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I bought the wrong type of tile, now what?

Picture this:

  • You (the homeowner) scour the internet finds and orders the perfect tile.

  • The tile arrives after a many weeks lead time.

  • The contractor and tile installer prep the bathroom and prepare to install the tile.

  • They inform you that this tile isn't rated for the shower.

  • You have got to be kidding me. Now what?

You've triggered a renovation trip line and now you'll have to improvise. So much for the perfect tile. Likely your project will be delayed. You need new tile and will need to chose something in stock or with a nearly zero lead time.

What's really frustrating is that these types of mistakes are avoidable. Why didn't your contractor tell you about this before today? You would obviously have chosen different tile if you had only known.

Tiles have ratings for different uses.  Wall tiles aren't suitable for the wear and tear of use on a floor. And slippery tiles aren't rated for shower floors.  Before you finalize your tile selection, make sure to check.
Hold up! Where are you putting that tile? Check if it is rated for walls, floors and / or showers first.

The knock-on effect of delays

The tiler that was onsite at your home has gone home and reassigned to another project. You chose a new, less perfect tile that can be delivered in 2 to 3 business days. But your installer is now 5 to 7 business days out. Your plumber was scheduled to install your shower and bathtub faucets, but now his availability is 3 weeks out. The whole thing rips through your schedule and you really just want to move back into your house.

Everyone feels frustrated.

This easy to miss mistake can cause delay and mid-project frustration.

You: I just want to move into my house, why didn't someone tell me about this?

The tiler: my schedule is hosed.

Contractor: my clients are mad. My next client is ticked their project is starting late.

What to do instead

When you're choosing tile products, make sure to check how and where the product can be applied. You can find this information under a category labeled "product details" or "application." Discuss your selections with your contractor (or tile installer) in advance to make sure there aren't any concerns or special considerations for the product you selected.

Tiles have ratings for different applications making them suitable for:

  • Walls only

  • Floors

  • Shower floors (i.e. -is it slippery when wet?)

  • Residential or commercial suitability

  • Light or heavy use

Intuitively it makes sense, but it can be an easy to miss detail that can leave you scrambling.

When it's easy to see:

Tiles with three dimensional shapes and are clearly not for walking on. They would create tripping hazards and be incredibly impractical.

When it's not:

Tiles may look suitable for a floor or shower install to you, but check the spec sheet before you order. They may not be returnable or come with a hefty restocking fee.


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