Porcelain tile backsplashes are a timeless and elegant choice for any kitchen. With their classic beauty and durability, white porcelain tiles make an especially versatile and stylish backsplash option. Here’s a detailed guide to everything you need to know about using white porcelain tile for your backsplash.
Overview of Porcelain Tile Backsplashes
Porcelain tile is an excellent material for backsplashes for several reasons:
Porcelain is very hard and durable. It stands up well to heavy usage in the kitchen, as well as exposure to water, heat, and staining. The dense composition makes it very scratch resistant. This durability allows porcelain backsplashes to maintain their pristine look for years.
Porcelain tile requires very little maintenance. It can be easily cleaned using warm water, mild soap, and a sponge or soft cloth. Compared to natural stone and other backsplash materials, porcelain remains looking new with just simple cleaning.
Porcelain tiles come in a vast array of colors, sizes, shapes, textures and finishes. From subtle solid whites to bold patterns and graphics, porcelain provides endless design options for your backsplash. The material lends itself well to both classic and contemporary kitchen aesthetics.
Porcelain tile is very competitively priced compared to other backsplash materials of similar quality. Especially when choosing popular white subway tile formats, porcelain is an affordable option to get a high-end backsplash look.
Why White Porcelain Tile Makes a Great Backsplash
Opting for white porcelain tile is a foolproof way to get a timeless, elegant backsplash that functions wonderfully in both traditional and modern kitchen designs. Here are some of the top reasons to choose white porcelain tile backsplashes:
Clean, Crisp Look
The color white inherently provides a bright, fresh aesthetic. White porcelain tile gives off a crisp, clean appearance, creating a lightweight and airy feeling in the kitchen. The light color also makes the space appear larger and more open.
The glossy finish of porcelain coupled with the white color beautifully reflects light. This helps brighten up the kitchen, especially when the porcelain tiles are laid in a classic subway tile brick pattern. The light bouncing off the white tiles creates a bright backdrop.
White porcelain acts as a neutral backdrop that lets other elements like cabinetry, countertops, appliances and decor take the spotlight. The simplicity of the white allows more dramatic components to pop without competing.
A white porcelain backsplash seamlessly matches any kitchen style from modern contemporary to traditional and farmhouse designs. It pairs well with any cabinet, countertop, flooring or accent color choices.
White backsplashes have been popular for decades and never go out of style. The classic subdued white color has enduring, widespread appeal.
Stylish Options for White Porcelain Backsplashes
From subtle shapes to bold patterns, here are some stylish ways to design your white porcelain backsplash:
The subway tile format – 3″x6″ rectangular tiles in a brick pattern – is the most popular and classic choice. Use either gloss or matte finish tiles. Offsetting the bricks in a herringbone pattern adds visual interest. Subway tiles create a tailored, timeless look.
Large Format Tiles
For a more contemporary style, look for large format white porcelain tiles. 12″x24″ tiles minimize grout lines for a sleek, seamless appearance. Lay the tiles in a straight stack pattern or on the diagonal. Oversized tiles modernize the backsplash.
Hexagon-shaped porcelain tiles provide an eye-catching geometric shape. Mixing in glossy and matte tiles adds further interest. The unique shape lends itself well to creating patterns and designs.
Stacking rectangular porcelain tiles vertically creates clean lines and visual impact. Varying the height of the tiles adds further modern appeal.
For a bold accent, choose graphic tiles with subtle gray or black patterns. Pair with plain white porcelain tiles to let the striking patterns pop. Geometric, Moroccan, and other graphic motifs make a statement.
Dimension and texture take the backsplash to the next level. 3D tiles with concave or convex shapes cast beautiful shadows and give the eye plenty to explore.
Mixing Tile Sizes
Using a combination of different sized tiles – such as combining standard subway tiles with longer planks – provides visual variety. Mixing sizes allows you to get creative.
Installing White Porcelain Tile Backsplashes
Follow these best practices for installing porcelain tile backsplashes:
- Use a tile suitable for walls, rated for water exposure. Make sure tiles are completely flat and smooth.
- Pick a white grout color that matches or complements the tile color. Unsanded grout works best for tight joints.
- Prepare the wall surface so it is clean, smooth and dry. Seal porous surfaces. Use cement board or other appropriate substrate.
- Use a high quality adhesive suitable for porcelain tile and follow instructions carefully.
- Level starting row using spacers for consistent grout lines. Use tile levelers during installation.
- Offset seams between tiles at least 1/3 of the way. Wrap tiles around corners.
- Seal grout and let fully cure before cleaning tiles. Use gentle cleaners designed for porcelain.
Maintaining White Porcelain Tile Backsplashes
Once installed, white porcelain backsplashes are very easy to keep looking pristine:
- Routinely clean using just warm water, mild pH-neutral cleaner or dish soap, and soft cloth. Never use abrasive scouring pads.
- Immediately wipe up spills and splatters to prevent staining. Porcelain resists staining but is not completely stain-proof.
- Re-seal grout every 1-2 years. Check for cracked or missing grout and repair as needed.
- Avoid hanging anything directly on tiles. Use caulk instead of grout at junctions with countertops or cabinets.
- Harsh cleaners are rarely needed. For tough stains, use special porcelain cleaners. Test in inconspicuous spot first.
- Inspect for any damage or loose tiles. Repair individual tiles as needed to maintain the entire backsplash.
Is white porcelain tile more expensive than ceramic tile?
Porcelain tile does tend to cost more per square foot than ceramic tile, but the price difference is generally moderate, especially for popular white subway tile formats. The superior durability and longevity of porcelain compensate for the slightly higher upfront investment.
Does porcelain or ceramic tile work better for backsplashes?
Porcelain is the better choice for backsplashes. It is harder and more water-resistant than ceramic. The dense composition prevents absorption of liquids and staining. Porcelain stands up to heat and the heavy use of a kitchen backsplash better than ceramic.
Can you use porcelain floor tile for a backsplash?
Porcelain designed for floors works fine for backsplashes. Just make sure it is rated for wet areas. The tile thickness and strength make it very durable. Use floor tile if you want oversized tiles or a coordinating look with porcelain floors.
Should porcelain backsplash tile go all the way to the ceiling?
It is recommended to install tile fully from countertops to ceiling. This gives a clean finished look. If not going all the way up due to cost or other factors, the tile should at least extend 4-6 inches above the highest point of countertops or cabinets.
How do you cut porcelain tile without chipping it?
Cutting porcelain takes sharp tools. Use a wet saw with a porcelain blade. For small cuts, a tile nipper followed by an old carbide-tipped wheel grinder works well. Go slowly and steadily. Minimize chipping by finishing cuts with diamond pads.
A white porcelain tile backsplash is a versatile, durable, and stylish addition to any kitchen. The classic appeal, high-quality material, and endless design options with white porcelain make it a go-to choice for backsplashes that get installed today but look beautiful forever. With proper care, a white porcelain backsplash will maintain its like-new appearance and function for many years, providing the perfect clean, neutral background for the rest of the kitchen.