12 places to find 4″ x 4″ ceramic bathroom tile in vintage colors

With Kate gathering ideas for her master bathroom design and remodel — including looking for four-inch by four-inch pink bathroom tiles — I got all Mother Hen and started sending her links to places that might have this very basic bathroom field tile in a not-so-basic color. But then, I thought, maybe it’s better if I just refresh my research and compile all my known sources for 4×4 ceramic bathroom tile in one story.  So, here is my list — I found 12 different companies that manufacture and/or are major distributors of basic 4″ x 4″ ceramic tile for bathroom walls and shower and tub surrounds — in white, neutrals, pastels and other colors, too:

I spotted these vintage aqua tiles at my Re-Store. Before you buy, make sure you know how much you’ll need. Because even though this looks like “a lot” of tile, I only count about 40 square feet. That won’t even do a three-wall bathtub surround.

  1. B&W Tile is our #1 go-to place for new 4×4 tile made today. B&W has been making ceramic tile for more than 60 years — so they have authentic retro colors, including pink. B&W doesn’t have their tile colors online, however, crafty Pammy (that’s me) found B&W’s tile colors here at Clay Squared — a company in Minneapolis that also sells the B&W line. Link: B&W Tile in California … and you can get this tile from Clay Squared in Minneapolis, too. Note, I called B&W for their price — it was $4.50/s.f. Clay Squared’s price is $12/s.f. I called Clay Squared to ask why the difference, and owner Josh said that his price (Clay Squared’s) includes all shipping and handling, while B&W’s does not. If you’re in the market, I guess you will want to crunch the numbers and see which formula — B&W’s or ClaySquared’s — would work out better for you.
  2. Daltile — Daltile is probably the largest brand name in tile in the U.S. — and the second place we’d look. If you can find a color you like, you might be able to buy it via your local big box or tile store — and not be charged shipping. They seem to have a number of collections that include 4×4 ceramic wall and counter tiles. The colors change regularly, so check them all, they include Semi-Gloss, which seems to be the #1 go-to collection for retro pastel colors… Semi-Gloss Color Trends has 1960s acid hues… also look at Festiva … and Natural Hues has a large palette as well.
  3. Re-Store– If you have the time and patience, the Retro Decorating Gods might send you a big stash of New Old Stock vintage tile delivered via your local Re-Store.
  4. Big Box stores — You can typically find white and bisquit colored 4×4 bathroom tiles at the Big Box stores for under 20 cents each. I was just at the Home Depot, and the tile they seem to be carrying as 4x4s is from U.S. Ceramic Tile Co. White was in-stock on the shelves…. and they had a sample board with other colors, the s.f. price was not listed — ask an associate. When I renovating my bathrooms several years ago, I found rose beige at the Home Depot, trimmed it with white bullnose, and it looks smashing.
  5. United States Ceramic Tile Co. — 4/8/14 UPDATE: US Ceramic Tile company seems to have merged with Roca Tile Group. As I mentioned above, Home Depot (at minimum) seems to carry this line, and it is likely to be as “affordable” as you can get unless you strike gold at the Re-Store or salvage. Colors are not particularly retro as of this story update. You can see 23 colors/finishes on the Roca Tile Group website.
  6. American-Olean — AO is owned by the same company as Daltile, and I think they have the same colors just with different names. But honestly, trying to compare sends me cross-eyed. Their collections with 4×4 squares include: Bright … and Matte.
  7. Olympia Tile — Olympia tile is a Canadian-based company, but they have some distribution in the U.S. (See their location map.) I used their heron blue tile in my blue bathroom renovation (although I think this color is now discontinued.) Hey: Check out the mint. Link: Olympia Tile’s Maple Leaf color collection.
  8. Florida Tile — This Kentucky company does not have “colors”, but it has a good selection of neutrals, including the timeless ‘bone’. Bright… and Matte.
  9. World of Tile — This time capsule tile store in New Jersey is my #1 go-to place for replacement tile, but check with Chippy — she may also have field tile in enough quantities for you to complete a bathroom. See the introductory story on World of Tile here, their website is here.
  10. American Universal Tile — The Brittany line looks to have some good pastel color choices.
  11. Ann Sacks — This high-end company’s Caliper collection boasts some 300 colors. However, this design does not appear to be “basic” — it has prominently beveled edges. The website says prices start at $20/s.f.
  12. Nemo tile — Nemo has two 4×4 lines, Metro Wall has some colors going on, while Clay Basics is low chroma greiged out.

So there’s my list.

Readers, do you know of any other manufacturers/retailers of any other lines of 4×4 tiles? If they are out there, we’d love to add them to this list.

 

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Comments

  1. Jessica says

    I have a vintage yellow bathroom from 1969 that we are totally renovating. Although we don’t want to keep the vintage vibe (sorry!) we hate to see the tiles, sinks, and tub go to waste. I know there must be a company that would buy them or remove them in exchange for them. Any ideas? I live in Central GA.

  2. says

    We were just at B & W Tile in Gardena, CA last week to pick up the rest of the 50W tan (actually pastel coral) field and black trim tiles for the hall bath in our 1956 “Cinderella” storybook ranch “retro” reno. The cashier was telling my wife they have had an unusually high demand for their vintage-series tile, which they have been making constantly since the 1940’s or ’50’s. She said many customers are ripping out fugly remodels & returning their bathrooms to a more original aesthetic. I’m SURE this blog has had an affect on that..! ;-)

  3. Brian says

    I have a repair job for an old disabled firend and will need about 30 tiles. I took a sample to a local tile store and she called it Salmon, but not sure if that is accurate. The tile are 4×4 and were installed around the mid to late 50’s. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you, Brian.

    • says

      Brian,
      Try B& W in Gardena, CA (www.bwtile.com) — see if you can get a sample of their 50-W “tan”. I consider it to be a salmon hue. 4.25×4.25 std field tile (if you need 4×4, they can be cut). Worth a try. I did my hall bath in it & I love it…

  4. susan says

    Tile Outlet in Chicago. Big store with all kinds of miscellaneous stuff. You have to go and look. I found aqua ceramic a few years ago.

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