Lush and luminous onyx is a stone that has been used to create dramatic effects in the most high end living spaces for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians used it to make pottery and it has always been highly sought after a gemstone that can be set into all types of jewelry. Today like in the past, onyx tile is one of the best materials for establishing the look of luxury.
What is Onyx?
Onyx is a sedimentary rock made up of bands of chalcedony, a form of quartz that has been exposed to both pressure and heat over a long period of time which fuses it together.
While most other options are opaque, onyx tile is in contrast semi-transparent or translucent. This can give it a luminous gem like appearance that other man-made choices like glass tile can only imitate. With the right lighting onyx tile can give off a warm glow that is truly jaw dropping.
A common misconception is that this stone only comes in black. This may be due to the fact that many dark black materials and home products are marketed as onyx in shade. Whatever the reason is, in reality nothing could be further from the truth.
While you can find stunning black onyx tile, it is actually much more common in other colors and can range all the way to white and include just about all colors in-between.
There is even choices such as pink or blue onyx tile all of which are natural of course. And depending on your preference you can easily find tiles which are more solid in color to match a specific color scheme or ones that have a huge diversity in each individual tile.
That diversity can also been seen in the striking natural patterns and bands of color that makes each tile its own work of naturally produced art. And like all natural stone no two are exactly alike.
One thing you may notice if you look closely among the elegant and swirls is that the bands of color actually follow each other in a parallel manner as they flow through the tile unlike with other types of stone.
Onyx is softer than many other stones and therefore is not really suited to be used as outdoor tiles. Therefore it is almost always used for indoor applications. Because they are more delicate manufacturers will often sell them with a resin, fiberglass, or mesh backing to help increase their strength.
Onyx Tile Flooring
While they may not be as durable as granite for example they still make an excellent option for floors in areas that receive light traffic. Onyx floor tile is typically used in bathrooms, kitchens, and even bedrooms. Large square tiles are usually 12” x 12” in size but you can find them up to 24” x 24”.
Mosaics are another way to go. With these a large number of small tiles are attached to a square mesh backing so they can be installed easily and evenly. While they are most often square mosaics can be a wide array of shapes and even tile patterns such as the basket weave or herringbone.
Onyx mosaic tile is actually ideal for places like the bathroom and shower floor because of its many grout lines which can provide grip to help prevent slips and falls. But be sure that the tile you are purchasing is rated as floor tile.
Onyx Wall Tile
Of course on the wall it is used along with floor tile to complete onyx tile bathrooms. And don’t forget on tub and shower surrounds either. Backsplashes are also a favorite spot for this material both in the bathroom and the kitchen. Mosaic tile of all shapes are a great choice to use when creating an onyx tile backsplash as is subway tile.
The larger size of subway tile compared to mosaics is often used in backsplashes to show off the striking variations and markings that onyx can produce. Bigger sized wall tile is also used in the same manner to create feature walls.
One of the best ways to really show off the opulence of your wall tiles and their translucence is to make sure they are backlit which will give them a glow-like appearance. Don’t forget that both wall and floor options can also be used as fireplace tiles too.