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Top 5 Tile Mistakes

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

Before you pick something based on a picture understand these characteristics about materials

When selecting “wood-looking” floor tile:

Use a darker grout.

Even though these grout lines are the same size, the light grout says TILE.

Where the darker matched grout says nice floor.

“To properly select grout: Place three grouts along the edge of the tile step back and the one that disappears is the grout to use."

If you use a material with rough edges or a porous surface match the material do not go darker. If you go darker, the tile will look dirty due to the material depositing into the natural flaws of the tile.

Black Grout

Black grout is not forgiving at all. This can work with nice clean cuts, straight walls and a great tile installer. It’s the vintage way, where concrete was used to install

the subway tile- way back when. However, if you are working with a sloped

floor, drain cuts, or corners. White or lighter will make you happier. Especially if this is a DIY project.

I had a black grout shower floor removed in my own home. Personally, I could not stand seeing ALL and ANY imperfections. Also, most soap and abrasive cleaners are

white in color and leave residue on the black as well. So take it from me, go lighter here.

Your OCD will thank me.


Niches in full view. Please no, and packed with eye-sore stuff… Jesus hold the wheel. Someone in a marketing department is looking at their packaging of their shampoo and saying:

“What can make it stand out on a grocery shelf against all other products?” “I want your eye to notice our brand…could it be brighter?”

..And this is what is filling the niche in the showers of homes across America. Brightly colored marketing and branding items meant to jump out at you in a sea of other products.

FIX: if you use the niche, hide it. Niches don’t have to be in the center wall centered for all to see.

LOCATION: Find a spot out of sight and easy to reach. Builders typically will not put them on an outside wall since you will be missing out on insulation to the exterior. (making for a very cold winter shower experience). Also consider will the area be wet? If the water hits it while in the shower, it melts the soap, and everything is wet all the time.

Niches take thought and it typically requires the tile to be chosen to determine placement.

The dreaded tile frame. This can happen when you are not communicating exactly how you want something finished off.


Considering the tile budget could be 100K for your home for materials. Do you really want the laborers are making all of these decisions on site? They think this is what you really want unless they are told differently.

Make sure to have a professional review your ideas and math- to “magically” place them correctly.

Backsplashes are darker than you expect

When selecting a material to use as a backsplash try to go little lighter. Darker tones are in a shadow and it reads darker than when laid out in a design presentation.

Tile should end, where it makes sense.

I learned from a Spanish Architect that you should always consider tiling a whole surface.

Think of the beautiful influence of Mexican Architecture and how they use tile.

High-end installs create solid impactful shapes with the materials they use. Try not to stop short with tile.

Make sure you talk with a professional who you are selecting materials for your home. There are many things that photograph well but do not live well.

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