Best places to buy tile for backsplash?

BlackAceOctober 7, 2012

Hello. We're to the point in our new construction where it's time to purchase the tile backsplash in the kitchen. We aren't planning anything fancy, probably just a basic ceremic or travertine 6x6 in a grid like what we have in our current home.

We'll need to have it installed as well. Since I've never shopped for tile before (the floor tile was purchased and installed as an option from our builder), my wife and I aren't sure where to start. We obviously don't want to get ripped off, either by the tile store or the installer.

Can you give us pointers as to where to start shopping for the best deals, and also counsel us on how to find a good installer--if not using the store itself?

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Who is building the home? If a general contractor, I would buy the tile and have him/her recommend an installer. For our custom home construction, the builder builds the home and we choose finishes including tiles.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:10PM
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Yes, we have a builder building the home. However, this backsplash will be purchased and installed separate from the initial construction, and after we close on the home.

We did not like the limited selection of options available from the builder, and opted to get our money's worth by doing it after construction is completed, but prior to us moving in.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:16PM
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BlackAce - got it! What part of the US are you from - may get chime in that are local to you.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 4:02PM
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Orlando, Florida.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 4:19PM
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You can start at the big box stores. The tiles they have in stock are usually some of the cheaper options. They've bought in bulk and can pass savings on to the customer. You can buy a sample square foot or two, take it home and see how it looks with your cabinets and countertop. Keep the receipt because you can exchange it.

They also have other lines of special order things. I don't know if they allow you to take samples home overnight or not.

Also, check the internet or yellow pages for stores that specialize in ceramic tiles. There should be several in your community. You can borrow samples of them for from a few days to a week...with a credit card number to make sure you return it! Be careful, because you can really go KA CHING KA CHING here. Don't take it home if you can't afford it! They usually don't keep as much in stock, but can usually get things in a week to 10 days.

The last place to check is at a builder's salvage store. They often stock discontinued items from a big box store and are quite discounted. They are less likely to accept returns or exchanges. You'll have to purchase your samples. If you find something you like, act quickly; they won't be able to get more in stock.

It is important to bring your samples into your space. I usually have something up 10 seconds and I'll know if it's a no or a go.

Another idea is to go to the Kitchens forum, find the finished kitchen blog, find the type of cabinet or granite you have and you can see what others have used with similar choices or browse and find something that makes your heart sing without costing an arm and a leg.

This should get you started.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:38PM
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