reolee

Tile quality

reolee
7 years ago
Can anyone tell me whether the quality of the tile you buy at Home Depot or Lowe's is inferior to what you would buy at a more expensive tile store? I don't want to save money up front if it's going to cost me more in the long run!
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Comments (21)

  • PRO
    Avalon Interiors
    7 years ago
    The quality of tile does vary significantly from one supplier to another. Having said that the big box stores often can provide excellent quality at fantastic prices because they are buying in huge quantities. Generally speaking you are not going to get anything original/outside of the box at a large hardware store versus a tile specific supplier. A ceramic tile is not as durable as Porcelain tile and you should aim for that or natural stone depending on your budget.
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  • reolee
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Thank-you both for clarifying that there is definitely a difference in quality! I went to Big Box store A and found many broken, falling apart tiles. Big Box store B was, interestingly, a little better. In talking with my "Tileman", I found out that many times, what you buy at Big Box stores is irregular as well, with edges which aren't square, and varying degrees of thickness, making your finished product look sloppy.
    I do have to say that choosing flooring, tile, patterns, coordinating it all, etc., is pretty overwhelming! The folks at the small, local tile stores were really awesome in spending a LOT of time with me and going over the 'how-to's' about installation, cost, helping me coordinate, etc. The people at the Big Box stores were also very helpful, but lacked the time I needed to get all my questions answered because there were more customers seeking answers to their questions, too.
    Thanks again to you both for taking the time to be so specific!
  • PRO
    Avalon Interiors
    7 years ago
    No offence to Big Box stores but you'll always get better, more knowledgeable assistance at specialty stores. You'll also get more unique product at not necessarily more expensive pricing.
    Good luck with your project. Having a great installer is actually more important than the quality of the tile. Glad the combined advice was helpful!
  • PRO
    Design Tile & Stone Reno/Sparks, NV
    6 years ago
    I work in a tile and stone showroom and agree wtih Avalon's reply. Typically specialty companies focus on quality. If it's budget you're after, you may find box stores to be your best bet. However, if you want good value (higher quality at good prices) shop a specialty store. Additionally, you'll find more variety and learn about what you're buying. Not all materials are well suited for all applications. A trained staff will help you avoid costly mistakes and make sure you love what you install long into the future. Additionally, many of the smaller stores are locally owned and operated.
  • sosio
    6 years ago
    i bought a house in south florida 3 yrs ago and did a major redo...I purchased Chinese porcelain tile for the entire floor(2000 sf) at 1.35 a sf, it was a long distance reno living in new York at the time, any how the floor is horrible, the tiles have a bad wave to them and now I see corners chipping.. I am having the entire house, closets included retiled with beautiful Italian porcelain TILE next week.. costing me 15,000, plus a HUGE MESS, but better to get it down now then later. my point is PLEASE DO NOT BUY CHINESE TILE OR A CHEAP GRADE TILE YOU WILl REGRET IT..i did and believe me it was the worst mistake I ever made, all because I opt for the cheaper tile..
  • ecmsunflower
    5 years ago

    Thank you Sosio for your comment on Chinese tile - the price is appealing but I am afraid of the quality. Italian or Spaniard porcelain tile is the way to go.

  • PRO
    Stone Source International
    4 years ago

    Not all Chinese tile is horrible, it depends on the factory it comes from. Check the print. Is it clear? or blurry? Ask the supplier if it Is ROTO print or HD Print? HD Print usually is clearer and has more colors making a better print. Also check if the tile has a bow. Always check these things before install and save yourself time and money. Cracked tile has usually been installed wrong. Make sure your sub floor is strong and does not flex when you step on it. Cheap tiles come from everywhere! Installing a product you have not looked over or are not happy with is considered acceptance and most companies will not help you out on the cost of repairs. Always, Always inspect your product before you install. If you are not happy most will happily let you return.

