Hot tip: Where to see 20 B&W Tile colors — online. Plus: another company that carries this tile

b & w tile colorsB&W Tile is our #1 place to buy bathroom wall and floor tile still manufactured today in true mid century colors. (World of Tile is #1 for vintage New Old Stock.)  B&W is not just a retailer, they also are a manufacturer — and they can make up to 52 tile colors in all, they tell me.  However, you can’t see these tile colors on their website. Now, though, I have found a source — online — where you can see 20 of the colors. The company is Clay Squared — it’s based in Minneapolis — and it may even be a better company for you to order your B&W Tile from, if you don’t live in Los Angeles and want to work with a company that can help you with your tile order and even, design.

B&W has two bricks-and-mortar locations in Los Angeles metro. And they have a website. But, it’s frustrating to initially scope their product line, online, because they don’t show any of their tile colors, online.  B&W is good about sending samples. Kate called B&W to inquire whether they charge for samples, and B&W replied that if you want to see a few colors, they would send them for free. If you want to see several (like five or more) they may charge you a small fee — something like 25 cents a tile.

Where to see B&W colors online:

Even so, if you want a sneak peek at 20 of B and W’s tile colors, I have found this work-around: A tile retailer called Clay Squared in Minneapolis carries the B&W line. They show 20 B&W tile colors on their website, here.

Of course, you are never ever going to buy wall tile for your bathroom or kitchen without seeing it in person. But at least you can get an idea here.

Working with B&W Tile compared to Clay Squared

The discovery of Clay Squared also is good news for Retro Renovators in the Minneapolis area who may be looking for retro bathroom tile. You can go down to Clay Squared’s store to see these samples all at once. Then, you can work directly with Clay Squared to create your plan to use B&W Tile, order and receive it. I’m guessing they also will take your calls when questions come up about installation details and design panics. Note, however, that in the course of reporting this story, we saw that Clay Squared’s list prices (*which include shipping) for the B&W Tile initially read much higher than the quotes we have received from B&W (*shipping not included). So we did more research, and here’s our take away of the situation:

  • B&W’s quote to Kate for 4″ pink wall tile is $4.50/s.f. — plus shipping. B&W offers personal service — but their general manager clarified to me that you must come into one of their Los Angeles-area stores if you need help with your design and measurements, they do not offer this level of service via phone or email.
  • Clay Squared’s quote for the same tile is $12 / s.f. — including shipping. Clay Squared offers personal service to help you get your tile design just right etc., whether you are local to Minneapolis or live elsewhere and need to work with them via email and phone.
  • I talked to Josh, the owner of Clay Squared, and he further clarified: The pricing structure and comparison between B&W and Clay Squared immediately gets more complicated depending on the color you choose and the size and shape of tile you choose.
  • My take away: If you need a goodly amount of tile and really truly know exactly what you want … if your tile order feels like a “commodity” purchase to you… then you will likely get the best price inclusive of shipping from B&W; if you live in LA metro, you can also get personal service by going into one of the B&W’s two locations. BUT, if you are not in LA and  if you want personal service via phone and email in choosing your tile, designing it into your bathroom, specifying exactly what you need so as to minimize waste and if you want someone to call and talk to at all the anxiety-producing steps, then Clay Squared may be the better answer for you.

Scoping your bullnose trim tile

If you are going to use 2×6 bullnose trim tile in white or black (rather than a self-color) — you might do a little bet better, price wise — once you include shipping — by buying your liner tile from a Big Box store like Lowe’s, Home Depot or Menards. BUT, one issue I *think* you will want to watch for — is that the thickness of your liner tile matches the thickness of your wall tile.

SECOND, you’ll also want to consider how a bullnose trim tile — if it’s white — “matches” whatever floor tile you may have specified. For example, B&W tells me that their “white” tile #10W is not “brite” white, it’s more of an antique white. Oooooooh. I like that. The whites back in the day were not as bright as they are today. But, if you end up specifying a bright white floor, you might want a bright white bullnose that is a closer match. Oh, the decisions.

If you don’t specifically need pink bathroom wall tile, check Daltile, American Olean and American Universal

If you are trying to be careful about cost — be sure to check other manufacturers to see what colors are in their present lineup. For example, DalTile and American Olean (same parent company) are regularly changing up their line. The last time I checked, they had some nice light blues, an aqua, and even a mint green. My local tile store quoted me prices starting at $2.45/s.f. for Group 1 … and $.3.65/s.f. for Group 2 this tile — no shipping charge if you could wait for the truck. That’s about as cheap as you’re gonna get tile in this here USA — unless you score some at the ReStore or craigslist, perhaps.

Also, check American Universal, they have some terrific retro bathroom tile colors.

