Ongoing Tile Saga.
I want a tile that looks like marble… a subdued, neutral, Carrara lookalike.
The photo below is the tile I chose for a bath we’ve already completed— a 2″ marble hexagon which I LOVE SO MUCH, but for the hallway bath we are renovating now, I want something with less grout.
I want a similar color and feel, but with a large tile.
UPDATE: here’s the tile we ended up with!
Update two: they now make Carrara hexagon tile in FOUR INCHES… something I would have considered!
My magical, imaginary, non-existent, perfect tile would look like this:
- Oversized: small tile = lots of grout lines = OCD onslaught. I am my own cleaning lady, and I do not pay myself enough to be freaking out over grout.
- Marble lookalike
- Grey-ish Carrara look
- Subtle pattern
I have spent hours, days, months… shopping for tile. I have traveled to other states. I have searched the internet in its entirety. I have ordered samples from online vendors. And? None of it is right.
Here is my advice for buying tile. It hasn’t helped me, but I think it’s still good advice:
- Get three pieces of the tile you think you like. One piece, alone, looks completely different than multiples.
- Don’t bother ordering samples online. This might not be true for everyone, but the three I ordered, without seeing it in person, were a waste of time, money, and excitement over the inaccurate belief that all my tile woes had been solved.
- If you are doing different floor and wall tile, find a way to put them together in a large enough quantity that you can actually see what it will look like. This was easy for me since we’ve already done one bath with subway tile walls. I could just put the samples in there, to see how horribly disappointing they were. Out of context, these were tiles I really liked. But then next to the subway tile, had brown or tan or orange undertones.
- Don’t be fooled by gorgeous, perfect tile in people’s blogosphere bathrooms. The tiles I ordered online were ones that I saw pictured in real bathrooms on blogs. These were choices made by people who had clearly spent a huge amount of money on their giant, perfect bathrooms. Only to find? That when delivered to my house, the tile was hideous.
- Do not get excited in the store. Because once you get it home and in the space—it will be revealed how ugly it is. Sometimes, you may not even get it out of the car.
- Do not let the tile people make you feel bad when you go back for the fifth, sixth, seventh time… It’s not your fault that all their tile is ugly, and that you had to take it home first to determine that.
INDEX OF ALL BATH RENOVATION POSTS
April 28, 2012 @ 11:30 am
I thought I was the only one! Tile seems like it would be simple but OH NO! So many choices, too many gorgeous and deceiving online photos and those grout lines that make you want to scream! I totally get you. I love the look of the tiles in your picture but the thought of cleaning them makes me want to gag. Who has the time? Sorry, I’m ranting on YOUR blog but I feel the exact same way! We’re going to be tearing out a bathroom soon and starting over so your post caught my eye. (the red ladder did too… I have the exact one covered in paint!) Looks like you guys are going to have a wonderful home. Looking forward to seeing the beautiful things I’m sure you have planned. Lovely blog. Happy Renovating!
April 29, 2012 @ 1:45 am
No, no… rant away, please. It’s nice to commiserate. The endless details and choice-making seemed like it would be fantastic—to make every single detail, exactly what you want. But it’s stressful—in a ridiculous way. I mean, who gets stressed over tile? In theory, by now, I’d be able to compromise. Or not have every decision be of utmost importance… but that seems to be solely a theory.
I’m going to check out your blog now… thanks for saying hi!
August 10, 2016 @ 9:02 am
As a retired tile contractor of approximate 30 years I have heard this story time and time again but believe me, you Will find the right tile or the right Installer who can Fabricate what you want IF you are willing to pay for the effort and fabrication IS effort.. Small grout lines ( 1/16 to 1/8″) in Floor tile require rectified tile so as to be installed like Real stone ( marble granite etc.) Coverings is the largest tile and stone show on this side of the planet and is often held in Orlando in April..500,000 s/f of tile and stone manufacturers set up for several days. It just may be worth the trip for you if you are in No hurry…. Best Wishes!!
July 18, 2017 @ 11:29 pm
What tile did you actually end up with? I love the marble look-alike and size of yours, but don’t see what you ended up with. I would love a link! Thanks!
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
July 20, 2017 @ 10:20 am
Peronda museum tile.
I really need to condense the info, but short of that, below links to two posts are relevant… AND the comments! I didn’t get the tile online, so you may find that reading other people’s comments about looking for it, may be helpful! Good luck!
May 6, 2012 @ 11:34 am
Another problem I had is that in tile showrooms they have gorgeous tile with fabulous colors – deep teal, warm chocolate brown with hints of amber peeking through, etc. but guess what? It would be beautiful to me for about 6 months.
Good bleeping luck finding calm, soothing choices you think you can live with for the next 20 years. That would be entirely too boring for their displays. I felt like those displays were like an issue of Vogue magazine … But I needed to find clothes that my 40 yr old body could wear to work.
May 6, 2012 @ 4:40 pm
You’re so right. I looked at a LOT of tile that was really appealing to parts of my personality that I only think I am. I am not funky, or exciting, or mod… but the way the tile is displayed, makes you think you COULD be that person. Anything that’s unexpected becomes magically appealing—even though you’d install it and then wonder what you were thinking…
Also, there are enough baths on the Internet to keep you dissatisfied until the end of time. Looking at giant vanities, and walk-in showers for two, and spaces that are outrageously huge and luxurious… makes it hard to get excited about a practical, 12×12 beige tile.
