quality differences in tile?

melissastarOctober 10, 2013

Hope you don't mind, this is a for a bathroom addition, but I know this forum is more active (not getting any response there) and the question applies to tile, wherever it's installed!

I'm planning a simple white subway tile and at the moment know of no reason why I need to use anything other than the el-cheapo version available at the big box stores. I know well the difference in looks one gets with a more expensive tile. in this case it's not worth the difference to me. But I don't want to sacrifice durability to budget. So can anyone tell me, is there a significant loss in durabilty when going with the big-box American Olean or the like versions?


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I was advised that if the tile is going on the wall (backsplash for kitchen, but I think this would apply to walls in a bathroom as well) that it didn't matter so much. But, for my bathroom floor tile, I was advised not to go big box because my installer didn't think the quality was as good and you want something you'll be walking on to be really solid. Made sense to me, but I'll be interested to hear what others think...

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 2:07PM
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beth's is a good rule of thumb.

Whenever I think about the quality of a tile I think of my really cheap Chinese black marble tile I bought for my powder room. I got it from Lowes and returned 2/3 of the boxes because tiles in them were made of seamed-together marble scraps. They would have been difficult to lay properly, impossible to cut. It took me 3 trips to get enough acceptable boxes. But I'd read the reviews, knew what to look for, inspected every tile in every box before I left the store, and in truth, once it's down, it's down. Cheap tile can be more difficult to work with than the good stuff.

But don't confuse cheap with inexpensive. You're going to be using machine made, mass-produced ceramic subway tile. It'll be fine.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 12:39AM
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Totally agree with the above posts.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 5:49AM
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is there a significant loss in durabilty when going with the big-box American Olean or the like versions?

Nope. You will get a very uniform product - they have production and QC under tight control.

And if you want durable bath floor tiles, the hex porcelain from Dal-Tile are fabulous. Use white with a medium grey grout.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 11:01AM
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