What are Faux Tiles?

Donna Johnson

Faux tiles are interior decoration materials that come in a number of forms. Also known as fake or artificial tiles, these products are typically made from low-cost, lightweight materials such as vinyl but are designed to mimic the look of other materials such as stone, wood, or metal. Faux tiles are available for ceiling, wall, and floor installation. In some cases, faux tiles are not separate building materials at all, but created with paint on any surface. This application is commonly found in kitchens, where backsplash tiles may be painted on the walls behind countertops.

Some vinyl tiles mimic the look of materials such as stone, wood or metal.
Some vinyl tiles mimic the look of materials such as stone, wood or metal.

The most common type of faux tiles for the ceiling are those designed to look like old-fashioned tin ceilings. Some faux tin tiles are plastic with a metallic paint finish, while others, which are more expensive, are thin sheets of real metal. Faux ceiling tiles may be nailed directly to the existing ceiling or installed in a grid that hangs just below the old ceiling. The latter type of installation is known as a suspended ceiling.

Faux tiles are made with paint.
Faux tiles are made with paint.

Homeowners may also choose faux metal tiles for kitchen backsplashes, or they may paint their own. The first thing to consider before beginning to paint faux tiles is the desired grout color in the finished project, as that color must be applied to the entire wall first. Painter's tape can then be used to plot the design on the wall before applying the paint, to give each faux tile clean, sharp edges. Once the paint is completely dry, the tape can be removed to reveal the completed project. Varying tile sizes and grout widths can be created with this method.

The greatest variety of faux tiles is available for floor installations. Faux floor tiles, which are typically vinyl, mimic the look of wood, marble, or stone tile floors. The most inexpensive of these tiles are thin, self-sticking vinyl tiles that require no separate adhesive for installation. Thicker faux floor tiles are generally used in commercial properties and do require the application of adhesive.

Faux tiles are among the most diverse home improvement projects for the money. Most faux tile projects can be completed by the average homeowner in a short time, without highly specialized tools or training. The ease of installation and low cost make them a popular choice for any home decor project where a tile look is desired but the expense and inconvenience of real tile is not.

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