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Kitchen Tile

Updated on March 22, 2010

One of the most popular places in the home to use tile is in the kitchen. Kitchen tile can mean kitchen floor tiles, kitchen wall tile, kitchen tile backsplash, or kitchen countertops. People use kitchen tiles in all four of these locations and others. For example, you can use kitchen tiles in your breakfast nook table and chairs.  Tiles can make the top of the table and the backs of the chairs.  This is a nice way to tie the design of the kitchen and breakfast nook together.  In addition to the variety of places you can use tile in the kitchen, there is a wide variety of tie materials available for use. Some of those materials include ceramic, porcelain, glass, granite, slate, quartz, travertine, or marble. Probably the most common for countertops, kitchen wall tiles, and backsplashes is porcelain. Kitchen tile flooring is commonly slate, porcelain, travertine, or marble. Marble countertops are very popular.

One of the reasons that tile is so popular in the kitchen is that it is easy to clean.  Tile is very easy to wipe down.  You can clean almost all the surfaces in your kitchen with a sponge if you utilize kitchen tile.  Other advantages of kitchen tile include the fact that it is hard to break, fire resistant, and not absorbent.  The hardness of tile materials is an advantage in the kitchen because you are often exposing your tile to extreme temperatures.  For example, you might put a hot pan or frozen food on the tile countertop.  In addition, kitchen tile takes quite a beating form dropped utensils and containers from time to time.  It is good to have a material that can withstand that kind of abuse.  If there were ever a fire in your kitchen, tile would be a good material to have.  Tile is not flammable so if your cabinets, for example, were to catch fire, the tile backsplash and tile counter top might prevent to fire from spreading to the other cabinets or other parts of your home.  The fact that kitchen tile will not absorb odors or allergens is especially helpful in the kitchen.  With all of the cooking and food smells that are present, it would be unfortunate if those odors could linger in your floor, wall, or countertop materials.  Finally, tile can be beautiful.  There are an infinite number of ways to decorate with kitchen tile.  Your kitchen can really stand out if you utilize some of the unique kitchen tile ideas.

Kitchen Tile Design Ideas

The most common kitchen floor tiles are usually six inches square. The larger size tiles are more appropriate for the floor. Wall, backsplash, and countertop tiles are most commonly four inches square. That does not mean that you cannot use other sizes. In fact, some kitchen tile designs utilize small mosaic tiles that are hard to install, but quite breathtaking once completed. The mosaics sometimes make a large picture on the backsplash so that it looks as though there is a painting there. However, you do not have to go with one large picture. Kitchen tile backsplash ideas are quite varied.

Some homeowners choose to put accent tiles in their backsplash. You have the basic plain colored tiles in most of the backsplash area and then you randomly include a small tile with a picture, design, or of a different color as an accent. This technique is quite popular.

There are some basic rules to remember when it comes to the colors you choose for your kitchen tile. First, do not use the same color or design on all of your kitchen tile. You should use different tile ideas for your backsplash or walls, countertops, and floors. If they are all the same,. Your kitchen tile design will be boring and unattractive. Mix things up by choosing complimentary but different colors for the three areas. Second, if your kitchen is small, try to use lightly colored tiles. Dark colors tend to make a space seem smaller. Do not take away from the size your kitchen has by choosing dark kitchen tiles.

Kitchen Tile Installation Tips

If you decide to switch the tile in your kitchen or if you are installing tile for the first time, then there are a few things to remember during the installation process. First, make sure that you are laying the tile square with the cabinets and walls. Backsplash tiles should be square with your cabinets. If you do not follow this simple rule, the backsplash could look crooked. The floor tiles could look out of place as well if you do not make sure they are square with the walls. It is best to start at a wall and lay the floor tile so that the last pieces are under the bottom lips of the cabinets. That way, if the room is not square the pieces that are cut at an angle will be hidden under the cabinets.


Another helpful hint is to use tile spacers. Tiles spacers are small plastic pieces that you put in between tiles as you lay them on the tile cement. They make sure that you leave adequate and even space for the tile grout. Once the tiles and grout are in place, it is very important to seal your work. Tile sealant provides a layer of protection for both your tie and grout. Since this tile is in the kitchen, it will most likely be exposed to water often. Water can deteriorate your tile grout quickly and allow for mold or mildew to form. If you want to avoid the expense of a professional grout cleaner in your kitchen, then sealant is a good idea.


One final installation tip to consider is using stick on tiles. If you do not want to deal with tile cement, grout, or sealants, you should consider this time saving tile installation technique. Stick on tiles are tiles with an adhesive on the back. You can hang a piece of Plexiglas in your backsplash area and then stick the tiles on it. This method saves on cost and time. However, you run the risk of tiles peeling away. On the other hand, it is easier to change the look of your kitchen if you use these tiles because they are easy to take down and replace.

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