Experience with handmade ceramic tile for backsplash?

MarinaGalJanuary 26, 2013

I would like to use handmade field ceramic tile for my kitchen backsplash. We are renovating a 1919 Craftsman house with Grueby tile on three fireplaces and as I have patiently explained to my husband, I think the house "deserves" handmade tile in the kitchen. Depending on how far I decide to take the backsplash I will need as much as 100sf of tile, and I would like to keep the tile cost at no more than $25/sf if possible. I am also hoping to get the backsplash installed by the end of April. Having searched options on line, I think that Heath Ceramics and Fireclay Tile might be good fits for me. I am looking for anyone with experience with Heath or Fireclay tiles, whether lead times are reasonable, how quickly samples come, etc., or if there are other companies I should consider in my search that offer reasonable lead times and a wide range of color choices. I think I understand the installation issues with handmade tile, but as someone who makes and loves ceramics, I can't get the beautiful irregularities of handmade tile out of my mind.... Any advice/tips on moving forward appreciated!

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We used Walker Zanger Ceramica Alhambra. It's a handmade/glazed ceramic tile that falls within your price point. It's quite beautiful and WZ are great to deal with, reasonable lead times, etc. Even if you don't like this particular selection, WZ is a company you should include in your search, as they have a great variety of lovely choices. Prices range from reasonable to crazy, depending...

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 4:58PM
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I ogled Heath tiles but couldn't quite get a color match but if I lived closer, I would have gone to the store.
Wendy at Heath was very nice and helpful. She sent lots of samples and they came quickly - obviously not a whole kitchen.
They are not backsplash designers- so you need an idea of what you want.
I still love to hold those beauties even if I could not make it work for us.
I recently saw the fire clay tiles locally- the styles are different and the end result will give a different flavor to your kitchen.
If you go with Heath - I can't wait to see pictures!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 5:43PM
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We used Fireclay. I know people on here might be tired of me raving about them...but I LOVE them! :)

I got samples really quickly from them, but the lead time was about 5-6 weeks. Well worth the wait, in my opinion. Got them from a local small business for less than $20 sq/ft


    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 6:02PM
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We used Fireclay, but I also ordered lots of samples from Heath. I think our lead time was 6 weeks, for Fireclay. Love both!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 8:34AM
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Sas95 - thanks, I will check out the WZ tiles, for some reason I was not thinking of WZ and field tile.
a2gemini - can you give me more info on how you feel the style/look of the Heath and Fireclay field tiles differ? It's hard for me to get a good sense of the differences looking at on line photos. I am excited to get my hands on some samples - wish I could fly out to CA and see them all!
ayerg73 - just found the photos of your gorgeous kitchen and that stunning backsplash tile! That is what I hope to achieve with tile. I am having the hardest time deciding between a matte or glossy finish. I am hoping for more glaze slippage with a glossy finish, and I like the way glossy would look in some of my backsplash areas but not all of them. I need to get samples in as some glossy glazes are less shiny than others.
oldbat2be - I didn't realize that lovely tile of yours was from Fireclay. Your tile choices are inspiring!!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:30AM
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I would suggest Pratt and Larson, but I don't think you'll get away with less than $35/sq ft. I thought I was going to use them for our craftsman remodel because they specialize in appropriate finishes and colors. But then the colors I originally thought would work turned out to look horrible, so I'm kind of back to square 1. I'm now thinking of a monochromatic scheme using relief tiles, still in craftsman style, but, man, are they expensive!!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:20PM
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our backsplash just went in so I can't say I'm experienced.... but, we used Red Rock out of Nashville, purchased through a local dealer here. Took under a week to get a sample, about 6 weeks to receive the order. Love the handmade look!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:57PM
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If you are looking for a vintage tile, then this company might work

Here is a link that might be useful: B&W Tile

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:37PM
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