Recycled tiles are an eco-friendly and innovative option for kitchen backsplashes that help reduce waste while adding visual interest to the heart of your home. Using recycled materials like glass, ceramic, and stone for your backsplash keeps those items out of landfills and gives them new life. From bold mosaics to subtle subway styles, recycled tile comes in endless shapes, colors and textures to match any design aesthetic.

Benefits of Choosing Recycled Tile

Opting for recycled tile for your kitchen backsplash offers many advantages:

  • Sustainable Materials: Recycled tile puts to use discarded glass, ceramic, stone, and other scrap materials that would otherwise head to the landfill. Using these waste streams reduces the need for new resource extraction.
  • Unique Looks: Since recycled tiles repurpose discarded materials, every piece is different. This creates one-of-a-kind visual effects full of depth, interest, and character.
  • Cost Savings: Recycled tiles tend to cost less than new stone or ceramic since they make use of waste streams. You can save money while choosing an eco-friendly option.
  • Easy Installation: Most recycled tile options can be installed just like traditional backsplash tile using thinset mortar. No special skills or tools needed!
  • Durability: Tile made from recycled glass, ceramic, and stone is just as durable as new tile, providing a long-lasting, low-maintenance option.

No matter your design style or budget, there is a recycled tile option that can bring sustainable style to your kitchen backsplash.

Popular Types of Recycled Tile

Recycled Glass Tile

One of the most popular forms of recycled tile is made from discarded glass. Beer bottles, windows, dinnerware, and more are crushed and reformulated into shimmering, light-catching glass mosaic tiles in every color.

Sleekly modern or funky and artsy glass tile backsplashes made from recycled materials have lots of design appeal while keeping waste out of landfills. The glass can be smoothed into shiny subway tiles or kept in jagged, sea glass-like chunks for organic appeal.

Glass tile is extremely durable and water-resistant, making it an ideal backsplash choice for kitchens and bathrooms. It’s easy to wipe clean and resists stains, moisture, and mildew over years of use. The polished finish gives glass tile a glamorous, mirrored effect.

Recycled Ceramic Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tile waste from manufacturing facilities, construction sites, and deconstructed buildings finds new purpose as recycled ceramic tile. Old tile is crushed, ground, and combined with binders and pigments to produce new tile pieces with a mottled, multi-colored appearance.

Recycled ceramic tile has an earthy, Old World look and feel that brings Tuscan warmth to kitchens, baths, and accent walls. The varied colors and natural texture help hide signs of age and wear over time. Porcelain tile can also be made from recycled crushed toilets, sinks, and bathtubs.

Tile made with recycled ceramic content is extremely durable and resistant to cracks, scratches, stains, and high temperatures. It can be used indoors or outdoors and stands up well to heavy use which makes it perfect for busy kitchen backsplashes.

Recycled Stone Tile

Countertop or tile installation scrap from granite, marble, and other stones is reconstituted into new tile pieces, providing an eco-friendly option. Recycled stone tile maintains the natural veining, textures, and tones of quarried stone but in unique color combinations and shapes.

Stone aggregate tile offers an earthy, organic feel perfect for rustic and cottage kitchen designs. The mellow tones and swirls of recycled marble, travertine, or limestone tile can create a soothing, spa-like backdrop. Porous natural stones like sandstone may need periodic sealing.

Recycled stone tile offers distinct good looks that only nature can provide while minimizing the environmental impact of quarrying and processing new stone materials. It’s a sustainable option that doesn’t compromise on beauty or performance.

Design Ideas for Recycled Tile Backsplashes

Vintage Glass Mosaic

Capture old-world artisanal charm with a backsplash covered in multi-colored recycled glass mosaic tile. The random assortment of varied glass pieces creates nuanced color gradients and light effects. Keep grout lines thin to emphasize the tile texture. Pair with ornate iron light fixtures and carved wood accents for vintage flair.

Modern Graphic Tile

Make a bold, contemporary design statement with graphic tile shapes formed from recycled porcelain or ceramic. Geometric triangular, hexagonal, or rectangular tiles in contrasting matte and glossy finishes create visual impact. Use varying size shapes for additional interest. Keep the rest of the space clean and sleek to maximize the modern edge.

Organic Pebble Tile

Recycled pebble-shaped ceramic tile brings an earthy vibe, with its natural color variations and handmade irregularities. Lay the tile in an asymmetrical brick pattern and shade the grout to match the tile tones for a seamless effect. Accent with wood open shelving, granite counters, and stainless steel appliances for organic contrast.

Subway Tile Style

One of the most popular and versatile backsplash options, subway tile offers clean lines in an endless array of colors. Made from recycled glass or ceramic, subway tile gives a nod to vintage charm while the smooth finish and simple shape keeps the look modern. Lay in offset rows or a herringbone pattern for added dimension.

Eco Stone Wall

Construct a faux stone wall from recycled porcelain slabs made to mimic natural travertine and limestone. The stone-look tile provides organic texture and a soothing neutral palette. Use large grout lines in a coordinating shade to play up the stone wall effect. Keep the rest of the decor simple to let the textured tile take the spotlight.

Installation Tips for Recycled Tile

Installing recycled tile backsplash is very similar to installing new tile using the following tips:

  • Always follow manufacturer instructions for tile-specific installation methods.
  • Carefully measure the space and create a layout plan allowing for an even appearance and minimal cuts.
  • Prepare the surface by cleaning thoroughly and applying primer if needed. Ensure the wall is smooth and even.
  • Apply thinset mortar to the wall using a notched trowel to build up ridges. Press tiles firmly into the mortar in your planned pattern.
  • Use tile spacers between pieces to achieve even grout lines. Remove spacers once tile adheres then apply grout between tiles.
  • Allow grout and thinset to fully cure according to manufacturer directions before using the backsplash.
  • For glass tile, use white thinset mortar and grout to highlight the color and shine.

With some planning and care, you can successfully install stunning and sustainable recycled tile backsplash yourself. Proper surface prep and allowing materials to fully cure are key to creating a long-lasting backsplash you’ll enjoy for years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy recycled tile?

Recycled tile is becoming more widely available at home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. You can also check tile specialty retailers, online eco-friendly building product sellers, salvage stores, and sometimes even on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

How much does recycled tile cost?

Pricing varies based on the material, size, color and finish but in general recycled tile costs $2-$10 per square foot installed. This makes it a budget-friendly option comparable or cheaper than new ceramic or stone tile. Using recycled content tile allows you to save money and the environment.

Is installation different than regular tile?

No, recycled tile can be installed using traditional methods like thinset mortar and standard grout. Follow manufacturer instructions as you would for new tile. The key differences are that recycled tile has more variations in shape, thickness, and color consistency which adds to the character.

Does recycled tile hold up well?

Absolutely! Tile made from recycled glass, ceramic, porcelain, and stone is very durable and stands up to heat, moisture, scratches, and heavy use. In some cases recycled tile may outperform new porcelain or ceramic since it incorporates a blend of materials. Maintain it properly and it will last for many years.

Can recycled tile be used outdoors?

Certain types of recycled tile like porcelain are frost-resistant and appropriate for patios, garden paths, pool surrounds, and other outdoor installations. Check specifications to ensure the tile can withstand temperature changes, moisture, and UV rays so it will perform well outside.

The eco-friendly advantages of recycled tile make it a smart, sustainable choice for kitchen backsplashes. With its durability, visual appeal, and vast style possibilities, recycled tile brings character and charm to the heart of your home while reducing waste. Get creative combining shapes, textures, and colors to design a one-of-a-kind upcycled backsplash you’ll love showing off.