A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

The Great Tile Debate

After multiple trips to Tile Outlet (a great discount tile source if you’re in the Chicago area), additional trips to King of Tile (also a good place for deals but not as big) and Century Tile, we finally ended our quest for bathroom tile at The Tile Shop in Deerfield [update: there’s a Tile Shop in Skokie now!].

At first I assumed that Tile Outlet would be the least expensive, however that’s not necessarily the case: there are good deals to be found at any spot.

Initially, my master bathroom plan was to go the classic subway tile/hexagonal floor tile route. Eventually I started to steer away from the hex tiles and drifted toward either a basketweave or lattice pattern, all the while keeping with the whites and grays.

Although Pete claimed the decision was up to me (don’t you just love that?!), whenever he went tile shopping with me he was always drawn to the creams and beiges. I wasn’t opposed to that, however I still wanted to keep the tile on the light side and not get too dark with the beige.

Finally, after about our third trip to Tile Outlet, we both decided upon a 2″ creamy marble on 12″ mesh for the shower floor and 12″ Limestone tiles for the bathroom floor and shower walls. The limestone had cool little fossils embedded in some of the tiles, and we were going to incorporate some of the marble on the shower walls to tie the two together.

We started loading up the tile on a cart and realized there wasn’t enough limestone for our project. Crap!

That’s one of the drawbacks with Tile Outlet. They purchase large quantities of tile and put the stock out on the showroom floor, so whatever quantity is out there tends to be all they have left. We asked to be sure, but they didn’t have any more of this particular limestone. Back to square one.

That’s when we ventured up to The Tile Shop in Deerfield. I wrongly assumed it was going to be more expensive than other tile stores.

The place looked fairly new, and it was very large with lots of kitchen and bath installations around the perimeter of the store showing different design ideas with a multitude of tile. It wasn’t busy and the staff were very helpful.

2009082702After browsing through the store, we both really liked their selection of travertine. I was really drawn to Mojave, both because of its $6/sf price tag and because of the huge variation in veining and in color. The great thing about this tile is that it has both the whites and grays AND creams and beiges, thereby satisfying both our color preferences. How’s that for compromise?!

2009082701We thought it would be too much for the entire bathroom, however, so we’re sticking with white subway tile for the shower walls, and may incorporate some of the 2″ tumbled tiles for the shower floor into the walls for a decorative accent.

I’m buying the subway tiles from a friend who remodeled her bathroom last year. She bought subway tile that matched her expensive Ann Sacks trim β€” or so she thought until she arrived home with it β€” and then the store wouldn’t take the subway tiles back.

Since we planned to use white subway tiles anyway, it’s a win-win solution.

However, the only potential problem is that there probably isn’t enough trim for the area around the shower, so I’ll have to see how much more I need, and if I can still get it.

We’re planning on tiling this weekend, and I’ve already started my dry fit. The floor should install pretty quickly β€” the room is just a basic rectangle and it doesn’t look like we’ll need to make a lot of weird cuts. Now, I’m off to buy thinset and grout!

1 Comment

  1. Anna on August 27, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    The selection of tiles has gotten much more diverse and if you really look around you can find some awesome deals. I personally prefer lighter tiles in the bathroom since it makes it look much brighter and cleaner πŸ™‚ Good luck on your project!

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