13 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 13 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. Classic Tile New York — Added Feb. 2015. Good retro colors, relatively inexpensive prices at Classic Tile New York. I talked to a salesperson there, he said many of these colors are from U.S. Ceramics — they must have a special deal, because I don’t see them elsewhere on the www.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Longtime local tiles stores — Ask if they have any deadstock in their warehouse. Phyllis did — and scored a whole bathroom ‘o pink. 
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.) They now look to have one collection of 4x4s with a few possible retro colors, namely buttercup, tender gray and periwinkle.
  10. Florida Tile — This Kentucky company does not have “colors”, but it has a selection of neutrals.
  11. World of TileUpdate: World of Tile has now closed. See our story on the liquidation sale (now concluded) along with our archive here.
  12. American Universal Tile — The Brittany line looks to have some good pastel color choices.
  13. 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.
  14. Nemo tile — Nemo has this Anthologhia line with colors — Rebecca used these in her fabulous bathroom remodel. Nemo has another 4×4 line here, although no real colors, lotas 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.

 

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.

Newsletter-sign-up-2NMAS

Comments

  1. mike says

    My home was built in 1981. It has Wenczel 4 1/4 X 4 1/4 ceramic tile in it. I had water get behind the soap dish on the back wall of the tub and it just grew from there. I removed tile and the green board on that wall from the top of the tub up about 40 inches. United States Ceramic is exactly the right size(haven’t gotten to color hunting yet). Daltile’s 4 1/4 X 4 1/4 is about 1/8 of an inch too small. The Home Depot in my area has United States Ceramic Tile but only in biscuit. I need bone color or close to what Daltile calls almond. Like I heard others say here, this is turning out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. Thinking about ripping it all out and starting from scratch as the hardibacker I want to use to replace the green board is thinner than the green board so I have to shim it with something so if I ever do find matching tiles, the tiles will level where the old joins the new.

  2. Bob says

    My Wife and i are remodeling our 1941 home and have a large amount of 4″ tile with the trademark KY made in Japan on the back of the tiles. I hate to see them go to waste and was wondering of there is a market for them. I have several hundred that are of a white with what looks to be black special pattern. They white dominate.

    Bob

  3. Martha says

    Moving to a 60s house with a bathroom that has beautiful old tile. What’s the best way to find out what the color of the tile and bullnose are? It’s sort of pink but not quite.

  4. Siri says

    I’ve been re-reading ALL these posts and comments to make sure my question isn’t redundant. Here goes: We’re having a semi-emergency plumbing repair in our beautifully tiled 1953 original bathroom in Connecticut. About 45 tiles will be destroyed when the work is done. I thought I was ahead of the process, having picked up Daltile samples in perfect “not matching” but “good contrast/believable additional” colors…that looked perfect to me. My tile guy came over and said “trouble” … not what I expected! Turns out the 4-1/4 inch tiles aren’t the exact same measurement as the originals, so they won’t line up with the others correctly. I will place a sample order tomorrow with Clay Squared in Minneapolis. I will also venture out to a Habitat store (far away) but then, even if I find any seriously vintage tiles, the colors will undoubtedly not be at all right. I’m trying to stay optimistic, but I am worried. Thank you, Pam et al for all the info here. Had I only planned ahead before the World of Tile demise.

  5. says

    Hello,
    I am in search of vintage “Retro Blue” glazed ceramic wall tile 4 1/4″ x 4 1/4″ distributed by the Unites States Ceramic Tile Co (now Roca Tile per your info). I have checked the sites you suggested but no luck. I e-mailed Chippie and it was returned and I called the number now not in service. I have checked every Habitat Restore within a 100 mile radius. I only need 6 tiles. Do you have any other suggestions?
    Thank you,
    Jeanie

  6. Laura says

    Our home was built in 1948, and the downstairs bathroom has beautiful (original!) yellow tile that I love.

    Unfortunately, we have some plumbing/insulation work that needs to take place in the walls, and our contractor said it would be next to impossible to either remove each tile unscathed or to match new to old.

    I thought it would be easy to find basic 4×4 ceramic tiles. I figured that was a classic look, but apparently not so much anymore. Home Depot seemed clueless as to what they have and how to order it, and I had a guy at a local tile store tell me “We don’t carry that sort of thing anymore. We only carry tiles that will improve the retail value of your home, and pastel ceramic won’t.”

    I checked out several of the links you provided, but most of them were too far away to be helpful. (by the way, GREAT article, but I live in New England).

    Anyway, I wanted to share with my fellow New Englanders that I found a source for retro-look pastel ceramic tiles that will maintain the authentic style of my home! They have 4×4 tiles in a wide variety of colors from several of the manufacturers you mentioned in your article. They’re ordering single-tile samples of 3 different colors that I like (a yellow, a mint green, and a tan) to test out. I’m so excited!

    Here’s the place:
    http://www.cornerstonetileandmarble.net/

    • Laura says

      The samples arrived (at no charge!), and am going to get American Olean Marshmallow tiles (a soft yellow just a little lighter than my original tiles)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *