Pros and Cons of Tile Back Splash Installation Types and Methods

by Charter Oak Flooring

Posted on May 28, 2015 at 9:00 AM

back splash installation

There are many different forms of tile installations for your kitchen backsplash. In this post we will cover some of the pros and cons of the most common tile backsplash installations we offer.

The first thing we ask about is the type of stone you prefer to have installed. The three most common types of backsplash tile we install are natural stone, ceramic and porcelain. Each has its own set of benefits and limitations. The colors, patterns and maintenance are a few other things to keep in mind when deciding on which stone to tile your backsplash with.

Overall, ceramic tiles are more uniform in color, have smoother surfaces and are much easier to clean. This is because ceramic and porcelain tiles are man made, made out of clay and colored coated. Ceramic and porcelain tiles, however, do not have as much character and in most cases will not accent your countertops and kitchen space like natural stone. Selecting backsplash tile with a variety of colors (or veining, depending on your material) will compliment your countertop, cabinets and surrounding space. Some customers even incorporate color from floor tiles into their design selection.

While ceramic and porcelain tiles come in a matte or glossy finish, natural stone is manufactured in a variety of different finishes. The most common natural stone tile finishes we work with (and showcase in our storefront) are tumbled, honed and polished. We often have clients that ask about ways to maintain and keep natural stone backsplash tile clean. If you are tiling you backsplash with natural stone, staining, discoloration and overall cleanliness can be made easier by sealing the areas with a protectant. By sealing the natural stone backsplash tiles the level of maintenance mirrors that of ceramic tiles. Without adding a protective sealant, your natural stone backsplash tile will be more difficult to keep clean than a ceramic or porcelain tile backsplash.

One major benefit to using natural stone tiles is if you happen to chip any area of the tiles, the color will be the same all the way through. This is because natural stone has full color uniformity throughout the tile. With ceramic and porcelain tile, the color is only on the surface so the clay underlayment becomes easily visible. Needless to say, we are asked to replace ceramic and porcelain backsplash tiles more often than natural stone tiles.

Another factor that plays an important part in selecting your backsplash tile is the actual design. There are countless patterns and ways to have the backsplash tile installed. The biggest factor(s) in selecting a layout is the size tile to use. The most common sizes that we install for tiles backsplashes are 4” x 4”, 3” x 6” or 6” x “6. To determine what size tile your backsplash should be tiled with, we like to know the size of the area to be tiled and most important, we want to get a feel for personal preference. Once we now the size of the surface are to be tiled we can begin to pull out samples and mix and match various patterns to customized your tile backsplash. However, it is important to remember that the tile selected for your backsplash can limit the number of customization options and possible layouts.

Some of the most common layouts (and visually stunning) are a straight lay or brick patterned tiled backsplash. These designs are usually installed to resemble tile patterns seen in subway systems. In fact, subway designs are so common there are a number of “subway tile” options available to view in our storefront. Subway also refers to the left to right inlay pattern where backsplash tile is staggered from one row the next.

However, if you decide to use different size tiles to tile your backsplash, such as a combination of 4” x 4” and 4” x 6” in say a Tuscany Pattern, you may find that a large surface is reduced to visually look like a smaller area. This is because a pattern like a Tuscany is typically selected and used to backsplashes that cover a larger surface area. For smaller backsplash areas to be tiled it is important to try and visualize how the tile itself transforms the area and in most cases how the tile backsplash changes the visual layout and feel of your entire kitchen. Also, if you have a small surface are to be tiled, selecting a backsplash tile that was that was designed for larger areas will not give you the full visual and transformation effects it was manufactured to. The same can be applied for using backsplash tile designed for small areas on larger surface areas. And example of this is deciding to use interlocking mosaic tile to tile a backsplash that covers a larger surface area. This can reduce the tile backsplash area to appear much smaller than it really is. Thus, in some cases the immediate space around the tiled backsplash can look cluttered and the visual appeal of the kitchen can be affected.

Rather affect the visual appeal of your kitchen you can incorporate smaller tile such as a mosaic or glass into a decorative band, border or custom design around the main backsplash tile. These features can be used to tile the bottom half (two thirds, one third, etcetera) of the backsplash. These custom designs are unique, act as an additional accent and are visually attractive feature. We can even install small borders around power outlets, other wall mounted appliances and even above your stove. Having a decorative feature incorporated into your backsplash tile design is a great way to ensure your tiled backsplash is unique, custom and personalized.

