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Unread 10-18-2020, 07:29 PM   #1
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Difference between big box and boutique tile

If this kind of question/discussion is not allowed I apologize and please remove it.

Wondering if there is a significant difference between the tile you get at a big box store vs a smaller/boutique tile shop. For example at HD I struggle to find a particular kind of tile that costs more than $3/sq. While the local tile shop I struggle to find similar tile for less than $7/sq and I can easily find some upwards of $11-$13/sq. Is it better tile? More durable? Let’s say I don’t need any design services, is there any additional value from the more expensive tile. Thanks!

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Unread 10-19-2020, 01:58 PM   #2
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Some of what you are buying at big box stores is 2nd's. They will tell you all day long it is not. Most of my bad experiences with gauging, warping, out of square etc have been with big box and similar stores. As always you get what you pay for, you can still make it look nice but it will make you work harder to do so.

Not to say it won't happen with a traditional tile store, but my experience is your chances are higher with big box.
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Unread 10-19-2020, 03:58 PM   #3
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Yeah, the "Boutique" stores sell tile for far more that their worth.....but they are a boutique and have to mark up the products tp pay the rent. having said that, much of the tile from the Big Box stores is OK. You just need to check them as to bowing......
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Unread 10-19-2020, 05:34 PM   #4
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Modern factories produce pretty consistent, reliable output. Seconds do happen, and the only way you get them is if you actually inspect the tile, which costs more money than just packaging them up. Big box stores buy by the train and truckload...smaller stores, probably not in that large of a volume, so that can affect the price, too.

The only way you'd know if you're getting the same tile, even though they may have come off the same production line, is if the part numbers are identical. Big box stores tend to request/apply unique part numbers so they don't have to price match.

You can read into this whatever you want.
Jim DeBruycker
Not a pro, multiple Schluter Workshops (Schluterville and 2013 and 2014 at Schluter Headquarters), Mapei Training 2014, Laticrete Workshop 2014, Custom Building Products Workshop 2015, and Longtime Forum Participant.
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