Choosing the perfect tile for your home remodel project can seem like a daunting task, and many homeowners are unaware of the vast selection of products available to them. Beyond selecting the right tile, there are a number of options regarding installation, care and maintenance that deserve consideration based on the unique characteristics of your home project. The best advice one can follow is to visit a tile showroom where the sales staff is specially trained to listen to your ideas and help you make the selections that are right for you. To get the most of your showroom visit, we offer advice for how to prepare for it, as well as what to expect when you get there.
Before you go
Before any trip, it is best to be prepared. When shopping for tile, being prepared means having the tools required to communicate your ideas effectively to the showroom designer or salesperson. It is a good idea to take photographs of the area to be remodeled, as well as adjoining rooms and furnishings. A picture is worth a thousand words, and the photos will tell the designer a lot about your personal style and existing home décor. Sometimes colors don't accurately translate to a photograph, so we recommend bringing actual samples of your color scheme. A color sample could be a piece of fabric, a paint swatch, or a piece of broken tile to match.
After you have your photographs and color swatches, it's time to find out the coverage area of your renovation. Draw a quick diagram and mark the measurements of the space on the drawing. If you haven't already, now is a good time to decide on a budget for your project. The salesperson will consider your coverage area and your budget to show you products that fit within your price range. Even the most high end tile showrooms have products for any budget.
As a final preparation, spend time researching ideas by browsing home improvement magazines online or at a book store. If you don't have a design in mind, collect images that you like and bring them along with your photographs to the tile showroom. Even if you have already decided on a design, coming across a new idea or tweaking a design at this stage is ideal.
Although appointments are usually unnecessary, calling ahead to set an appointment is not a bad idea.
On your first visit to a tile showroom, present your ideas, photographs, magazine clippings, color samples, measurements and budget to a showroom representative. Doing so is the most effective way to communicate your vision, and will streamline the process of selecting products. Be sure to ask whether your desired products are stocked locally, domestically, or overseas. Also ask about the lead time involved and plan your project schedule accordingly.
After making your selections, ask about care and maintenance requirements. Most tile is incredibly easy to clean and maintain, however some products require special care. Another important question to ask is whether the product or your project requires special installation techniques or materials. Certain specialty products have very specific installation guidelines that must be followed, and you will want to bring them to your contractor's attention.
Last, but not least, if a return visit is required, try to speak with the same showroom representative on your next visit.