So, depending on what color you are looking for, and what your time frame is, you need to scope the alternatives. Here on the blog, we can’t keep up all the changes in everyone’s lineup in real-time. It’s like herding cats.

But if you need pink bathroom wall tile:

Want Mamie Pink? B&W still is our #1 go-to place. See Kate’s recent story — a round up of all the places we could find pink tile, 17 in all.

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Comments

  1. Jamie D says

    I can’t emphasize your point enough about making sure you have the right shade of white bullnose to go with the floor.

    We just had a custom Daltile mosaic floor installed and new white bullnose around our vintage shower surround – the previous owners had a sliding glass door that wasn’t properly installed, so the tile edges hadn’t been finished with bullnose and it was too expensive to track down the matching vintage tile, so we just did white. Daltile’s Arctic White, to be exact.

    We planned on using the Arctic White bullnose around the floor edge too…but the glazed Arctic White tile was SO bright compared to the unglazed Pepper White tile in the mosaic floor. It made the brand new floor look old and filthy. As the installer was working, I had second thoughts.

    I am now awaiting the arrival of my bullnose in Waterfall blue.

    • Erin says

      Jamie–Do you have any of your Waterfall blue bullnose tile left that I could buy off you? We are using it for our pool and after waiting a month it was delivered without the bullnose and they say it’s not coming?! Please let me know–I’ll buy whatever you have.

  2. Laura E. says

    I love B&W Tile. I’m SO happy that they exist. We are remodeling our 1970’s bathroom (in our 1920’s Bungalow) into a cute & very colorful 1920’s-30’s style bathroom, complete with baby blue wall tile from B&W. So far, B&W has been wonderful sending us free samples and has been very patient with me answering my many questions over the phone. I tried Daltile but just didn’t find their colors retro enough for my tastes or my project.

  3. Marsha says

    I found almost perfect matching tiles to rebuild my maroon and pink bathroom w B&W two years ago. My shower floor had been leaking for quite a while in my 1957 house. So happy to rebuild the shower and keep the original look and feel. 😀

  4. says

    Can anyone provide a picture of a mid-century colonial bathroom done in black/white – or off white/black tile? We are redoing our bathroom, which was a bit more upscale than most ranches or bungalos of the time, we suspect. Would it be way off scale to do subway tile? The original was four-inch squares of course. There is a huge salvage warehouse in Minneapolis which has medicine cabinets, hardware, lights and other period pieces that are fantastic.

  5. Rose Mary says

    I need tile in pale pink in 4.5 in and gray bullnose 6 in by 2 in and one outside corner to replace my undermount bathroom sink. the bathroom is original, showroom new but the sink rusted. Can you give me any ideas? The tile is great but the sink is bad. Can I somehow get the sink out and put an overmount over the existing tile if you do not know where I can get this tile?

  6. Jason says

    Hi Pam et al,

    We’re just about ready to pull the trigger on B and W kiwi tile for our new master bath in our old 1939 LA stucco cottage. We’re doing 4×4 glossy field tiles for the vanity countertop and wainscoting and had planned on using 4×4 gloss hex tiles on the floor. Then the bad news — staffers there told us they don’t recommend gloss on the floor, as it scratches. Okay, so we reluctantly changed our plans to the satin finish, which was really a totally different color. But today, just as the order was about to go through, the purchase manager told me they don’t recommend ANY of their tiles for floors because they’re not rated as tough enough. So does anyone have any experience using their tiles on a bathroom floor? Mission Tile West has some beautiful stuff but is three times as expensive.

    • Kelly says

      This is too late to help Jason, but for anyone else wondering about this, we installed B&W tile on our bathroom floor 10 years ago and it is holding up well. We were told at the time that they weren’t really recommended for floor tiles, but we did it anyway as it was a small room. One tile has a tiny nick in the glaze, but otherwise they look great. BUT, we tend to be easy on our floors, as we don’t wear shoes in the house.

      • Jason says

        Thanks, Kelly. We went with their unglazed “pinwheel” black and white tiles. While it wasn’t my first choice, they look fantastic. The bathroom turned out beautifully.

  7. Victoria LeResche says

    Clay Squared is a good company, but they just buy their midcentury tile from B & W tile in Gardena, California and mark it up A LOT!! I learned my lesson after paying $14,000+ just for the pink tile used in one of my bathrooms. (We are restoring a 1954 home to its midcentury roots.) My tile guy goes directly to B & W Tile now to get what I want at a vastly reduced cost!!! I could also buy it since they are also a retailer. Clay Squared is fine if you want custom tile….but its midcentury line is not one of its custom tiles sold. Just google B & W Tile in Gardena, California for contact information.

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Victoria, Yes, we discuss the price differential in the story, along with the reasons why in the story… I’m not sure it’s fair to say they mark it up “A LOT” considering they also include shipping in their price along with service….

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