Patchwork Renovating: How to Match Discontinued Tiles, Flooring, and Other Building Materials
Styles and designs come and go. If the building materials you’re looking for are discontinued, here’s how to make the best of the situation.
Dropping a heavy object that shatters a couple of ceramic floor tiles or discovering rot in a hardwood floor necessitates replacing some of the material, but what if the material is no longer being manufactured? Construction materials, especially those that follow fads and trends, can be challenging to find if they’re more than a few years old, but don’t give up. Ahead, learn how to search for discontinued materials and—if you can’t find them—learn how to make repairs that look good.
Broaden the search for the material.
Most DIYers discover a material is no longer being manufactured or stocked when they return to the same store where they first bought it. However, there’s still a chance the same material hasn’t sold out completely at other stores. If you discover the material you need was discontinued and Lowe’s is all sold out, call Menards and The Home Depot, as well as local lumber yards, to determine if they have some still in stock. With a bit of luck, you’ll find some.
Check outlets and clearance centers.
When companies and manufacturers go out of business, outlet and clearance centers often buy up the remainder of their merchandise to sell at a discount to the public. These resellers often carry a wide variety of items, including discontinued wallpaper patterns, flooring tiles, and other construction materials. It won’t hurt to call, and it might just solve the problem. Online, Overstock.com is a good source to check for wood flooring, tiles, and more; Mohawk Factory Outlet specializes in discontinued flooring. Land of Tile is a good place to start your search for discontinued tiles.
Scour donation sites.
If you used the material in your home, odds are someone else did, too. When contractors and remodelers have leftover materials, which is common, they often donate them to local centers to get a deduction on their taxes. Those centers resell the materials to the general public at a reduced price. Many donation stores exist; some of the most popular are operated by Habitat for Humanity, and are known as Habitat ReStores.
Take a sample to a local retailer.
If you’ve exhausted your options for finding a bit of the original material you’re looking for, the next best thing is to match it as closely as possible. To do this, take a sample of the material (or a photo if you can’t access a piece) to a local lumber yard or home improvement center. Often, the techs in the related department can pull up similar items on their computers to find a close match and then order some for you.
Pull matching materials from elsewhere in your home.
When you need the exact material to repair a prominent area, try sourcing it from a different area of your house. If the brick cladding on the front of the house was damaged by a vehicle hitting it, look for matching material elsewhere on the property. For example, is there a matching brick mailbox in front of the house? If so, consider using the brick from the mailbox to patch the home’s cladding and then install a different mailbox.
Create a stopping point.
When you have to use a non-matching material, create an appealing stopping point. If a water leak ruined the wallpaper on one wall, but you can’t find matching wallpaper, consider repapering just the damaged wall in a pattern that complements the existing paper, stopping at the corners to create a finished look. Another thing you might try is stripping the paper off that wall entirely, and then painting it. Voilà! Now you have an accent wall.
Consider replacing all of the materials.
In some situations, the best option is to replace all the material. Imagine you have a few shingles missing on the roof, and no matter how close you try to match the discontinued shingles, the new ones stand out like a sore thumb. If mismatched materials compromise the entire look of the area, it might be time to replace everything in order to get the cohesive look you’re going for.