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Comparing different finishes (e.g., matte vs. glossy)

The Debate Over Glossy vs. Matte Tiles in Your Kitchen Backsplash

The Debate Over Glossy vs. Matte Tiles in Your Kitchen Backsplash

Having to choose the perfect finish for your kitchen backsplash can be a daunting task. While the kitchen is the heart of every home, it is important to choose the right material, design, and finish that complements the overall theme and personality of your home. Among the many decisions to make when designing a kitchen backsplash is deciding between a glossy or matte finish.

Glossy Backsplash Tiles

Glossy backsplash tiles have a shiny finish that provides a reflective quality. The finish adds brightness to the kitchen, making it appear bigger and more spacious. This is especially true in smaller kitchens, where a glossy backsplash can be an excellent choice. Glossy tiles also make cleaning easy, as spills and stains can be wiped away with a simple damp cloth. The reflective qualities of the tiles make small spills less visible and can help hide any imperfections.

Matte Backsplash Tiles

Matte backsplash tiles have a subdued finish, offering a more natural and organic look. The finish provides a soft, tactile quality that gives a relaxing and calming atmosphere in the kitchen. Matte finishes are ideal for kitchens that have a minimalist or industrial theme. They also have a non-reflective surface, making them less prone to glare. The surface tends to hide scratches and small dents better than glossy tiles.


Both glossy and matte tiles are durable, but glossy tiles tend to chip easier. The glossy finish tends to highlight any flaws or chips more prominently. Matte tiles tend to hold up better in high traffic areas and have a higher wear resistance than their glossy counterparts.


While glossy tiles are easy to clean, they do have a tendency to show watermarks and fingerprints more prominently than matte tiles. The matte surface tends to hide stains and marks better, making it the perfect choice for busy kitchens. Although they are not as easy to clean as glossy tiles, they require less maintenance in the long run.

Design Options

Glossy finishes offer a fantastic level of customization, as they come in an extensive range of colors. This makes it easy to coordinate the backsplash with countertops, cabinets, and accent pieces. On the other hand, Matte finishes offer a more natural look, with a closer resemblance to natural stone, concrete, and other organic materials. They work well with a variety of decor styles and offer a timeless look that can withstand the test of time.


Both glossy and matte finishes come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the choice between the two comes down to personal preference and the overall design of the kitchen. Glossy finishes are an excellent choice for those who prefer a modern, sleek look, while matte finishes are perfect for those who prefer a more natural and organic feel. With both finishes, it is important to choose top-quality tiles to ensure durability and longevity.

Glossy vs Matte Tiles – FAQ

1. What is the difference between glossy and matte tiles?

Glossy tiles have a shiny finish and reflect light, while matte tiles have a more muted finish and do not reflect light as much. Glossy tiles tend to be brighter and show more detail, while matte tiles tend to have a more subtle appearance.

2. Which is better for a bathroom: glossy or matte tiles?

Both glossy and matte tiles can be used in a bathroom, but it depends on the desired look and practical considerations. Glossy tiles can make a bathroom feel brighter and more spacious, but they may show more water spots and require more maintenance. Matte tiles can provide a more natural look and be easier to maintain, but they may be more prone to surface stains.

3. Which type of tile is best for a kitchen backsplash?

This depends on personal preference and the overall style of the kitchen. For a modern and sleek look, glossy tiles can be used, while for a more rustic or natural look, matte tiles may be a better choice. Both types of tiles can be cleaned easily, so maintenance should not be a major concern.

4. Are glossy tiles more slippery than matte tiles?

Yes, glossy tiles can be more slippery than matte tiles, especially when wet. This is important to consider when choosing flooring materials for areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and pool areas. Non-slip coatings can be added to glossy tiles to reduce the risk of slipping.

5. Which type of tile is easier to clean?

Glossy tiles can be easier to clean than matte tiles because their smooth surface does not absorb stains as readily. However, glossy tiles can also show water spots, fingerprints, and smudges more easily, so they may require more frequent cleaning to look their best.

6. Can matte tiles be polished to a glossy finish?

No, it is not possible to polish matte tiles to a glossy finish. The texture and composition of the tile surface determine its finish, and trying to polish matte tiles can damage them. Glossy tiles can be matte-finished, however, by treating them with an etching solution that removes the shiny glaze.

7. Which type of tile is more durable?

Both glossy and matte tiles can be durable if they are made from high-quality materials and installed properly. However, glossy tiles may be more prone to surface scratches and cracks because their finish is more fragile. Matte tiles are generally more resistant to damage because their finish is more forgiving.

