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Old 07-29-2019, 09:52 PM   #1
Lazarus
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Kudos (God Help Me) to HD

Yeah, I know.....HD tile is lousy as to product, but giving the Devil his Due, I've spent a lot of time there and gotten a ton of business there recently and examined a LOT of their tile....Dal, Marazzi, ect. and found that much of it is far better than was previously seen. Except for the very cheapest, most seem to have minimal bowing and little of the "wood look" tile are cut downs from the 15x15 tiles. They have full borders and, on the whole are decent products!

Nice to see decent stuff from them for under three bucks a foot......

Your mileage may vary and I'm sure it WILL from store to store.......
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Old 07-30-2019, 03:56 PM   #2
LAN1870
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I actually agree with you. Over the last 15 years or so, I have seen the quality of the tiles improve in HD substantially. I haven't installed any plank tiles (happily) so I cannot comment on them. But 12" and under have been so much better. I often tell customers that tiles from HD have improved.

Over the past few years, I honestly have cut down on the amount of tile work I do and most customers purchase from tile stores. But if somebody mentioned wanting to purchase from HD, I wouldn't worry like I used to. But of course there's a much higher probability of customers getting different batch numbers (despite what you explain to them).
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Old 07-30-2019, 04:12 PM   #3
Lazarus
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Lotta flood-damaged homes near me. I recently did about 2100 sq ft of wood look tile on slab here....all from HD and was pleasantly surprised at how consistent the product was. Homeowner loved it, so that's all that matters....
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Old 07-30-2019, 04:21 PM   #4
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Yeah I'd agree with some of Lowes' tile as well, quality seems to be nice when buying same lot stuff. I always inform the homeowner if they buy from a big box store that returns get stocked back on the shelf so you can't just grab tile and expect the same dye lot and caliber. It's an active search most the time. Having inside details on Lowes I can tell you that I've requested number matching tiles through multiple pallets from the RDC (regional distribution center). The Lowes employees has to call the RDC and have someone physically look at the pallets and tell you that they have it. Lowes actually has a paper to fax to the RDC for tile and carpet dye lot requests but most employees don't take the time to learn those detail processes. But.... they do exist.
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:34 PM   #5
Davy
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A couple years ago I had a homeowner that wanted a tub surround installed. She gave me the tile number and said she found it at Lowes. I went to Lowes and asked the guy in the tile dept if he had 80 sq ft of it. He said he thought he did. He said I have a couple boxes up on the rack, a couple more on the floor and a few more around the corner. I told him I wanted it all in one shade and lot number. His eyes hit the ceiling and said that wasn't going to happen. I told him, never mind, I'll go to Marrazzi and get it.
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Old 07-31-2019, 07:19 AM   #6
Metropolitan Ceramics
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Having worked my whole career for manufacturers that supply big box stores, as a general rule their buyers are more tile savvy than you think (although have high turnover in the position) and do try to source based not only on price but also on quality. I think what you are seeing currently is that they have pulled a lot of the products back to US-based factories. Partly this is because several new, automated factories have gone up in Tennessee specifically to service big box stores and partly it was to stay ahead of tariffs on Chinese imports. In general the US manufacturers will stay well inside of the ANSI size and warpage requirements because they know they will have to pay for any complaints that arise.
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Old 07-31-2019, 10:00 AM   #7
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Good for ceramics and TN, but I am seeing production move from China to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand to avoid tariffs, not to the USA.
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Old 07-31-2019, 11:34 AM   #8
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As I mentioned, it's a mix of both new US production and sourcing from other countries. I don't have any data from the countries you mention, individually none of them have cracked the top 10 of the countries that export to the US. Based on the statistics for May sent out by Tile Council, Brazil and India have been the countries that have benefited the most from the China tariffs. Overall imports from China are down about 70 million square feet YTD with imports in general being down about 30 million square feet compared to last year. However, per capita tile consumption is up around 2% this year over last. That means 100 million square feet+ is being made in the US that wasn't last year.

With all of that said, there is still 500 million square feet of Chinese tile coming into the US this year, more or less. It currently has a 25% tariff. It's quite likely by this fall that the tariff will be 200% or more as the FTC investigates charges of dumping of tile by China into the US market. When that tariff hits, most of that 500 million square feet of production will be moving somewhere. India, Brazil, Spain, the countries you mention - all of them will benefit somewhat but none of them have close to that much extra capacity at this point. It's about to get real interesting.
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