Another design feature many of our clients opt to have installed is a finished edge or metal profile along the outside edges of the tile backsplash. These finished edges and profiles help protect the edges of the backsplash tile from chipping, cracking or potentially coming loose. The profiles and finished edges can be easily incorporated into any new tile backsplash installation.

There are two options when selecting a profile to finish the edges of your backsplash. You can have a natural stone pencil or dome piece, or a metal profile edging from a company like Schluter Systems.

The natural stone edging will match your backsplash tile exactly and keep your finished edges consistent with the actual backsplash tile. With pencil and dome moldings we use twelve inch strips to finish any exposed edges of the backsplash, so you can expect to see small seams with longer runs. These seams are grouted and will match the rest of your grout lines throughout the backsplash.

Pencil and dome moldings sit higher than your actual backsplash tile because they are thicker than the tile. The difference in thickness adds a unique characteristic to your backsplash. However, this is not a look that every homeowner likes. If you prefer something with a similar profile to the backsplash tile, than metal edging is the option for you. The metal profile edges from Schluter Systems sit flush against the backsplash tile and can be matched to the thickness of the tile. These metal profiles have either a round or square shaped finish and come can be ordered in any number of finishes from stainless steel to brushed nickel and gunmetal to color coated or PVC finishes to closely match your tile. The PVC edging, however, is not as durable as the metal edging.

There are pros and cons to selecting the tile backsplash installation types and methods that are tight for you. There are many things to consider and often times we work with our customers to ensure they choose the material and installation method that is right for them and the project. We always make sure our customers fully understand the advantages as well as disadvantages of using various materials, tile and the installation method. We want to ensure our customers maximize the life of their investment in a tiled backsplash.

One Stop. One Estimate. One Check

We are not happy until you are. The quality and craftsmanship of our work has delivered hundreds of repeat customers and recommendations. In many cases, we are the only contractor many of our customers continue to use for their flooring needs. No matter what the job is, if it involves flooring, tile of any sort, or completely renovating your bathroom, we are your one stop shop. We live by the motto of One Stop. One Estimate. One Check.

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About Charter Oak Flooring

We are your one stop shop when it comes to all of your tile and hardwood needs! We offer a wide range of hardwood and tile services along with full bathroom remodels. The company was founded in 2002 as a sanding & refinishing company and hardwood installation. We have stayed true to our roots, but have expanded our services over the years. Our showroom displays a wide range of prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring, along with engineered, vinyl and cork flooring. Our tile selection covers all of your natural stone, ceramic, porcelain and glass and mosaic tile needs for your kitchen, bathrooms, backsplashes and showers. We have installed, sanded and finished thousands of square footage of hardwood flooring and installed hundreds of tile floors, backsplashes, showers, walls and fireplaces.


Looking for just material? We display and sell hardwood and tile materials for all types of projects. For hardwood we offer prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring along with your engineered hardwood, cork and vinyl flooring. For tile, we carry a variety of ceramic, porcelain and natural stone, glass and mosaic tiles we. We also offer a tin backsplash line as well. In addition to material, we offer other services related to both hardwood flooring and tile. We can refinish your stair flight, stain your hardwood floor and complete the finishing process with oil base polyurethane, a water-base finish or upgrade to a epoxy based finish for those high traffic areas of your home. For tile services, we can include a custom inlay or border to any tile floor, back splash, shower or wall tile. We can install a full tile surround in your shower or even a water proof barrier. Stop into our showroom and talk to one of our showroom associates.


We have over a decade of experience with hundreds of homes that we have installed in. Whether you are choosing to tear up those old carpets and replace it with a new hardwood floor or want to be creative and have a custom, patterned border floor with a inlay installed, we have the experience and skills to do any type of wood floor installation. We offer a wide variety of species of hardwood, that comes ¾” solid or engineered that is available in different widths, grades, stains and finishes. We are a small business driven by quality, not quantity. We offer a wide range of tile installation services in addition to our hardwood installation. These include installing tile floors, backsplashes, showers and bathrooms. Our tile selections include ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, glass and mosaics.

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