Individual Tiles

Subway tiles – Individual tiles vs Sheets

Subway tiles – Individual tiles vs Sheets

A look at the cost, installation, and aesthetic variations between putting individual subway tiles and subway tiles sheets.

I am a sucker for subway tiles. It is traditional, clean, and reasonably priced! Even more so if you install it yourself. However, when it comes to the tiles, should you go for individual subway tiles or for sheets?

To assist you to determine which to utilize, I decided to try them both out. I tiled the tub surround in my master bathroom with individual subway tiles and then the tub surround in my guest bathroom using subway tile sheets.

Now I’m going to discuss the differences in installing each kind, the cost, and the appearance of each type so you can determine which one is ideal for your next subway tile job.

What Is the Cost Distinction?

Let us begin with the most often asked question: What is the pricing difference between individual subway tiles and subway tile sheets?

I utilized Daltile ceramic subway tiles from House Depot for both tile projects in my home (they were both in stock at my local store). Both of these were the least costly choices. Click here to read more about ceramic subway tiles for your home.

Of course, you may significantly raise your tile prices by experimenting with various tile sizes and materials. I am examining just the ceramic subway tiles. Perhaps one day I will have the funds to install Carrera marble in a bathroom!

Subway Tiles Individually

For a typical tub surround with the tile terminating at 7′ (I like the tile to be higher), about 56 square feet of tile is required. Add 10% for cutting and mistakes for a total of 62 square feet.

This puts the total cost of the subway tiles for a basic tub surround to $70.84. (not including any trim subway tiles you may want to use).

Sheets of Subway Tiles

For a typical tub surround with a tile height of 7′, you’ll need 56 square feet plus 10% for cutting/errors. This totals 62 square feet. Because each sheet covers 0.83 square feet, 75 sheets are required to cover 62.25 square feet.

Thus, the total cost of the subway tile sheets for a normal tub surround comes to $223.50. (not including any trim subway tiles you may want to use).

Cost Analysis Conclusion

Individual subway tiles are less expensive to use than sheets.

They are really a third of the price! That implies that for the price of tiling one tub using sheet tiles, you could buy enough subway tiles to tile three tub surrounds in individual subway tiles.

Therefore, why would you utilize sheet subway tiles??? Following that, let’s examine the differences in installation.

Which Is Less Difficult to Install?

The time and work required to install your new tiles play a significant role in your do-it-yourself job. Therefore, easy-to-install tiles are a bonus. This is when the sheet tiles come out on top!

Individual Subway Tile Installation

Precision is required when laying a big area with individual subway tiles (such as a tub surround). You must ensure that your line begins precisely level and remains so throughout its length.

Consider how an uneven line will make the tub seem to be leaning. That is not acceptable!

From my experience, installing the individual subway tiles was straightforward. However, while aligning them, they may easily go slightly out of alignment. If you had a tendency to press items together 1/16th of an inch closer on one end of the tub, it would take just eight rows to be 1/2 inch off. This is very obvious.

You’ll want to check your line for level on a continuous basis to ensure this does not happen.

Additionally, since you are cutting one tile at a time, you will take many more steps out to the tile cutter. I spent two full days laying each individual tile in our master bathroom (not including grout).

When it came to measuring and cutting out the holes for the showerhead and tub faucet, the individual tiles were simpler to work with than the installation sheets.

How to Install Subway Tile Sheets

To be fair, I did have a few more tiling jobs under my belt between the master bathroom renovation and the guest bathroom, but I still feel that the sheets of subway tiles were much simpler to install.

Each sheet is connected to 15 smaller tiles. Thus, aligning one tile is equivalent to aligning fifteen subway tiles. However, it does not take 15 times as long to line up as an individual tile, but rather 2-3 times as long.

To tile a typical tub surround, about 470 individual tiles or 75 sheets must be aligned. That is a significant time-saver.

Additionally, when cutting a sheet to fit into a corner, you may make a single cut across all six rows of subway tiles.

However, when it comes to drilling holes for the faucet and showerhead, it does take a little longer. Depending on where the openings lie on the sheet, you may need to take tiles from the backing and cut them separately to fit.

Each sheet is connected to 15 smaller tiles. Thus, aligning one tile is equivalent to aligning fifteen tiles. However, it does not take 15 times as long to line up as an individual tile, but rather 2-3 times as long.

To tile a typical tub surround, about 470 individual subway tiles or 75 sheets must be aligned. That is a significant time-saver.

Additionally, when cutting a sheet to fit into a corner, you may make a single cut across all six rows of subway tiles.

However, when it comes to drilling holes for the faucet and showerhead, it does take a little longer. Depending on where the openings lie on the sheet, you may need to take tiles from the backing and cut them separately to fit.

What Is the Appearance Difference?

Tile Dimensions

One thing you may not notice while seeing the tiles at the shop, but will notice much more after placed, is the difference in tile size.

The individual tiles I used are 3′′ tall x 6′′ broad and are typical subway tile size. Individual tiles on the sheets are just 2 inches tall by 4 inches wide.

While the size difference may not seem to be significant, I find it very apparent when comparing the two bathrooms. One tile seems to be much smaller than the other.

However, I am unable to state definitively who won the appearance. It’s a matter of personal taste. Do you prefer bigger or smaller subway tiles?

Additionally, there are additional choices for individual subway tiles. You may select between a longer 3′′ x 12′′ tile, a bigger 4′′ x 12′′ tile, or even a square 6′′ x 6′′ tile.

Patterned Tiles

If you choose the traditional 50 percent brick joint design for your subway tiles, both individual and sheet subway tiles will work.

If, on the other hand, you wish to use one of the other fascinating tile designs, such as the ones below, you will need to choose individual subway tiles for your project.

Final thoughts

Therefore, you must determine for yourself if you like smaller or bigger tiles, as well as which kind of grout will work best for your own tastes and lifestyle.