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Subway Tile – A Timeless Tile Choice


How to include subway tile in your home design.

When considering tile to use in a newly renovated space, the options are endless. Consumers can easily feel overwhelmed and frustrated by the plethora of choices available to them. Even the most tenured design professional can spend hours deliberating tile materials and layouts to use in a renovation. Decisions need to be made on every aspect of the product: size, material, layout, finish and color. Let’s discuss one option that’s stood the test of time and has broad mass appeal to today’s consumers: subway tile.


Subway tile first popped up in subways to create a brighter and more pristine station

As the name implies, subway tile first popped up in subways to create a brighter and more pristine station. The first station in the New York City subway was adorned with a 3-in by 6-in tile to create a clean, inviting and elegant look. More impressive perhaps were the tile’s durability and cleanability characteristics in the heavily trafficked space. As the tile became known for its utility, its use in butcher shops, bakeries, bathrooms, kitchens, and many other hard to clean places increased. Shortly thereafter, the advantages of the tile became universally recognized and quickly became a staple in residential kitchens and bathrooms. Subway tile has recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity due to its frequent use on trendy home renovation shows. These shows beautifully portray how the tile can fit effortlessly into many design styles to create custom layouts.


Subway tile comes in almost any color, texture or glaze imaginable.

Styles, Colors, and Sizes

Although the first subway station’s walls were adorned with white or ivory ceramic tiles, today the tile is offered in multiple styles, colors, sizes and finishes. They can be made from ceramic, porcelain, glass or natural stone. Subway tile comes in almost any color, texture or glaze imaginable. Traditionally, subway tiles were made in a specific width to length ratio of 1:2, commonly found in 3-in x 6-in. Most manufacturers today adhere to the iconic 1:2 ratio, although several other sizes are available as well. There are endless possibilities in creating an original design by utilizing the many shapes, colors and finishes available to today’s consumer. Subway tile’s versatility lends itself to be used across architectural styles and patterns.


Subway tile is a great choice to consider using in bathrooms, kitchens and even mudrooms.

Uses and Cost

Subway tile is a great choice to consider using in bathrooms, kitchens and even mudrooms. The tile is commonly used on walls, showers, and backsplashes. The only place subway tile should not be used is on the floor because the tile will crack under the weight of a person. The price of tile depends on the specific type of tile and color but normally costs between $2 to $10 per square foot, appealing to a wide variety of budgets. Subway tile is versatile, durable and known for its cleanability. These characteristics make subway tile a smart choice to consider in any bathroom or kitchen renovation.


Maxwell House Painting and Contracting is a custom contractor with extensive experience working with all types of subway tile.

Maxwell House Painting and Contracting is a custom contractor with extensive experience working with all types of subway tile. We understand that a home renovation project is no small undertaking regardless of the size and scope of the project. We work with local designers and distributors to help visualize and source your dream space so you can be sure you’ll love the end result. Hire us today by calling 855-357-2468!



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