The internet can be a scary and confusing place, not only for those of us in the tile industry, but also for homeowners and specifiers looking for general tile information. Layer that uncertainty with personal design and lifestyle preference and choosing the right tile turns into a nebula of hard work.
Today it’s more difficult than ever to be well informed due to the massive amount of wrong information spread throughout social media, popular TV shows and the romanticized do-it-yourself culture. Recently, I saw an in-depth online piece from a famous designer that was impressively robust yet not entirely accurate. No single source will tell you everything you need to know, but this blog will help you get started, and point you to some really great vetted resources.
Tile is Personal
I'm an 80s baby so I like to think of tile like a bulk candy store. You can spend one month's allowance (or six) on an assortment of colors, textures, sizes and shapes. But if you did it blindly, without experience, that sucrose medley likely won't be the jaw-breaker of your dreams. Let's avoid that scenario and start with some basic resources. But first - let's see a custom candy mosaics from the very talented Alison Eden (chat us to assist in the design of your own rendition).
Not sure you want tile? Start here: WhyTile
Still not sure you want tile, but like math? Go here: Lifecycle Costs of Flooring
Great - so you decided you want tile! Hard Stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Here is where I recommend you talk to a tile expert. The internet is not a tile expert and never will be. Call your local store, browse their shelves, chat with them online, send a FB or IG message, or call them. If you can't make time for a face to face appointment, go virtual. Virtual appointments are now standard, so that's a great place to start.
Showing up prepared to that first meeting is key. Here is a simple preparation guide. The wish list feature is really neat. Keep in mind that if at any time during your appointment or drop-in visit, you feel your in-store journey is not going as planned - ask to be paired up with an associate with expertise to fit your needs. Culture-driven brands always put the clients first and a change in sales/design guidance can make a big difference. At Architessa, in my early sales days, I remember passing clients to my colleagues, where their specific needs would be better served and vice versa.
If you want to do more research before talking with an expert, be very careful about where you look. I recently read on the internet (from a high-profile blog) that all porcelain tile has the same color from top to bottom - which is wrong. Checking out books at your local library or online is a great place to start, however keep in mind that the industry has innovated at a rapid pace, and books that are 5-10 years old won’t have the full story on what your local stores now carry. If you’re into design/build TV shows, be extra careful about blanket statements that are made. Blanket statements are hurtful to the Tile industry and can set up false expectations for material, installation, and budget.
Notice that this blog didn’t go over a lot of deep tile information, which was on purpose. Tile is tactile by design, and learning about it in person has its benefits. If you’re seeking more nitty gritty technical information, read our next Blog “Expert Guide on Ceramic Tile”
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Julie Taury has thrived in the tile industry for two decades and held various positions ranging from retail sales to product development. Her unique background in distribution, manufacturing, strategic sales, and the A&D industry has built an unparalleled skillset to navigate the unpredictable surprises of the tile industry. Currently, she is the Marketing Director at Architessa, and is a remote trailblazer, residing in New Zealand.