Genius tip to save big money on liner tiles for your bathroom — Chris cut his bill by 67%

save 50-67 % on liner tiles for your bathroom remodelblack white bathroomRemember Chris’ gorgeous black and white bathroom renovation? Not only did he do most all the work himself — he was amazing researcher, too. One of his tips I wanted to jump right back on to spotlight: Chris came up with a great way to save seriously big money on liner tiles — also known as flash strips or pencil liner tiles — that can be used so effectively to complement the affordable and period-appropriate 4″x4″  ceramic tiles or 3″x6″ subway tiles we love so much for our bathroom remodels.

Basically, the genius idea is this:

  • While liner tiles are a fabulous and period-appropriate way to dress up otherwise simple field tiles, you need a lot of them for a whole bathroom.
  • Bought one at a time, liner tiles can really dial up an otherwise quite “affordable” bill for the old school squares and subways. For example, an American Olean 1/2″ x 6″ liner tile in black, costs $1 at Lowe’s.
  • Frankly, it was this extra cost that stopped me from using liner tiles in my bathroom renovations… the costs build up, so you just decide “enough, I can give that up, even though I’d like to have it.”
  • But now, Chris has discovered this trick: Look for liner-sized ceramic tiles in mosaic sheets intended for kitchen backsplashes. Detach these long narrow tiles from the mosaic mounting sheet, and instead, use them as liner tiles in your bathroom or kitchen.
  • This style of thin pencil strip mosaic (more often seen in glass) is very popular for backsplashes today. But Chris has found that manufacturers are also making the design in ceramic.
  • Chris said one sheet cost him $11 on sale. Full price was $16 sheet.  That compares to $32 he would have needed to spend to buy the liner tiles individually. So math-Pam calculates: On sale, Chris saved two-thirds the cost; full price was still a 50% savings.

liner tile in chris bathroomChris’ email:

  • Attached is a photo of the last of the tile sheets. Sadly there are no markings of any kind on the back of the tile – not even a sku. I know I paid $10.99 for each sheet on sale from 15.99 regular price. There are 32 tiles per sheet (16 linear feet) — so less than half the cost of buying individual tiles.  Rona Home and Garden is one of our three big box home centers. Really there’s no real difference between Lowes, Rona, and Home Depot. Different stores but all basically the same size and format selling essentially the same stuff.

Thank you, Chris: Brilliant. If I had been able to buy liner tiles at this price back when, I would have for sure used them.

Other readers who have purchased affordable mosaic sheet tiles, so they can use the pieces in different ways:

CategoriesBathroom Tile
  1. Brad Thomas says:

    Well, I don’t usually gush over built in tubs but I have to hand it to you, this looks great!

    I think the colors, tile choice, and materials used, all work together to create the visual magic often absent from this type of bathroom remodel- well done.

    Brad Thomas

  2. Barb23 says:

    I think this is a wonderful way to save money, and to provide a few more options, perhaps. I checked around a bit, here’s the results.

    Possible sources: Ceramic – American Olean Avenue One, comes in 10 different colors, 1/2″ x 6″ mosaic, or Cisa Ceramiche Modula 13×13 – limited greige colors, Daltile random linear brick joint porcelain.

    Many others, but many are multi-colored, which might be pretty, too.

    Above sources found at South Cypress website, in Mobile Alabama, I think; within first 30 pages of “mosaics”.

    Good luck.

  3. JamieAbe says:

    That is an awesome tip! What’s funny is that my new bathroom remodel looks almost identical to Chris’. I too couldn’t see forking out the dough for all the small tiles and after much though and deciding that it just wasn’t going to look right unless I had them, I came up with my own plan. My dad and I did all the tile laying ( he’s been doing it for years), so I asked him about taking some of the 22 cent, black tiles and slicing them into many pieces. Once he got the saw set right, it was a breeze. Instead of paying 1.00 for 1 piece of trim, each one cost me about 5.5 cents. I was concerned about chipping on the edges, but it was never a problem. I was also able to customize it even more by making two different widths of stripes. It looks amazing and you can’t tell a difference in the tile unless your looking for it.

  4. lynda says:

    I also noticed that our Costco has a 12 x 12 sheet of small glass and carrara marble tiles. It is only $25 for 5 sheets. They could be cut into strips too. Maybe not too retro, but price is right. They had an amber colored stone and glass choice too. It was in the area with the faucets, sinks, toilets, and laminate floors.

    1. pam kueber says:

      I’ve seen these too. Idea: Use them somehow to make light fixture shades — like the beloved vintage Moe Fiestas…? You’d have to know what you’re doing, though, because of the weight.

  5. sarah v @Crafty Waffles says:

    We are starting to plan our bathroom re-model, so I’ll be filing this idea away for future use 🙂

    Chris mentioned Rona, does that mean he’s a Canuck?

      1. Chris says:

        Here is a very similar tile sheet from American Olean. Mine are a gloss black and these ones are ‘textured’ and “matte”. They may or may not work with some Retro looks.


        I also have no idea on the costing but as long as they’re less than $36 a square foot (which I’m betting they are); they’ll be much cheaper than buying the same tile size individually.

        (Also yes to the Canadian comment).

  6. Brian T says:

    That’s a fantastic and surprising tip! It’s insane that loose, plain materials can cost way more than the same thing after it has been artfully arranged on webbing, shipped in larger boxes, and coordinated with other colors. The genius of the tip is that, unlike most of us who blindly assume corporations behave cost-effectively, Chris perceived this insanity.

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