Why is choosing tile so difficult?

zelenkabachSeptember 16, 2013

I have about 2 months until my master bathroom shower and floor gets torn out (because of a leak) and retiled. I have brought tile sample after sample home and what looks great in the store doesn't look good in the bathroom. Because my house is relatively new and this remodel is being done because of a faulty installation, I am trying my best to be economical, but to no avail. I had to settle for builder's grade tile when the house was built, now I want something nicer....

I have seen some trendy things that I like (vein cut porcelain) but I am afraid of it becoming dated. I live pretty far away from the good tile stores (80-100 miles) so every trip is a big investment...

Any collective wisdom on this topic? I know that I will eventually get it done, but I am really getting disheartened!

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Yes, tile was the hardest thing for me when I did my kitchen and family room. Its so permanent - at least in my case it was. That scares the heck out of me. I ended up with something very neutral,that is not at all trendy, But had a terrible time with beige/tan shades because they all showed another color in my space. The search for tile delayed my project. You may not have that option.

No real advice to offer, except to say that I feel your pain, and do not give up - pound the pavements and hopefully you will find that tile that you will want to spend the rest of your life with.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 8:29PM
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I am so bad at selecting things coming up with ideas- but I am good a copying. I found a picture of a bathroom on houzz that I liked the tile and then asked the question to get the exact make/model of it. Hopefully it will look as good as it did on Houzz.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 11:12PM
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Why is choosing tile so difficult? Because it's a fairly dominant element in the room and there are so very many options out there. It's tough to settle on something that so completely defines the space that can't be changed easily. Can you get a second opinion to help you with your indecision? I brought home a ton of samples, picked my top few favourites, and had my significant other weigh in on the options. We both liked the same tile and that really helped make me comfortable with the decision. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:54AM
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The worst part about being made crazy over tile is how you cannot explain to anyone what a problem it is without sounding totally pretentious⦠I looked in THREE different states for my tile, and was utterly compulsive about the entire thing.

For what itâÂÂs worth, I DID end up finding the magic tile that lived in my head.
Good luck!!

Here is a link that might be useful: My advice about buying tile.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:24AM
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"My advice about buying tile" is a great link! I laughed out loud!!
My latest frustration was some new porcelain tile offered at my local Home Depot that looked beautiful online (Daltile Broadmoor Platinum). When I got to the store to get a sample, it wasn't on display, Because I insisted it be found, the sales people had to get out the forklift to retrieve it from where it was stored in the bins above.

After an Herculean effort by 4 sales people, they managed to forklift a pallet down to the floor, extricate a sample for me from a tight bunch of boxes that were sealed and wrapped with cords.

The sample looked much different in person (not the same color and a very thin glaze, with the red porcelain body showing through). Although I knew I wouldn't be using it, I did purchase the sample and take it home... No good... I had had high hopes for that one...

I have only visited 2 states so far but I am plotting a possible 3rd. I am glad to have 2 months to obsess over this. It's nice to know others have had similar experiences...

Please keep the advice (or the pep talks) coming!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 12:39PM
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Like pricklypear said - it is a very big part of your bathroom (and probably the budget) and one of the most difficult to change later. AND there are a bazzillion choices. If there weren't so many choices you wouldn't even consider going to the second or third store, much less the next state. You would pick the best of what was available and move on from there. Words like perfect and magic probably would not be used, but you wouldn't suffer from the indecision either.
When we did our kitchen I went to dozens of tile places looking for the perfect shade of off-white tile to match the cabinets. And I found it - matches the cabinets exactly. Except when installed the cabinets and the tile are not in exactly the same plane, and therefore never the exact same lighting, so the color is never exactly the same. But I actually love it better - it brings in a little more variation. I guess my point is you may find something you love for reasons you never anticipated! Can't wait to see what you choose.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 6:09PM
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I obsessed over tile last time we remodeled. This time I said "no more than two stores" and I'm being true to my word. I actually could have picked all my tile at the first store, but my husband insisted we go back to the place we got our tile last time, and he was right. Walked in, picked the tile for the two showers, were shown some accent wall tile that we loved (only the color was an issue) and that's it - not looking at a single other thing (blinders on). We're ordering tomorrow. It helps that we knew exactly what tile "format" we wanted in the shower and the tub surround (12 x 24), so we could look only at those. Also helps that the floors are already existing (12" square carrara), so we have to "match". Once we picked the wall tiles, the accents weren't that hard. The only problem is we haven't decided where the accent tile will go, so we don't quite know how much to order!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 6:58PM
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I really can't offer any great advice but I can appreciate what you are going through. We have been planning a master bath remodel for over a year but have gotten serious about it the past six months. Our contractor is set to start working in one month and I am no where near ready to have him start. The two hardest things to choose have been the two most permanent, a tub and the tile. I have been searching for tile for three months and have been to every tile store and big box store within an hour's drive. I bring things home that look promising only to get it home and find that it isn't right. Recently though I discovered a porcelain tile that really caught my eye and I brought the sample home and loved it. It does happen! It's Mannington Carmel in the ivory beige and to me it's rich, elegant and timeless, not to mention less expensive than stone and hopefully easier to maintain. All of the elements I've been looking for. Keep at it and I just bet you'll find what your heart desires!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:51PM
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Do you believe that "something nicer" means that the tile must be expensive? or at least more expensive than builder grade? Perhaps I'm lucky to live in a major metropolitan area and so we have lots of choices that are relatively close but still, I've seen stuff online that is lovely and inexpensive.

