The ultimate in Zen bathroom designs often make use of pebble tiles on the floors or walls. These tiles have a smooth surface that provide a massage to the feet as you walk on them. They also present a soothing and tranquil appearance that complements spa bathroom styles. Get to know these tiles as potential flooring for your bath.
Origins and Appearance
Pebble tiles can come from anywhere, but most come from Indonesia, where they are gathered from beaches. The stones may vary in size, and most people find that the larger stones make better floor installations due to the way they feel underfoot.
The pebbles are usually sorted by color, with colors ranging from bright white to black, with many shades of gray, green, and tan available as well. Most pebbles come on mesh sheets of 12 or 16 inches with borders in 3, 4, and 6 inch widths as well.
The sheets of pebbles are usually meant to interlock with one another like puzzle pieces. This creates the most seamless installation; when installed properly, you should not be able to see the outline of the various sheets.
The pebbles are installed like any stone mosaic in a bed of white latex-additive thinset mortar that has had the ridges smoothed out. The sheets are beaten into the bed for a uniform installation.
The difference in the installation of the pebbles versus other mosaics is in the grouting. The pebbles require usually twice as much grout as other mosaics because the grout needs to settle slightly below the pebbles, as well as around them. The finished installation should have the grout extending to just below the curve of the pebbles to allow them to be felt underfoot.
Like most natural stone, the pebbles to need to be sealed to protect them from staining. If desired, a color enhancing sealer can also be used to deepen their color. Otherwise, the colors will deepen in color when wet, and lighten again when dry.
Consider using pebble tiles on your bathroom floor or walls. Whether you use them everywhere or sparingly, the effect is always striking.