March 7th, 2012

This is part of an ongoing series to help educate both consumers and trade professionals with real answers to every day challenges in the tile industry.

Q: I had tile installed in my master bathroom ten years ago. We bought the tile from you back then. I have a couple of tiles that cracked that I would like to replace. Can I still get them?

cracked-tile-to-repairA: Thanks for your past business, we truly appreciate it! Unfortunately, it is unlikely that we have your tile any longer. There are a couple of reasons for that.

While tile is a man made product, it is derived from natural sources, which can lead to variations in color, texture and pattern. The tiles are then fired in kilns that are hundreds of degrees. Even when controlling the environment as much as possible, nature will always preside. So, even if we still have the tile, it may not be a perfect match. Over the years, formulations in glaze and clay may have changed to be more environmentally friendly or because certain minerals and raw materials are simply no longer available.

The tile industry is not dissimilar from other home improvement industries in that trends and style preferences change, so tile follows suit. Generally speaking, we see about a three year turn in product. Finishes may change from matte to lustrous, warm beige may turn a cold shoulder and become greige, tile sizes that once seemed modern become outdated and they become larger, smaller or even different shapes.

Stone tile is not different. Marble, granite, slate, limestone, travertine – tiles that are cut from the earth are likely to change over time with their pattern, color range and availability. When the vein in the earth changes, so does the tile. It is possible for a specific type of stone to become completely obsolete depending how on how much it was quarried and how much of the original vein there was to begin.

If you anticipate adding-on in the future, be sure to purchase extra tile when you install to accommodate future needs. If you are adding on and run out, work with your professional tile installer to find a complimentary (not necessarily matching) tile that you can work into a pattern with your existing tile to transition the new space.

Tile is a beautiful choice for your home or office. We are glad to help you find the perfect tile to suit your needs. Drop by one of our  showrooms today to talk to one of our friendly and knowledgeable design consultants about your project.