  • PRO
    Santos Tile Inc
    4 years ago
    As a 30+ year installer I agree with the old saying" you get what you pay for". Not to mention any names but a certain "tile store" is so bad with their quality that we turn down the job if the material is selected there.
  • springsteengirl1
    4 years ago
    A lot of these comments made me laugh. There is the perception out there that beautiful, interesting tile should be expensive and off limits to the masses- this is simply wrong. Most of the clients with whom we have worked who experience problems with their tile and assume it's the tile don't actually realize that it's the preparation. That large crack running through the center of your floor? Yeah, a partial mud floor and partial Durock installation pre tile installation is not the way to go! Do you really think that Home Depot, who gets a lot of their tiles from MSI Stone, gets their inferior black granite, giallo crystal onyx, etc.? We have produced award-winning floors with these products. There is really no reason to be paying $10.99/SF and $14.98/SF, respectively, when these products can be had for less than half of this. A few months ago we needed a couple hundred feet of Rosso Levanto, a sexy Bordeaux colored marble with white striations. We called a few local tile stores who quoted us $30/SF! This tile is on Wayfair with free shipping for $10/SF. Both locations were selling MSI. The difference? Greed. I suppose the tile stores thought, hmm, this is an exotic tile, let's see how much we can get for this stuff? Also, talk to your flooring manager at Home Depot. They can get you anything that MSI carries and must price match it to anyone on the Internet. And lest you think I am some jaded Home Depot proponent, I will tell you that Floor & Decor has INCREDIBLE prices and a great selection, and aliexpress.com has extraordinary mosaics, many with free shipping. I have found local tile stores to be nothing but overpriced, snobby establishments who think they are selling gold and charge accordingly with that absurd mindset. And it all comes from the same place, trust me.
  • springsteengirl1
    4 years ago
    Find it very curious that Sosio says his "tiles" have a bad wave to them; apparently, he means the floor. Again, poor preparation is the culprit here. A proficient mud floor (aka, mud job) should have been done prior, and if this wasn't done before the new installation, the new floor with the new non-Chinese tile will be no better.
  • PRO
    Santos Tile Inc
    4 years ago
    HD and Lowe's do sell quality materials. That's not the material I'm referring to.
    And 1000% agree that prep is the most important part of the job. Seriously. I see more issues with cheap marble and stone than porcelain tile. Poor gauging, unacceptable shade variation and poor glazing are just a few.
    I have been given the " same" tile and the back pattern is different. Usually two different patterns. Which shows it was not manufactured at the same time or maybe even the same plant.
    But again,YES, prep is key. I always use a decoupling anti crack membrane on everything I install
  • sosio
    4 years ago
    hi, I think some of you may have misunderstood me when I said the tiles had a wave, I did not mean the floor itself, I meant each individual tile had a wave, in other words if you were to put each tile back to back they would not sit flat..and as for the installer he did an amazing job, my problem was the tile quality nothing personal against China but when it comes to porcelain tile they lack quality.
  • PRO
    Santos Tile Inc
    4 years ago
    If it's large format tile then a bow is common. And to that point cheaper tile usually, not always, has a large bow or crown as we call it, than first run tile
  • F Lan
    4 years ago

    @sosio very true... and so annoying to see the wavy tile run throughout the house. Also, the Chinese tiles are not properly cut, size/dimension for each tile is different.

  • camp64
    4 years ago

    I too need help! I went to a specialty tile store and specifically asked for porcelain floor tile for my kitchen. After being directed to a display, I selected their Spanish tile from Cerpa (Alamo Ivory), which happened to be on sale. I asked (twice) what the rating was, and was told "we don't use ratings, but everything we carry is a 4 or 5." Great! Or so I thought. The tile have been delivered and the box says it's a quality grade 1! And it's designed for walls!!! We're furious! My contractor, who is anxious to move on to another job, said it would probably be fine because we had a thermal floor put down. The cement floor will bind strongly to the tile. We think we're going to have lots of problems in the not-so-distant future. Does anyone out there have any experience with thermal flooring and tile? Thank you!


  • PRO
    Berkshire Hathaway Home Services FL Realty
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I'm a Realtor and I do all my own renovations including plumbing and electric (former Engineer). There is a huge difference in tile quality and I see it all the time. One of my clients invited me over to her Singer Island condo after she completed renovations. She selected shiny white rectified porcelain tile. When she opened the door, I could not believe my eyes. Each tile was full of ripples! It looked horrible, but I didn't say anything negative and I have no idea where it was manufactured. I just bought a beach townhouse and will probably use the same Italian rectified tile that I used in my most recent renovation of this Jupiter, FL Townhouse for Sale or Lease. I bought it from Padrone in W. Palm Beach and it was $3.99/sf for the material. It was mud set with zero grout lines and looks perfect. All in, it was $9.00/sf (I sub out tile work).

  • Elena Clerici
    2 years ago

    Hi


    I am trying to buy some tiles for my kitchen. The first question is: Do I have to get porcelain or is ceramic good enough for a family kitchen?


    second questions: some online shops well known among my wealthy friends that only would buy expensive things are priced from £50 per metre square upwards...another online shops offers tiles that look quite nice for£10 per metre square (those in specific are ceramic) and £25 per metre square very similar looking tiles but porcelain.. How can price vary so much? Thank you for your adivce

  • sosio
    2 years ago

    Hi Elena, I'm not a professional but my past experiences are , porcelain all the way it doesn't chip as easy or crack as easy as ceramic also if it does chip its the same color through out, as for price it can vary low to high just try to avoid Chinese tile its cheaper but far less quality.. good luck!!...Tony

  • juliaop
    2 years ago

    Hi Elena,

    Sosio is correct that porcelain is stronger and tougher than ceramic, (less porous with a lower absorption rate is one thing that makes it stronger). However, it is not necessarily the same color all the way through (known in the industry as through-body color). Traditionally that was the case, but now many porcelains are printed on top to mimic wood or fabric. Ask at the tile shop if the porcelain you're looking at is through-body or not.

    Also, ceramic is just as good as porcelain in certain applications. So for instance, if you're considering between porcelain and ceramic for a backsplash, you can easily go with a less expensive ceramic. A backsplash does not take as much abuse as a floor does. A floor tile has to stand up to weight, shoes walking across with soles that can scratch the tile and different items (such as the garbage bin) being dragged across the floor.

    Lastly, in some cases it's the same tile being sold at 2 vastly different prices. This is true for a brick and mortar showroom as well as online. Do your due diligence and research the line and exactly what is included in the price. Is freight included in one price and not the other? How much is freight?

    Hope this helps.

    Good luck!

    ~Julia