How and Where to Buy Tile: A Guide

Tile can drastically change a room’s ambiance, but it can also quickly eat away at your renovation budget.  Look at this guide to define how and where to buy tile.

Mosaic tile renovations

Tile can drastically change a room’s ambiance, but it can also quickly eat away at your renovation budget. Looking to create a spa-like bathroom without applying for a second mortgage? Then you’ll need to know the basics of smart tile shopping — including where to buy tile as well as how to buy tile without breaking the bank. Get the most bang for your buck by following these money-saving tile tips:

1. Know where to buy tile — or, rather, where NOT to buy it.

Sure, you can go to your neighborhood home improvement store to find a large selection of tile options. You may even have some fancy showrooms nearby that have their own selections, as well. If you're lucky, you'll also have close access to discount warehouses that sell leftover and overstock tile. And the World Wide Web? Those tile options abound. But where should you actually make your purchase?

Here’s some advice: Think long and hard about how much tile you need — and really crunch the numbers to determine the true price of each tile when it’s all said and done. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately, no. For example, if you’re covering an entire room in tile and most of it will be on the floor (perhaps hidden under rugs or furniture), why splurge on expensive artisan showroom tile for the floor when the discount store tile looks and holds up virtually the same? Likewise, when shopping for tile online, you may come across what looks like a steal of a deal. When you add that tile to your virtual cart, however, the price suddenly skyrockets because of shipping and handling costs. In the end, your frugal find ends up being a costly headache. Make sure you plan ahead and assess all of the costs associated with your tile purchase before actually shelling out the money for it.

 2. Use “the good stuff” sparingly.

You know that expensive tile that you really had your heart set on? You don’t have to avoid it altogether. Simply consider using it as accent tile for your project rather than the only tile used. For example, say you’ve fallen in love with a certain marble tile for your bathroom renovation. Marble tends to have a heftier price tag than its counterparts, so it may be out of your budget to do the entire bathroom in it. However, you can certainly get the look for less by using it only along the top of the bathtub surround or as a decorative border in the shower, among other options.  

3. Consider tile look-alikes.

Have you heard of luxury vinyl tile (LVT)? Prepare to be amazed. “Vinyl” is no longer a cringe-worthy term. In fact, vinyl flooring has come so far that it can easily be mistaken for hardwood or stone. There are even tile and plank options available that are groutable, making them even tougher to distinguish from the real thing. The best part? You can purchase LVT at a fraction of the cost!

4. Show off your DIY skills.

Maybe you don’t want to budge on your tile purchase preference. Or maybe your project is so large that the cost is hard to swallow, no matter how much of a deal you were able to procure on the materials. Are there any other ways you can cut costs on your tile project? Absolutely! Here are a few options:

·  Take care of the demolition yourself — being mindful of any plumbing or other fixtures, of course.

· If you don’t trust yourself to do a complete demo, lend a helping hand by preparing in other ways, such as clearing the area of furniture and removing the baseboard molding.

· Removing the old grout? Someone’s got to do it. It may as well be you.

· Don’t feel comfortable using a tile saw? Try your hand at grouting. It’s easier than you may think.

The cost of professional labor really adds up. So any way that you can help to offset that cost is definitely worth it!

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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