“Some things are better than other things.”
It seems so obvious to even say the above statement out loud, yet we tend to forget such a simple idea when it comes to certain products. Someone would not struggle to explain the reason for an Audi costing more money than a Tata (no disrespect meant) or why a Tag Heuer watch is more expensive than a no-name brand. It would be silly to say “A car is a car” or “A watch is a watch”, yet we see it all the time when it comes to tiles.
“Some tiles are better than other tiles”
But why are some tiles better than other tiles? And why should you care? Well, here is a helpful list of some things to look out for so that you can better understand why some tiles may look the same but the prices may be vastly different.
Without trying to be too clever with technical jargon, these are some points to look out for especially when considering the application of your tiles and the kind of look and durability that you require:
- Print Quality – Most modern tiles are effectively printed onto with various designs and just like any printing you can get clear and crisp imaging or you can get pixelated and low-resolution printing
- Physical Performance – Some easier things to look out for could be as simple as tile thickness, the curvature of larger tiles or ceramic vs porcelain
- Tile Edges – A subtle detail that makes a significant difference especially when looking for a seamless look (thin grout lines) is to notice if the tile has a bold/rounded edge or if the edge has been rectified by having the edges trimmed with diamond blades
It is always a good idea to ask to see more than 2 or 3 samples of a tile that you intend to purchase, this way you can identify if the “face” of the tile or rather the particular design on a single tile starts to repeat too often.
Ideally, you want as many faces as possible so that you do not notice any repetition throughout the space that you are tiling. This is critical when trying to achieve a natural and organic look with wood, marble or stone-inspired tiles. You can get tile collections with anywhere from 1 face only up to 34 faces in select collections and naturally prices are aligned to this same spectrum.
Believe it or not, the tile industry is in fact a fashion industry, trends come and go and with that, tile collections are being discontinued regularly. You can think about the tiles just like clothes, the trendiest ones are the priciest, last season’s trend is now dated and therefore cheaper, and then you get the SALE items and eventually the bargain bin.
Often tiles are end-of-range or they were part of a once-off purchase from the factory so the price may seem appealing up front but it may become difficult or near impossible to get additional tiles later on.
After Sales Service
This is the hardest point to quantify and often can only be assessed once the tiles are already on-site; however the company’s reputation, brand and the experience you have before parting with your money is a good indication of what to look forward to.
This is where reviews, recommendations and referrals are of great value.