What is the Best Tile for Kitchen Backsplash?

Choosing the right tile for your kitchen backsplash is one of the most important design decisions when remodeling or building a kitchen. The backsplash protects the wall from water and stains while adding style, color, and personality to your kitchen. With so many backsplash tile options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to select the best tile for your goals, taste, and budget. This guide will walk you through the pros and cons of the most popular kitchen backsplash tile materials so you can make the best choice for your home.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile is one of the most popular choices for kitchen backsplashes. Made from refined clay and feldspar, porcelain tile is fired at high temperatures to create a dense, durable, and water-resistant material.

Pros of Porcelain Tile:

  • Extremely durable and resistant to cracks, scratches, and stains
  • Available in a wide variety of sizes, colors, patterns, and finishes
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Stain, frost, and chemical resistant
  • Long-lasting with a timeless look

Cons of Porcelain Tile:

  • Cold underfoot
  • Can chip if subject to hard impact
  • Heavy weight makes installation challenging
  • Higher cost than ceramic tile

With proper installation and care, porcelain backsplash tile can last for decades, retaining its original beauty while standing up to heavy use. The material’s durability, low maintenance, and classic look make it a go-to choice for many kitchen designs.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile has been used for backsplashes for generations due to its versatility, affordability, and style. Ceramic tiles are made from natural clay materials and fired in a kiln.

Pros of Ceramic Tile:

  • Budget-friendly option available in endless colors and patterns
  • Easy to clean with warm water and mild detergent
  • Lightweight, making DIY installation straightforward
  • Softer and warmer underfoot than porcelain
  • Coordinate with countertops and floors for a cohesive look

Cons of Ceramic Tile:

  • Not as strong and durable as porcelain
  • Vulnerable to chipping from impact
  • Porous, so sealing required to prevent stains
  • Glossy tiles show water spots and smears

Ceramic tile comes glazed or unglazed. The glazed option offers an impermeable glass coating for easy cleaning while unglazed has an earthy, natural texture. For high traffic kitchens, choose a durable glazed ceramic tile, while unglazed can work well for low-use zones.

Glass Tile

Adding a touch of opulent translucence, glass tile imparts a unique, gleaming look perfect for contemporary kitchens. Glass tiles contain crushed glass blended with pigments and bonding agents, pressed into shape and baked.

Pros of Glass Tile:

  • Stunning array of colors, finishes, and styles
  • Resilient and easy to clean with warm water
  • Reflective surface amplifies light beautifully
  • Durable and scratch resistant
  • Installs easily with standard grout and tools

Cons of Glass Tile:

  • On the expensive side
  • Not as strong as porcelain or ceramic
  • Grout sealing required
  • Challenging for DIY – professional installation best

With proper installation and care, glass tile adds amazing luster and visual interest to backsplashes. Blend with other materials like ceramic or porcelain for a truly unique look.

Natural Stone Tile

For Old World charm and elegance, natural stone tiles crafted from granite, marble, travertine, slate, and onyx make an unforgettable impression. Available in a diverse array of colors, patterns, cuts, and finishes, natural stone brings artistry and style to any kitchen.

Pros of Natural Stone Tile:

  • Timeless, classic beauty
  • Each piece unique
  • Withstands heat and stains
  • Easy to clean with warm water and mild detergent
  • Natural material stolen straight from the earth

Cons of Natural Stone Tile:

  • Expensive, often requires professional installation
  • Absorbs liquids if not properly sealed
  • Permeable and prone to cracking if not maintained
  • Heavy weight challenges DIY installation
  • Natural veins, pits require extra cleaning attention

For homeowners seeking to make a design statement, natural stone tiles add unmatched personality and bold impact to backsplashes. Proper sealing and maintenance preserve their integrity for decades.

Metal Tile

Industrial, modern, and utterly striking, metal tile backsplashes create drama and dynamic focal points. Usually made by pressing sheets of stainless steel, copper, brass, or nickel alloys into tile forms, metal tile makes a contemporary declaration.

Pros of Metal Tile:

  • Incredibly durable, dent-resistant surface
  • Easy to sanitize and keep clean
  • Creates an eye-catching, dynamic look
  • Endless metal finish and color options
  • Coordinate with counters, fixtures, and hardware

Cons of Metal Tile:

  • Expensive option requiring professional installation
  • Loud, bold look not for everyone
  • Can dent if subject to blunt force
  • Cold underfoot
  • Not waterproof – avoid areas that get wet

With mesmerizing luster and sleek lines, few materials make as vivid an impression as metal tile. For design-forward kitchens, metal backsplashes create focal points that wow.

