Matching Ceramic Tile

The amazing number of patterns, styles, and sizes as well as the well-known strength and durability of ceramic tile makes it a great choice for flooring, countertops, and bathtub surrounds. Occasionally, however, accidents happen and you will find yourself with one or more cracked or chipped ceramic tiles. Matching them may become a source for major stress, unless you take some practical steps to get around such a problem.

First, Try to Match It

Unless you or whoever originally installed the ceramic tile you are having a problem with has had the forethought to put aside a box or two of matching ceramic tile just for this potential problem, you may have some difficulty in finding an exact match. You can try, though, to attempt to locate one.

First, remove the broken or chipped tile and take it along with you to as many home-improvement stores or specialty tile stores and see if you can, by chance, locate the identical size, shape, color, and pattern (if it has a pattern) of the tile you wish to replace. Chances are, especially if the original tile is more than a couple years old, you will not find one that exactly matches.

Even if you can find one that is close in all the right characteristics, it is up to you to decide if its differences jump out at you so much that you cannot help noticing each time you go into whatever room it is located. It might just be a shade too dark or too light. The thickness may be slightly different, causing it to stick up slightly or sink down into the floor deeper than its surrounding tiles. Whatever the reason, even if you're close to a match, even a very tiny difference can make a single different tile unsuitable.

Creating a New Design

The only other option, unless you are willing re-tile the entire floor, is to create a pattern in your existing floor by taking up more tiles. Even though there may be absolutely nothing at all physically wrong with these tiles, this step will be necessary in order to create a design. The idea is to replace these tiles with a complementary color or patterned tile that will alleviate the problem.

You may even want to take this plan a step further by using graph paper and planning your design more thoroughly. This way, you can let your imagination go and get as creative as you wish in planning a design or pattern around your existing tile. You'd be amazed at how much you can change the overall appearance of the existing field of tiles by the imaginative replacement of just a few key tiles.

See What All is Available

It is best to take the time to visit your tile or home improvement stores to see just what is available before you put pencil to paper. You may even want to take along your digital camera so you won't have to rely on memory to recall all the different patterns and designs you're sure to find.

Matching ceramic tiles may be next to impossible, but working around the problem may just lead you to a tile project that turns out much more beautiful that what you currently have. It may not be making the best of a bad situation; it may be making a bad situation great.

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