The Essential Things You Should Know About Subway Tiles

Subway tiles have been a buzzing term in the world of interior designs. Even if you are a newbie interior designer, you would have heard about subway tiles either once or twice. Especially if you have ever attempted to renovate or update your kitchen or bathroom walls, you know what it is.

As we speak, subway tiles are among America’s most trusted options for kitchen and bathroom designs. You will find them in luxury homes, five start hotels, A-rated restaurants, and every other space where they strictly adore elegance and class.

Subway tiles give a classic look to your bathroom and kitchen, and there are no boundaries to how versatile they can be. They provide you unlimited opportunities to add designs, interest, mood and character to your space.

Yes. Subway tiles are becoming the most after tiles for interior designs. Yet, not many people know what makes these tiles so unique. There is more to these tiles, aside from the multiple design options they bring. So, let’s start unveiling some secrets about these tiles by answering some of the most common questions people ask about them.

What is subway tile?

The term subway tile refers to a typical rectangular tile that usually comes in 3 x 6 inches. Often, people lay them horizontally with a 50% offset. Subway tiles are of ceramic tile, and they are famous for being durable and timeless. Meanwhile, the term ‘timeless’ means that they are always in vogue has a different style and trend come and go. That is also people call them classic tiles.

They are high-quality tiles that offer unique designs and can work perfectly for several spaces in a building. 

How did the name ‘subway tiles’ came about? 

Let’s be honest. What came to your mind the first time you heard the name of these tiles? Did you ever wonder why a tile has to bear that name? Have you ever concluded that they are only meant for subway renovations? I know you would have asked many other questions in your mind. 

I also did the first time I heard the name. Well, many people wonder why subway tiles carry that name. Do you want to get the full details? Let’s dig deeper into the history.

Subway tiles first showed up in the New York subway stations.  Hence, the name, subway tiles. 

At a time in history, around 1904, two designers, George C. Heins and Christopher Grant La Farge, took up a tricky task. It was to design a surface that people can clean quickly and come with a familiar, safe and friendly feel. They intended to aid the then inhabitants of New York City using underground transit for the first time. 

Guess what? The two iconic designers came up with some tiles with slightly curved edges and a polished finish. Thus, subway tile came into existence. 

Meanwhile, hygiene was at the top of the designers’ minds. So, they made an easy to clean, bacteria and stain resistant tile to illustrate that the subway stations were bright, sanitary and polished. In addition to that, the first set of subway tiles came in a white and glossy design to achieve a highly reflexive surface. Accordingly, that was to send a message to people travelling underground that the trip is safe and sanitary. Furthermore, it was meant to make passengers feel comfortable and improve the image of the station.

Are subway tiles still in vogue?

YES!. I wrote that ‘yes’ in a capital letter because I am double sure. Though subway tiles have an old history, they are still on top of every kitchen or bathroom renovation list – and they seem not coming down at all. As of today, professional interior designers still consider the tiles as one of the best in town. If you have the chance to check the houses around your vicinity, you will confirm this fact. 

What are the benefits of using subway tiles? 

Subway tiles come with a whole lot of unique benefits. That is not a gainsaying. Allow me to reveal a few of them in few bullet points. 

  • Easy To Clean

From what I know, one of the lowest points of using tiles in the home is cleaning. But, for subway tiles, it becomes an advantage. Naturally, subway tiles are stain-resistant, meaning that no stain can stay on them for long. 

Subway tiles are straightforward to clean and maintain. You don’t have to apply sophisticated chemicals before you make it glowing again. Instead, you only need to wipe softly and rinse to make it look like they just installed it. 

  • Versatility 

Subway tiles’ versatility does not have equals. No wonder pro designers always love to work with them. Practically, you can use subway tiles to create different types of designs in the interior of a building. I cannot overemphasize the tiles’ versatility and flexibility. You can install them in multiple ways, including stack bond, horizontal running bond, vertical running bond, vertical offset bond, herringbone, diagonal offset, crosshatch and more.

  • Highly Reflexive

Another incredible benefit of subway tiles is that they bring the reflection of light into your space. As a result, they have a unique way of projecting a sunny statement in your bathroom or kitchen. Based on this fact, I always advise people to make sure they use lovely pendant lights. That will complement the glamour and glitz that subway tiles naturally showcase in the home. 

What is a subway tile pattern? 

Do you know that there is a pattern named subway tile pattern? Now you know. We have a separate bathroom and kitchen walls designs, and I’m glad to hint to you that the subway tiles pattern is among the most adorable tiles out there. So, how come we have a subway tile pattern? Well, that is another historic name. 

Back in the day, designers preferred to lay subway tiles in a 50% offset. That means the middle of each tile aligns with the edges of the two tiles above or beneath. That was the way they first stacked subway tiles. 

Nowadays, designers take liberty with this iconic design. They jazz it up with a different twist and modern techniques to blend with the contemporary taste and trends. 

On a Final Note 

Now, you see why most people love to use subway tiles in their numerous renovation projects. Also, you know why it has been one of the most trusted tiles in the American community and how it has been very active for almost a century.  Summarily put, subway tiles are classic and historical, and that what they bring to your home when you install them.