So, I hope we can agree to disagree if tile price is a major factor in what you consider nice. --Though I would never buy tile from Home Depot or Lowe's. May look nice but I don't trust their quality. Guess we all have our limits. LOL.

I also lucked out by choosing my tile first (for both bathrooms - guess I thought that made the most sense...maybe it did.)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 3:21PM
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I think tile is the equivalent to 'My Precious'! Which is why we want it to be just right! Not an issue for most, but those of us who frequent GW Bath Forum are a special bunch! :>) Surprisingly, even the tile places don't seem to get it, I think they just want you to make a choice, pay for it, and get out of there!

It took me close to 4 years before I found the perfect BS for my kitchen, so I wasn't surprised at how long it took to pick a tile for the BR. I thought I had it all chosen, I was wafflng between two 12" square slate look porcelain tiles for the floor and a quilted white large rectangle (can't remember if it was 12 X 24 or smaller) for the shower walls, and ended up with 12 X 24 limestone looking porcelain tiles for both BR floor and shower walls! I love my tile (see it everyday piled up on the floor in my Main bath, still not installed...sigh). I am SO confident that it is the right choice, just had this nagging feeling in my gut that I wasn't 100% certain of my first one.

My advice is to keep going, once you find something you love, be sure to bring home at least 5 tiles (if they are stone or stone replica) so that you can see the colour and pattern variance. My first limestone looking tile had NO variance what so ever! If I had ordered it without seeing 5 samples I would have been SO disappointed!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 3:45PM
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It just is hard....sometimes I think it's because there's just too many options. Essentially there are a million choices, which is 999,999 ways of saying you might make a mistake! It's actually not that dire LOL, but it feels that way. We spend a lot of money on these renovations and we don't want to make a mistake with our hard earned money. And while we try and reassure ourselves that "it will be fine no matter what we pick", the truth is there are a whole lot of disasters and near misses and we've seen them--that's why we are paralyzed! We walk into a home for sale or see on the internet and we think "What the heck were these people thinking...ick". And we don't want to be one of those people.

So no real advice for you because I too am still debating over counter material, whether I should spend a bit more for a supposedly better quality shower, and what tile will go in that shower. I know that when the deadline really comes, I will be ready, but for now I am with ya...and I too am lugging home sample after sample and poring through the Houzz pics and Pinterest looking for that "special tile" that meets at the intersection of "perfect" and "perfectly priced"!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 12:07AM
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Ok, so now I can add three states to my tile shopping list with no luck. I rearranged a business trip so that I could also sneak in a visit to a small trendy tile store in southern Tennessee. Turns out this is a showroom branch of another store with no real stock on site. Beautiful displays of tile with no prices, available sizes, or manufacturers information on the displayed tile. I have to ask the salesperson for that information, or go to their website. No samples were available to purchase and I left empty handed.

Do people really shop like that? Although the salesperson was very nice, I cannot shop like that! I want the information in plain sight...

230 miles round trip and nothing! Arggghhh!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 7:51PM
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Pick 3 tiles that you like. Put them down on YOUR floor in YOUR home and go with the one you like the best. You can't go wrong with this. Understand that, a couple of months later, you're sure to find a tile you "like" better. Forget it......A Ferrari looks better than a Vega....An Audi looks better than a Chevelle. Life is too short....you made a good decision.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 7:58PM
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Pick 3 tiles that you like. Put them down on YOUR floor in YOUR home and go with the one you like the best. You can't go wrong with this. Understand that, a couple of months later, you're sure to find a tile you "like" better. Forget it......A Ferrari looks better than a Vega....An Audi looks better than a Chevelle. Life is too short....you made a good decision.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 7:59PM
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We went to an online tile store and found specialty tiles - 9 of them make up a small mural, and 3 others complete the mural. We took the tiles to our tile store, and the tile store gal helped us find coordinating tile for the rest of the shower and the bathroom floor. Since we wanted the special tiles to take center focus, we didn't feel the need to choose anything amazing (and pricey) for the rest of the bathroom.

Tile store designer put together a really terrific shower tile design that will do full justice to our specialty tiles.

Choosing the special tiles was fun. Before we found them, the tile selection process was difficult. But the special tiles made it all work...5 weeks until we see the shower get tiled! :-)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 9:26PM
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Response to the title? Because it is...

One suggestion I do have - is don't wait too long on the decision. In 2012 we did a full Kitchen remodel, and after agonizing a LOT, we finally decided on the tile - a stock item from our reseller. They got it in, and the lot was different, and had a clearly different color cast than the sample - so they located tile from the same lot as the sample (supposedly), and it took them 6 weeks to get it - from Italy! So long story, it got in, and was closer, but still not quite right, but by that point we threw up our hands and went forward with it. And even then, some of the tiles received were warped more than spec (12x24" tiles), and so they had to find MORE.

Of course anyone seeing the kitchen thinks it's great - which it is - but it was a struggle, and I know that it wasn't quite what I planned on!

My point is to try to allow as much time as you can, even after making the tile purchase, in case there are problems with the tile itself!

Good luck - I feel your pain!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 12:02AM
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