Just so you know what this post is going to be about I'll just say now I'm going to talk about finding tile to repair or add onto an existing tile installation.

But first- I need to comment on this video.  Am I the only person who finds it hilarious that this dude probably researched for months on just the right outfit and kayak to buy and he likely dropped thousands for the MacDaddy set up,  including a rear mounted GoPro camera - which recorded (in glorious HD no less) this poor joker getting his clock cleaned by a goose he was dumb enough to be within 200 yards of.  Sorry bro- a little more research on the wildlife side of things would have been wise, because maybe you would have found out that Geese are jerks.  Seriously, a bear will run from a goose.

Now having watched this video you have a pretty good idea of the futility of chasing a wild goose, thus the over used expression - but if you are looking for ceramic tile to replace a broken area or add onto an existing installation then that is precisely what you are endeavoring to do.  I work at a flooring store and every day we get one or two sad looking people holding an empty box label or a hunk of broken tile.  They are in our store in an attempt to locate more of a tile they already have in their house.  We are the ones that unfortunately have to break the news to them that it just isn't gonna happen, and here's why-

  • Tile manufacturers are like fashion designers - they will create a new line of tile, manufacture it, sell it to a variety of dealers, and then move on to a new design.  Tile has become a very fashion forward flooring choice (check out this post regarding that topic) and it is rare that they will make a style for more than a year or two.  If you are trying to find 10 year old tile understand that it just isn't gonna happen.
  • Let's say you actually managed somehow to find some somewhere, you are good to go right?  Nope.  You also have to take into account dye lots.  Dye lots are essentially the date stamp of when the tile was made.  Tile is clay that is fired like pottery in incredibly hot ovens.  This kiln firing causes the tile to shrink a certain amount and that shrinkage changes with each firing, so the tile that was made today may not be the same size as the tile made last Tuesday.
  • Another thing to consider about dye lots is shading.  Things like humidity and barometric pressure have an effect on kiln firing too and glazes can be slightly different from each other even if the glaze formula and application are identical.
So when it comes to trying to find more of an existing tile, just don't.

But that is not solving your problem is it? Here are some potential solutions for this particular problem.

  • Tear out the old stuff.  Seriously, do you really love the old tile that much? Hammer it up and replace the whole thing with a really fresh and awesome new look.  Be sure to do the whole thing this time okay? -And be sure to buy an extra box or two just in case.
  • If you want to keep the old tile you need to go find a tile that will work with the existing installation.  Do not try and find a close match!  Tile that is close in appearance but not exact is visually offensive to the eye and will stand out more than you would expect.  Instead try and find a tile with a similar pattern and texture but is a totally different color that compliments the original.  I suggest you take same samples home and put them next to your tile to help you find a good one.
  • If you have a few loose tile of the originals, a good installer can take then and cut them up with some of the new tile and create a mosaic blended border or threshold between the two tiles to help transition between the two.
  • Consider another type of flooring - there are hardwood and laminate flooring choices you can make that will allow you to simply install right over your old tile without having to rip it up
So that's that- we hope we saved you a day of searching flooring stores.  If you have any questions about flooring , any at all, shoot us a message or leave a comment and we will get right back with you.