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Old 12-30-2010, 11:16 AM   #1
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Discontinued AO tile from the 1960's

I am trying to locate tile that matches the old AO tile in my bathroom.

Likely from mid 1960's when the house was built.

Baby blue color, 4x4 size.

I have three extra pieces of the current tile and they all have different number on the back. They are (1) "AO 52", (2) "AO 70" and (3) "American 39".

We have a plumbing repair with the shower that needs fixing and it involves removing and replacing one tiled bathtub wall.

I have confirmed that neither AO or Dal have a good match from their current tile colors. The tile i need is somewhere inbetween current Dal "waterfall" and "spa".

Thanks in advance for advice!
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:36 AM   #2
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There's no hope of obtaining a tile from 50 years ago. I'm sorry to say that many pros have struggled and given up trying to obtain tile that's only been out of production for a few months, let alone 5 decades.

The best you can do is shop around for either something close, or to install a complimentary or contrasting tile in the area of repair. Hopefully the plumber wasn't the one bashing the wall. Unfortunately, folks from different trades don't really respect where a good or bad place to smash holes would be and repairs are especially challenging.

But on the note of your tile. 50 years is a long time and since repairs are quite difficult to make (I'm assuming this is a mud set wall), perhaps now would be a good time to update your walls with new tile? I know, I know....probably the whole bathroom is the same blue 4x4 tiles...... (I'm hoping they're not, hence the suggestion).

Tonto Goldstein….. but my friends call me Bubba
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:52 AM   #3
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Bubba made a good point. We (tile installers) have enough trouble finding tile that is 3 years old, let alone 50 years.

If the plumber has not started, can the repair be made from the backside? A lot easier to repair plaster/drywall than to match a 50 year tile.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-02-2011, 02:59 PM   #4
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Thank you both for taking the time to reply to me.... I appreciate it very much!

We actually have access to what turns out to be a leaky bathtub drain from the bedroom closet that is directly behind wall of the bathroom bathtub.

However, when I removed the access panel from the closet wall i found more damage than just a leaky drain -- First time I've looked behind there in the 5-years we've lived in the house. I've attached a few photos so you can see for yourself.... And please do let me know what you think.

After more investigation, i now see that water was getting behind the tub spout and very slowly dripping small amount of water through the wall, probably happening for decades. The board is a bit punky and is starting to crumble, especially around the plumbing. And that looks like mold (even though i sprayed it with bleach, its still there).

Fixing the bigger drain leak is easy.... And I've already sealed up the smaller leak too. The question now is do i take this opportunity to also replace the damaged wall of tiles?

Of course, i could also do nothing else and leave the wall the way it is and just hope for the best. Tempting for sure!

Unfortunately, the 50-year old tiles are on every wall of the entire bathroom! So if we go the "replace wall/tiles now" route, my wife is warming up to the idea of putting in two (or even all three) entire shower walls of white tile.... That way it doesnt look like a bad patch job with mismatched blue tiles... And the white wont look too awkward.

Oh, and has anyone have any experience with thisoldtile.com as a place to buy old discontinued tile? It feels odd that they ask for $30 up front when you send in a sample of old AO tile for them to try and match with their stocked inventory, even telling you how much they charge for the discontinued AO tile that they have in stock.

Thoughts? Advice? Should i replace the wall? Or from what you can see in the pictures, should i be OK just doing nothing?

Many thanks!
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:22 PM   #5
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Well, that black stuff is mold.

We really can't in good conscience tell you to do anything other than gut it and re do it right.

If your auto mechanic tells you your brakes are bad...........

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Old 01-04-2011, 04:25 AM   #6
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OK, thats what we're gonna do. That wall is coming down and we'll make sure we've got it all cleaned up.

One more question: Has anyone have any experience with thisoldtile.com as a place to buy old discontinued tile?

Are they reputable / reliable? It feels odd that thisoldtile.com asks for $30 up front when you send in a sample of old AO tile for them to try and match with their stocked inventory, before they tell you even a price range that they charge for their stocked discontinued AO tile.
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Old 01-04-2011, 04:22 PM   #7
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The upfront 30$ may just be a labor fee for digging through old stock, who knows. But as everyone else here as stated find discontinued tile, let alone from the 60's is going to be next to impossible. I suggest also looking into colors available from Interceramic and Florida Tile ( if available in your area).

Sometimes if one can not find the perfect match, it may be best to head towards a different color all together and make the job look like that was the way you intended it to look in the first place.

Lastly maybe it is time to just replace and update the area anyways

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