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leted_82 05-06-2007 11:09 PM

Ceramic Tile Quality
When shopping for ceramic tile, what are the differences in quality. What are the typical differences between 12 x 12 inch tiles that are around five dollars versus some of the tiles Lowes carries for $0.78 per tile. Should those cheaper tiles be avoided? Thanks in advance for any advice!

JazMan 05-06-2007 11:45 PM

You didn't think there was any comparison between tiles that sell for about a dollar or so and those that are 2.50 or so...did you? Yes, those cheap thin red-body ceramic tiles should be avoided unless you don't care how good it looks or if it'll be used in low traffic areas such as a basement storage room or?... Decent quality, (not good, but decent) should be at least 2.50 or so unless it is reduced because there is only a small amount left or similar reason. If the sign says it's a closeout, I wouldn't just take anyone's word for it. Good quality tiles will run upwards of $3.00, usually over 4.00.

Sometimes however it isn't necessarily bad to buy those specials at a buck or so. As I said, for low traffic and if the person doesn't care if it is below specs that the average person might not even notice?

Part of its value is the appearance. For important rooms in your home, I recommend a good porcelain, preferably a rectified porcelain. These to will vary in price, but figure around $4.00 - $5.00 per sq. ft. Some tiles will even run double that. Even someone that isn't familiar with tile should be able to tell the difference?

Aren't there any real tile showrooms near where you live? Are you gonna install them yourself? Have you seen anything that you're considering yet?


cibula11 05-07-2007 09:15 AM

Okay, I have used a combination of both. I was on a budget and had to get the cheap stuff. I used it in my bathroom for the floor and shower surround. I have had NO problems with the cheap stuff. I have had it for a year.

My opinion, unless you live in a higher end house, I don't think the $5.00 stuff is worth it.

On the flip side, if you have the money...go for it. Not too many people will tell the difference.

leted_82 05-07-2007 12:13 PM

I knew there had to be differences, I just didn't know what they all were. I haven't looked at any tile showrooms, just home centers like Lowes, Menards, etc. I don't know if there are any around or not. I am planning to install them myself. I am trying to choose flooring for my basement, which I am finishing. I know I want tile in the bathroom, and am considering tiling the whole area. My wife and I have seen several tiles in the 2-3 dollar range that we like, as well as in the lower prices as well. Since we like tiles from several different price ranges, that is why I was inquiring as to the differences. Thanks again.

J187 05-07-2007 01:05 PM

The two things I would always go to a specialty shop for are paint and tiles. With tiles shope, you'll get better materials and better advice. I bet there are a few around you, you just never noticed them before - look in the yellow pages or online.

What are you going to use the basement for once it is finiished? Depending on the answer, I'd think long and hard about tiling the whole surface.

cibula11 05-07-2007 01:43 PM

I think that more important than tile quality is how the tile is layed. If you use the right amount of mortar/thinset and grout and seal properly you won't have a problem. I have $1 in bathroom and have dropped some pretty hard objects on the floor and no cracks....when I was sure there would be something. I have $2 tile in my kitchen and dining room and same thing...NO problems and looks great.

Think of it this way. Some people think that if you drive anything less than a brand new $35,000 car, your an idiot. While we all know that's not true, it is just some preference. Get what you like.

If you choose to go to a tile store....ask them if they have discontinued tiles. I had a small entry area (3'x5') and needed some tile. The place I bought my carpet had some tile that was regularly 3.59/sq ft. The guy gave it to my for $1.59. NEVER take what they are asking for. Find it somewhere else and get them to come down.

J187 05-07-2007 04:05 PM

I agree w/ the importance of installation in the overall effect. I think that tile specialty shops are the better choice for several reasons. First off, many big box stores get tiles from manufacturers which are coming to the end of the run. Although you should get and store extra tile when you buy your tile in the first place, there is much less chance that if anything should happen requiring you to match up the tile that it will be there later down the road. Also, the qualty control isn't there. I have read or heard that tiles found at the box stores do not always yield consistant grout lines and such. I think the car thing is a bit of a stretch for an analogy though, the price difference of shopping at a tile shop vs a big box store is not quite on par w/ that of driving a cheaper car - in that regard if you could buy an acura for only a few hundred dollars more than a Honda, wouldn't you? Most people would. I'd stay w/ a tile shop and trust them to help you select the right thinset, advise you on the substrate and aid in choosing a complimentary grout.

Mike Finley 05-07-2007 08:27 PM


Originally Posted by leted_82 (Post 43933)
When shopping for ceramic tile, what are the differences in quality. What are the typical differences between 12 x 12 inch tiles that are around five dollars versus some of the tiles Lowes carries for $0.78 per tile. Should those cheaper tiles be avoided? Thanks in advance for any advice!

Some of the differences should be noticible to your eye.

The lowest priced tiles are very plain, so that is very easy to see. A little bit more but still really low priced, you can see the 'news print' look of the printed on pattern, you can see the dot pattern if you look at it about a foot from your face...

from the very cheapest to a little more there will be a jump in consistancy, such as consistant quality from batch to batch, consistant color, consistant sizes. There is a lot of 'container tile' tile brought in from China by the container load. Not necessarily crap, just pretty plain and bought in bulk from a chearp source...

leted_82 05-07-2007 11:40 PM

J182, out of curiosity; what did you mean by thinking long and hard about tiling the whole basement. I can see some down sides (cold and hard), but are there others that aren't so obvious? I just saw a co-worker's basement which was recently finished. He used tile for the whole area (a family room and bedroom). They added area rugs to soften things up.

And as far as my basement - the majority will be a family room and there will also be a small to midsize bathroom.

No current water problems in the basement. Any comments about the use of carpet in a basement? Do's and Don't 's? Thanks again!

Floorwizard 05-08-2007 10:53 AM

glue down carpet can be used in a basement, and stretch in can as well.
The tile issue is great as long as area rugs are a future investment.

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