The type of tile you choose to install in your home can have a significant effect on the finished look, so it is important that you have the highest quality product for the task at hand. Shopping at a big box store for tile may seem like the best option, but in the long run, you may end up with uneven tiles or tiles that have significant color variations.
Color and Shading
There is nothing more frustrating than to be near the end of installing new tile in the kitchen or bathroom, only to find that you are a few tiles short. One of the biggest problems with buying from a big box store is color variations in the tile and tile offered from different manufacturer production runs or dye lots, which often have significant color differences.
Each production run of tiles will have a slightly different shading (and size differences too), so if you do not purchase enough of the same batch, there will be a noticeable difference in the shading after they are installed. At Tiles Unlimited, every tile collection with more than one batch number are kept and sold separately to insure color consistency for your installation.
Because the big box stores buy in such large quantities, they often mix up different batches when shipping to their individual stores. Although there may be a color on the front of the box, each box of tile has a shade or batch number on it. Even if the colors are the same, the batch numbers may be different, which means there will be variations in the shading.
Another common problem with tiles from a big box tile store is the variation in tile thickness, especially natural stone products. Finding out that there are several tiles that are significantly thicker in one box than in the other one is a common issue when you buy from big box stores and can wreak havoc on your installation. Variation in the height of adjoining tiles is called lippage.
First Quality Products
One of the reasons why a big box store can sell almost the same products cheaper than a local, independent tile store, is because of the quality. Tile from an independent tile store typically is going to be better quality.
Large chain stores tend to buy merchandise that was refused by specialty stores. When a specialty store refuses merchandise, the manufacturer has to get rid of the product, so they sell it to the larger chains at deeply discounted prices. Those stores, in turn, sell the merchandise to their customers at discounted prices. The main problem with this is that the product was initially refused because of the quality.
Choosing the color, type and size of the tiles you want to install can be overwhelming, so it’s important that you take your time and choose a product that you will enjoy for many years to come. Keep in mind that the flooring in your home is typically meant to last for a decade or more, so it is important that you get the highest quality product for your money.