Subway tile- American Olean vs. Daltile

sis2twoAugust 4, 2014

We are having to redo our entire shower in our master bath after only 13 years because of some issues. Still plan to go with white subway tile. The two brands I'm looking at are Daltile and American Olean. I have found the American Olean to be very cost effective at Lowes. However I want a good quality tile. I've never purchased tile at a big box store before but it is so much less than the tile stores. Can anyone tell me the difference between the two brands and if the quality is any different at a big box store? Thanks.

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If it's porcelain (not going to absorb water) there is very little difference for wall tiles between American Olean and Dal ... I doubt anyone could look at a wall of them and tell you what brand and price.

Where you need to put the money and effort is in what's UNDER the tiles on the walls - totally correctly done waterproofing membrane, sloping the floors, blocking for hand rails, and that unromantic stuff.

Here's my discount store tile backsplash at less than a dollar a square foot ... it's nicely installed, properly caulked, and IMHO looks just as good as almost any other cream subway tile out there.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:06PM
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I agree with lazy gardens. Also buy the best faucets you can afford so leakage and dripping won't be an issue.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 6:22PM
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lazygardens- believe me, I know all about the problems with what's under the tile which is why we are are having ours ripped out because it wasn't done correctly and we have had problems with mildew and some cracking with some tiles.

caminac-we do plan to go with new faucets and showerhead in the shower.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 6:32PM
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We have Daltile subways in our bathroom and shower. We bought them very cheaply at a big box store. They didn't have the trim pieces we needed so ordered those thru a tile store, but they were still very reasonable. We've had ours in for about 5 years and they are great. They seemed to cut well and tiler made no complaints.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 6:38PM
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The AO subway tile that is in stock at Lowes is a soft white, not bright white. I'm not sure about the color of the Daltile. I ended up sending the stock subway I had ordered from the tile store back and going with the Lowes AO because the softer color worked better with my Calacatta marble. I would choose whichever color looks better with your other choices.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:37PM
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If you order the Daltile through a tile store, you have a couple of options for the colour of the whites. One is a cooler white and one is warmer. I can't remember the name or order# of each. We went with the warmer white because,like kew2006, we have marble and it looked better.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:42PM
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American Olean and Dal-Tile merged in 1995 and they have stayed together through another merger. I wouldn't expect that there is any significant difference.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 8:31PM
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Thank you all! The only thing I was told is to make sure they come from the same lot so there are no variations?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 8:36PM
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When we redid our kitchen and laundry room backsplashes I wanted the plainest possible subway tile--- no pillow cut or any other extra element that might date it. We bought the American Olean tile from Lowe's for the off white color, as I wanted larger grout lines with a putty colored grout. The tile was $0.26 per piece! I think the chair rail pieces were something like $3.00 per piece--- it was one of the most cost effective projects in history. I looked at every permutation of white 4" x 6" subway tile out there at all price points and ended up with the cheapest for aesthetic reasons----it looked just like the unadorned subway tile in the Biltmore House kitchens :-) I would redo every bathroom in our house with the stuff if I had any more projects in me (I don't!)

When we did the bathroom on the downstairs level I used the smaller size subway tile from American Olean, with the same chair rail pieces, all from Lowe's. We already had a brick floor In the standard size; the smaller tiles were a perfect substitute so that everything wasn't the same shape AND size. (The smaller ones come on a mesh backing in roughly a foot square and are ridiculously easy to install.)

This post was edited by kswl on Tue, Aug 5, 14 at 7:03

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 7:02AM
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Thanks kswl! I have pretty much decided to go with the Lowes American Olean. I'm glad to know you have been happy with them.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 11:19AM
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This is the AO tile from Lowe's that we used for our shore house shower. Lowes also had all the trim pieces we needed, the pencil tiles to go on top and below the accent tile, etc. My husband installed. I think the subway tile from Home Depot is a brighter white, this is a soft white.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 11:28AM
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fivefootzero- that looks really nice! I want the soft white as well. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 7:57PM
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Yep,Wall tile is tile--it is all about the installation. Do not be fooled into thinking more money equals more quality--they are all the same.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:35AM
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