three different types of black and white basketweave tile
Photo: Mark Weiss

Luxury vs. Bargain: A Comparison

Like snow-white subway tile, black-and-white basketweave floor tile was popular among cleanliness-obssessed Victorians, who appreciated floors that could be tromped on, scoured, and flooded with rinse water—and come up shouting "hygienic." Nonporous porcelain proved so tough, you can still find century-old unglazed basketweave in historic houses, restaurants, and bars.

We found one made the old-fashioned way and pitted it against an equally traditional marble version and a lower-priced glazed porcelain. All three would look great in a bath, where no-slip, small-scale tile is a natural, and all are made to last. But read on to see how they differ in surprising ways, from durability to finished look.
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