New York City’s first underground subway line began running in 1904. Colorful ceramic tiles in the shape of rectangles were used to cover the underground walls and form signs identifying different stops.
Since then, subway tiles, as they’re appropriately named, have become a popular tile choice in American kitchens and bathrooms. Suitable for commercial use, they are a reliable flooring material, and can also be used to finish walls, countertops, or backsplashes.
What Are Subway Tiles Made Of?
Subway tiles are traditionally ceramic based and known for their iconic rectangular shape. As a general rule, most ceramic tiles are described as “subway tiles” when their length is twice as large as their height. Like other ceramic tiles, this variety is manufactured from clay that is shaped and then fired in a kiln at high temperature.
Today, homeowners can find the traditional rectangular-shaped subway tile in a number of different materials including marble, glass, and metal. Subway tiles made from ceramic are also available in a number of colors and finishes, such as a matte finish, textured finish, or faux stone finish.
Benefits of Subway Tiles
Subway tiles are easy to clean, resistant to stains, and subtly reflective, making them a popular choice in kitchens and bathrooms. They are also durable, one of the reasons why they were used to finish the interior walls of New York City’s subway system. Most homeowners will find that the grout used to connect tiles will need replacing before the tiles themselves. Most notably, subway tiles offer aesthetic and practical advantages. Not only do they withstand daily wear and tear, they also add texture to any room, which can add understated decoration.
Disadvantages of Subway Tiles
A problem shared by all tiles is the buildup of dirt and sometimes mildew and mold on tile grout over a long span of time. Although subway tiles are easy to wipe clean, the cleanliness of grout over the course of many years can be more difficult to maintain. Denver homeowners should keep this is mind if they plan to install subway tiles in parts of the home that will see a great deal of moisture, for example on shower walls. Undeniably, subway tiles offer a decorative advantage unmatched by other flooring options, and this may be worth the eventual replacement of tile grout.
Here at Floor Coverings International Denver South we proudly serve the Denver, Englewood, Littleton areas and look forward to helping you find the perfect subway tile for your home. We offer free consultations and can come to your door with tile samples. Call us today!
Photo © Jodie Johnson
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