Are you thinking of installing new a backsplash in the kitchen or bathroom? New tile could be just what you need to give the room a little pop of color and personality. But which material should you choose for your new tiles: glass or ceramic? Both options provide a variety of looks and price points to suit your needs. Learn more about the pros and cons of ceramic and glass tiles to help you make the right choice.

Glass Tile or Ceramic Tile?

Glass tiles are made from thin pieces of glass with translucent glaze fired onto the back of each tile. They’re sold either individually or in predesigned mosaic patterns set on a mesh backing.

Traditional ceramic tiles are made from firing clay at a high temperature. Liquid glaze is added and the tiles are fired again.

Glass and ceramic are very different materials with diverse characteristics that may make one better than the other for your backsplash tiling project.

Glass Tile Advantages

  • Unmatched beauty: The translucence and endless color varieties of glass arguably make it the most beautiful, contemporary-looking backsplash material you can choose. The tiles reflect the light to give your kitchen or bath the appearance of being brighter and larger.
  • Easy to clean: Grime and splashes are easy to wipe off glass tiles with a little soapy water or all-purpose cleaner. Also, mold and mildew don’t readily grow on glass.
  • Zero water absorption: Glass is impervious to water with an absorbency rate of 0% (compared to ceramic, which has an absorbency rate of 0.5% to 3%).
  • Eco-friendly: Many glass tiles are made of recycled materials. Even if not, they are 100% recyclable at the end of their lifespan. Glass tiles also take about half the energy required to produce ceramic tiles.

Glass Tile Challenges

  • More expensive: Glass tiles are extremely popular though they are the most expensive mainstream backsplash material available today.
  • Professional installation is a must: Because glass is translucent, the adhesive is visible through the tiles. Achieving a professional-looking result is difficult if you attempt DIY glass tile installation.

Ceramic Tile Advantages

  • Affordable: With many material costs between $4 - $8 per square foot, ceramic is among the more affordable backsplash tile materials you can choose. Of course, if you choose handmade or “art” tiles, the cost can rise drastically.
  • Easy to install: With a little patience, practice, and DIY guides, you can probably install ceramic tiles successfully without professional help.

Ceramic Tile Challenges

  • Limited color variation: Ceramic tiles are typically available in black, white, and earth tones. Bold colors may be hard to find in this material.
  • Colors vary from lot to lot: Make sure you order enough tiles all at once because if you run out, the next batch you order could be a slight different color.

The Bottom Line

Although a little more expensive, many homeowners prefer glass over traditional ceramic tiles. If glass tiles aren’t in the budget, you might consider using a combination of glass and ceramic. This is done by installing ceramic tiles for the majority of the backsplash with a stripe of glass tiles as an accent. This could be the perfect compromise you’re hoping to balance the higher cost with all the benefits of glass tiles!

Whether you opt for glass or ceramic tiles, professional installation provides the best results. At Mr. Handyman, we have the skills and experience to install tile of any material, from glass or ceramic to stone or stainless steel.

Contact your local Mr. Handyman or call us at (877) 256-3376 for help with all your home improvement needs!