Return to the Kitchens Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Posted by boone_2009 (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 18, 13 at 16:24

Never thought I'd have such a difficult time choosing a tile backsplash; would love to know your faves - type ( ceramic, porcelain, MOP, metallic, stone etc) and shape; if you would/wouldn't choose the same again for your next kitchen and why; if you have had any problems re maintenance with your current choice ( I just drooled over a pearl shell backsplash but have grave concerns re keeping it clean and lustrous).

Thanks! I look forward to your responses :-).


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Boone I am in the same boat. Backsplash is the hardest part. I always worry something will look dated. I am so happy you started this thread.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

We are remodeling our kitchen but what is currently there is tile backsplash. As we debate what to do in the remodel, my husband has fallen in love with Heath tiles. Our current tile is original, from 1941, so I don't bother being gentle with it but requires only an occasional wipe-down.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heath Cermamics


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

In kitchens that reference early "sanitary" kitchens, 1910s-1930s--the white kitchen--I like subway tile. In kitchens that reference particular period styles (like craftsman, I like period specific tile)

In kitchens that are transitional or reference mid-century modernism or are of the period from mid 30s to 1980s I like square ceramic tile.

In specific types of contemporary transitional kitchens I like mosaic in ceramic or glass, larger format or unusual format tile.

In specific kitchens traditional to contemporary I like sheet glass backsplashes, or countertop material backsplashes either full or very short of about 2 inches. with no other material except wall material above.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

sreedesq, glad I 'helped' by starting this thread! I have looked at so many tiles online and also in stores and I really don't know what to choose at this point.

XochitlFilms: Yes, I, too looked at Heath Ceramics but it looks like there is a long wait and I am at the point where I just want the tile up there...as in yesterday! Thanks for the link.

Palimpsest: Our 80's kitchen had the square ceramic tile - I quite liked it! We didn't go with the countertop backsplash ( Silestone) as I wanted something to break up the monotone of white cabinets and white-gray countertop. I looked at glass, metal and stone options and am back to porcelain or ceramic tile. I did think of a tile medallion for the cooktop area but right now, that's where I am - thinking, not doing, because I just can't decide.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

I went with chartreuse color recycled tile from Fireclay trying to break the sleek walnut cabinets and white countertop. Love that the tile - it is handmade but uneven and hard to install. Just wanted a pop of color


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Post some images of your kitchen and ask GWers to weigh in. Remember to include budget info.

I don't have a favorite material. They can all be beautiful when used well (except for that 4" backsplash lip contiguous w the counter - I don't like it). It's the marriage between the materials, not the material itself that makes the bs beautiful. Of course this means one can choose a gorgeous tile and end up with a so-so bs. But you're being careful - I'm sure it won't happen to you.

One of my more recent discoveries in handmade tiles is the North Prairie Tile Works in MN. The tile below is custom - no idea how expensive - but I love the name as much as the pattern, Flower of Life. I'd pick different glazes, but heck, it's lovely.

Here is a link that might be useful: NPT


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

I can help you! I can send you a box of tile samples like you would not believe!

I kept looking until I found what worked. Love them all. There is too much out there.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Palimpsest gave a succinct and brilliant answer. You really need to take your clues from the period and style of the house. There are so many choices out there. I found it worked better to stare hard at the kitchen and the house, figure out what would work best and then go find it, rather than looking at the options out there and trying to decide among them. I ultimately used the same approach on the floor and counters. In fact I use this approach on virtually everything I buy as I hate to shop!


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

I agree with pal and sayde. Mixing different styles and eras bothers me even more. Often posters ignore the cabinet style and wood species all together when they pick the countertop and/or backsplash. It sometimes starts with picking the wrong countertop for the cabinets, then it really comes to a head when they try to add the backsplash. MOP, marble, and modern mosaics don't go with everything!


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

I like simple, like subway tiles, but am so tired of the basic white ceramic.

I fell in love with a highly polished, shiny, white marble subway. Natural materials, I think, are more timeless. Everytime I see my backsplash (in my 1930 home), I just want to run my hands over it.

