gloss tends to draw attention to any staining such as fingerprints, footprints, soap smears or wet spots. Thus, a gloss finish requires more regular cleaning than matt tiles. In order to have them looking their sparkling best, you must ensure you don’t leave any smear marks. However, on the upside, cleaning is easy with a simple wipe.
Gloss is Slippery
A smooth, glossy surface tends to be more slippy than a matt surface – particularly when wet. Therefore, it’s never a good idea to use a gloss tile for flooring – and particularly for bathroom or wet-room flooring or in high traffic areas such as entrance halls.
Bright Reflective Characteristics
Some people just don’t like the reflective bright quality of gloss, and some rooms are simply not appropriate spaces for gloss finishes. If you want to create a soothing, serene atmosphere in, say, your study, then gloss would be entirely unsuitable. The bright gloss effect would be distracting and unseemly in such an environment.
Image: Grey Matt Floor Tiles
The Pros of Matt Tiles:
As matt surfaces have better traction than gloss, they’re the obvious choice for flooring – and particularly in bathrooms and wet-rooms. Never ever use a gloss tile for flooring in a wet-room or bathroom. A particularly good spot for laying porcelain or ceramic matt tiles are entryways; matt glaze will conceal dirt and grime laid down by passing traffic.
Please note that matt surfaces - and even “non-slip tiles" - do not carry a slip-proof guarantee. All floor surfaces are slippery when wet, including tiles.
Unlike glossy tiles, matt tiles better conceal stains, smudges, and dried water droplets. Thus, they don’t require frequent cleaning, and when you do clean them you don’t have to be vigilant for smear or soap marks. This low maintenance requirement makes matt tiles the obvious choice for busy bathrooms, and ideal for holiday homes where cleaning is far less frequent. Just take a look at our Napoles Tile, and you'll understand how easily that matt, slate-effect tile would camouflages marks.
Image: Chelsea Matt Wall Tiles
Natural Rustic Finish
If you want to create a natural or rustic look in a living space, then matt tiles are the way forward. There’s a huge variety of cement-effect, stone-effect, wood-effect, and slate-effect tiles on the market in matt finishes which exude that warm, natural, homely look. Their clean, natural appearance will add a touch of authenticity to any space.
Ideal for Your Tranquil Zone
The soft subdued hues of matt glaze ooze serenity and calmness. They are perfect for creating a tranquil, soothing space in your home.
Image: Katmandu Matt Floor Tiles
The Cons of Matt Tiles:
Stains are More Stubborn
As explained above, matt tiles do not easily reveal stains and smudges, and thus don’t require frequent cleaning. However, when matt does need cleaning, it’s harder to remove stains than from glossy finishes.
Space is Not Opened Up
As matt tiles do not reflect light in the mirror-like fashion of glossy glazes, they cannot open up a room like gloss. As a result, matt tiles are more appropriate for larger rooms and those with superior lighting.
There are a number of advantages and disadvantages associated with both types of finish. It all depends on the context, size, and lighting of the space, as well as the atmosphere you wish to create. But ultimately, the choice of matt or gloss comes down to personal preference.
If you can’t make up your mind, why not integrate both finishes into your bespoke design to subtly mix light with texture, the soothing with the industrious, and the authentic with the contemporary?
So which will it be – matt, gloss, or fusion?
Have a read of the article here for further information on the differences between matt and gloss tiles, and how they can be used in the home.
View a great selection of beautiful matt and gloss tiles, starting at just £10 per square metre.
About The Author
The Tile Monk lives a simple life devoted completely to tile worship. He meditates on tiles, about tiles. He no longer lays tiles; that’s for his younger apprentices. You cannot follow him on Twitter or Facebook, as his time on this earth is dedicated solely to the contemplation of tiles, and occasional blogposts.