May 15, 2012 @ 11:00 am
First, I have to say that I think this is hilarious, and that I’ve been there: “Do not get excited in the store. Because once you get it home and in the space—it will be revealed how ugly it is. Sometimes, you may not even get it out of the car.”
Second, how large do you want the tile to be? If you want something smaller than 12 x 12, you could get what you want in that size and then cut each piece down to the size you want. I know that’s a lot of work, but it might yield the results you are looking for. Just an idea.
June 8, 2012 @ 9:30 pm
Wait, can you share your secret source for these awesome tiles??
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
June 9, 2012 @ 9:42 am
Hi Sunny, which tile are you talking about? The ones pictured? Or my magical, non-existent tile? Sadly, I never found the magic tile, but I did choose one. It’s 18×18 porcelain. Here’s the post about what I chose.
If you’re asking about the ones pictured, those are marble, 2” Bianca carrara, hexagon. No secret source, your tile shop should be able to get them for you. Or lots of places online. Best of luck, I know how tricky choosing tile is!!
August 4, 2017 @ 4:11 pm
Hi! Starting a home renovation and picked out a marble hex tile for our floors 😬 Came back and did some research and found out about honed vs polished. May I ask what your hex tiles are? I love the look of them and am noticing most of the sources of others I like are honed but we picked polished 😩
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
August 5, 2017 @ 10:56 am
Mine are polished… HIGH FIVE… I ALWAYS go shiny.
Good luck with your bath!
October 23, 2022 @ 12:40 pm
What color/brand grout did you use on your 2” hex?
January 26, 2014 @ 9:15 am
Thank goodness for your post. Today, 48 hours before the tiler is supposed to start work on our completely gutted bathroom, my hubby and I have suddenly realized the faux carerra marble porcelain tile we’ve chosen for the walls has too much of a yellow undertone. This will be our fourth or fifth time now to the tile store. I have already envisioned their reaction when they see us walk in today with further indecision and now a rush request for something else….But now that I’ve read your post, you’re right and it is all completely their fault. 😉
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
January 26, 2014 @ 9:47 am
*Totally* their fault…
Be sure you demand an apology from them that you were forced to spend yet another day doing this because THEY failed to stock what you need.
July 1, 2014 @ 2:53 pm
LOL!! Too true!
January 22, 2015 @ 7:41 pm
You are hilarious. [“It’s not your fault that all their tile is ugly, and that you had to take it home first to determine that.”] Thanks for keeping it light.
August 1, 2015 @ 12:30 am
I feel like an Olympic ice skater when I get out of my shower and step onto my large marble look alike tile. Good thing I am still young enough to not fall on my derriere!
I wish my tile guy, who also supplied the tile , told me that it would be like an ice skating rink when wet! I’m no penguin so…….
May 13, 2016 @ 1:33 am
Ok… I might totally be dumb (or even worse, dirty) but I don’t understand the worry over grout?… Seriously, what am I missing? Is it that it might discolor over time? I mean I mop my floor the same as I would if it was large tiles… With a swifter wet jet in fact. So easy. But I am in the middle of a full gut Reno of a brownstone in BK and I have 4 bathrooms to do and I might die if I look at one more Pinterest photo. I thought I finally landed on marble hex for the master but now I read this and I’m worried. Help please 🙁
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
May 13, 2016 @ 10:14 am
Grout is a porous material… (sort of the way cleaning a cement walkway would be entirely different than cleaning a porcelain plate.) That’s not an exact analogy, but if you think of wiping tile clean = easy! 100% clean! Doesn’t absorb anything!
The way wiping/moping cement wouldn’t clean it… rather, it would absorb stuff = never 100% clean
It can stain or discolor over time. And if you have little boys, that’s an added ummm… issue which you can google.
There are a million “solutions” to every grout issue, sealers, etc… but ultimately, they are still trying to resolve the underlying issue that it is porous… My solution was to minimize it as much as possible in places where I’m not the grout-monitor.
ON THE OTHER HAND… I’m a control freak and hex tile is totally classic and lovely and been used forever, so you’ll probably survive!!
March 12, 2018 @ 8:19 am
Thank you! Thank you! I thought I was losing my mind in the tile hunt, and that certainly the tile store personal we’re going to have me “escorted to a support service”
Or arrested for loitering! I burst out laughing reading your thoughts! “I am truly not alone in this grueling expansion of “tile ailments”!
And am now encouraged that eventually with my continued endeavors the “TA-DA! Moment will arrive”!
July 18, 2018 @ 10:48 am
Hi there – can you send me the link to the hexagon bathroom floor tile you used? Thank you!
October 31, 2018 @ 12:18 am
The way I plan to overcome the discolored grout issue is to use a charcoal colored grout. No more white grout for me. Problem solved.
June 25, 2020 @ 9:01 am
I love all the beautiful marble available but after researching and learning how much regular cleaning it needs, I am now on the hunt for porcelain marble look tile. Hubby’s only request is non-slip, and I hate matte floors…I have marble-look matte tile now and it annoys me. Is your shiny floor slippery in that large size? I am on the hunt for carrera Look porcelain in a herringbone mosaic or even 3×9 polished for my floor, as I have heard the grout lines reduce slipperiness. Of course they only have the more realistic porcelain in large or 2×2 mesh (hate that too). I am in month one of these travails so loved reading your blog. Why won’t they make better and more varied marble-look porcelain?!!! Us lazy cleaners and low-maintenance peeps are dying for more options. Love marble, but just don’t want the pain of it on my floor!!