There’s a lot to consider when planning a tile project in your home. While color, size, and style are important, there are two key features that can dictate the look and feel of your space: glossy finish or matte.
The word “glossy” is often equated with “shiny.” Glossy tiles have a smooth, light-reflecting glaze that renders any imperfections in the tile microscopic. Because of their light-reflecting qualities, glossy tiles can make small rooms appear larger and dark rooms appear brighter. They are very easy to clean, which is good because they are better at showing dirt, smudges, and smears than matte.
Something to consider, though, is that because of their smooth finish, glossy tiles are slippery. They’re not always ideal as floor tiles in high-traffic or wet areas like hallways, foyers, kitchens, and bathrooms. Glossy tiles are well-suited for backsplashes, fireplaces, and small or dark rooms.
When it comes to matte tiles, obviously, they do not have a shiny glaze applied, making the imperfections in the tile more pronounced. Matte tiles, therefore, don’t reflect as much light and aren’t an ideal choice for trying to “open up” a room. They are good, however, for creating a rustic, homey, more natural feel in your space. The matte finish offers better traction, so matte tiles are a good choice for flooring in any area.
As far as maintenance, stains, smudges, and smears are better concealed on matte tiles than glossy, so there’s less cleaning involved. Keep in mind, though, that stains are harder to remove from matte tiles. If your matte tile is in a high traffic area, be sure to monitor the space regularly for any dirt and grime.
The good news is, you don’t always have to choose one tile finish over the other. You can have a fusion of both styles in your space. For example: whether in your kitchen or bath, glossy tiles are excellent choices for your shower walls and backsplashes. Coordinate your wall tile with a matte floor tile, and you have a beautiful, cohesive look.