My tile samples are in! And I need your opinions.
Jamie, a rep for BuildDirect, reached out to me a couple months ago and asked if I’d be game to review the process of picking out my kitchen backsplash online. I’m really not averse to picking materials out on the web, but tile is definitely new for me (when it comes to things cemented into my house, I’m a gotta-see-it-in-person kind of gal). But, I’m also not one to shy away from an experiment (or to keep my mouth shut, whether I love it or hate it). So, without further ado, here are my samples and my thoughts about the process so far.
I tried taking pictures from a few different angles to give you a better idea of how things look in person. It’s possible to order up to 5 samples (shipped free) through BuildDirect, so even though I knew I wanted something white to keep things neutral, I made sure I picked a few options.
From left to right:
- White Ceramic Subway Tile – sizes 3″x6″ and 4″x12″ (though the 4″x12″ version is cut in half)
- White Ice Glossy Kaska Mosaic Tile – sizes 3″x6″ and 4″x12″:
- Salerno Mosaic Tile – Designer Stripe
And to keep things simple, here is my pros and cons list about the experience thus far:
- All of my samples seemed like they were made from good quality materials, and they were all packaged well. Nothing (other than the obviously cut tile) arrived broken or chipped.
- The colors online were pretty accurate to what I received in person.
- The color of the white ceramic tile is a very pure, brilliant white, which would be a smidge brighter than the finished paint color of the upper cabinets (I don’t really consider this a problem).
- Glass tiles can be hit or miss; sometimes they can be too thin or the coloring is off on the back side, which allows imperfections to seep through during installation (such as seeing the adhesive behind the tile if it’s too thin). I was pretty pleased with the quality of each sample of the glass tiles, and I got a full size tile of the 4″x12″ to better visualize the look of it.
- I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get a full size tile in my sample shipment of the 4″x12″ ceramic version. Because it was a clean cut, I was fairly sure this was not a breakage during transit (the missing other half was also a clue for Captain Obvious). When picking out tile, it’s pretty important to get a good idea of proportion, and cutting the tile in half didn’t help much in that regard. If it hadn’t been for the other glass tile, I would have had a really hard time visualizing this. But, I reached out to my rep, Jamie – and they were more than willing to correct this if I wanted. So maybe it was a fluke? Now that I know it’s a possibility, if ordering again, I’d be sure to ask about it.
- When it comes to online wholesalers, there are three key components that I’m looking for: quality, price, and selection. The quality of the samples were good and the price versus my local store were also a check in the win column for BuildDirect, but I would prefer a larger selection of colors and shapes, like maybe hex tiles or elongated diamonds.
- For white ceramic tiles, the grout color can be light or dark (and is all over Pinterest if you need more inspiration). I’m not entirely sure which end of the spectrum I fall just yet. In all honesty, I’d probably go with a light gray and a good-quality sealer (I haven’t had any issues with the sealer I used on my guest bathroom floor, and that was using a light gray grout, which I still have plenty of and can probably use for this project too).
- The trendy narrow mosaic sample was immediately out (though I love this kitchen with similar tile). So was the cut ceramic tile. Leaving me with 3 legit choices.
- The larger tile really caught my eye – with the size of this kitchen, it can probably handle the larger scale just fine. But then again, the smaller ones are more classic.
- I don’t know if glass is too modern for the space, but I still really like it (here is a great example of a kitchen done with similar tile). Regardless, anything is better than the nasty wallpaper and torn drywall.
I’m pretty sure I know the winner, but I’d love to get your thoughts. Are you Team Ceramic or Team Glass?
Disclaimer: Just in case it wasn’t clear at the beginning of my post (cough-cough-FTC-cough-cough) BuildDirect has offered me the tile in exchange for my review (though the free sample tile part is the same for anyone).