DalTile or Home Depot Subway Tile? Matte or Glossy? DIY?

newhomeowner2011aJuly 25, 2011


I went to a local store that I learned has DalTile (saw it was used by several people on various forums posts...) today and they said they had two options - one was "metro subway" tile and one was the "Dal" subway tile. He wasn't very informative so I thought I'd ask the experts (y'all!) what you recommend.

Also, I noticed Home Depot has subway tile as well.

We are looking to do the tub surround in our 1920's house in what Dal is calling artic white (so whatever the equiv would be of the other options). Our goal is to make the space fresh and classy looking (if that helps with what you'd suggest) :-)

So I guess what I'm asking is -

1. What is the difference in Dal Tile, what he is referring to as just "metro subway" tile (didn't seem to have the separators - maybe that is the difference?) and the Home Depot subway tile?

2. Matte or glossy? (Matte seems to be about $0.50 less/sqft)

My husband and I were hoping to do this project ourselves but the guy in the store (of course he sells installation) said that while we could save some money on the demo part of it, the durock is where he thinks we might have trouble and suggested bringing in a professional to do that and the actual tiling (our walls are plaster). We don't have any tiling experience but know there are classes at Home Depot and several videos/website with advice on how to do this. He quoted me $600 for the durock and tile installation portion. Has anyone ever heard of bringing in someone for just the durock portion of a tiling reno? (he said their minimum is $300 so it wouldn't be cost effective obviously wit his company to do something like that - at least he was honest!) ;)

Thanks (as always!) for your suggestions/advice!!!

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Durock is the hard part of the tiling job??? Really??? It's about as hard as hanging drywall. Cut the board, screw it to the studs, voila. The tiling is definitely the trickier part.

Matte vs. glossy is your design choice. I prefer matte, but you need to figure out what works best with the look you're going for.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 7:01PM
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Wow,, am I glad I checked this thread.

First-- Metro is annother tile company. I'm pretty sure instead of having lugs on the sides of the tiles like Dal's, it has a raised ridge that runs the whole perimeter of the tile, but does the exact same thing. As for HD, they have the very same Daltile, but they also have U.S. Ceramics, as well. Also not a bad tile.

Secondly, as for matte vs brite glaze, there's no difference in maintanence. The only difference, pretty much is your taste.

Third, the only problem I forsee with respect to hanging the Durock is that any time I've hung cement board where plaster was, the studs never seem to be in good alignment. But that's not a big deal. They can either be hand planed or shimmed, as needed. Other than that, it's a piece of cake.

Lastly, DO NNOT take those HD classes. I sat in on one and tore the instructor to bits, to the point that he was ready to have me removed from the store. Those classes are a joke. If you want the real deal information, as well as a BUNCH of pros to pretty much hold your hand through the whole thing, go to John BRidge's forum. the link's below. They (we) won't steer you wrong.

Here is a link that might be useful: John Bridge's Tile Advice Forum

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 10:01PM
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Great - thanks weedyacres and bill v!!!

One more question - he suggested tiling in the tub/shower combo all the way to the ceiling. I'm not sure if he was confused and thought we only had a shower but I've only seen this done once in a combo unit - is this the new trend or does it make sense for other reasons? Seems to me like more tile/grout to clean (that is out of my reach)!

Currently our combo unit only has the tiling up until right below the shower head.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 11:54PM
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>Seems to me like more tile/grout to clean (that is out of my reach)!

Well, as far as that goes, unless you're awfully messy showerers the tile up there stays pretty clean--do you often have to clean the wall up there now? Yes, it's more fashionable now to tile all the way up, has been for a while. Take a look at the bathrooms on houzz and similar sites.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 12:07AM
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The only thing that codes require is 6 feet off the finished floor (which is usually just below the shower head). Past that, it's a matter of taste. I've tiled tub enclosures both ways more times than I can count.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 7:20AM
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I'm also choosing between Home Depot's

US Ceramic standard "White" glossy

Daltile (now carried cheaply by HD by us and online) Acrtic White (can't decide on MATTE OR GLOSSY).

I don't know if the matte will look just a bit less common, so sophisticated and perhaps less cold and shiny... Or if the glossy surface will look fancier.

Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 12:43PM
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"They can either be hand planed or shimmed"

Painfuly labor intensve.

Sister pieces of ripped 2x (half a2x4 stud works well) by screwing to the side of the old studs ad sticking out just enough to create a flat plane for the cement board.

I usually screw the studs top and bottom and then go back and nail them about every 2 feet with a nail gun.

Hammering the nails can damage the wall on the other side of the bathroom studs.

Find the high spot of the existing studs and make that the new plane location.

if it is very bad you might need to get a had power plane to face off the old studs, but nails will tear up the cuter quickly.

Simply using a Sawzal to cut away a little more than needed works better.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 2:54PM
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Don't know if this will help in your Matte or Shiny decision but we have Dal tile matte arctic white in our main bathroom and as a backsplash in our kitchen. My reason for going with matte was I felt it wouldn't show water spots as much. It's in our shower and doesn't show spots at all. We have really soft water where I live though so maybe the shiny wouldn't show spots either. Our house was built in 1938 and we feel the tile looks age appropriate in the house. It's been up for 8 years and I shudder to think how seldom I clean it and it looks great. While tile can look cold, the matte has a bit of a softer look.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 11:15PM
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NHB, checks Lowe's for tile as well. When we were looking for subway tile I found it in every possible price range but was looking for a softer white AND the matching (color) chair rail tile instead of the plainer, thin listellos. It was the only "big box" place that had the chair rail at such a good price. Lowes also had the field tile for 26 Cents each and the chair rail for just $3.50 each.....once we decided not to do glass subway tile or the pillow subway tile it was a very easy choice. I can't remember the brand but we'd heard of it, and have had no problems with it whatsoever. It was definitely the least expensive material we used in the kitchen, and one of the best looking. We paid a fortune to have the old tile ripped out as italy the drywall had to be reinstalled, but the tile was a BARGAIN!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:28PM
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Thanks susieliz! We were thinking Matte for that same reason (softer). Good to know about looking clean too, we don't clean OVERLY often :).

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 1:47PM
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