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10 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Tiles

Selecting tiles can be a thrilling adventure, yet it requires an ample amount of detailed planning to perfect the first attempt. The flooring and wall coverings have a powerful impact, having the potential to either enhance or undermine the aesthetic of a room. A misstep can be quite costly to rectify.

To streamline your tile selection process amidst the abundance of bathroom and kitchen tiling options available, we’ve compiled a list of 10 frequent mistakes to avoid when shopping for tiles.

Table of Contents

Miscalculating Tile Amount

Imagine having carefully calculated your tile requirements, only to discover that you’re a few tiles short at the end of your kitchen or bathroom renovation. The frustration intensifies, particularly if you’ve enlisted a professional installer.

One common oversight when buying tiles online is neglecting to account for potential wastage and breakages. Hence, we advise securing an additional 10% to cover such contingencies. This slight extra cost ensures a sufficient tile supply for your project.

Remember, when arranging tiles in a herringbone pattern, ordering an extra 15% is prudent to allow for complex cuts. It’s worth noting that different tile batches can show subtle color variations, underlining the importance of getting the quantity right from the start to avoid mismatched hues in your design.


Forgetting Extra Tiles

Retaining surplus tiles is as critical as procuring an adequate quantity initially. Post-project, ensure you keep any remaining tiles for potential future use. If you’re left with a significant number, it’s more prudent to store them than return them to the supplier.

Tiles are produced in batches, and new styles are introduced every year. Hence, finding an exact match might be challenging if you require additional tiles down the line. Even if the style is still available, the batch will likely differ. It may not perfectly match the original shade.

Remember that if you drop a hefty object and crack a tile a few years from now, you might need to replace just that one instead of redoing the entire floor. If you’ve stored a few spares in your attic or cellar, the process becomes much simpler. Spare tiles can be a lifesaver for any unforeseen repairs or replacements needed in the future, saving you the hassle of having to retile the entire room. 

Choosing the Wrong Tile Sizes 

Choosing the Wrong Tile Sizes

Tiles are available in a broad spectrum of sizes, from compact 7.5 x 15cm metro bricks to large format 60 x 120cm tiles. While this variety allows you to personalize your space, selecting an inappropriate size can make or break a project.

When designing, it’s commonplace to opt for smaller tiles for compact spaces. However, if you’re exploring small bathroom tile ideas, don’t rule out large format tiles. An abundance of grout lines can make a room appear cramped – the fewer the grout lines, the more the illusion of additional space and a smooth finish.

You might only need a couple of tiles for your project. Still, if you aim for a sleek, contemporary look, this approach achieves a seamless finish in sync with the latest tile trends. For bold or vibrant patterns, smaller tiles are the best choice. Pair them with wooden paneling or complementary wall paint to create an expansive and lively space.

Another factor to consider is grout lines, which significantly impact the result. Smaller tiles lead to more grout lines, making a space look cluttered. If an abundance of grout lines is unavoidable, consider using colored grout in a similar shade to the tile to create a more harmonious look.

Missing Tile Sampling


One common mistake is not ordering a tile sample before purchasing. Procuring a swatch sample (a small section of the full tile) or a complete tile sample is essential to assess a tile’s actual color, texture, and finish. 

Before tiling, planning and visualizing the room tile is essential to determine how it will look when installed. Tiles often appear different in a showroom than they do at home due to lighting variations. Furthermore, viewing the tile in your room at the angle at which it will be installed is essential. For instance, if you’re looking for bathroom floor tiles, ensure you view the flat tile. If you’re tiling a wall, ensure you view the tile upright against the wall to be tiled.

Going Cheap Over Quality 

Choosing a lower-priced but inferior product might save you money initially. However, these cheaper alternatives will likely need replacing far sooner than higher quality counterparts. 

For example, in the case of travertine tiles, there’s a wide range of prices in the market. Budget constraints tempt you to opt for the lowest price. However, lower prices often translate to lower quality. Cheaper travertine tiles might be made from softer stone or need more thorough processing and finishing, affecting their durability and lifespan. In such scenarios, a better alternative would be ceramic tiles, which are easier to maintain and offer better value for money than a budget-friendly encaustic cement option. 

Skipping Layout Planning

backsplash tile pattern

Before installing the tiles, consider the layout and how you want them to appear. Always consider all potential kitchen layouts and bathroom layout ideas first. Creating a rough design sketch of your chosen layout before any installation is beneficial.

Doing so not only helps determine the number of tile cuts required, aiding in ordering the correct amount, but also confirms that you have the right-sized tiles for your space

Not Hiring Experts

Tile installation is a job for specialists. The skill and experience it demands should be considered. Using an inexperienced tiler could be an expensive mistake. 

When selecting a tiler for your project, opt for someone experienced in handling the specific material you’ve chosen. While porcelain and ceramic tiles are commonly used, large format, encaustic, glass, and natural stone tiles pose unique challenges during installation. Another helpful tip is only to schedule your tiler once you’ve received your tiles to avoid paying for idle time. 

Disregarding Delivery Details

After you’ve chosen the perfect tiles and determined the quantity needed, consider the delivery timeframe and method. If you’re ordering in bulk, your tiles will likely be delivered on a pallet, which typically means curb-side delivery if a sizable, hard-surface driveway is unavailable.

Upon receiving your order, ensure you have all your tiles and that they’re in good condition. If you’ve chosen natural stone, remember that color, tone, and natural character variations might exist, adding to their unique charm. We advise mixing tiles from different boxes to achieve a uniform effect across the entire surface.


Neglecting Tile Sealing

Don’t let your hard work in finding the perfect tiles go to waste. If you’ve purchased natural stone, or tiles that require sealing, ensure they are correctly sealed using the right product.

Natural stone, encaustic, crackle glaze, and terracotta tiles must be sealed. After installing your tiles, you should use an impregnating sealant like Stone Essentials Stain Block (or a crackle glaze sealant for crackle glaze tiles) to protect against fading and staining. This should be applied after installation and cleaning, but before grouting, following the product label. A second coat should be applied after grouting.

You may also choose to apply a surface sealant for an additional layer of protection. These products help guard against water, oils, and other contaminants that could stain or damage your tiles.

Mischoosing Grout Color


Choosing the wrong grout color is a common pitfall when buying tiles. Selecting a grout color that contrasts with your tiles can make the grout lines more noticeable, altering the overall appearance of your tiled area.

Choosing a grout color that complements your tiles will ensure a more unified look. For example, if you have darker tiles, use a darker grout. Conversely, lighter tiles should be paired with lighter grout. 

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