Replacing broken or missing tiles becomes a bit trickier when the tile is no longer manufactured. Some shops that have been in business for a long time keep old stock on hand and may have a match for the tile you seek. Web-based stores specializing in discontinued tiles also carry a large selection of tiles no longer manufactured. Knowing the brand and style name greatly increases your odds of finding discontinued tile.
Visit a tile store that has been in business for decades -- if at all possible, the same shop where you purchased the original tile. If the tile has been in your home longer than you have, look for the longest-running tile shops in your surrounding area. Take a picture of your tile -- if you do not have a spare complete piece -- next to a ruler, for scale. Show the store management the image and ask if they carry tile that may be a match. If so, they may let you purchase or borrow a piece or two to see if it is an exact match. If they do not carry the tile, they may at least have an idea of the brand or style, if they've seen it before, or they may know of another source for it. They may also have a suitable current replacement if you are not able to find the original version elsewhere.
Figuring Out What You Have
Finding the name or manufacturer for a specific tile may be a bit difficult unless you have a few spare pieces in a box leftover after installation. Search your closets, garage or attic for leftover tile boxes. If a contractor installed the tile and didn't leave any tile behind, look for a saved invoice that lists the tile name, style or manufacturer. If the contractor is still in business, they may also know how to find that same tile.
If you're unable to find a match for the tile locally, check sites that buy and sell discontinued tile. If you still haven't figured out the name of the tile, look for pictures of similar tile on the site; if you do know the name, search by the name of the tile or manufacturer.
- If you still can't figure out the style name or manufacturer, some sites may be able to track down the information for you, for a fee. They may require that you send in a piece of the tile.
- Some will even search for new, old stock of the tile for you if they do not have it on hand.
- If you do know the style name or at least the manufacturer of the tile, online auction sites offer another potential option. You could also search auction sites by typing in the color and size of the tile, as well as the material it is made from, to come up with a potential match.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.