More and more homeowners are beginning to think outside the box and realize the same old ceramic tile isn’t the best option for their kitchen walls and floors. Tradition is great, but it can only take you so far. Stainless steel tile is low maintenance, highly resistant to both stain and oxidization. It is one of the most hygienic kitchen materials available. Reasonably-priced, it won’t be as cheap as your old ceramic tile, but it probably won’t be as expensive as a premium stone tile, either.
Stainless Steel Tile Gauge
Steel gauge refers to the thickness of the metal, the lower the number the thicker the steel. Naturally, a thicker tile will also be more expensive. More than cost, though, the place where you install the steel will probably be the most important factor in determining which gauge to use. 14 or 16 gauge steel is recommended for floors and countertops, but you can probably get away with 18 or 20 gauge for stainless steel wall tiles. If you’re concerned about the cost of steel tiles, you might choose stainless steel for your new wall covering. On the other hand, floor installations generally cost more than the wall covering, so the extra expense is probably inevitable no matter what material you choose.
Stainless Steel Tile Cost and Options
Basic stainless steel tiles for wall tiles and backsplashes can run under $20 per sq. ft. Steel tiles for floors will probably top $50 per sq. ft., if you do it right. A popular stainless steel option is to finish the steel with a different metallic finish. You can create the look of copper, brass, zinc, or titanium.
While stainless steel is relatively easy to clean and maintain, anyway, you can also apply a sealant that makes the steel virtually maintenance free. This type of sealant, however, will add extra $5 or so per sq. ft. of installation. Stainless steel can also be colored, the touchstone for stainless steel tile isn’t necessary the look of steel, but a shiny finish combined with unmatched durability and convenience. A high-end decorative steel tile can run as high as $200 per sq. ft, though most homeowners don’t require this kind of performance and customizing.
You may also choose to vary your steel tiling options, installing a high-quality decorative tile for a small area backsplash and a more common steel tile on the rest of your kitchen wall. For countertops, you might splurge on a high-performing tile near your oven range that will allow you to place your hot pots and pans directly on the counter.
Stainless Steel Tile Contractors
Stainless steel tiles can be glued with silicone caulking or they can be screwed down. Working with steel tiles isn’t all that dissimilar to ceramic tiles, except they require a bit more expertise and craftsmanship. If at all possible, you should find a tile contractor who has experience specifically with stainless steel tiles. In fact, when getting an estimate you should ask the contractor about the differences between installing ceramic or stone tiles and stainless steel ones. This simple question may tell you a lot about the general knowledge and experience of that particular contractor.