Tile Buying Guide

Everything you need to know about selecting tile for your next project.

Let us walk you through each important consideration for purchasing tile.

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A Smart Investment

The first consideration for any big purchase is typically cost: You want to stay within your budget while also getting a good value for your investment. Luckily, ceramic tile isn’t just gorgeous — it also provides the lowest lifecycle cost of any flooring choice.

Independent consulting firm Scharf-Godfrey defines life cycle costs as the sum of the initial costs, maintenance costs, and removal costs. Taking each of these factors into account, they analyzed tile and 12 other flooring options. Their study found that over time, tile is the most affordable flooring type.

Not only is tile gorgeous, it provides better value.

$.35 per yr/per sqft

Ceramic tile costs less per year than all other floor finishes.

$.42 per yr/per sqft

Natural hardwood flooring costs more per year than ceramic tile.

$.35 per yr/per sqft

Ceramic tile costs less per year than all other floor finishes.

$1.08 per yr/per sqft

With an expected life of six years, carpet costs significantly more per year than ceramic tile.

$.35 per yr/per sqft

Ceramic tile costs less per year than all other floor finishes.

$.71 per yr/per sqft

Not only does laminate cost more, its life span is half that of ceramic tile.

$.35 per yr/per sqft

Ceramic tile costs less per year than all other floor finishes.

$1.39 per yr/per sqft

Ceramic tile costs four times less per year than sheet vinyl alternatives.

Hardwood

$.35 per yr/per sqft

Ceramic tile costs less per year than all other floor finishes.

$.42 per yr/per sqft

Natural hardwood flooring costs more per year than ceramic tile.

Carpet

$.35 per yr/per sqft

Ceramic tile costs less per year than all other floor finishes.

$1.08 per yr/per sqft

With an expected life of six years, carpet costs significantly more per year than ceramic tile.

Laminate

$.35 per yr/per sqft

Ceramic tile costs less per year than all other floor finishes.

$.71 per yr/per sqft

Not only does laminate cost more, its life span is half that of ceramic tile.

Vinyl

$.35 per yr/per sqft

Ceramic tile costs less per year than all other floor finishes.

$1.39 per yr/per sqft

Ceramic tile costs four times less per year than sheet vinyl alternatives.

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Location, Location, Location

Before buying tile, your first step is to decide where you’ll put it. Ceramic tile can go anywhere, but these are some of the most popular uses.

Inside or Outside

Ceramic tile can go anywhere inside — and outside — of your home.

Resources:

On the Floor

Easy to maintain, scratch- and stain-resistant, ceramic tile is a flooring option for any room.

Resources:

On the Wall

Add some flair to a room with a decorative feature wall or backsplash.

Resources:

Countertops

Protect your countertops and achieve the look of any material with large-format gauged porcelain tile slabs.

Resources:

Inside or Outside

Inside or Outside

Ceramic tile can go anywhere inside — and outside — of your home.

Resources:

On the Floor

On the Floor

Easy to maintain, scratch- and stain-resistant, ceramic tile is a flooring option for any room.

Resources:

On the Wall

On the Wall

Add some flair to a room with a decorative feature wall or backsplash.

Resources:

Countertops

Countertops

Protect your countertops and achieve the look of any material with large-format gauged porcelain tile slabs.

Resources:

Bathrooms

Think you know where to put your tile? Explore all of our tile applications.

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Tile Styles

Tile design options are so numerous that you may find it helpful to take the decision one step at a time. Here are some aspects to consider in finding the perfect tile style:

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Layout Patterns

Once you’ve chosen your tile style, it’s time to choose how to lay it out. Download our Ceramic Tile Layout Pattern Guide to see a comprehensive list of your tile layout options. The following resources may be helpful as well:

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Grout

It may not be what most people first notice about your tile, but grout matters. In fact, it can completely change the look of your tile.

Check out our Grout Color Guide for help choosing the right grout for your tile. When shopping, be sure to look at grout samples. You can even ask your installer to do a mock-up of your chosen grout and tile to show you what to expect.

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The Perfect Amount of Tile, and Then Some

Wondering how much tile to buy? We recommend calculating your exact square footage and then adding 10% just to be safe. Use our tile calculator to run the numbers.

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An Installer You Can Trust

Successful tile installations require qualified labor. Before hiring anyone to install your tile:

  1. Read up on the importance of qualified labor.
  2. Thoroughly vet your candidates.

Not sure how to tell if a tile installer is qualified? Check out our blog on What You Need to Know Before Hiring Anyone to Install New Tile Floors and Walls.

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Start Tile Shopping

Your next steps are simple:

  • Use the search tool at the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) to find a ceramic tile showroom in your area for a more individual, one-on-one shopping, design and education experience, or visit a home improvement or flooring retailer.
  • For specific products and installation-related materials, you can consult the product locator of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).
  • Read our more in-depth Ceramic Tile Shopping Guide for even more help finding the perfect tile.
  • Download our Tile Buying Guide below to share with your contractor or designer or bring with you to the showroom. Having these tips handy will make it that much easier to shop for your tile.

Download #OutsideTheBox: Your Tile Buying Guide…and get started now!