How to Shop for Tile

There are four major guidelines for how to shop for tile: choosing the right type of tile for the location, considering aesthetics, choosing the right size tile, and deciding how much you want to spend on tile. Let's have a look at each of these four guidelines for how to shop for tile.

How to Shop for Tile: Choose the Right Tile for the Location

Not every tile is appropriate for every location in the house. Click through to read two different guides: Choosing the Right Tile for the Room and Which Tile Goes Where. What you need to consider is MOH rating, PEI rating, and the type of glaze. PEI rating = hardness rating of the tile material. MOH rating = hardness rating of the glaze. For high traffic areas, you need to go with high PEI and MOH ratings. For wet areas, you need to choose tiles that are glazed with a glaze that helps feet to resist slipping. You have the most flexibility with hardness and glaze with wall tiles, where you can get away with lighter weight tiles.

How to Shop for Tile: Considering Aesthetics

This is probably the most fun part of shopping for tile. Yet, it can also be one of the most difficult parts of the process. Since tile is a relatively permanent renovation (less permanent than new ductwork, more permanent than paint), you want to choose tile that you can live with for a long time, and that will appeal to potential home buyers. Stone tile and neutral colored mosaic tile are safe bets if you are planning to sell your house down the road. Stick to classic tile design schemes. Avoid novelty tiles. Remember that you also have to buy trim/accent tile.

How to Shop for Tile: Choosing the Right Size Tile

Big tile? Small tile? This choice is partially about aesthetics, and partially about durability. Here's my advice: For high traffic areas and counter tops, go with large tiles that are less likely to get dislodged or chipped. For wet areas, go with small mosaic tile that have a bit of texture, as big glazed tiles can be especially slippery. With wall tile, go small to medium. Small to medium size subway tile and mosaic tile are the best choices for walls.

How to Shop for Tile: How Much to Spend

The cost of tile varies sharply depending on material and source. Tile varies from about $4 per square foot to $30 per square foot. The variance in price often is related to the quality of the glaze. Some tile is also designated as "designer". While it is not necessary to source your tile from designer showrooms, do take into consideration that higher price often means a better glaze. Pick a well-made, well-glazed mid-range tile for good results.

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Chaya Kurtz writes for

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