Buying tile and stone online can be a nerve wracking process. It is important for you as a consumer to understand if you are suited for purchasing this type of product online. Some folks are very visually oriented and need to see the product installed. This is difficult in the online environment. Your local tile dealer will be a better match for this individual. Here at Beltile we won't feel bad as we also had a brick and mortar for many years and recognize the importance of supporting your local dealer. However, for us, we are still a mom and pop, just online, and will bring our years of experience to you along with our down to earth approach to our business. To help you with your online purchase, we have identified 10 things you must consider when purchasing tile and stone online.
- Sizes can vary. Natural stone is cut overseas in factories geared towards the metric system. There will be variances in an 18"x18" tile from factory to factory depending on how the tile is cut. The tile may be cut 45 cm or 45.7 cm or 45.5 cm. So as you are planning your layout, it is important to plan for these variations. Usually, your installer or architect will be familiar with these potential variances and account for them.
- Dye lots and stone production lots can vary. With regard to tile, whether it be handpainted, glazed ceramic, unglazed porcelain or a glazed porcelain, colors can vary from lot to lot. For example our unglazed white hexagon sheets do not exactly match the same unglazed flower hexagon sheets. The white hexagons are fabricated at different times and the colors can vary, so you cannot always combine these products into the same floor pattern. This is also true with the glazed materials and handpainted. Colors can vary from production lot to production lot. It is always good to order samples to see the precise colors, especially if you want to match something. Stone tiles are produced at different times and in different areas of the quarry. Depending on the lot, you can have different colors/movement in the material. Usually we can email you lot photos of many of the materials. If lot photos are not available, it is always good to order a sample. These issues are true whether you order online or not but in order to ensure you know what you are getting, order a sample online if you have specific color requirements.
- Lead time from order to shipping. If you are in a hurry for materials, the amount of time before an order ships can be critical. Tile is heavy so it generally takes a couple of days to get it packaged properly and ready to go out. When ordering materials that are time sensitive, be sure to check with your supplier when materials are expected to ship along with the estimated transit time.
- Samples should be representative of the current lots. Make sure that the samples you are ordering reflect the current size and color of the material that is presently shipping.
- Website security. It is not easy for the average individual to really know which sites are secure. It used to be simply looking to see if there was a lock icon in your browser which was indicative of SSL. Today, many sites will redirect to you to another site to complete the order or credit card processing. Or there may be things going on in the background which may not be transparent on your end. Some folks like to see a merchant using Paypal, while others like to see Authorize.net badges on a site. These can be hints but do not necessarily ensure that the site was built with security in mind. We use Sucuri to monitor our site daily and all credit card processing is done by Paypal on their servers whether you pay with a card or via Paypal direct. We never have access to your card information.
We hope this helps you navigate the shopping experience of buying tile online. You can always call us as well if you have any questions. 866-925-TILE or email email@example.com.