Mosaic Tile

Tiny mosaic tiles fitted together to form images, patterns, and designs define charming Old-World style. Colorful, creative, and reminiscent of Mediterranean villas and Roman architecture, mosaic tile backsplashes impart energy, whimsy, and artistic flair.

Pros of Mosaic Tile:

  • Playful, artistic style option
  • Endless custom designs and color blends
  • Durable glass, ceramic, or porcelain construction
  • Easy to clean with mild detergent
  • Professional installation achieves stunning results

Cons of Mosaic Tile:

  • Intricate patterns take skill to install
  • Grout requires sealing to prevent stains
  • Small tiles and grout lines need frequent cleaning
  • Not the most modern, streamlined look

For DIYers with patience and creativity, mosaic tiles offer the ultimate medium for personal artistic expression. Or hire an experienced pro for showstopping, intricate designs.

Subway Tile

Classic, timeless, and versatile, white subway tile has adorned backsplashes for over a century, with no sign of going out of style. The simple rectangular shape installs in straight or diagonal patterns for clean, understated beauty.

Pros of Subway Tile:

  • Classic, versatile, affordable option
  • Easy to install in creative patterns
  • Durable glazed ceramic or porcelain
  • Reflects light beautifully in kitchens
  • Matches any style from farmhouse to modern

Cons of Subway Tile:

  • Requires diligent grout cleaning
  • Can appear dull or basic to some
  • Not the boldest design choice
  • Vulnerable to staining from cooking splatter

Crisp and uncomplicated, subway tile creates a calm, orderly look perfect for small spaces. Creative patterns and coordinating grout colors keep the style fresh and appealing.

Stacked Stone Tile

Capturing the organic beauty of natural stone masonry, stacked stone backsplashes infuse texture, depth, and earthy sophistication. Tiles cut thin for easy installation give the illusion of hand-stacked ledgestone.

Pros of Stacked Stone Tile:

  • Mimics real stacked natural stone
  • Rugged, textural visual appeal
  • Instantly creates a nature-inspired look
  • Durable and easy to maintain
  • Available in an array of stone types and colors

Cons of Stacked Stone Tile:

  • Requires careful installation to look realistic
  • Grout lines need diligent cleaning
  • A heavy, bold statement – not for every style
  • Natural stone can scratch, crack if not sealed

For today’s on-trend farmhouse style kitchens, stacked stone backsplashes lend organic contrast to crisp cabinetry and stainless steel. With careful installation, the results look amazingly realistic.

Honed Marble Tile

Prized through the ages for incomparable elegance and luxury, marble backsplashes exude timeless grace and beauty. Available in a palette of serene neutral tones, the softly honed matte finish has a refined Old World feel.

Pros of Honed Marble Tile:

  • Classic material cherished for centuries
  • Adds instant sophistication and warmth
  • Available in range of refined neutral tones
  • Translucence casts a soft, ambient glow
  • Withstands heat and stains with proper sealing

Cons of Honed Marble Tile:

  • On the expensive side, professional installation recommended
  • Absorbent surface requires diligent sealing
  • Avoid installing behind cooktops
  • Etches and stains if not properly maintained
  • Natural veining means variation in color

For design lovers seeking a cultured, refined impression, marble backsplashes create an elegant focal point. With proper precautions, marble develops character, not damage, as it ages gracefully.


The ideal backsplash complements your kitchen’s overall style, whether you prefer modern minimalism, industrial edge, or farmhouse warmth. Consider practical factors like durability, maintenance, and budget while making choices that reflect your personality and design vision. With an endless array of backsplash tile sizes, shapes, colors, and materials, you can easily turn the ideal tile from idea to stunning reality in your dream kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Backsplash Tile

What is the most popular backsplash tile?

The most popular backsplash tile is classic white 3×6 subway tile. Its versatility to match any style from traditional to modern accounts for its enduring popularity.

What is the easiest backsplash to install?

Stacked stone tiles provide one of the easiest backsplash installation projects for DIYers. The thin format allows the tiles to adhere directly to wall surfaces.

What backsplash tiles are heat resistant?

Metal, porcelain, and ceramic tiles hold up best behind cooktops and range surfaces subject to high heat. Avoid flammable and delicate materials like wood or paper.

How do I choose a backsplash color?

Consider your cabinetry finish, countertop material, flooring, and wall paint when coordinating backsplash color. Contrasting or coordinating shades can both create appealing looks.

Can you put backsplash tile over existing tile?

Yes, it is possible to install new backsplash tile over existing tile, provided the original tile is well adhered and properly prepared. Professional installation yields the best results.