Tile is a natural choice for anyone that loves the versatility and sustainability of the material. Unfortunately, it’s not the perfect choice for many tiny homes. Here’s why:
In a mobile tiny home, tile is prone to cracking and chipping. Due to its highly rigid nature, it cannot handle the normal bumps of driving on a road. It’s also far heavier than other building materials, making it less than ideal for a tiny home.
But you may be wondering: if it’s so bad, then why are people using it? I’ll explain everything you need to know.
Why do people pick tile for their tiny homes?
Tile is commonly selected when a tiny house is created because it’s economical and aesthetically pleasing. There’s a lot of options to choose from and this allows you to customize it to your personal preferences.
You can choose from all sorts of colors, designs, shapes, and sizes.
You can mix and match. There’s also the option to get custom tiles, so you can pick the design and style that you want them laid in.
Tile also makes your home feel like, well — a home. Sometimes tiny home builders make the mistake of using cold and uninviting materials in their designs. That’s okay in smaller quantities, but if your entire house is made of rough, unpolished metal, it’s going to feel like you’re living in a metal box, more than a home.
That’s why many tiny house builders choose tile. If done in the right way, tile can make a tiny home look cozy and functional. But of course, I would only recommend it for stationary tiny homes.
Will tile crack in a tiny house?
Tile is a great material for bathrooms and kitchens because it’s rigid and waterproof. It’s strong and relatively easy to install without much prior knowledge.
Unfortunately, some of those same characteristics make it absolutely terrible for on-the-move tiny homes.
Tile, usually made of some sort of stone or ceramic, is very rigid, so there’s no room for flex. Imagine stacking a bunch of glasses together and leaving that in the back why you drive. Even if the glasses don’t fall over, the natural bumps and divets that you experience while driving will cause the glass to shatter or chip in places.
In that regard, tile is similar. Over time, if you’re constantly taking your tiny house from place to place, it will crack.
If you’ve ever worked with it before, you’ll know how easily it can break.
Over time those cracks will accumulate and become an eyesore fast. Not to mention, it’s also going to be harder to clean.
For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend tile for tiny homes. Investing in a more flexible material will make your experience far more pleasant and enjoyable.
What are the cons of using tile in a tiny house?
I wouldn’t recommend tile in any tiny house for a few reasons.
First of all, it’s heavy.
In tiny homes, it’s ideal to make your build as lightweight as possible. Introducing extra weight can make it dangerous to drive around with your tiny home. Not to mention, the lighter your tiny house is, the more you’ll save on gas.
With most tiles being made of some sort of stone or ceramic, they’re easily one of the heaviest materials that can be used in tiny homes. Seriously, some of those things weigh like 6 lbs per square foot.
Add up how many you’ll need and that’s a whole lot of weight.
The truth is — tiles are just too heavy and breakable for on-the-move tiny homes.
What can I use instead of tile in my tiny home?
You’ve got a lot of options to choose from, varying on price and durability. If you plan on moving your tiny home, it’s a good idea to pick a material with some “give”.
Laminate is a popular choice among tiny house builders because it’s versatile, lightweight, flexible, and relatively inexpensive. You can get laminate flooring that looks like hardwood or tile at a fraction of the cost.
Vinyl flooring is another great option if you’re looking for something with more water resistance and durability.
On the other hand, if you’ve got a stationary tiny home, make builders opt for natural hardwood. It gives your home a more cozy appearance. It also doesn’t completely rule out the likelihood of transporting it one day, but I wouldn’t suggest it if you’re going to be moving your house around a lot.
In tiny homes, less weight is the name of the game and hardwood is pretty heavy.
How to repair cracked tile
As soon as you notice cracks in your tile — act fast. Ignoring the problem can make the situation worse.
If you notice hairline cracks:
- Take a bit of epoxy and fill empty the space between the broken tile.
- Allow this to dry.
- Then, match an oil or urethane-based paint to the color of the tile.
- Then use a thin crafting brush and apply a thin coat of paint.
- Allow it to fully dry.
If the tile is broken beyond repair, you will need to chisel it out:
- Use a handheld grout saw to saw around the edge of the broken tile. This will prevent damage to neighboring tiles.
- Cover the tile with a drop cloth.
- Use a hammer to break the cracked tile into smaller pieces. You don’t need to be aggressive with this — tile breaks fairly easily.
- Carefully remove the broken tile.
- Use a chisel to remove any remaining pieces that are still attached. Be careful not to damage the surface behind the tile.
As soon as you’ve done this, you’re all set!
If you were considering using tile in your tiny home, I hope that this article has proven beneficial.
If you need any more help with your tiny home, please check out my other articles.