What I don't really care for? diagonal pattern, 4x4 squares, slate, anything too busy, tiny mosaics all over


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Lovely tile, kompy. It looks warm for a marble, on my computer. Care to share the source?


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

I love glass tiles, especially in soft blues and greens.

I don't like smooth ceramic subways so much (because they tend to remind me of, natch, subways and school bathrooms!) but I do see them looking great once installed.

However, as mentioned above, glass is probably not right for my (now) shaker-inspired, 1941 kitchen.

The original tiles in the house (as shown by the ghosts on the wall when the wallpaper was removed) were large (around 5x8) rectangular tiles. I wonder what color and finish? My neighbor had an original bath that had slightly speckled ceramic, which I thought was actually a very pretty finish (but pink along with black, yuck!) that I will look for if I ever get to the ABB point.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Like Deedles, I like lots of kinds of tile, but Palimpsest is right, you need to match your tile to your house/kitchen. I love those white arabesque, beveled edge tiles, but they would look ridiculous in my kitchen. I also love Talavera tiles and could possibly get away with them, but they weren't going to be my best choice. I don't love subways, could have done it, wouldn't have been a best choice. My sister has the entire backsplash done in the same quartz as her counter - fabulous! We finally ended up with (oh so out-dated) tumbled travertine in a mini-Versailles pattern personalized with added-in blue glass mosaic tiles. It suits our kitchen and us.

A helpful exercise is to walk around the tile section of both Big Box and tile-only stores with your SO and say "like it" / "hate it" as you stroll down the aisle; this is a stroll, not a stand and stare. That cuts out lots of stuff. Then you can think about which of the things that appeal to both of you actually go with your kitchen/house. Be sure to take samples home because you never know what they really look like until you are looking at them in your kitchen. Good luck!


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

We have a porcelain mini brick and I LOVE IT!! I love many backsplashes, but this really fits our kitchen and the style of our entire house. It cleans up so easy and that was a big selling point for me. Our kitchen is used heavily and we have a growing son. I didn't want to take chances on something that might look like crap in a couple of years. We also went with the Laticrete Spectalock grout. I love it as well!!


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

thedork:
Your kitchen must look so colorful with the chartreuse Fireclay! I love the Kiwi myself, but it will look out of place in our kitchen.

EAM44: Yes, I will post pics soon..I am waiting for the countertop to be installed tomorrow before I take the pics; that way, you can all see everything - the cabs, countertop, floor.
Love that pic from North Prairie Tile Works; it's gorgeous and I would also pick different glazes.. and the name ...beautiful! I just worry about wait times *and* price for something custom-made.

Deedles- yes, there's just too much out there, not only online but in actual stores - and I have plenty of tile stores within 25 miles of my home. What kind of tile did you end up buying?

Sayde: I agree with you and Palimpsest. I think glass tiles would look silly in our kitchen ( but would work very well in our bathroom). Our tile guy made a suggestion we like - install white tiles but spice them up with either a border/listello or with accents that he will cut out of our extra floor porcelain tiles ( which look like Saltillo but without the shine and the often bright oranges/reds in the real McCoy, while keeping the variations in hues). I hate to shop too, Sayde!

may_flowers: ditto!

Kompy: I love your marble subways and I have your kitchen pics in my online folder; only thing is, I have a big area above the cooktop and I hesitate to put marble anything there as it is sure to stain with all the spices I use in my cooking. We have 3 smaller areas where the marble would look great but then I'd have to use something else in the cooktop area. I did pick up a large tile Bianco Carrera from American Olean which is porcelain but looks like marble and that would work for the cooktop- but I also feel I need more color in the kitchen ( the tile is white with gray veins). *Your* kitchen looks great, though!

raee: I love blues and light greens, too. I'd love to see what you do with your backsplash- post pics at that time!
Subways remind me of bathrooms, too - but, as you said, they do look great once they are up on the wall. The only other options far as shapes go, are octagons, hexagons, squares - I don't like the former two and they just would look totally out of place in my kitchen, as would penny rounds!

suzannesl: DH and I did look at the tile sections in both Big Box stores and used your 'quick pick' method! That eliminated all glass tiles for us and most of the mosaics; DH does not care for the glass tiles at all. We ended up looking at ----- yes, white tiles! LOL. We also loved a terra-cotta number from American Olean in porcelain but it is not available :-(. We had wanted to mix them up; the white tile does look nice with our white cabs but all-white would look very blah. Oh, and I love Talavera, too - love it! I looked at plenty, rather wistfully though, as they would not be the best choice for our kitchen.

teachertile: Could you please, please, post a pic of your porcelain mini-brick? I like it, too but haven't found anything yet that would add the 'right' colors to our kitchen. Where did you buy yours from?


