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Top Tile Trends of 2016

Out with the old and in with the new. Tile trends are rapidly changing and tile installation professionals are wondering what’s in store for the future. We saw plenty of large format, plank, wood look and hexagonal tiles this year, and if trendsetters are to be believed, we’ll be seeing a lot more of them next year. But many of those past trends are going to be pushed to new limits with dynamic new styles and pairings.


Bigger is Better: In the tile industry, we’ve quickly come to know and love the term LFT. But if you were to bet that large format tile fervor has hit its peak, we’d bet against you. We estimate that soon 80% of all tile installations will feature large format tile, or tile with one side larger than 15”. And that new class in tile requires new mortars. CUSTOM offers a large range of mortars specifically designed to fit your LFT installation needs.


Seaside Vibe: You don’t have to live in California to embrace the beach! One of the main emerging new trends is be marine color schemes. Aquatic blues and greens make for a perfect pop of color that will add an air of relaxed elegance to any room, but expect to see them primarily in bathrooms and kitchens. Many tiles featuring a seaside aesthetic are glass. For their installation, we recommend our specially formulated Glass Tile Premium Thin-Set Mortar. Its consistently bright white color accentuates glass tile.

Are the marine tones a bit too boho for your tastes? There are countless shades of gray and they’re perfect for those with tastes that run a bit less bombastic. But that doesn’t mean gray has to be subtle! With variations in texture, juxtapositions of shade, and overlaid patterns, gray tiling will be much more dramatic and diverse than most people expect. For an extra burst of excitement, mix multi-toned gray tiles with bright accent colors.


Experts predict that hexagonal tiles and herringbone patterns will continue to skyrocket in popularity. Which is no surprise, as trends seem to be skewing toward the funky. But even more unusual? Why not! Some of the most interesting designs seem to incorporate multiple tile shapes into a cohesive composition.

Even funkier than differently shaped tile?How about completely different materials. Incorporating tile and wood into one fresh design could be one of the top trends we’re seeing evolve. Check out this floor, which showcases wood mixed with a marine-colored ceramic tile in a herringbone pattern. For these unusual installation techniques, CUSTOM recommends a flexible, highly modified mortar like Flexbond® for smaller tiles or Natural Stone & Large Tile Mortar for tiles more than 15” in any direction.


Right angles? Not so much. Upcoming tile trends show increased variety in geometric shapes, and hexagons are only the beginning. Diamond tiles which tessellate into hexagonal patterns are gaining in popularity.

But even farther from the norm are jigsaw plank tiles. These come in many texture variations, but one of our favorites is wood look planks. The effect of a finished installation combines the traditional with the unusual in a way that’s sure to impress guests & customers for years to come. Unusually shappedtiles, or tile in unusual patterns, can be especially challenging to grout. CUSTOM’s AQUA MIX Grout Release will save you precious time in cleanup after finishing one of these eye-catching installations.


Bringing the outdoors inside is a favorite we’re hearing from customers and experts alike. When coupled with the desire for scratch and moisture resistance, the clear answer is wood look plank tile. It’s now available in all sorts of realistic wood and natural appearances like white birch and natural fibers, but has none of the delicacy experienced in those types of flooring. Did we mention it’s much more easily customizable and is beautiful while saving trees? To find the perfect grout to match exotically hued tiles, check out ournewly expanded palette of 40 grout colors.


All tile trends are cyclical, and the current comeback king is terrazzo! With its tremendous longevity and low maintenance requirement, it’s no wonder it’s no surprise that terrazzo is a perennial favorite, especially in interior environments. Instead of poured in place terrazzo, companies now offer terrazzo tile.  This surface is ideal for areas with demanding accessibility requirements like healthcare and educational settings. Historically, initial costs have driven flooring decisions. But as lifecycle considerations are gaining more traction with consumers, terrazzo’s long lifespan makes it an even more appealing option. As terrazzo can be moisture sensitive, it needs a comprehensive installation system, including rapid set products.  For a great case study on the topic, check out CUSTOM’s terrazzo tile installation project at the San Diego International Airport.



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