You have probably found yourself here after clicking on a link and you need 10SF of 12×24” or 15SF of 8×16” or 6×12”. All these larger tiles cannot ship UPS ground. They will be broken. UPS throws their shipments and there are drops off conveyor belts that sort the shipments in UPS facilities. This will result in the tile being broken. Guaranteed 100%. Mosaics are okay, they are flexible and on a mesh.
So we have to ship freight (also sometimes called Motor freight) on a pallet. The wooden pallet supports the product and fork trucks are used to move it. Shipping 10SF or 20SF will cost the same as shipping 100SF. The reason for this is because the freight carrier has a minimum order to cover.
From the freight companies side. The pallet takes up the same space on the truck. Has to travel the same distance, same paperwork handled and go through the same terminal process. That minimum is always around $170.00. From there the shipping rates go up but not in relation to what is ordered. For example 100SF may cost $170.00 as well and 180SF may cost just $210.00. The extra 80SF cost only $40.00 or $0.50SF to deliver.
The lower rate cost on the additional product is because that minimum cost has already been covered. I hope this helps explain why small orders cost so much. Not much comfort for those who are short 20SF of 12×24″ tile.