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Just for you, boone!
 photo back_stairs_zpsc67d3d80.jpg
The talavera wasn't going in the kitchen 2 years ago, but I managed to use it on a new front walkway. This is the "back stairs" that lead to the side yard and trash cans. As I type, there's a big tractor out there taking away the huge pile of dirt to the right of the walkway. Landscaping and railings to follow. I have 2 gargoyles on order for the pillars. Who says you can't have some fun?


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Here is a pic. It's from Lowe's. I can post a closer pic if needed.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

I have been loving the hour glass shapes from Hirsch Glass.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hirsh Glass


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

suzannesl: Thank you, thank you, thank you! Love your tile!! And adore the gargoyles... you sure *are* having fun!!! Where di you get your Talavera from?

teachertile: Many thanks for being so kind and posting the pic. Could you give me the name of the tile? I'll be going to Lowes this weekend and would like to take a look at it. You said it cleans up easily...which is my make-or-break for any tile I choose!

LoPay: Thanks for that link - I could not open it but it's because of my computer..I'll try again in a bit.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

I bought my tile online from Tierra Y Fuego in San Diego. These particular tiles are not actually Talavera, although they carry those too. Because these are outdoors, I chose a ceramic tile they call Terra Nova on the theory that it will weather better, although that may not even be an issue. Have fun checking out their site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Terra Nova tiles


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Here is another pic a little closer. Not the best pic of the stone. Ignore the robots :)

I'm 99% sure this is it. GREAT price. I ignored this tile at first because of the price and because I thought it would be too busy. It's not busy at all. It adds texture, but is not busy as you can see. Adding a similar color grout made it look great for us.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mini brick


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

http://www.lowes.com/pd_318677-47603-PORC1X2MOS_4294735483__?productId=3111991&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar:1#BVRRWidgetID

Here is the site if the link doesn't work.
GBI Tile & Stone Inc. 12-in x 12-in Capri Classic Thru-Body Porcelain Mosaic Subway Wall Tile


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

We used the same granite as the counters for our backsplash. We have a smallish galley so I think it makes it look a little more cohesive. We had planned on tile, but the ones we liked were almost as much as the granite. You really see the beauty of the stone when you see it head on as opposed to just a horizontal plane. I love it and would do it again.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

suzannesl: Looking at the Tierra y Fuego website is the way I unwind! I look at their tiles online almost every day, lol. Now you've made me want to reconsider using at least some of their tiles :-).

Teachertile: Love those robots! Must be a great story behind those!!
Thanks a lot for the link - it worked and I like those tiles; only thing is they look brown on the Lowes site while yours are grey. Maybe I missed seeing the grey on the site?

joaniepoanie: we did think of using the Silestone for a backsplash as well but since it's such a neutral color we decided to go with something else so as not to make the kitchen too 'bland" ( though how it could be that with my spicy cooking, I dunno;-)). I agree with you completely about really seeing the stone's true beauty head-on.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

I'm leaning toward these MCM-vibe glass tiles from Island stone for my upcoming kitchen renovation.

This post was edited by GauchoGordo1993 on Sat, Sep 21, 13 at 8:59


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

duplicate

This post was edited by GauchoGordo1993 on Fri, Sep 20, 13 at 22:43


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Wow, GauchoGordo, those tiles are drop-dead gorgeous! I'll have to look at that site - Island Stone International? Thanks for posting your pic!!


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

glad you like them :)


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Just looked at the site, GauchoGordo - the Copper Quartzite would be perfect for my kitchen; however, I worry about cleaning stone ( either the mosaic or the cladding shown).


