What Is Subway Tile? Everything You Need To Know About This Tile Pattern?

Subway tiles are ceramic, or porcelain tiles usually found on public buildings’ walls. These are often used in subway stations due to their durability and long-lasting quality.

Subway tiles are also used in many homes and offices, providing a simple yet elegant look. The tiles have a distinctive size and shape, with the individual tiles having the same dimensions of 3″ x 6″.

What Is It Called Subway Tile?

What Is It Called Subway Tile

The term “subway tile” is a generic term for ceramic tiles of a certain size, shape, and color. Subway tile is often used in commercial buildings such as restaurants, banks, and office buildings.

Subway tile has been around since the late 1800s, when it was first manufactured in the United States. It was first used on the New York City Subway system in 1904.

It was a quick and cheap way to cover up the old plaster walls. The name of this type of tile comes from its use in the subway system.

Why Is Subway Tile So Popular?

It was originally used in the New York City Subway system to make the subway cars look cleaner and more hygienic.

Why Is Subway Tile So Popular

The popularity of this type of tile increased when it became popular for homes in the 1970s. The style became popular again in recent years because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

They are often used in bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas where water can be spilled or splashed because they are more resistant to water damage than other types of tiles.

The design on the surface is also a factor in their popularity because it makes them easy to clean and maintain. Subway tiles can also be installed quickly and easily by professional contractors, so they are also popular for renovations.

For the first subway station in 1904, designers had to create a surface that would be low-maintenance yet bright. Subway tile was the result.

A ceramic tile that is easy to clean, stain-resistant, and bacteria-resistant was a natural choice for Victorians because they valued hygiene greatly.

Additionally, because of the highly reflective surface of the first subway tiles, passengers felt safe and sanitary traveling underground.

What Material Is Subway Tile?

What Material Is Subway Tile

Do subway tiles come in porcelain or ceramic?

Ceramic tile was originally used for subway tiles. In addition to ceramic tiles, you can now find subway tiles in porcelain and glass tiles, which are all popular for the same reasons ceramic tiles were chosen in the first place: low maintenance and stunning looks.

How Big Is A Standard Subway Tile?

The most common size of subway tile is 3 x 6 inches. Subway tiles can be made from any rectangular tile with 1-to-2 dimensions, as well as two-by-fours, four-by-eights, and six-by-twelves.

What Is The Subway Tile Pattern?

What Is The Subway Tile Pattern

The middle of subway tiles is traditionally aligned with the edges of the two tiles above or below them in a 50% offset.

Today, subway tiles are often interpreted differently or even abandoned altogether. In addition to one-third offsets and one-fourth offsets, there are alternative subway tile patterns.

What Is The Difference Between Subway Tile And Regular Tile?

The difference between subway tile and regular tile is that the subway tiles are typically smaller, more uniform, and squarer than the regular tiles. Subway tiles are also less likely to have a pattern on them.

Subway tiles are flat and rectangular. They have a smooth surface which makes them easy to clean. This is why they are also called ‘easy-to-clean’ tiles.

On the other hand, regular tiles come in various shapes and sizes. They can be rough or smooth but are not as easy to clean as subway tiles.

Is Subway Tile Hard To Maintain?

Is Subway Tile Hard To Maintain

The answer depends on the type of tiles you have. If you have ceramic tiles, then they are very easy to maintain. You just need to clean them with a wet cloth or mop, and they will be as good as new.

If you have porcelain tiles, they require more maintenance than ceramic tiles because they are more sensitive and porous. You will need to scrub them with a cleaner and neutralize any acid left on the surface with a vinegar solution.

Does Subway Tile Need Grout?

Subway tile is a popular choice for many homeowners. However, it does need grout to look its best.

The first thing you should do when installing subway tile is to ensure the floor is level and stable. You will also want to ensure that the floor has been prepped and primed with a latex-based primer before installing the tile.

Next, you will want to use a straight edge like a level or ruler to ensure that your rows are straight and even. You should also ensure that your rows are as close together as possible so there is no space between them.

If there are any gaps in your row, then you can fill them with spacers before proceeding with the next row of tiles.

Lastly, if you are installing subway tiles on an outside wall, we recommend using mortar instead of thinset adhesive because it will be much easier for you to clean up later on down the line when it starts getting dirty.

How Do I Choose The Right Grout Color For White Subway Tiles?

How Do I Choose The Right Grout Color For White Subway Tiles

The most common grout color for white subway tiles is white, gray, or black. The grout color can, however, be matched with white subway tile or any other subway tile color.

Grout color should be chosen based on whether you want to accent the layout pattern of subway tiles.

Subway tiles with high-contrast grout emphasize the pattern, whereas subway tiles with matching grout make the pattern disappear. Choosing colorful grout can make your white subway tiles stand out.

Pro Tip: Contrasting grout colors may also make imperfections in grout lines and variations in tile sizes more noticeable.

Are Subway Tiles Outdated?

Subway tiles appeared around the world after their debut in 1904. Initially used in kitchens and bathrooms due to its sanitary appearance and health benefits, it soon became popular everywhere hygiene was a concern.

The popularity of subway tiles continues to grow today. A common question we get is: Is subway tile a fad?

There may be a tendency to think that this tile design is just another short-lived fad, but its longevity assures us it is not. Homeowners and business owners continue to love subway tile over a century after it was first introduced.

How Do You Clean Subway Tiles?

Just like ceramic tiles, subway tiles can be cleaned with water by wiping them with a soft cloth. The best way to clean these tiles is by using a sponge, dish soap, and water. You can also use a mop if you have one handy.

Make sure to get in all the corners and remember the grout area between the tiles because this is where most of the dirt and debris accumulate.

Can You Paint Subway Tiles?

Aside from small DIY projects, ceramic tiles should not be painted. Painting a subway tile may make it less resistant to stains and scratches and may not last as long. To obtain the desired color or pattern, choose subway tiles in that color or pattern.

Can You Install Subway Tile Over Drywall?

So long as there is no moisture present, subway tile can be installed over drywall. A cement board backer can improve the durability of a wall in a high moisture area (such as a shower wall).

How Long Does It Take To Install Subway Tiles?

It depends on the size of the application to be tiled, the complexity of the layout, and the installer’s experience to determine how subway tiles should be installed.

Subway tile applications are relatively quick to install, particularly for small areas like backsplashes.

Final Words

Today’s market is filled with an incredible variety of subway tiles, making homeowners fall in love with them. You can choose from virtually any color for subway tiles.

Ceramics and glass are used as well as natural stone and natural stone materials. It is possible to choose subway wall tiles with artisan glazes, crackled finishes, and beveled edges that add character and depth to the room.

There is no longer a restriction on size and proportion. Manufacturers today refer to subway tiles as any rectangular-shaped tile with a length approximately twice its height, such as mosaic tiles of 1″ x 2″ and large blocks of tile.

In this respect, they are all similar to the original in that they have simple lines, are easy to maintain, and are versatile. The walls can be adorned, backsplash tiles can be installed, or the entire room can be covered.

In the same way that 1900s subway designers needed wall coverings that were both beautiful and practical, modern homeowners need wall coverings that are both.

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