Would you buy tiles online? I was certainly hesitant. But we did! And we’d like to share the experience with you in case you’ve been thinking about it, but haven’t been ready to seal the deal.
*We were supplied with a discount on our purchase of tiles online from The Builder Depot in exchange for this content. All opinions, bad jokes, and cheesy song references are mine, all mine. This post contains affiliate links. Please read our full disclosure policy HERE.*
I wouldn’t say I’m a control freak, in general. BUT, I will readily admit that there are certain things that I INSIST on maintaining control of. These include:
1.) picking paint colors
2.) deciding on the brand of ice cream we buy
3.) choosing tile…piece by piece…in person
And of these items, I’d say the tile is probably the one I’m most stringent, unbending, and downright unreasonable about.
Sound a wee bit loco? I don’t necessarily disagree…but, in my defense…we’ve remodeled bunches of bathrooms. And in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, we’ve used some type of natural stone. Usually marble. Being a natural stone means that every single piece is unique. While that’s incredibly awesome, it can also be incredibly difficult to work with. Why? Because you could grab two pieces of tile that each say, “carrara marble” but they could look very, very different.
When you’re trying to pull together a cohesive space, having tiles that don’t blend or play nicely together means that the space can end up looking odd. Your eye will immediately go toward the wayward tile(s). And when you’ve spent a lot of time, money, and energy putting a space together, having a tile job end up looking like a hot mess is a recipe for an adult temper tantrum, one-way-trip to a padded room, or both.
Trust me. I know about tile temper tantrums. It’s happened to me. IN a tile store. For THIS very bathroom.
Initially, we were planning on purchasing our carrara marble tiles from a local store here in the DC area. A store that shall remain nameless, but if you live around here and are super curious, or in the market for tile, send me an email. I’m HAPPY to dish our AWFUL experience at said store. We walked into unnamed little tile shop of horrors one day, ready to purchase about 2-3k worth of tile. Not chump change, at least in my book.
I had our big flat cart next to me, proceeded to the carrara section, and had begun looking at the tiles. As I looked, I realized that many of these boxes had tiles that looked completely different from the other boxes. Many were almost all white, no veining at all. Others had almost no gray tones in them and were mostly white and browns. Others had heavy, heavy veining, and others were mostly gray with no veining. In other words, there was no consistency in the product whatsoever.
I had about 40 square ft of tile on my cart when the manager sauntered up. He proceeded to tell me it was “against store policy” to look through the tiles prior to purchasing them. I told him my concern, and showed him examples of the incredible variability in the tiles I was seeing. The response was basically “tough”. I was then informed that if I purchased any tile and then attempted to return it, my account would be flagged so that it was not possible for me to do so.
He then went on to tell me that the store’s “average receipt” was about 11k, so my 2-3k budget was of no consequence to him if I decided to shop elsewhere. Get this…he used a word that started with “butt” and ended with “hole” at least 5 times in our short conversation. IN FRONT of my 3 children. I was fuuuuuummming mad. I will never, ever do business with this store again.
But that decision left us in a bad spot. We were ready to tile. And the pricing at world’s-most-awful-tile-store was actually great. Soooo, I was in a quandry. I began to look for options online. THAT’S when I stumbled across The Builder Depot. THANK HEAVENS.
Dave and I spent about an hour online once we found it perusing pictures of their products and online galleries. And their tile looked lovely. Even more exciting was their price points. SUPER reasonable for carrara marble. I contacted them the next day and explained my concerns about buying tiles online. They understood my concerns, and steered my toward their Carrara Venato collection, which was exactly what I was looking at. They have over 100 different matching options in this collection. I read their FAQ’s very carefully and felt their policies for damage and returns were very reasonable.
We were ready to buy. But I figured I would at least reach out to them first to see if they’d be interested in working with us on our tiling project. And they agreed. They were able to provide us a discount on the tile. THAT SAID, I want it to be understood that I had already decided, on my own, that we were going to purchase this tile…sponsorship or none. Whether they had been willing to work with us or not, I would have been inputing my credit card info on their site and purchasing their tiles online.
Truth be told, I was a little lais·sez-faire about the whole thing, considering how anal I am about selecting tile. I didn’t even order a sample. I just went for it.
Just days after purchasing the tiles online, they arrived. Immediately, I started opening those boxes faster than a preppy can order a $7 tall skinny soy vanilla extra hot, extra foam latte at Starbucks. And GUESS WHAT?!
THEY WERE PERFECT!
We ordered two variations of the Venato Carrara tiles. The 8″ x 16″ subway tiles were used on the bottom half of the shower, installed in a running bond pattern. Above our accent tile and pencil rail border, we installed the 4″ x 12″ size, in a herringbone pattern.
Not too much variation, not too little. I don’t think there were ANY tiles that arrived broken. We were absolutely shocked, in the best possible way.
I can understand why people hesitate to buy tiles online. Tiles are heavy and expensive. They aren’t the type of product people are used to purchasing without seeing in person. Kind of like a mattress or a sofa. That said…
There some GREAT reasons to consider buying tiles online, including:
the online selection can be far greater than what you would find in any local store
online prices are usually better than anything you’d be able to find locally
it’s nice to have something shipped directly to your door rather than have to haul it into your cart, then into the back of your car or truck to take home and have to unload yourself on the other end.
sometimes, the customer service you can get online is BETTER than the service you can get in a physical store (this was WAAAAY true in our situation)!
And there are certain types of tile that I would never hesitate to buy online, including:
Why? Well, these aren’t natural stones. Therefore, there’s minimal chance of variation in the tiles. Natural stone is an entirely different matter. And that’s why I was SO HAPPY with the quality of this marble tile. It was gorgeous.
As I hope is obvious by this point, we had the an overwhelmingly positive experience buying our natural stone marble tiles online from The Builder Depot. Go look them up now if you’re tile shopping. Trust me, if I shopped for tiles online, you can too. It is definitely something I would do again, in a hot second.
Not shopping for tiles online right now, but may some time down the road? Pin this post for later so you can find it again ⤵!
P.S…before you roll out, how about hanging out with us again sometime soon?? Become a VIB here at the Nest (Very Important Bird). It’s F-R-E-E. Just click below to join us: