Tiles are a stylish and practical choice for many home decorating projects, but the costs can soon add up. Not only do you pay for the tiles themselves, but also the adhesive, the grout, and the installation. So, how can you keep the costs down? We'll share our top tips for saving money when buying tiles.
Porcelain vs. Ceramic
Choosing ceramic over porcelain when selecting a tile can be a huge money saver. The name Porcelain carries more prestige. Porcelain is less absorbent than ceramic. It typically has a water absorption rate below 0.5%, making it ideal for bathrooms and laundries. However, if you don't need high water resistance, why pay extra for porcelain? Save money and opt for ceramic instead. Choosing a ceramic tile over porcelain will save roughly 60% of the purchase price.
The price gap between ceramic and porcelain is not too significant at the high end of the market. But, it increases as you compare mid-to low-end tiles. A budget ceramic tile will cost a fraction of a budget porcelain tile. You can use this to your advantage and install a top-quality ceramic tile for the same cost as an average porcelain tile.
There are very few instances where you should use porcelain. Generally, you will be able to substitute ceramic for porcelain in any situation that does not have prolonged contact with water. For example, a tiled shower recess requires porcelain, but a bathroom floor can be ceramic.
Calculate The Total Cost
As mentioned earlier, you don't just pay for the tile. You also pay for grout, adhesive, and labour. Another expense that many people forget to factor in is delivery. Tiles are bulky and heavy. It's unlikely you will be able to pack what you need in the back of your car!
A tile might seem cheap at first, but depending on the delivery cost, that price can jump considerably. Delivery cost is even more relevant if you make a purchase online, as delivery is the only option. The retailer may also try to make a little extra profit by increasing their shipping costs. However, the shipping and handling costs for online retailers are high because tiles are such a heavy and bulky item. In some instances, you can pay more for shipping than you have for the tile itself!
If you are serious about saving money, the best thing to do is create a comparison spreadsheet. List the retailers, tile price, and delivery costs. Now you can see the real total cost of each tile and make an informed decision.
Don't Buy Basic From High-end Retailers.
Where you choose to buy your tiles can have a big impact on costs. As previously mentioned, delivery charges can add a significant amount to the overall price. But, your choice of retailer can have a substantial impact on the base cost of your tiles too.
If you require an artisan tile for a striking effect, it is worthwhile shopping at boutique tile suppliers. They will have a wide range of imported tiles to meet any design requirements. You will pay a higher price as these tiles typically sell in smaller quantities and are more "exclusive." But, a little can go along way when it comes to design. A small splurge could take your project from average to extraordinary, so it is worth the investment. Just remember you don't need to buy all your tiles from the one supplier.
A boutique tile shop is perfect for your specialist tile. However, don't order your white subway tile at the same time. For a plain tile, you need to shop around to get the best price. Plain tiles are your high volume tile, so you need to be smart and economical. Saving 50p/tile will result in a saving of £200 on 400 tiles. That will go a long way towards your installation costs. By keeping bulk tiles basic and using more expensive tiles for high impact trims or features, you can bring the overall cost down without losing any visual impact.
Tile Size Affects Installation Costs.
You should also be aware that the tile size you choose can alter the cost of laying the tiles. Some installers will charge more to lay larger format tiles, especially the tiles over 1m wide. Larger format tiles also result in more wastage, so you need to factor this cost in as well. A large-format may appeal for visual impact but does the cost outweighs the benefits? Could you get a similar look with a smaller tile and save money?
Avoid Returning Tiles
Online retailers make it easy to order tiles and have them delivered to your door. However, if you order the incorrect amount, it is a different story. There are two main issues when you order online. The first is returns. They can be expensive as you pay the courier fees. The other problem is the batch colour. Ordering online, you cannot be sure if the batch is the same, and that you will have a perfect colour match should you need extra tiles. It is much easier to deal with a retailer where you can compare colours on site.
Some online retailers now offer a sample service to order free tile samples before you commit to an order—less gamble for buyer and seller. From a retailer perspective, it limits the number of returns, and customers can purchase with confidence.
Consider Materials Other Than Ceramic or Porcelain
The most obvious way to save money on purchasing tiles is to choose a cheaper type of floor or wall covering.
Technology has now advanced to the point where it is difficult to tell tile and tile substitute apart once you install them. Vinyl tile has come a long way in recent years and is now a comparable alternative to real tile. It is more durable than ever before, and the print quality and texture have greatly improved. Vinyl tiles are also slightly softer and warmer underfoot than stone tile.
Another product is a hybrid "resilient" tile. It is a combination of 25% man-made polymers and 75% ground limestone. This mix creates a durable, strong tile that is significantly lighter than real tile, making it far cheaper to deliver.