Subway tiles are adorable. Either sheets or individuals, whichever your choice would be, are classic, easy to clean, easy to install, and very affordable.
I am telling you that to let you know that both options are great so that you won’t think I am rating one over the other. No! Instead, I am trying to show the significant differences between the two so that you can understand where and how to use either of them to serve your interior design needs.
However, there comes a time when you will have to decide on which one you would use to achieve your intended patterns or designs. Furthermore, it is good to let you know that sheet and individual subway tiles have different functioning and applications. Have you heard that before? If no, be calm. Unfortunately, not many people have this golden secret.
Before telling them apart, I am proud to tell you everything you read in this article is based on first-hand experience and facts. How do I mean? I had tested both of them out on different occasions to be double sure before I came up with this write up.
Here is the story in brief. First, I tiled my guest bathroom tub and surrounded it with individual subway tiles. Then, I moved to the master bathroom to tile the tub and covered it with sheet subway tiles. After that simple experiment, I have more facts regarding the differences in the installation of each type, their price, and how they fit modern designs and patterns.
Let me share all the differences with you based on my experience and facts from interior design experts. It will help you choose the best one for your next renovation project.
What is the price difference?
I decided to start with this question because most people make their purchasing decisions based on price. And I know you would also want to see the price difference between sheets and individual subway tiles.
Well, based on the simple experiment I discussed earlier, I purchased Daltile ceramic subway tiles from a tile store in my neighborhood. Those were the most affordable options for both. Mind you, that was according to my budget.
Based on your financial capacity, you may decide to increase the cost of the subway tiles you want to buy using different sizes and materials for your renovation. For instance, I used ceramic subway tile for my bathrooms; you may decide to use Carrera marble for your baths.
Individual Subway Tiles
Here is the cost breakdown of the individual subway tiles I used for my guest bathroom renovation. (For Daltile 3 x 6 ceramic subway tiles)
- $0.15 for each subway tile
- $1.15 per square foot
Hence, you will need about 56 square feet of the tiles for a standard bathroom tub to surround the top of the tile ending at 7 inches. Meanwhile, you have to be sure that you add 10 per cent for errors and cutting, which will approximate 62 square feet.
Now, let’s convert that to cash. It will cost you up to $70.84 using individual subway tiles for a standard tub surround.
Sheet Subway Tiles
Here is the cost breakdown of the sheet subway tiles I used for my master bathroom renovation. (For Daltile 12 x 12 ceramic mosaic wall tiles)
- $2.98 for each sheet subway tile
- $3.59 per square foot
Hence, you will also need about 56 square feet of tiles for a standard bathroom tub to surround the top of the tile ending at 7 inches. Don’t forget that you need to also add in 10 percent for errors and cutting, which will give you a total of 62 square feet.
Each sheet covers 0.83 square feet, meaning you will need to purchase about 75 sheets to have 62.25 square feet.
Now, let’s convert that estimate to cash. It will cost you up to $223.50 using sheets of subway tiles for a standard tub surround.
Cost Breakdown Conclusion
Looking at the above cost estimation, it is fair to conclude that individual subway tiles are less expensive than sheets.
Which one is easier to install?
Time is something that has an exceptional reputation with everyone. For all I know, no one would prefer to take on a task that consumes time when there is another that saves time. That can be an advantage for sheet subway tiles.
Time and efforts required to install new tiles are significant factors. And if you are somebody like me, you would prefer to go for the easier-to-install tiles. So now, let’s consider the difference between installing sheets and individual subway tiles.
Installation of Individual Subway Tiles
When installing individual subway tiles in a large surface area, you need to follow the process and techniques precisely. For instance, if you are laying the walls of your master bedroom, you will have to make sure you begin and follow your line perfectly and maintain the level up.
You cannot afford to install your subway tiles with uneven lines; it is not negotiable. Can you imagine how it will look like if you surround your tub with imperfectly lain tiles? I bet you will not appreciate the look. At best, it will only look as if you used it to learn tiles installation.
From my experience, I learned that it was easy to lay the individual subway tiles. However, when you are lining the tiles, they may get off. Hence, you will need to continually check your line for the level to avoid uneven settings.
Installation of Sheets Subway Tiles
I would say that sheets of subway tiles are far easier to install. For example, while I was tiling a tub surround, I lined up about 75 sheets, and that saved lots of my time. First, though, I had to pull some tiles off and cut them individually so that they could fit for accurate installation.
There are still many more differences between individual and sheet subway tiles regarding appearance, durability, and more. So, it is your sole responsibility to decide if you to either sheets or individual subway tiles. However, deciding which one would work for you better depends on the kind of renovation project you have at hand. I believe this guide has already given you some insight into both of them.