You’ve heard of and loved subway tiles, but do you truly understand what makes subway tile subway tile?

We’re here to assist you! We’ve included some historical context, basic features of conventional subway tile, innovative subway tiles installation patterns and modifications, and some suggestions for incorporating subway tile into your house.

Subway Tile – What Is It?

Generally, the phrase “subway tiles” refers to rectangular tiles (typically 3 by 6 inches) that are placed horizontally with a 50% offset. Subway tiles, which are made of ceramic tile, are renowned for their durability and timeless design. You can know more detail about subway tiles by visiting

Why Are These Tiles Called Subway Tiles?

You may be asking why subway tiles are referred to as subway tiles. They were first installed at New York City subway stations.

An overview guide on subway tiles

Subway tile was created in 1904 when designers were entrusted with creating a surface that was both low-maintenance and brilliant for the first subway station.

Victorians placed a premium on cleanliness, which is why easy-to-clean, stain-resistant, and bacteria-resistant ceramic tile was an obvious option. Additionally, the white and glossy style of the initial subway tiles created a highly reflecting surface that contributed to the creation of a safe, hygienic atmosphere for passengers who may have been concerned about subterranean transit.

Is Subway Tile Still in Fashion?

Subway tiling was introduced in 1904 and quickly spread to other transit centers around the globe. Due to its hygienic look and health advantages, it was quickly adopted for usage in areas where hygiene was a priority, such as kitchens and baths.

Today, subway tiles continue to gain popularity.

We are often asked whether subway tile is a trend. While the tremendous popularity of this tile pattern may lead you to believe it is a passing fad, its endurance is a strong indication that this is not the case. Over a century old, subway tile continues to be a popular choice for homeowners and business owners alike.

So, what is it about subway tile that makes it so popular?

We must attribute this to the subway tile design’s intrinsic timelessness. Subway tiles have created a look that is both dramatic and simple to produce by using basic white rectangular tiles and a simple tile arrangement.

FAQs about Subway Tiles

Let us be more precise: Some commonly asked questions regarding subway tile are included below.

What is the pattern of the subway tiles? 

Subway tiles are usually placed with a 50% offset, which means that the tile’s center coincides with the borders of the two tiles above or below it. However, contemporary versions of subway tile often deviate from or even forsake this pattern entirely. Subway tile designs with an offset of one-third and one-fourth are also available.

What is the typical size of a subway tile? 

How big is a subway tile? Subway tile is typically 3 x 6 inches in dimension, and this is the most common size. However, any rectangular tile with a dimension of one to two may be used as a subway tile, as can additional subway tile sizes such as 2 x 4, 4 x 8, or 6 x 12.

Subway tile is made of what material? 

Originally, subway tiles were made of ceramic. Today, subway tiles are available in ceramic, porcelain, and glass varieties, all of which are popular for the same reason ceramic tiles were first chosen: minimal maintenance and great design.

Are subway tiles too expensive? 

Subway tiles are very inexpensive, particularly if you go with the classic white pattern.

Installation and Maintenance of Subway Tiles

An overview guide on subway tiles

Installing subway tile: Conduct research on what goes into subway tile installation for your planned use and particular requirements, such as how to install subway tile in a shower. Consider studying specifics such as how to tile a subway tile backsplash corner or how to tile a subway tile shower niche. If you lack the required expertise or equipment, we suggest hiring a trained tile installer to guarantee a high-quality installation.

The proper method to install subway tiles is as follows: Lay tiles with a 50% offset for the classic subway tile pattern. Each tile’s center should align with the borders of the two tiles above and below it. Because subway tile usually has one to two dimensions, the short side of a tile may be used to calculate the long side’s midpoint. We recommend that you do a dry layout prior to installing your tile to identify where your cuts will be required.

The proper method to cut subway tile is as follows: You may need to trim a few subway tiles to accommodate outlets and the size of your room. Certain cuts can be performed using a snap cutter and a score and snap technique, while others may need the use of a wet saw. A wet saw may be required for certain materials, such as porcelain and glass tiles. If you lack this equipment or the necessary expertise to properly use them, we suggest contacting a trained tile installation.

How long does subway tiles installation take? Subway tile installation is dependent on the size of the application to be tiled, the layout’s intricacy, and the tile installer’s expertise. However, the majority of classic subway tile applications are very fast to install, particularly in tiny sections like backsplashes.

Can subway tile be installed over drywall? Subway tiles may be installed over drywall as long as the region is not subjected to excessive dampness. Cement board supporters enhance the long-term durability of high-moisture regions (such as shower walls).

Is it possible to paint subway tiles? Except for small-scale do-it-yourself projects, painting ceramic tiles is not advised. Painting your subway tile may reduce its resistance to stains and scratches, and the pattern may become unattractive with time. A better alternative is to choose subway tiles in the desired color or pattern.

What is the proper method to clean subway tile? Subway tile may be cleaned in the same manner as any other ceramic tile: with a damp cloth. Additionally, see our Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Ceramic Tile for extra cleaning suggestions.

Subway Tiles and Grout

Grouting subway tile: To mix and apply grout, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How to choose a grout color for white subway tile: Subway tile in white is often used with white, gray, or black grout. However, white subway tile — or any subway tile color, for that matter — may be used with any color of grout. 

Consider whether you want to attract attention to the layout pattern or not when choosing grout color for subway tile. Subway tile with contrasting grout draws attention to the design, while subway tile with matching grout provides a seamless appearance. Choosing a vibrant grout color may also be a fun way to personalize your white subway tile. Pro tip: Grouts that are highly contrasted with the color of your tile may also highlight any flaws in the grout line and any difference in tile size. Click here to read more about vibrant grout color.

How wide should subway tile grout lines be? Typically, 3×6 inch subway tiles have 1/16 inch grout joints, although 1/8 inch grout joints are also frequent.