8. Which type of tile is more expensive?

Both glossy and matte tiles are available at a range of price points, depending on the materials and quality. However, glossy tiles may be more expensive because they require additional manufacturing steps to produce their shiny finish.

9. Which type of tile is more popular?

Both glossy and matte tiles are popular and widely used in modern design. However, glossy tiles tend to be more associated with contemporary and minimalist styles, while matte tiles are more commonly used in rustic and industrial settings.

10. Can glossy and matte tiles be used together in the same space?

Yes, glossy and matte tiles can be combined in the same space to create contrast and visual interest. For example, glossy tiles can be used on a backsplash while matte tiles are used on the floor, or vice versa. The key is to choose finishes that complement each other and create a cohesive overall look.

Glossy vs. Matte Tiles: Which One to Choose?

  • Glossy Tiles:

    Glossy tiles add a shiny and reflective look to any space. They are perfect for accent walls, backsplashes, and shower surrounds. However, they can be slippery when wet, and their glossy finish may emphasize imperfections in the tile.

    • SomerTile FRC8PRCL Pente Subway Ceramic Wall Tile, Glossy White:

      This ceramic tile is perfect for creating a classic subway tile look on a glossy surface. Each tile measures 3 x 6 inches and is easy to clean.

    • Art3d 6-Pack Peel and Stick Vinyl Stick on Kitchen Backsplash Tile:

      These peel-and-stick tiles are easy to install and have a glossy finish. They are perfect for adding a pop of color to your kitchen backsplash without breaking the bank.

  • Matte Tiles:

    Matte tiles have a non-reflective finish that is perfect for creating a more muted and natural look in your space. They are less slippery than glossy tiles and can be a better option for high-traffic areas.

    • Marble Tiles, Matte Finish:

      Marble is a popular choice for matte finishes due to its natural look. The muted colors and veining patterns in the stone make it a stunning choice for any space. These tiles are available in various sizes to fit your space.

    • Soho Bullnose Matte Porcelain Tile:

      This porcelain tile has a matte finish and is perfect for creating a sleek and modern look. The bullnose edge allows for a finished look, and the tiles come in different sizes to fit your space.

  • Conclusion:

    When choosing between glossy and matte tiles, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the look you want to achieve. Glossy tiles are perfect for creating a statement look in your space, while matte tiles offer a more muted and natural look. Consider the pros and cons of each option before making your final decision.

Pros&Cons of Glossy vs. Matte Tiles

Pros of Glossy Tiles:

  • High Shine: Glossy tiles have a reflective surface that makes them ideal for creating a bright and open feel in small spaces.
  • Easy to Clean: The smooth surface of glossy tiles makes them easy to clean and maintain.
  • Glossy tiles are Stain-Resistant: The non-porous surface of glossy tiles makes them resistant to stains and spills.
  • Reflects Light: The reflective surface of glossy tiles reflects light, which can make a small room feel larger and more spacious.
  • Cons of Glossy Tiles:

  • Makes Imperfections Stand Out: The high shine on glossy tiles can make any imperfections or scratches in the tile more visible.
  • Slippery: Glossy tiles can be slippery, especially when wet or being stepped on, which can be dangerous in areas such as bathrooms.
  • Requires Frequent Cleaning: The high shine on glossy tiles can show dirt and footprints, requiring frequent cleaning.
  • Pros of Matte Tiles:

  • Non-Reflective Surface: The non-reflective surface of matte tiles makes them ideal for creating a more muted, subdued atmosphere in a room.
  • Texture: The matte surface of the tile can add a unique texture to a room.
  • Less Slippery: The matte surface of the tile provides more traction than glossy tiles, making them less slippery.
  • Camouflages Imperfections: Matte tiles can be more forgiving of imperfections and scratches due to their matt surface.
  • Cons of Matte Tiles:

  • Difficult to Clean: Matte tiles are more porous compared to glossy tiles, making them more difficult to clean and more prone to staining.
  • Darken a Room: Matte tiles can make a room appear darker, especially in smaller spaces.
  • Can Look Dull: Matte tiles can appear to lack shine or luster, which may not appeal to those who desire a more glamorous look in their space.
  • In conclusion, choosing between glossy and matte tiles can be a matter of personal preference and the purpose of the room. Glossy tiles may work well in small spaces or to create a bright and glamorous look while matte tiles are better suited for those who desire a more muted, textured atmosphere. However, both types of tiles have their pros and cons that need to be taken into consideration when making a decision.

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