Penny tiles are very small tiles, usually about .75 inches to 1 inch (1.9 to 2.54 cm) across. Penny tile can be used to decorate kitchens, bathrooms, pools, and other wet areas. Sometimes called penny rounds, these tiny tiles are available as square, round or hex tiles. Penny tiles are meant to make a decorating statement, and the visual effect is one of classic beauty.
Penny tile is usually made of shimmering porcelain, ceramic, or glass. The small tiles are secured in neat rows to a durable fiberglass mesh material, leaving just enough space between each tile for grout. The sheets of netting are easy to cut to any desired shape. The penny tile sheets can be set and grouted in a very short time, yet the overall effect looks as if a great deal of labor was involved. Sheets of porcelain penny tiles cost approximately $5 to $7.50 US Dollars per square foot.
Penny hex tiles can offer an authentic historic style in an older home. Unglazed, hexagon-shaped penny tiles were a popular decorating choice in early 20th century homes, but fell out of favor after World War II. The style of the penny tile is making a resurgence in today’s decorating choices, especially with homeowners who desire an authentic, retro look in kitchen or bathroom areas. The small tiles are available in typical patterns from the past, such as basket weave and checkerboard patterns. Consumers can choose a classic palette of color, or a contemporary spectrum to reflect today’s sensibilities.
An unexpected material used to make penny tile is cork, a natural substance that has been harvested for years to make floors. Cork penny rounds are exceptionally beautiful and durable, and they are found in some of the finest homes and public buildings. Surprisingly, cork penny tiles are water resistant, and when a proper sealant is applied, cork tiles may be used in tub and shower areas without concern. Cork penny round tile comes attached in rows to sheets of heavy paper, and costs around $15 USD per square foot.
Metal penny tile is an extravagant decorating choice, but the look can provide a sleek and modern backdrop for any room. These shiny little tiles may be made of silver alloy, stainless steel, copper, zinc or aluminum. At a cost of $65 USD per square foot on average, metal penny rounds are a budget buster for most people. Simulated metal penny round tiles can be found at a fraction of the cost.