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Have you looked at digital faux natural stone porcelain tiles lately? If you like the natural stone look but are worried about cleaning, then I'd definitelyf recommend looking at a bunch of those. I looked at some digital porcelain tiles recently and I was amazed natural they looked and felt.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

I was looking for something very classic but also unique. I ended up going with an arched basket weave look, called arched herringbone, from Sonoma Tilemakers. They have an absolutely gorgeous collection, worth a look.

 photo CookbooksCounter_zpsafc39233.jpg

For my mom's current kitchen b-splash project, we chose a handpainted tile from Lucia Forte at www.artontiles.com.

It's a simple delft corner design in dark blue. Classic and simple but you don't see it everywhere. Not installed yet, but I've taped a few to the wall:

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.artontiles.com/


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

GauchoGordo : I'd never even heard of digital faux natural stone until you mentioned it..I'll have to do a Google search. Thanks!

Madeline616: Your arched herringbone is just beautiful .. I love its textural look, as well. We have diagonally-placed porcelain floor tiles - do you think the arched herringbone pattern would clash?
I also love the handpainted tile - it looks so deceivingly delicate! Thanks for the link - I'm going to have a look-see!


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Does anyone have experience using wallpaper for the backsplash? Our kitchen has travertine on the floor and granite tops with a four inch lip. It would seem a waterproof wallpaper would work; it won't actually be getting wet and the choices are almost endless.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

susannesl, we wound up using tierra y fuego tile for our backsplash and I love it! Your steps are fabulous!


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Madeline 616 - your Sonoma tile is EXACTLY what I am looking for!! Can I ask what price/ sqft? I haven't found a local dealer yet but I think the would be perfect for my traditional kitchen with some transitional elements.
Thanks for the thread!


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

mamasheshe: could you please post a pic of your backsplash? please? :-)


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

@ Boon e - yes, I think herringbone would be gorgeous with diagonally-placed tiles :)

@nyse - Yes, the tiles are awesome! The closest store for me was about an hour and 15 minutes away, but worth the trip. My first installation was using a crackle finish (color was Cirrus). The instructions regarding how to seal the tiles are really nebulous, and about $3k later the whole b-splash had to be scrapped and redone, because the sealer had penetrated (and ruined) the tiles and they wouldn't stick.

The happy ending was that the Cirrus (a light, light green) actually went really gray when it was (briefly) mounted, so when we re-ordered, we got the Blanco. It's gorgeous!

If I remember correctly, he cost at the time, which was about 1.5 years ago, was maybe around $30-$35 sq ft. They've apparently had a price increase since that time, so maybe it'd be a little bit more.

Please let me know if I can answer any other questions. I love the arched herringbone, it's just so classic and unique at the same time.

Here are a few more photos:

 photo FinsihedKitch1.jpg

 photo LattePitcher.jpg

 photo FinishedKitch2.jpg


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Madeline616: Thanks for the beautiful pics.. I just adore your kitchen. I was really excited to see you have a different backsplash over your cooktop - I wanted that too... I have some porcelain tiles in mind ( large ones 10 by 14) that look like marble without the price. Is yours marble? I kept wondering how it would look if I had a different bs over the cooktop - and now I know! Yours is lovely. The herringbone goes so well with it. Thanks!!

Sadly, the Sonoma is out of my budget, so I'll have to try somewhere else. What size are your herringbone tiles? I looked for them on the Sonoma website and could not find them. Maybe I missed seeing Blanco? Could you post a link showing the tile you have? Thank you so much for all your help. :-)


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Madeline616- I just looked at the Sonoma website again - is your tile from the Stellar collection? I found Blanco there.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Hi Boone,

Thanks for the kind compliments, and I'm so glad I helped you get a visual of the idea you had in mind.

Is your cooktop/range area a separate section, or is it adjacent to the run where you're thinking of doing herringbone?

What's your countertop material?

Yes, my b-splash behind the range is a slab of Vermont Danby Olympian White marble, same as what's on all of my counters. My kitchen has 3 different sections (range area, main sink run, and island). I found that when mixing materials, as long as I repeated the same design elements in several places, it all pulled together really well.

