How to Shop Online for Wall, Backsplash, Bathroom Tiles
Whether for special deals, wider selections or simple convenience, there are many reasons to choose to buy tiles online instead of going to a local retailer. However, using online retail has its own set of considerations you need to make so that you get the quality product you're looking for.
Know Your Materials
Just about all tiling you'll find is made of one of four materials: ceramic, porcelain, glass or natural stone. They vary in cost, durability, maintenance needs and aesthetics, so it's a good idea to start by deciding what you're looking for primarily and selecting a material based on that.
- Ceramic tiles are inexpensive and hardy, and usually come glazed to counteract the clay's porosity. The glazed look appeals to many, but these tiles may still be a bad choice for high-moisture areas.
- Porcelain is a subset of ceramic tiles, with the key difference being that they must meet a higher standard of resisting water infiltration. Porcelain tiles generally are also denser and finer grained. This, plus the association with high quality, makes porcelain somewhat more expensive.
- Glass tiles boast a glossy, lustrous look perfect for modern designs. Floor tiling doesn't come in glass, since these tiles would crack under pressure, but they're popular for backsplashes that accentuate the style of your kitchen or bathroom.
- Natural stone has a wide range of options, with marble and granite being just a few popular ones. Their unique appearance is hard to match with ceramic, and they hold up well under heavy traffic. Some stones are porous and need sealing, though—even then, they're better for flooring than counters.
Some less common options for materials also exist, such as river rocks with irregular shapes or metal tiling that offers a sleek modern look.
Take Measurements First
As obvious as it may be, it's worth reiterating: measure the area you want to tile so you know how much to buy. Thankfully, many sites offer square footage calculators to help with the numbers after you get the measurements down, taking into account length, width, and the size of individual tiles. Some tiling options, such as many glass tiles, come on a web backing that lets you apply one square foot sections of tiles all at once.
It may be a good idea to buy a little bit extra as insurance, for future replacement, cuts and corners, as well as in case you break any while laying them the first time. Add about 10% to the square footage to account for this.
Comparing Prices and Products
Often, you'll find it necessary to browse more than one retailer when looking for the best place to buy tile. If one retailer doesn't have quite the design you're looking for, checking out others gives you a larger selection to choose from. Even if the first retailer does have what you want, you should compare prices with similar products listed on other sites, as well as comparing sales, special offers and shipping and return policies.
Because you don't have the option to personally examine tiles with online retailing, many stores let you purchase a sample, much like what you'd find at brick-and-mortar stores. This lets you get a sense of what the tiles look like in person and in the context of your home.
Understand Shipping and Return Policies
As with any online retailer, choosing where to buy tile online stems greatly from the retailer's shipping policies, since this is the biggest difference between online and brick-and-mortar stores. Any retailer worth buying from should be transparent on these policies, including costs of shipping and handling, whether you can qualify for free shipping and how to do so, expected shipping time, the postal service used, etc. This also includes return policies, since products may not match what you had in mind or may arrive damaged. If the retailer's site is unclear about returns and contacting them doesn't yield a solid answer, you're taking a risk by buying from them.
Mosaic Tile Outlet carries a wide selection of tiling options for kitchens, bathrooms and more, as well as regular clearance deals and fast shipping. To learn more about what we can do for you, contact us today.