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Unread 06-28-2019, 07:56 PM   #1
irr1449
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Planning Job of Approximately 3500 sq/ft Wood Look - Purchase Options

I'm planning to tile my entire house in wood-plank tiles. I just spent about 3 months installing radiant heat throughout and really want to take advantage of it with all tile. I've decided to go with 6x24 or 6x36 tile as I personally find that it looks the most like real wood.

I'm in northern New England and so far I've looked at Lowes, Home Depot, Lumber Liquidators, Floor Decor, and a number of smaller shops.

It seems nearly impossible to compare tile quality across these stores. Some don't provide basic information like the number of patterns used or slip rating / pei coefficient. Some of the tile at the higher end local stores is obviously much nicer but can easily cost $6-7 a square foot.

I really want to stay in the $2-3 per square foot range. Right now I'm leaning towards Floor and Decor. It is a 2-hour drive but they seem to have more selection at the best prices. The specs of the tile they offer seem to be, on paper, better than those offered at Home Depot/Lowes at the same price.

Can anyone speak to the quality of tile at these big retailers? I liked that I could buy rectified tile at Floor And Decor.
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Unread 06-28-2019, 09:21 PM   #2
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Welcome, Ian.
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Originally Posted by Ian
Can anyone speak to the quality of tile at these big retailers?
Yes. Some of it is better than others.

First thing you wanna look for is an indication that the tiles meet the requirements of ANSI A137.1. If they do, you will know a great deal about the tile that's in the box. If they don't, all you'll know is that what's in the box is what's in the box. Doesn't mean it can't be a good tile, just means you'll have no way of knowing.
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Some don't provide basic information like the number of patterns used or slip rating / pei coefficient.
You'll not find anything in the tile industry standards about number of patterns used, and the PEI rating for the glaze on glazed tiles is no longer used. Slip resistance you'll find listed as DCOF (Dynamic Coefficient Of Friction). The abrasion resistance of the glaze on glazed tiles is listed as Visual Abrasion Resistance, for unglazed tiles it's Deep Abrasion Resistance. And lots and lots more information on size variation, warpage allowances, etc, etc.

Look for the A137.1 or be prepared to do all the evaluation of the tile on your own.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-28-2019, 09:31 PM   #3
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Hi Ian,
Last Aug we installed 1800sf of a rectified 6x36 from F&D. Over all I'd give the tile a b+ @3.59 sf.
Right now We are doing 2700sf of an 8x20 from Dal Tile. I'm guessing the customer was charged at least 5-6 sf. Over all C.
We use a completely random install as one would install wood.
My First inclination would be to buy a couple of samples and see how well it cuts. Wet saw, grinder, scratch cutter.
I find the cheaper tiles do not have a consistant density and tend to shear off to one side or the other when cut.

I would go with F& D
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Unread 06-28-2019, 09:54 PM   #4
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I avoid F&D. Half the orders I get from them are screwed up. Even when I check to make sure everything is right, I'll get a surprise when installing their tiles. A couple weeks ago I picked up an order of 12x24's for a shower. The quantities were right but when installing the tiles we found several boxes that had tiles 1/4 inch longer than the others. It could have easily been 10 boxes which would have been trouble.

They let folks return all left over tiles so the next guy ends up with tile from different lots. They have some nice tiles but be careful.
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Unread 06-29-2019, 06:28 AM   #5
irr1449
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Thanks for the advice everyone.

@Davy - I wonder if I might avoid that return problem if I buy it by the pallet? This is something I would obviously be concerned about. However, considering the way I'm laying the tile, a deviation in length would be much easier to deal with than a deviation in width.

@thuffner3 - Thanks. What size grout line did you go with on the rectified tile? I would really like to go with something less than 1/8, possibly 1/16, but I'm afraid of such a large area (open living room/kitchen) I might get myself in trouble.

@cx - Thanks. I don't think any of the tile I saw in my price range met A137.1.

@Everyone - Should I be looking somewhere else beyond the stores I've been looking at? (HD, Lowes, Lumber Liquidators, F&D) I'm guessing my $2-3 price range puts me only in these type of stores.
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Unread 06-29-2019, 07:19 AM   #6
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The pattern I was installing was straight stacked, not broken joint (brick fashion) so I see what you're saying.

On another job that had several bathroom floors using white hex marble, some of the sheets wouldn't even interlock with the other sheets. When I looked closer, I could see that the tiles were cut about 1/16 larger on some sheets. Overall, those sheets were 3/8 to 1/2 inch larger than the others even though the plastic wrapper had the exact stickers and lot numbers. The homeowner returned a lot of it.

If you can find a pallet from F&D that is still wrapped from the factory, you might get it all to match. When I have large orders of tile, I go to Dal tile or other tile store and let them know I want it all one batch and shade. They make mistakes occasionally too but not near as often. Daltile frowns on returning left over tiles.
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Unread 06-29-2019, 09:31 AM   #7
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See about getting an account and discount at dal tile. That's a big order. Surely someone will be willing to deal. I like the idea of cutting in some samples and also clang two together and see if they chip. I think most times dal tile doesn't have everything in stock so even if they give uiu a sample it's not the actual batch.
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Unread 06-29-2019, 10:05 AM   #8
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Daltile only sells to contractors but you can print up some business cards and see if you can open an account. Wear your old jeans and force some thinset under your fingernails. You'll fit right in.

The first thing to do is find the tile you want. No need trying to open an account if they don't have anything you like.
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Unread 06-29-2019, 12:13 PM   #9
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@Davy - Thanks. I'll give Daltile a call and see what I can do. I'm not a professional but I own a number of vacation rental homes and maintaining them is basically my full-time job.

For the first 20 years of my working life, I was a computer engineer and attorney. Sold everything and moved to the mountains to basically do this type of stuff. I can't tell you how much happier I am working with my hands and doing physical work. Just was never cut out for an office.
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Unread 06-29-2019, 02:52 PM   #10
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Yep, I'd have a hard time working in an office too.
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Unread 06-29-2019, 08:57 PM   #11
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Ian, I think Yi can spin that rental business into a dal tile account. My discount would take a 5$ tile to under 3$. Gives you a great price on schluter profiles and expansion joints of which you will need for runs over 20' or with lots of sunny windows.
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Unread 06-29-2019, 09:34 PM   #12
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I just finished installing some real crap tiles for a customer who bought them on the cheap. Within just a few boxes, tile size varied up to 1/8". Makes it tough to install, and the joint size varied quite a bit as a result. Not much else I could do with it.

Sometimes you can get some good deals, but most often you get what you pay for.
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Unread 06-30-2019, 07:51 AM   #13
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@Elkski Thank you. I'm going to contact Datile on Monday and try to set up an account.

I don't have a lot of experience with expansion joints. I think that I'll do a CAD drawing of my entire floorplan with the expantions + layout to get some opinions on here. Thanks for the heads up!
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Unread 06-30-2019, 06:31 PM   #14
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You don't have to use the high dollar Schluter profiles. You can use silicone that matches your grout color for a soft joint. In smaller rooms, you don't need a soft joint at all, just leave the grout out of the perimeter joints and set the wood base on top of the tile. In those rooms, leave a soft joint across the doorways. It's a good habit to leave the grout out around the whole perimeter.
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Unread 06-30-2019, 09:15 PM   #15
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If you want a wood look, insist on different lot numbers. And if the tile is availabe in 6x24 and 6x36 ... buy some of each. If the same tile is also available in different widths ... mix & match.
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