What Is Subway Tile

When considering a tile upgrade, particularly for walls, you’ll be sure to hear or read about one of the most famous of tile options of all: subway tile. So what is subway tile? Here’s a quick introduction to this unbelievably popular choice.

From Underground To Chic

While you might not have been able to guess from its name, subway tile is simply rectangular tile. It actually gets its unique name from the fact that in the past it was used (and often still is today) as a wall covering in subway systems.

Nowadays however, it’s considered one of the most stylish choices for homes and businesses. In fact it’d be very unlikely when looking through design magazines, books, or images, that you wouldn’t see subway tile featured in many different spaces.

Subway Options

The most commonly seen tiles are made from ceramic and typically 3” x 6” in size. However they do come in a range of sizes that are both a bit larger and smaller.

For example, mosaic subway tile is a very popular choice. With these, each mini subway tile is attached to a mesh backing for simple installation. And their small size also helps to give them a very unique and eye-catching look that’s different from their larger cousins.

You’ll also find subway tile made of many different materials other than ceramic such as natural stone, porcelain, and glass. And each of these material options is available in a wide range of finishes and colors as well. The edges of subway tile may be straight or beveled.

Where And How It’s Used

Most often subway tile is installed on walls but it’s sometimes used on floors as well. Since it is installed using very thin grout lines it’s very practical for use in bathrooms and kitchens where it can help to protect against water damage and add style at the same time.

And by far one of the most popular applications in both of these rooms is as a subway tile backsplash. Because it’s rectangular in shape, it can be used to create a handful of tile patterns. But you’ll normally see it installed in the running bond, especially on backsplashes.

This is a staggered pattern that looks just like brickwork. Subway tile is used to create a classic look. But depending on the material, color, and finish, of the specific tiles that are used it also has the ability to work in contemporary or even modern spaces.

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