Concrete Subway Tile Backsplash

When we were planning our new kitchen, one element  I thought I was sure about was classic white subway tile for the backsplash.

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 But when my husband and I scanned the tile options at Lowe’s, we were intrigued by these concrete beveled edge subway tiles:

EPOCH Architectural Surfaces 8-Pack Concrete Gray Concrete Indoor/Outdoor Wall Tile (Common: 3-in x 6-in; Actual: 3-in x 6-in)

We were drawn to both the gray color and their rough, dull finish.  The 3×6 tile is made by Epoch and at $7 a square foot is a good value.    We actually brought home  five different tile styles ranging from stainless steel subway tiles, to mosaic to plain white subway tiles  to these concrete ones.  We purchased a square foot of each and taped them up to the wall as best we could.  This helped us see them in the context of the rest of the kitchen.  In the end, the concrete tiles won out as they seemed to fit best with the rustic feel of the rest of the house.

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We used a lighter gray for the grout which was also purchased from Lowes.  This was a pretty straight forward DIY project, easily accomplished in the course of two weekends – one for the tile installation and one for the grouting.

Before
Before
After
After
After

 Hope you all have a great week!

Debra

 

 

 

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30 comments

  1. Hi, for the concrete subway tile, did you seal it as well? We are thinking of using that tile for a shower and trying to decide on gloss sealer or natural look sealer. I think with the gloss sealer it may get too dark.

    • Jon – We did not use a sealer on our kitchen backsplash. We did use sealer on the floor tile in our foyer and it didn’t alter the color of the light grout at all. I’m pretty sure we didn’t use gloss. Hope this helps! Debra

  2. Hi, I bought the same tiles for my kitchen backsplash. I did use a sealer but it didn’t seem to help. A week later, I was cooking with oil and it splashed and stained the concrete! I’m wondering if I should put a coat of wax on it?

    • Hi Roni,
      I’m currently looking at these tiles currently for my kitchen also, and was wondering if you ever resolved your issue with oil staining the tiles. i tend to cook a fair amount with oil, and this would definitely be a concern.
      I’m hoping to learn from your experience.
      Thanks,
      Frank

      • We’ve had no problem with food or oil stains but I am aware that the manufacturer says to seal the tiles … we will get to that one of these days! Debra

    • Hi Roni,
      Just wondering if you figured anything out about what to seal the tile with? I bought the same tile, sealed it twice with a penetrating sealer and the first time I cooked in the kitchen…splattered oil on the tile. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

      • We used Professional’s Choice 511 Porous Plus Sealer on our cement tiles that we did in a bathroom. They are extremely porous and this sealer seems to be working. Debra

  3. Love this look! What kind of saw or blade did you use to cut the tile? Wondering if the concrete would require a special blade. Thanks!

  4. I just bought these on a whim at Lowes. They were on clearance and I am in love with subway tile, but didn’t want white. They’re so beautiful in your kitchen! I’m using it for my backsplash as well. What finish did you use on it? It looks shinier on your finished wall than mine do out of the box…

  5. Hi, we picked up the same tile…didn’t realize our google image search was yours…it sold us! So thank you for sharing. Did you end up sealing the tiles? I am afraid of staining them with spoils and splashes. Also, what size spacers did you use for those grout lines, or were they butted against each other? Thank you much! – Jeremy

    • Hello Jeremy, The actual grout lines measure 1/8 inch but we didn’t have to use spacers because of the way the tiles are designed. We’ve yet to seal them (I know that’s terrible) but they withstand our wear and tear in the kitchen very nicely. We couldn’t be more pleased with the ease of installation, the quality and the overall look. Debra

  6. What color grout did you use? Also, just FYI, the Lowe’s website states, ” Concrete is a porous material, as such, must be sealed after installation.
    Create a glossy/polished finish by using a “high gloss” natural stone sealer or
    use a penetrating “natural look” sealer to maintain the honed finish.

    • I wish I could remember the exact color name… it is a light gray. Thanks for the reminder to seal our tile. Even in our hard working kitchen, these tiles stand up beautifully to food splatters. No stains yet but we do plan to seal them soon! Thanks, Debra

  7. My daughter and I spotted these tiles and I was drawn to them also. My husband is concerned they may be too dark to do the whole backsplash, but everything else in our new kitchen is very light, so our plan was to mix them randomly among standard white subway tile. Now, I’m concerned the white subways will be too bright with the calming, cream-colored counters. I’m going to research these concrete ones a bit more, your photos will help tons. (Do you suppose your grout was Delorean Gray? We have a bucket of that left over from the floor…) Thank you for this post, it’s a huge help!

    • Hi Rosemary, We really like the matte finish of the concrete tiles. We, too, thought the white subway tiles wold have been too shiny for our modern rustic kitchen. We have enough shine with our upper white cabinets and shiny finish on the brass pendants. Yes, I do believe the grout is Delorean gray. Debra

      • Thank you, Debra. My husband approved using these for the entire backsplash so I’m excited. We may need to use a matching mosaic in the arc of the curved island, behind the range, but we’ll let our tile gal decide for sure. Due to past experience with a terra cotta tile floor, we will definitely seal these against stain! Enjoy ~ rosemary

      • Hey, Debra. So, I was unsuccessful in finding these tiles when it was time. I did find some finished ones, however, that we actually prefer. I now have a box of the concrete that won’t be used, if you need any spares. 🙂

      • Hi Debra, thanks for the reply. I was wondering, how did you prevent the grout from making a huge mess with this tile? I just did a small area and the tiles seem to suck up the grout, making it REALLY difficult to clean off. Do you have any tips or help with grouting successfully?

      • Adam, I apologize for not responding sooner … We were on vacation. I checked with my husband on this one. He said that he worked in small sections and that he had to repeatedly wipe the tiles with a wet sponge as he was working. I am also wondering whether unsanded grout might help. Hopefully, you have gotten some expert advice on this by now. Let us know how you made out. Debra

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