What Makes Subway Tiles So Popular?

Aug 4, 2022 | 0 comments

Subway tiles are white, rectangular ceramic tiles with a shiny and light-reflecting covering. It comes about when the station designers need an inexpensive, low-sustenance tile and produces super shiny subway tiles. They are efficient because their super shiny, light-reflective sheen lightens the dark subway stations. The architects decided to create a lively and attractive space for travellers which is a viable solution for creating a public space that evolves into an ever-present style that innumerable buildings and homes adopt.

Nowadays, interior designers repetitively adopt subway tiles as wall tiles in spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms, fireplace surrounds, and mudrooms. The light-reflecting finish on subway tile facilitates it to clean and works well for shower walls, kitchen backsplashes, and any place prone to staining. That shiny coating has a disadvantage, however, as it is pretty slippery and therefore not the best option for tile flooring.

5 types of subway tiles

Subway tiles are available in a few different materials, which vary from the traditional versions. The diversity of materials lets you direct your customers toward an option that will make the most sense for their space.


The most traditional subway tile material, ceramic is produced by using clay and is fired at low temperatures. Ceramic is both inexpensive and aesthetically multi-purpose; it comes in a range of colours and patterns in addition to the white, rectangular, shiny and light-reflecting sheen subway tile is known for. Ceramic can also be glazed or unglazed. Glazed ceramic is more stain and scratch-resistant; unglazed ceramic has a plainer look. Ceramic can also have textures like ripples, bumps, or raised surfaces if you wanted to add some diversity to the traditional subway look.


Porcelain, also produced by using clay, looks nearly similar to ceramic. However, if you were to crack porcelain open, you’d notice its texture and colour were unchanging throughout, whereas the surface of ceramic is often glazed and its interior is dull and flat. This is because porcelain is fired at much higher temperatures than ceramic, and is, therefore, more resistant.


Glass tile provides a brighter shine than ceramic and really pops as subway tile. Though glass produces an identical look to ceramic, it is available in different colours and finishes which entitles you to direct customers toward a change on the traditional subway tile design. Glass tile is fired with a semi-transparent glaze that makes it stain-resistant and therefore amazing for kitchen backsplashes, countertops, and bathrooms because it’s easy to clean and holds up to moisture.


Marble subway tiles create a modern, clean yet wonderful look that is a bit less usual than ceramic or porcelain subway tiles. Because it is shiny and light-reflective, marble produces a similar impact to that of the traditional subway pattern, but its swirled appearance makes it particularly beautiful. Marble is a more exorbitant tile and is often positioned on shower walls and bathroom floors because it is prone to scratching and is required to be handled with care.

Natural stone

Natural stone tiles range from the quarry, slate, granite, and travertine to limestone, and more. Their natural appearance makes them suitable options for fireplaces, wall tiles, and patios. Matching natural stone with subway tiles can produce a unique variation on the classic pattern since it’s most commonly related to the traditional high-gloss, white ceramic. Natural stone offers a subtler, earthier feel.

Top reasons for the popularity of subway tiles

They create classic spaces

Subway tiles were employed in underground train stations in the early 1900s which is where its name originates. Its brick-like look helps to make vintage-style walls, floors, and backsplashes that are extremely attractive to the eye.

After placing a subway tile, you’ll usually only need to add a few classic style fixtures to turn your space into one that looks like it’s right out of the early 1900s. Although there are more modern-looking options as well if something classic doesn’t work for you.

They are timeless

Many styles tend to become obsolete as the years pass and some much more rapidly than others. One of the benefits that help make subway tiled so popular is that its classic look never looks dated or out of style.

In fact, it’s regarded as a timeless option. So once you’ve used it for your upgrade, unlike more temporary looks you won’t have to do any updating irrespective of how times and styles alter. It will be just as relevant and stylish in the future as it is today, with the right care of course.

Excellent for wet spaces

Subway tiles are rectangular in shape. This provides it with a large surface area that can be used to shield walls and floors from water. It’s also usually positioned with very thin grout lines between each individual tile. In fact, they are often pencil-thin. And that means there’s less space than with other choices where water could potentially penetrate. So showers along with bathroom and kitchen backsplashes are great spaces to adopt this classic option.

Easy to clean

The thin grout lines utilized with this tile mean there are fewer spaces for gunk and grime to get trapped. And their considerable body size makes them easy to clean by wiping with the least effort. This is one of the reasons a subway tile backsplash is a special favourite in kitchens around the world.

Help brighten up dim areas

Subway tiles usually reflect more light than tiles of other kinds. This can help to brighten up spaces that don’t receive sufficient light. Particularly using white ceramic or porcelain subway tile can be a great help. And glass tile, in most colours, can help improve how bright a space looks to be as well. It’s having advantages like these that make subway tiles so popular for so many various applications. With a bit of time and planning, you can simply use this choice to drastically enhance the appearance of your space!

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