I did the herringbone on those 2 little areas that flank the range, as well as in the rest of the kitchen, so I was able to do the slab behind the stove and pull it all together. That said, though, it would've looked totally fine if I didn't have those 2 little sections for additional herringbone b-splash. If your cooktop area is a separate area, it's no problem. Even if it's not, there are ways to pull it off.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Hi again Boone,

Just saw the question about the Stellar collection. If I remember correctly, it was in the Stellar collection. But I also seem to remember that the 1 x 2" arched herringbone is actually included in a couple of different collections. I think the collection the particular tile belongs to may depend on the color; ours is Blanco.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Hi Madeline,

Thank you!

Yes, our cooktop is separate and enclosed in a brick arch; there is one small backsplash area flanking the arch and two others on the opposite side.

Our countertop is Silestone Lagoon quartz. We have 100 sq feet of backsplash altogether so it adds up! Plus, I hesitate to use marble over the cooktop as I use spices a lot and fear staining ( turmeric, especially).


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

For Boone: You might recognize it from the Tierra y Fuego website.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

mamasheshe: Stunning!!!!!

Yes, I recognized it right away :-). Must make the cook so cheerful to see that riot of color each morning :-).

Thank you for posting that pic, mamasheshe.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

I'm kind of partial to the backsplash we chose in 2008. I like it because it's warm and earthy, unusual and has dimension. It's Jeffrey Court's Chapter 9 Pietra Opus Brick Fire & Ice. I would choose it again in a heartbeat.

1980s So Cal track home remodel in Jan 2008. Backsplash: Jeffrey Court Chap9 Pietra Opus Brick Fire & Ice photo kitchen_counter_display2.jpg

Opposite the cooktop and oven. Grass cloth all and 15 lite pantry door Evening photo. Very little natural light. photo finished_grasscloth_wall-door7.jpg

Kitchen counter photo kitchen_basket1.jpg

Jodi-


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Jodi ~

That back splash is unusual and lovely and interesting! I want warmer colors to go with the Southwestern style home with tile roof that is common here in North San Diego County. Currently 2 of the 3 kitchen appliances are stainless steel with black (the range and fridge) and the dishwasher is a 35 year-old Kenmore that is falling apart and has rusted on the inside. My concern was pulling the stainless steel appliances (cool) and having them coordinate with the warmth I would like to bring to the kitchen.

I will keep the info for when we are ready to redo the kitchen. Is there a particular company you got it from?


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Jodi, I have always LOVED that fire and ice backsplash! Gorgeous!


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Jodi, I have always LOVED that fire and ice backsplash! Gorgeous!


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Robyn, we live in South OC and saw Fire & Ice at Morena Tile in San Juan Capistrano though we actually saw it for the first time at FloorSource in Irvine and ordered directly from Jeffrey Court.

Our kitchen is small and dark. All appliances are SS which helps brighten up the space. I choose black granite (with no movement) to cool off all the reds/rust coming from the cherry cabinets and backsplash. It's a delicate balance that I feel works well.

Jodi-


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

You've achieved that balance to perfection, Jodi! Love how your backsplash complements those gorgeous cherry cabs.
Thank you for your pics :-)


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Thanks Boone.


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

Mamasheshe ... I LOVE that tile! I really want to use is somewhere because it's a modern use of a traditional tile.

Does it come on mesh?

Were there any problems using it vertically along the counters?


 o
RE: What kind of backsplash tile is your favorite & why?

I'm going through this dilemma now; what tile to choose for a galley kitchen back-splash. So many choices.

Palimpsest's post made me sit up and take notice. I'm in a 1950 cottage-ranch style home; shingled on outside with some elements from pre-WWII. The galley kitchen makes me want to keep everything simple and streamlined and uncluttered so no busy mosaics for me. I keep coming back to a running bond design either in subway tiles or square tiles.

What I am wondering though is whether a mini-subway tile on mesh is easier to install than the usual 3x6 tiles. I've read that the tiles on the mesh backing often pop off and are not spaced uniformly which makes the grout off kilter.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Kitchens Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here