Matching existing vintage tile colors in my bathroom?
August 27, 2004 2:08 PM   Subscribe

BathroomFilter: We've talked tile before. I need help matching existing vintage colors [more inside].

The bathroom in question is circa 1947; the tiles are pale yellow and a...sort of pale bluish-green. I need to rip out some bad work that was done before, replace a leaking shower pan, and re-tile around it (more precisely, pay others a lot of money to do so). A contractor friend doubted he could match these colors, but I thought I'd ask the Internet anyhow. Some cursory googling and exploration was no use.
posted by adamrice to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
This book is decent but is mainly focused on a particular type of period bathroom. As far as paint goes, there are a number of excellent colorbooks out there for bungalow & other A&C homes, but less for postwar stuff, when the depressionware colors popular before WWII became less and less stylish and were more often replaced with patterns and less sturdy materials that did not take paint nearly as well. For tile - that's a tough one.

A good and large tile dealer should be able to find something pretty decent. In Sacramento, we have a firm called Daltile that does a great job of matching historical styles & colors. However buying tile on the internet is near impossible because the subtleties of color and texture and scale don't reproduce well on-screen.
posted by luriete at 2:38 PM on August 27, 2004

Find out who the local salvage companies are and get a schedule of demolition sales. I've been to countless sales in the process of restoring my 1928 bungalow, and have seen many loads of tile carted away.

These companies often have salvage yards as well, where you can scout (ooooh, the salvage yards of Berkeley, how I love thee).

If you don't have a company like luriete mentions in your locale, you can always send them a sample tile to match.
posted by padraigin at 2:55 PM on August 27, 2004

Spice it up - decorative tiles yet they maybe out of place for a correct look.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:36 PM on August 27, 2004

i'm with thomcat...have the guy pull up some others and do a scatter look. I'd try mixing white, gray, and one dark (a cocoa or black even) into the existing tile.
posted by amberglow at 6:59 PM on August 27, 2004

or, if you can afford it, have them pull it all up and put down those sheets of tile they have's easy, but might be pricey.
posted by amberglow at 7:01 PM on August 27, 2004

amberglow: who knew you knew tile!
posted by ParisParamus at 7:41 PM on August 27, 2004

You could also look at hand painted tiles. Instead of a design just get them to paint the whole thing one colour. I'm not sure what the state of the art on trying to match a colour would be though.
posted by Mitheral at 11:45 AM on August 28, 2004

Generally you don't want painted tile in a bathroom, because of the humidity. However, if you do use paint, it should be easy to match. All you need to do is bring some of the paint to Home Depot, or some paint place, and they can scan and then match the color. Call first, but I am pretty sure, and ask about using paints in your bathroom.
posted by xammerboy at 2:33 PM on August 28, 2004

Check out the trade journal "Clem Labine's Traditional Building," a trade journal.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:44 PM on August 28, 2004

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that a trade journal?
posted by kindall at 5:11 PM on August 28, 2004

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