Alternatives to Subway tile for a quiet backsplash?

vdinliAugust 14, 2014

We are getting a light cream+gray granite with lots of movement-Sienna Bordeaux(hopefully next week!) to go with our medium tone cherry cabinets.

I am stumped on what direction to go for backsplash. I know I want to keep it quiet to let the granite be the star. But, DH just doesn't like subway tiles and their ilk. I am looking for alternatives now so that I can collect samples now and make a decision soon after the granite goes in.

Glass tile-I would have liked to do a large format glass tile but we have a really small galley-so I don't think that will work. I think some 2X8 or 3X12 could work. Any suggestions on manufacturers that are readily stocked? I would have about a week to get the tile after granite goes in.
Crackle tile-I am intrigued by this-DH doesn't mind it either as it is has a little bit of variation. How bad is the maintenance on this?
Marble-Am I crazy to consider this? I saw some quiet carrara marble samples but they were too white against the cream of the granite. We might have to go to calacatta marble to get the cream but then I worry about introducing another stone with movement and it is $$$.

What other alternatives should I consider?
Any recommendations on manufacturers?

It seems like the decision making never ends with a kitchen reno. So close to the end and my fatigued brain is not firing on all its synapses. So please help!
Thanks in advance.

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amberm145_gw

What is it that DH doesn't like about "subway tile". Is it the offset pattern? The basic solid colour tiles?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 5:13PM
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jellytoast

I also have a busy-ish granite and wanted something quiet. I saw some very neutral honed marble and purchased it, but when it arrived, there was much more variation and movement than what was shown on the sample board. There were also a great deal of "imperfections" which just added to general busyness of it. The tiles they pick for the sample boards at the showrooms are the best of the lot and not always indicative of what you will get in your boxes. Just something to be aware of. I ended up returning it because even though the colors worked together, nothing else did. I ended up going with a plain, solid color porcelain.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 5:50PM
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sjhockeyfan325

Crackle tile-I am intrigued by this-DH doesn't mind it either as it is has a little bit of variation. How bad is the maintenance on this?

What maintenance? I have crackle tile. It was sealed on installation. Other than that, I wipe off splatters just like any other tile.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:03PM
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PhoneLady

My DH wasn't in love with the plain subway either. We ALMOST went with a beveled crackle until we both agreed we liked this Crema Marfil best with our Typhoon Bordeaux. It is more creamy than other marbles we had looked at. Not sure if this is your cup of tea or even a good match.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:12PM
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PhoneLady

Here it is stepping back at bit

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:16PM
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Linelle

I have crackle subways that I love. Zero maintenance.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:59PM
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vdinli

amberm, to DH they are 'bathroom' tile. I guess he could be persuaded with a different size or arrangement. He will let me veto him on it but I wanted to look at all alternatives before going that route.

jellytoast, I am worried about the same thing-too much variation will add a pattern by itself. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Phonelady, that crema marfil is a perfect match for your Typhoon Bordeaux. It looks fabulous-I think in part because the pattern in the backsplash is muted in comparison to your stone. I will see if it will work with my stone. I will have another problem as the stone has two distinct regions-one cream and one gray that will end up on two sides of the galley. Finding a backsplash tile that will work with both is going to be a challenge in and of itself!

sjhockeyfan and linelle, Glad to hear that your crackle tile doesn't need maintenance other than sealing. I was told by one salesman that it is as difficult to maintain as marble. That worried me as I am a messy cook and want a tile that is bulletproof.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:22PM
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Mags438

Any manufacturer suggestions for the crackle subway tile?

I used Horus art crackle subway (I think that's the name) a years ago but haven't heard it even mentioned on these forums.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:19PM
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Mags438

Test

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:59PM
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greenhaven

Well, crap! Stupid internet destroyed my post!

Anyway, check out this kictehn with ienna bordeaux and light to mid-tone cabs. The desigener says it is a glass tile from Architectural Ceramics but it is soooo quietly gorgeous!

Contemporary Kitchen by Bethesda Kitchen & Bath Remodelers Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:04PM
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vdinli

That is a lovely picture, greenhaven. Thanks. I looked up Architrctural ceramics and it seems like a big $$$ name. Will have to look for less expensive alternatives!!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:36PM
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PhoneLady

The crackle tile we were leaning towards was ADEX. This is a picture of the sample board we brought home

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:45PM
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ChristyMcK

Personally I'm not a fan of tiles with movement (crackle, marble, etc) and a granite countertop - I think it still looks too busy. I'd still go with a solid porcelain/ceramic color. The beveled tile idea might work or different shapes (2x6, 2x8, 4x4, etc) or offset to different levels (not offset, 4x4 in diamond shape) etc. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:14AM
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may_flowers

I feel the same as ChristyMcK--you do one or the other with movement, especially in a small galley like yours. The shadows in bevels adds more pattern than a regular subway.

Your home is a little contemporary, right? I wouldn't do a 3 x 6" subway unless they were stacked. Maybe a stacked 4 x 6. I think the elongated hexagon tiles are pretty cool, and maybe they wouldn't be too busy with matching grout if your granite is on the calmer side of busy.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:31AM
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vdinli

That is a lovely picture, greenhaven. Thanks. I looked up Architrctural ceramics and it seems like a big $$$ name. Will have to look for less expensive alternatives!!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:31AM
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vdinli

That is a lovely picture, greenhaven. Thanks. I looked up Architrctural ceramics and it seems like a big $$$ name. Will have to look for less expensive alternatives!!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:35AM
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vdinli

ChristyMcK and may_flowers, I agree-I don't want the backsplash to clash with the granite. I would just like a little bit of variation or interest. I personally can't see the movement in the crackle tile but that might be because I haven't seen a full installation of it yet.
I wouldn't do the standard installation or size on the subway tile-I am liking the 3X12 size or even 2X8. I just have to get more samples to play with.
Maybe the beveled tile could work. Thanks for the pic, Phonelady.
I would love to get more manufacturer suggestions to look for-thanks for your advice!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 8:57AM
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