When you think luxury, don’t think marble — the stone you’re really looking for is onyx. Onyx tile is a beautiful and unique tile choice for homeowners that’s rapidly gaining popularity. It’s rare, stunning, and temperamental. Read on to find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of using this tile in your home.
What’s Onyx Tile, and Why’s It So Hot?
When people think onyx, they typically think of the smooth, shiny black-and-white stone you find in jewelry. However, the onyx used for tile comes from calcite, a mineral that also forms the basis for marble, travertine, and limestone.
Onyx tile tends to look a lot like a translucent marble — it’s smooth, shiny, and porous, and usually comes in earth tones. However, it’s even rarer than marble, more visually striking, and adds an immediate sense of luxury to any home design.
Where Do People Use Onyx Tile?
Typically, you’ll find onyx tile in kitchens, but it’s also becoming more popular as a bathroom tile. It’s most often used in countertops, backsplashes showers, and as wall and fireplace accents.
Pros of Onyx Tile
- Visually stunning and rare. It’s translucent, marbled, and beautiful to look at. It’s also one of the rarer stone tiles; no two are alike. If you’re looking for a unique, elegant look, onyx tile is one of the best picks.
- Versatility. Onyx tile comes in a wide range of natural hues—from pale gold to deep red—and is suitable for virtually any design. In certain light, the translucence will add an opulent warm glow to the room.
- Combines well with other stone tiles. It can be especially striking as a decorative accent in mosaics with other tile. Common combinations include travertine, marble, glass, and granite.
Cons of Onyx Tile
- Prone to damage. Because onyx tile is so soft and porous, it’s prone to staining and scratching, even when sealed. It’s especially vulnerable when it comes to liquids, which can pose a problem in the rooms it’s typically installed in: kitchens and bathrooms. Avoid using onyx tile in floors that with heavy traffic.
- Expensive. There’s a reason onyx tile looks so luxurious—it is! Its rarity and fragile, translucent nature makes installation costly (you’ll need a specialist). It’s one of the pricier options for natural stone tile.
- Hard to replace. No two onyx tiles look exactly alike. This is one of its big selling points, but it can pose a problem when combined with the stone’s fragility. If you’re using this tile, it’s best to make sure you have several extra tiles in case you end up needing a replacement.
Have more questions? Want to see some onyx tile in person? Visit our showroom to speak to our tile specialists and see samples of onyx tile in action.