The Complete Guide to Buying Antique Tiles

Renovating or building a home or business presents many challenges. It is often stated that building a home is the biggest and most difficult challenge a couple can have together. It’s not the act of building the home, but rather all the little decisions that need to be made regarding decorating and all the material options for each part of the project. When it comes to tiles today, people have more choices than ever before. However, more and more homeowners and business owners are choosing antique reclaimed tiles rather than buying new. Reclaimed tiles have a lot of benefits that new tiles simply do not have. When it comes to choosing the right antique tiles, you might want a little help, so here is our complete guide to buying antique tiles:

How to Pick the Right Tile and Colour Scheme

Picking the right colour for your tile is not as simple as just picking your favorite colour. The first question to answer is what purpose the room will have. For rooms that are naturally intended to be quieter rooms, cosy and non-distracting then restful calming shades and tones will be needed. Bedrooms or a home study tend to fall into this category so opting for darker shaded colours can be ideal. However, for spaces that tend to be smaller than average and need more natural light, paler shades and light enhancing tones are the best option.

Another obstacle to overcome is the right colour scheme. All colours do not correspond well with one another and it is easy to pick the wrong colours making the space look out of sorts and mis-matched. First time designers and novice design enthusiasts find it useful to use a colour wheel to help determine which colours work in harmony with one another. The colour wheel is an excellent tool for those who know how to use it correctly.

The colour wheel is not just a round circle of colours, but a way to visualize shades and tones working together. For living rooms, kitchens, and other entertaining areas of a home, opposite colours on the wheel tend to work best together. This design style adds contrast to the space and a lot of interest. Basically, opposite colours are best for rooms intended for high energy.

Other spaces throughout the home such as bedrooms, bathrooms and lounges are primarily used for relaxation. Opposite colours would be a little too loud in these spaces, so interior designers often recommend colours that appear next to one another on the wheel. This concept allows for the eye to relax and view different hues rather than a stark contrast of colours.

How to Shop Online

Online shopping has become one of the largest entities in the world. It is estimated that roughly 85% of the world’s population shops online today. Those numbers may be very encouraging but it’s always best to touch and feel and see colours close to hand before making the commitment to a complete floor or wall tile; simply ask for samples of your favourite designs to try in your home first. Here’s our advice on how to get the tile you want without fail.

Do Your Research

We live in an era where information is at our fingertips, so there is no reason you should ever buy antique tiles without doing research first. Antique tiles are reclaimed from old buildings and therefore reputable suppliers will be able to tell you exactly where the tiles were sourced and what actual condition they are in along with an approximate age and history of where used.

Find the Right Venue

Simply typing in words such as antique tiles for sale will result in a lot of both credible and impractical information. The best tactic is to research the individual site. This is easily done as online reviews for practically every company are available online. Credible sites often insist on customers reviews being posted right on their site as proof they are a legitimate resource for antique tiles. Beware of companies that have little to no information about customer’s past experiences.

Another marker of a credible online antique tile site is one that offers an array of different options and can provide information on each tile style offered. Where the tile came from, its approximate age, and even who originally produced the tile are questions that should be able to be answered by the online site.

Know How Much Supply is Available

The beauty of antique tiles is that they are offered in limited supply. This is not always a problem for those simply tiling a small bathroom, but can become an issue if you intend on tiling multiple rooms or large spaces with antique tiles. Once you have chosen your ideal tile design, make sure the site has a large enough batch size for your needs.

Buy More Than You Need

When buying your antique tiles from any online resource, it is essential that you know the size of the room and how much tile you will need. However, just buying the bare minimum is a terrible idea. Where you will receive exactly what you need and save a little money by not buying too much, you risk having no room for error. During install, some tiles can become damaged and even after they are installed a small crack can ruin the whole look. That is why you want to buy more than what you need.

Buying more than what is required gives you plenty of room for any damaged or mis-cut tiles and provides you a little extra something should you ever want to tie two spaces together with the addition of accent tiles. Remember, antique tiles are not something you can simply go out and replace. The designs in reclaimed tiles are discontinued patterns and often rare and unique.  

How to Take Care of Them

Taking care of your antique tiles is relatively simple. When installed, it is recommended that you use a sealant to protect the sometimes-porous surface of the tile. Sealants offer both matt and glossy finishes depending on which finish you prefer. Once the tile is sealed, it is simply a matter of keeping them clean.

Cleaning tiles is very easy, but harsh chemicals can ruin the finish and sometimes diminish the look of delicate tile work. All that is needed for cleaning your tiles is a damp cloth mop and a mild detergent. Using vinegar in your mopping solution will help with any small stains that appear and from time to time, should your tile get a little dull, simply use standard tile wax to bring back its glossy appearance.

If you are worried about how a specific cleaner might affect your tile, test a small area in an out of the way place before using it on the whole floor. Although antique tiles are relatively easy to care for, some stronger cleaners can damage the finish.

How to Decide Which Room You Should Tile

Deciding which room to start with in your antique tile search can be a problem. Your mind will tell you that beautiful tile work should be in every room of the house and your mind would be right. Antique reclaimed tiles are a universally beautiful option for any home and work well in practically every climate. They do not hold allergens like carpets, and they are very easy to maintain. Which room you should tile is a personal decision, but with the beauty of reclaimed cement tiles and the amount of value they can add to your space, it’s best to start in an area that is going to be seen. Take some time and examine your needs then contact Maitland & Poate for all your antique tile needs.

Quick Steps on How to Identify Antique Tiles

Your head can begin to spin when shopping for antique tiles. It is easy to get caught up in a beautiful design and forget to authenticate if the tile is truly antique. However, there are certain things you can look for to determine the authenticity of your favorite tile.


Modern tiles are made of many different materials today. Some are synthetic with long complicated names, but essentially, modern tile materials include, glass, concrete, cork, and various other composites. Antique tiles were made at a time where modern materials and machining processes were not available. Materials such as percaline, concrete, and ceramic tiles are among the most common tile materials for antique tiles.

Colour Variations

Part of the allure of antique tiles comes from the variations in colour throughout the design. Although tile makers desired to make tiles that were exactly alike, the natural materials and pigments of those materials made matching the exact colours impossible. Antique tiles will have slight variations in colours that add to the character and charm of their appeal.

When you want to enjoy the beauty of reclaimed antique tiles in your own home, your trusted online antique tile resource is here for you, Maitland & Poate.

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